The only problem is, I disagree. I originally wrote an exhaustively long comment on his site, but then figured it's not fair to bore his readers with my bullshit. Plus, Matt doesn't swear very much, so I always feel bad when I lace my responses with my usual fucks and shits. So I figured I'd respond here, bore my readers with my bullshit, and we could do a little cross-blogging. Anyway, read his essay first. Also, please note that this is written as it was originally drafted - that is, it's directed at him. So you doesn't mean "you", reader. Unless that reader is Matt. In which case, you means him. Or you. Or something.
Note: This is not me. Seriously.
I agree, in some way or another, with the majority of your points. However, I think that the argument is somewhat disingenuous. I will freely admit to being a pretty avid sports fan, as you may have figured out from some of the posts on my site. I don't delude myself into thinking that the players all truly "love" the game itself, or that it's not some giant corporate fuckwagon. That said, I still enjoy it. I enjoy the speed, skill and ability involved. I enjoy watching competition. I enjoy the sense of regional pride I get from watching the local teams. And yes, I know that Manny Ramirez and Paul Pierce and Tom Brady don't give a fuck about me, but who cares?
I think the fundamental oversight in such arguments is that you've chosen a specific media outlet for criticism, while ignoring the others. What makes athletes any different from actors? They're the same - they're in the business of entertainment, and some of them are genuinely talented individuals who love what they do, some of them are fucking hacks that are in it for the money and nothing else. What make the NFL or MLB or NBA any different from Hollywood? Hollywood is a machine just like the NFL is - it exists not for the art, but for the profit. It's about marketing and billboards and smaller theaters and wide releases and squeezing the most dollars out of what are usually inferior products.
Anyway. Assuming you're still reading this - I don't mean to shoot down your theory, because it's a valid criticism of an ugly aspect of today's entertainment industry. But since I know you're a movie fan, it seems a bit of a double standard. I don't think there's any difference between rooting for a sports team and having a favorite actor. There's no difference between the Super Bowl and the Oscars. It's 90% spectacle, sure. But to those who really do enjoy the medium, be it sports or film, can get some genuine enjoyment out of it. But the reason I make the comparison is because I've seen movie buffs or film snobs or pseudo-intellectuals or whatever you wish to call them - I've seen them repeatedly come down on sports and sports fans, without seeing that there is a fundamental similarity between the two. Not that you, dear Matt, are a pseudo-intellectual film snob dickhead.