John Oliver introduced his audience to the “sausage principle” during his 13 minute commentary on the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the federation that organizes it. F.I.F.A. (International Federation of Association Football in english).
“The theory that says if you love something never find out how it was made,” said Oliver before going into his thoughts on the excitement of the tournament and the questionable practices of F.I.F.A as the governing body.
Oliver’s theory can be easily translated to the N.F.L. the most watched sports league in America despite the plague of scandals the league has faced in recent months.
In the last year league has been heavily questioned for its stance on domestic violence after the mishandling of the Ray Rice assault case. While dealing with similar controversies involving other players like Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy(#76) and former Chicago Bears DE Ray McDonald.
“The Shield” also dealt with a tough blow with the handling of the punishment for Minnesota Vikings all-pro running back, Adrian Peterson (#28) for alleged child abuse. In addition to those scandals the N.F.L. is still dealing with the after effects of their concussion related problems.
In April Ken Belson of the New York Times reported that a federal district court judge approved a settlement with over 5,000 players who accused the N.F.L. of withholding information from them about the dangers of concussions in football.
Jason Breslow of P.B.S. reported that the top brain bank reserve in the nation found evidence of C.T.E. (chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 76 of the 79 brains of deceased players they examined for degenerative brain disease.
Two-fold the amount that was found in soldiers that were examined for similar reasons by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Speaking of U.S. veterans the most recent scandal surface is the revelation from The Pentagon stating that it paid 14 N.F.L. teams between $60,000 and $1 million for promotions for the U.S. armed services.
According to Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider some of the promotions included pre game salutes to hometown veterans, recruitment advertising on stadium screens and giving veterans sidelines passes during N.F.L. games.
The N.F.L. has also been taken a public beating for a number issues other over the years including owners using taxpayer money to build stadiums and being a tax exempt organization until this past year. With this baggage “The Shield” has managed to still be the most popular sport in the country.
Super Bowl 49 in February set a Nielsen ratings record of 114.4 million viewers and the league earned $12 billion dollars in revenue last year.
The “sausage principal” alive and well in the N.F.L. and the same can be said in theory for N.F.L’s international superior F.I.F.A.
Where I will disagree with Oliver on his commentary about the governing body of soccer and it’s tournament is that at this point it’s past the sausage principal. Where the N.F.L. is known for it’s alarming number of problems. F.I.F.A. is now becoming known for the extent of its misuse of power and influence.
The principal no longer applies to F.I.F.A. because the world is not starting to see what I call, the “slaughterhouse explanation” of how the international soccer body has caused so much pain from abuse of it’s power.
On May 27, two days before Sepp Blatter was elected to his fifth term as the president of F.I.F.A. Swiss authorities arrested six F.I.F.A. executives and opened a criminal investigation into the bidding process for selecting the host of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Finals (Russia and Qatar).
Included in the arrest were members of F.I.F.A., sport marketing conglomerates, and broadcasting groups who conducted exclusive deals for World Cup television rights in the American continents dating back to 1991. The allegations were that the 14 who were arrested received bribes from marketing firms for the exclusive T.V. rights that were valued at over $150 million.
K.M. McFarland of Wired reported that with the current structure of the voting process and how all 209 member of F.I.F.A are represented equally in committee and revenue sharing the incentive to change the current structure is low for most members. Which is one of the factors that allow corruption like this to continue in the federation.
This behavior is nothing new for F.I.F.A. going back to Oliver’s video in his commentary the comedian brought up a number of issues that paints a dark past for the governing body.
Oliver points out the protest in slums and low-incomes areas of Brazil when according to Donna Bowater of Al-Jazeera America the country spent around $12 million for the World Cup.
Tony Manfred of Business Insider reported Brazil spending $3.6 billion on stadiums for the World Cup and that some of them are seldom used after the tournament ended. Manfred also reported that F.I.F.A. made $2.6 billion in revenue from the last World Cup, $400 million better than 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Thanks to F.I.F.A’s tax exempt status the Brazilian government estimates that $250 million in taxes were exempt from F.I.F.A. to pay. F.I.F.A has also flexed its muscles when it comes to the law in the host countries.
Before the World Cup started in Brazil F.I.F.A got the host country to pass the “Bud Bill” to allow alcohol to be sold in stadiums after a 11 year ban was enforced in 2003 as part of efforts to decrease violence at soccer matches.
In 2010 a “World Cup Court,” was assembled in South Africa and was enforced harshly. Marina Hyde of The Guardian reported that two men that were arrested for robbery were tried convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison two day later.
Then to close out the segment Oliver commented on the selection of Qatar for the 2022 World Cup and the potential problems it can cause. Those problems will probably be brought in the limelight even more with investigation by Swiss authorities into the bidding process.
The organizers for the 2022 World Cup are currently hearing an outcry from the international community for a number of allegations none more haunting than the horrifying treatment of workers that were hired to help build facilities for the upcoming tournament.
Robert Booth of The Guardian went to Qatar to report on a treatment of migrant workers brought in from neighboring countries like Nepal,India, and Bangladesh to help build the new facilities Qatar needs for the World Cup.
Booth reveals that most of the workers are recruited to work in a modern-day slavery with the false promise of high paying jobs and money they can send home to their families.
Migrant workers are forced to work employers and they cannot leave them at any time without the employer’s permission and they are trapped thanks to debt that is created by loans they used to get to Qatar and the lack of payment they receive.
The situation so bad for some workers that they choose to run away from their employers and work for another employers who will pay them illegally.
Many migrant workers face horrific abuse from employers and the state government including severe overcrowding in labor, awful sanitation, being underpaid or not paid at all by employers, and worst of all sudden death. According to Qatar’s estimates there were 882 deaths of workers from India and Nepal in 2012 and 2013.
In an interview with E.S.P.N. Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation estimates that there have been around 1,200 deaths in 2014 and estimates that there will be at least 4,000 deaths before the kickoff of the 2022 World Cup.
Despite the international outrage and the investigation President Blatter has insisted that the World Cup will be in Qatar in 2022 in response to the rejection from critics around the world.
Even with F.I.F.A’s appalling record of corruption and pain the international audiences still sat down and watched the World Cup last year and likely will again in 2018 and 2022.
I have come to believe that watching the World Cup or the N.F.L. is just like eating a nice steak. I know the journey it took to get my plates was horrible, but I still have no problem consuming it.
I’ve seen how an an goes through the slaughterhouse and I was disgusted at first, but then I compartmentalized the killing with the necessity of consumption of food and I was able to eat a burger that evening without any guilt or remorse.
I feel that fans have a similar views of these two professional leagues. They have terrible baggage and have represented things that are inexcusable.
Fans have grown to love them and watch them for so many years that they just find a way to get past the horrible atrocities and then sit down and enjoy the game.
I personally do not feel that there’s anything wrong with that. Just as long as fans remember that it is their responsibility to draw that line and say what they will not stand for.
They let the powers at be know when they cross that line and that the issue has to be fixed before the fans decide to take their business elsewhere.