Eastern Michigan University political science professor Edward Sidlow spoke on the issues of politics and sports from The New York Times article, “Debate? Football? Why Not Both?” as part of EMU’s Times Talk series Oct. 25 at Big Bob’s Lakehouse.
The presentation gave students an insight on how politics collide with sports in today’s culture, and also how they were in conflict with one another in the past. For example, Sidlow said in his presentation that political parties used to host games and paid players even though it was not permitted.
Sidlow also addressed the time in which former U.S. President John F. Kennedy saved the day in 1961.
Professional football player Paul Hornung was called up by the army in 1961 when the Green Bay Packers were getting prepared for the NFL championship game. Vince Lombardi, Hornung’s coach, called JFK before the game because the team really needed Hornung in the game against the New York Giants. Kennedy said Hornung was not going to win the war on Sunday, but U.S. football fans deserved the two best teams on the field.
“If a lawyer asked the president for help, then the president would say good luck,” Sidlow said in his presentation. “But a football player is different.”
Sidlow turned the discussion to how sports and politics come in conflict with one another.
“Are we elevating football or the debate, or are we diminishing them both?” questioned Sidlow.
In the discussion, Sidlow mentioned the article reads that smart viewers should have three screens going on all at once for the debate. However, he also addressed that there is a problem with watching the football game and the debate at the same time.
“People say they are very good at multitasking, but the truth is that people do not multitask very well,” Sidlow said.
The discussion also focused attention on whether the viewer gets confused by watching three screens at once
At the end of his presentation, Sidlow included the audience by asking students what they think.
“I think that people may choose to not tune in for the debate because they assume that they know what will happen,” said Hannah Hilbert, who is a freshman at EMU pursuing a double major in anthropology and linguistic studies as well as a double minor in German and religious studies.
The discussion ended with one powerful question: Do we become so desensitized that none of it matters?
“I wanted to go to this event to hear the other side because I only hear one side of politics from family and friends,” said Isabelle McCormack, a nursing major at EMU.
“I liked how Sidlow linked the discussion of politics to sports because it made it easier for me to relate,” McCormack said.
Matthew Gill, director of Student Relations and director of Student Government at EMU, organized the event.
“The hope for the event was to bring news to life and to show students that news is more than words on a page,” he said.
Nino Monea, director of Political Action at EMU, said, “I feel that Times Talk was a perfect fit with the election right around the corner.”
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