Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Opinion: Stop and think about our values

October 10, 2012


There was a recent article in the Journal-World about Kansas University’s basketball coach, Bill Self, getting an agreement in the millions of dollars through the 2021-22 season. I admire coach Self, and I like to have winning teams, but I also think it would be great if we were to see more fairness in the paychecks of the professors and instructors at KU who are not sports staff. Can you see big bold headlines announcing on the front page of the J-W that academia at KU is overcome by the fact that they are being overpaid yearly by millions of dollars? Wow! What a thought!

I was thinking this same way back in 1947 when John and I were first married. We were both students at KU, John doing graduate work and I in my senior year. We lived in an apartment in Sunnyside, located just south of the campus near Robinson Gym. We were very grateful to get to live there, for housing in Lawrence was tight at that time. Our apartment was on the second level. Directly below us was a young couple whom I will call Mike and Jane (not their real names). Mike was on the KU football coaching staff.

It was very quickly my observation that Mike and Jane were often receiving gifts. I thought that was really great. But after a few months, I wondered why they kept being feted. A friend said, “Oh, Mike is on the sports staff at KU.” I was to learn a hard lesson. It wasn’t the professor that was helping prepare students in the sociology or the psychology departments or other academic disciplines who got the lovely gifts, but it seemed to be consistently those in the sports arena.

That at the time didn’t make sense to me, but today I realize that is simply a part of the value system of our culture. Entertainment and pleasure rank very high in our American culture —it did also in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. I think most of those societies have fallen by the wayside.

You and I might think that we don’t adhere to that value system — but do we? How much time and money do we spend regarding television, sports, recreation? Do we spend equally as much time in reading, in conversing with our kids and with other loved ones? Or even in reading and studying the Bible?

Virginia Conard is a Lawrence resident who, with her husband, John Conard, owned and operated a weekly newspaper in Greensburg from 1956 to 1970.


Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

--- JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I was struck — you have numerous chapters in the book on the various aspects of this transfer, but I was especially struck by your material on the New York Yankees and Steinbrenner and Joyce Hogi, who you mention in the book, who I know well, and this whole issue of sports teams across America and how the public is subsidizing them. Could you elaborate on that part of it?

--- DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Sure. George Steinbrenner is getting over $600 million for the new Yankee Stadium in New York. The New York Mets are getting over $600 million. In fact, the City of New York gave them money to lobby against the taxpayers to get more money. Rudy Giuliani gave $50 million to the two teams for that purpose.

--- The new owners of the Washington Nationals baseball team in Washington, D.C., paid $450 million for the team. But, in fact, they got the team for free, because the subsidy they’re getting for the new stadium is worth $611 million. We actually paid these people to buy the team.

--- Now, in this country right now, we are spending $2 billion a year subsidizing the big four sports: baseball, basketball, football and hockey. It accounts for all of the profits of that industry and more.

--- Now, there may be individual teams that make money, but the industry as a whole is not profitable. And that’s astonishing because the big four leagues are exempt from the laws of competition. By the way, irony is not dead, because here are people who are in the business of competition on the field who are exempted by law from the rules of economic competition.

skinny 5 years, 6 months ago

What people do with their money is there business, not yours or the Governments! If people want to spend several hundred dollars to take their family to a sporting event so be it!! Who cares!!

Because you see, if these people did not spend several hundred dollars to go see this event, then the coaches would not be getting those millions of dollars to coach these events!

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 6 months ago

I really wish she had stopped writing before adding her last sentence: "Or even in reading and studying the Bible?"

What on earth good does it do to read and study the Bible if you don't actually apply the positive values in it? (And I'll bet we all know people who don't.)

And why on earth assume that only the Bible promotes positive values? (Or even that the Bible itself only promotes positive values? Yeah, right. Sure)

Good values are NOT just some sort of Bible-based thing. Or even some sort of faith-based thing. I'm sorry that Virginia apparently doesn't realize this.

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