The sport had clashes with politics and racism in 2022

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  • Sports clashed with politics and racism in 2022

    Phoenix Mercury center Brittey Griner looks at the The camera will be played in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals against the Chicago Sky on October 13, 2021.

There is in theory an unwritten agreement between sports fans and their favorite teams or athletes.

Of course, billions of dollars are at stake in this. But in its essence, sport should be fun, a game, a menu of food. endless two- or three-hour escapes from reality into a land of winners and losers where no one really gets hurt.

For many fans, that vision lived on forever. It will change in 2022, as it had begun to occur the year before and the year before. A more accurate assessment would indicate that sport is not so much an escape from the world's problems as simply another window through which to look at them.

It hardly happened. There was a day in 2022 when a headline could not have appeared the same in the sports section as in the general news section. The intersection went from toxic work environments to accusations of sexual crimes through the use of sports for political purposes, cryptocurrencies, transgender rights and the COVID-19 pandemic, with a dressing of doping, geopolitics, hypocrisy and corruption.

The sports news of the year for the AP covered sports. He was told about basketball player Brittney Griner, whose plan to travel to Russia to play during the break in the United States ended with her death. in a diplomatic battle between the leaders of the two countries.

Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison for possessing a minor amount of hashish oil, which It is illegal in Russia. Months of tense negotiations ensued.

Ultimately, Griner was released in a prisoner exchange. The last word in both negotiating teams came from none other than Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.

The Russian leader has sought to use sports to project his nation's strength, as They have done many in the world. started the year appearing alongside Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. Both used the Olympic Games to elevate their partnership on the world stage.

Shortly after those Games, Russia invaded Russia. Ukraine. The sports community began to So he grappled with the question of whether Russian athletes should be allowed to compete in international events, sometimes against Ukrainian athletes.

“I think it's pretty simple,” Sebastian Coe, chief of staff, said in November of World Athletics, when asked what what it would take to get the Russians back on track soon. “Get out of Ukraine.”

At the end of the year, with no end to the war in sight, Coe's position is hardly the majority among sports leaders.

Many of those leaders, in In the meantime, they managed to get their athletes back safely from China, where 2,800 competitors, plus officials and journalists converged for the Beijing Winter Olympics, without a serious outbreak of COVID-19.

< p>This was made possible by draconian measures, opaque testing procedures and cordoned off Olympic venues. Incidentally, those restrictions dampened any expression of dissent in a country where such demonstrations are rarely tolerated.

COVID restrictions helped China show that it could stage a major global event. In the midst of a pandemic, although the festivities were far from the displays of peace and love that the Olympic movement seeks to promote.

“This is like a sports prison,” said Mark McMorris, a Canadian snowboarding competitor.

China was hardly the only country that sought to find a way out. use sport to gain legitimacy or to whitewash their image.

The creation of the LIV Golf tour consumed a lot of time. It has brought virtually all the oxygen into the sport, upsetting the status quo with the support of a fund supported by Saudi leaders who, according to their detractors, have bloody hands.

For a while, the assassination of journalist Jamal Khasthoggi and the Saudi nationals were killed. of the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks of September 11 eclipsed that of the birdies, the bogeys and the health of Tiger Woods, to become the main topic of conversation in golf.

At the end of the year, the World Cup held in Qatar was under a similar microscope. Mistreatment of immigrant workers and the government's stance on the LGBTQ community overshadowed the run-up to the tournament, as did allegations of corruption in awarding the venue to an emirate with no soccer tradition.

Tournament concluded in 2017. He did brilliantly in football. Argentina was crowned in one of the most exciting finals in history.

While the World Cup was going on, the world of cryptocurrencies was melting down. The bankruptcy of the multi-billion dollar cryptocurrency exchange FTX and the arrest of its owner Sam Bankman-Fried had sports connections far and wide.

Tom Brady and Steph Curry were company promoters. The FTX name was quickly dropped from the arena where the Miami Heat play.

Despite this, 2022 was the year in which digital assets took root in sports for better or worse, through sponsorship of leagues and athletes and also with the so-called NFTs, acronyms in English for non-fungible tokens. .

These are digital images recorded on a chain of blocks and are generally purchased with cryptocurrency. Now, they've become a status symbol for sports stars who, for decades, have sought to influence what their fans buy.

“It would make sense for these companies to work with a celebrity or sports team, because there is an emotional tie to that partnership,” Brandon Brown, who teaches sports and business classes at New York University's Tisch Institute for Global Sport.

In basketball, Griner was hardly the only story to veer off course. of the purely sports theme. The year was rife with reports of rot inside the Phoenix Suns, whose owner Robert Sarver was pressured to sell the team after details emerged.

Various employees documented years of abuse and toxic workplace culture, including frequent disrespect to women and the use of racist slurs.

Another owner who was abusive was rude. wrong was Daniel Snyder, of the Washington Commanders in the NFL.

Snyder found himself charged by a legislative committee with interfering in investigations into sexual harassment and misconduct that have reportedly plagued the organization for two decades. Some of the research suggested that The franchise was receiving help from the NFL itself to stop the investigations.

The league has denied these versions and has stressed that the NFL itself opened the investigation. outside investigations into conditions on Snyder's team.

In many quarters, this story left a shocking impression. A bad stop for a league that for years has tried to gain popularity among the female audience. Worse was the story of Deshaun Watson, considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league and who in 2022 came to the fore. He settled out of court with 23 women who accused him of sexual harassment and abuse, allegedly taking place in massage sessions.

Watson purged the murder. He received an 11-game suspension that he served for three weeks. recently. He has not admitted any responsibility.

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