On Covid and Race, Sports Suddenly Ignore Analytics
What has happened with big time sports’ fascination with crunching all kinds of numbers and statistics? Has this fascination with stats vanished in lieu of a political agenda with respect to the Covid and the BLM protests? Is getting rid of Donald Trump worth obliterating multi-billion-dollar operations? Do they have any idea what they are doing to themselves? These are open questions, and the answers carry monstrous cultural, political and economic ramifications.
Since the biographically accurate book Moneyball came out in 2004, exposing how the low budget Oakland A’s baseball team used sabermetrics and counterintuitive player selection to build a winning team on a shoestring, the use of analytics in every aspect of sports has exploded. Coaches and general managers, to varying degrees, depend on crunching numbers in drafting and trading players, allocating playing time, and determining offensive and defensives strategies for their personnel.
Gamblers and fans now have more sophisticated numbers to consider, and new avenues of gambling have opened up as a result - including in game betting. The Lakers shot 37% in the first half, what will they shoot in the second? Metrics dominate sports talk shows, podcasts and fan forums. Meanwhile, there are paywall services that crunch all kinds of stats into all types of predictive measures that many fans devour. The NCAA uses analytics in choosing their 68-team field for the NCAA basketball tournament, peace be upon it, should it ever return.
Sports, in many ways, is all about the numbers now. For some strange reason, however, the people running these institutions have totally ignored even the most basic metrics when deciding how they should react to Covid, and to the riots.
What is going on?
There is little doubt that big time sports are run by leftists to a large degree -- both on the college and professional levels. This is an odd paradox, given that competition is something we’re told by leftists is a bad thing, and given it seems -- at least by the eyeball test -- that a slight majority of sports fans lean conservative.
Certainly, the fan bases of, say, Clemson and Alabama lean more conservatively than say the fan bases of Michigan or Southern Cal, but Big Education, Inc is in charge of the whole shooting match on the college level, and that’s clearly a left-leaning organization.
Meanwhile, the commissioners of the NBA and the NFL are lily white elitist leftists and social justice warriors, making tens of millions of dollars a year each, while lecturing the rest of us on white privilege, whatever the hell that is. They have let Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James go wild on social media (and regular media) with their far-left radical political agenda that now defines their leagues. And they have paralyzed their entire operation and have been among the worst of the panic porn purveyors regarding Covid.
We all know the sabermetrics, the analytics, or the basic math that disproves everything LeBron and Kaepernick complain about. Anyone who examines the data knows that more unarmed Blacks are murdered by other Blacks in Chicago in a weekend than are killed -- mostly legitimately -- by cops in an entire year nationwide. We all know that the success of LeBron, Oprah, Michael Jordan, Tiger, etc, based on their millions of white fans, disprove any notion of white privilege or systemic racism. I mean the math, dare I say the analytics, on this whole black white thing is dizzying.
And yet the leagues ignore it. They ignore that BLM is proudly and openly a Marxist anti-American organization. They clearly do this out of fear of their players, most of whom are black. And it will kill them, or at least set them back. The golden goose is bleeding out.
But even prior to Floyd’s death and the riots, sports had bought in big time to the Covid myth, the idea that this virus should impact all of daily life for every individual. That is simply not true today, nor was it ever true, and I submit that this was obvious from day one. There is simply no math to justify big time sports changing anything, other than perhaps recommending that their immuno-compromised fans stay home and watch on TV. But this is good advice in any flu season.
Consider these very basic but fundamentally critical metrics:
The New York Times reported that 90% of “positive” tests were… wait for it… not really positive. That same day, the CDC released stats showing that only 6% of Covid deaths were… wait for it… solely Covid deaths. Regarding the other 94%, there were significant other factors, often dominant factors.
In other words, true Covid death is very rare, and the vast majority of positive tests are simply wrong.
And let’s not forget the NFL itself, where the league announced 77 positive test results. Now never mind that none of those 77 felt bad, or even had the sniffles -- we have 77 positive tests! It’s like suddenly a positive Covid test is fashionable, like, say, being gluten intolerant was 15 years ago. But oops. Actually, none of the 77 positives were really positive. And I thought only universe mega-god Anthony Fauci was capable of such a grievous error.
And then this: young people in the age range of high school to professional athletes are far more likely to die in a car wreck than of Covid. Should they all stop getting into cars too? We are told to trust the science, and it is a scientific fact that to drive to practice is more dangerous than Covid -- and let's not even factor in the risk of playing football or hockey itself.
There are hundreds of other metrics out there that indicate, if not prove, that there is not, and never has been, the math to support shutting down anything other than tiny niches of our society and economy. Niches that should not be shut down include big time sports, concerts, festivals and anything of the sort. And yet, Big Sports, Inc, at every level, ignores these metrics.
So, what gives?
Well clearly a lot of this had its genesis in an attempt to ruin Trump’s economy and his re-election chances. Just as clearly, it’s become bigger than that. It’s now part of an attempt, intentional on the part of some and unwitting on the part of others, to overthrow the country as founded. And then there’s the sheer ignorance factor. These numbers, these facts, are out there for anyone to see and analyze, but millions don’t seem to care or know. The unhappy news for Trump, Republicans and all conservatives, is that the old legacy media -- paired with the new triumvirate of Google (YouTube), Facebook and Twitter -- still have the ability to keep even the most basic and critical information from the masses.
This includes too many of “the good guys” in Washington too. Sure, the Democrats love this Covid devastation, and until last week, they loved the race chaos. This ignorance helps them, or so they think. But Team Trump and the Republicans seem oblivious to these facts too, even as Trump’s voters are the ones who have instinctively known this from day one. Trump hasn’t used his massive Twitter audience to trumpet these metrics, not once that I am aware of, which is a huge mistake. Republican Senators are running ads showing how concerned they are about safety -- and wearing their damned masks all over the place. This is also a huge mistake. The path to easy electoral victory runs through the Covid math destroying the Covid myth -- but Trump and the GOP are running out of time to implement this. Where has Trump hidden Dr. Scott Atlas? Where is the Trump who said, correctly, on March 22nd that we must not “let the cure be worse than the disease?”
Embracing these metrics to hammer that very message is a way to wrap up a huge victory in November, not to mention saving the nation and the economy! This is a path to victory, not to mention normalcy and happiness and prosperity, if they would but embrace it.
But back to the sports and our original question. Is getting rid of Trump so important to them that they would destroy their own industries to do it? Or are they ignorant to what they are doing to their own golden goose? They are clearly ignoring the analytics. The analytics say keep playing, keep selling tickets, keep selling beer and nachos. The analytics also say shut the frack up about the race issue. The math says you are very privileged, and that your fans don’t want to hear it.
In decades past, big time boxing and horse racing were dominant sports culturally in the land. Now they are merely gambling incidentals, and rarely get mention even on ESPN. For different reasons, it appears football, basketball and baseball are intent on becoming just as culturally irrelevant. I see it. You see it. Why can’t they?
C. Edmund Wright is long time contributor to American Thinker, Breitbart, Newsmax TV and author of several books, including Amazon Elections Best Seller WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost…Again.