John Stossel: Get The Busybodies Out of Sports

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John Stossel

Will you bet on the Super Bowl this Sunday? I will, and so will millions of other Americans. But the central planners say such gambling is a danger to us and to the integrity of sport. Organized sports betting is illegal most everywhere, and even a social bet with a friend is against the law in many states.

And although lots of Americans may have taken up the hot new sport of mixed martial arts, the citizens of my state are so sensitive and vulnerable that the central planners have decided that they must protect us from being exposed to the UFC, the highest level of MMA. I confront one of the regulators on the show tonight.

All the rules make me wonder:  what if the busybodies were around when sports were invented?

Legend says that the original “marathon runner" was a Greek messenger who ran from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated.  Then he collapsed and died.   If today's central planners were around then, they would have banned marathon running.

Would they have allowed football? No way. I can imagine the promoter’s pitch:

Mr. Politician,  I am going to organize two teams of men -- some of whom weigh 300 pounds -- and have them smash into each other. Some of the players will get concussions.

There’s no way that would be allowed. The central planners would demand to know: Is the grass protected?  Did I get permission from the state to have a public event?  Will my athletes set a good example? Do I have enough women and disabled players? Can I tone down the violence? And so on.  if football were introduced today, events like the Super Bowl would never happen.

President Teddy Roosevelt once threatened to ban the sport.

Congress loves to stick its nose into sports because it brings the narcissists the media attention they crave. Since 2000, there have been 11 congressional hearings related to Major League Baseball.

This micro-managing is nuts. Across countries and cultures, kids set up games, make rules, and have a good time … all without adults imposing rules, much less the force of government. Why today, do adult sports need so much regulation from central planners?

They don't.

Government's busybodies should GET OUT. They're killing the fun.

John Stossel aired his segment on Fox Business News Thursday night.  You can watch here.

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