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Sex and the Sports Game: Which Obsession Domineers our Minds?

By Yong-yi Zhu

SPORTS COLUMNIST

Sex sells sports; everyone knows that. In fact, sex sells just about everything. But what we don’t realize is how much sex is being sold to us all the time.

Just today, I went on the Sports Illustrated web site, looking for interesting articles and story ideas. Instead, I was accosted by a large image of Veronica Varekova in half of a bikini, several references to Anna Kournikova’s appearance in the swimsuit issue, and various pictures of women in swimsuits (or less) all over the home page of one of the premier sports magazines. I, on the other hand, had to take the effort to find where I could get information on the real sports. I was a bit embarrassed at having to go to such a site to find sports news and inspirations for my writing: after all, I don’t write for Sex and the City.

But then, I thought just about what has transpired in the last two weeks or so, and it became clear to me that this web site is just a blip in the radar of all the sexual activity that normally goes on in the sports world. I wondered, has sex taken over sports, or can we still enjoy a good ballgame?

Clearly, sex and colleges are not a good mix. Take the Colorado Buffalos’ football program. Just this week, it was discovered that during recruiting parties, adult entertainers would be brought in to strip, do lap dances, and entice the new recruits; apparently the benefits of playing for the Colorado Buffalos was not enough.

What has recruiting come to when students are not attracted to the pride of being in a particular college football program, but are instead driven to make their choices based on how much booty and booze they can receive if they attended the college? I must warn those recruits on how desperate a program may be if they are resorting to that kind of behavior. When Gary Barnett denied knowing of these activities, I completely believed him. He has no need for this, because he has confidence in his abilities to coach students. Perhaps, it’s time that the students recognized what their coach has to offer and what the program has to offer on the field.

Another incident was even more serious. This time, it was the St. John’s Red Storm basketball program that suffered. At least in Colorado, nobody was disciplined because everything was legal. At St. John’s, many of the players were suspended because it was discovered that they had hired a prostitute. Now, the team is down to eight players with the five suspensions. I guess those guys never realized what their actions could do to the reputation of an entire program. What selfishness in a world where many look up to athletes as role models.

Speaking of role models, I must bring up Janet Jackson in shamelessly showing herself to an entire world. You talk about sex selling? Just ask any Tivo owner, and they should agree. The fact that the Tivo owners and the rest of the world obsessed so much over the incident, and many fewer on the Patriots’ victory, shows how the scandal was much more interesting than the box score. Perhaps we should have the Super Bowl be the halftime show and the Janet Jackson striptease be the main event.

But that’s not all the sex the Super Bowl had to offer. If you had pay per view, you could get access to the lingerie bowl, in which many models dressed up in lingerie and competed in a football game. Whoever came up with the idea must really think they know what men truly want.

Perhaps this cannot be helped. After all, we live in an age in which few things shock us, and only the shocking can catch people’s attention. But you and I are people too, and we can’t be that shallow, right?