Displaying the sort of sophisticated sporting viewpoint you’d associate with Kate Beckinsale, NFL Commish Paul Tagliabue uttered the following gems to Sports Illustrated’s Karl Tao Greenfield.
Despite being a childhood baseball fan, he dismisses the national pastime as “about as exciting as standing in line at the supermarket. Baseball doesn’t test anything but your ability to withstand boredom.”
Perhaps trying to soften the blow he’s just landed on baseball’s chin, he broadens his attack. “Look,” he says with a sigh, “I think the popularity of all sports in our society is a measure of how much disposable income there is and how much interest we have in the unnecessary.”
Critics say that he has been too effective arguing the owners’ position on certain issues, such as virtually eliminating guaranteed contracts in the NFL. “I don’t have any problem with where we are in terms of guaranteed contracts,” he says, his voice rising. “Guaranteed contracts don’t do anything except take money from a guy who is playing and give it to a guy who isn’t.”
He cites the NBA. “Are those players slacking? Absolutely. Football is a sport that is way too tough to take a chance — it comes back to my contrived-adversity point. Since this is contrived adversity, you have to maintain the incentive to put up with the adversity. I acknowledge it’s not a prolabor stance, but it is a properformance stance.”