On Premier League Football And Income Inequality

Premier League Wages Income Inequality


Isn’t it awful? The English Premier League has just signed a new television rights deal with Sky and BT worth a cool £5.4bn, while some of their employees earn only the minimum wage. What a searing indictment of our society, of capitalism itself!

Except, of course, that it is no such thing.

Presented once again with a golden opportunity – an open goal, as it were – to talk about real, tangible ways to improve the living standards and life opportunities for those on low incomes, the British left did what it now does best: furiously ignore the real problem, forget actually helping the poor, while training all of their rhetorical guns on a few wealthy scapegoats.

From the Mirror:

Despite a £1.78 billion pay bill last year, not a single top-flight club has committed to giving all ground staff and suppliers the £7.65-an-hour “living wage”.

Pampered players can earn eight-figure annual salaries – with England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, 29, pulling in £300,000 a week and Manchester City’s Argentinian forward Sergio Aguero, 26, £220,000 a week.

Veteran Labour MP Frank Field has written to all 20 Premier League clubs demanding action.

But he got just six replies – with not one club committing to the full rate. Sunderland said the issue “did not merit further discussion”.

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Sexism, Alive And Well in Georgia

One ball more than Patrick Stuart - CEO of Strong Rock Christian Academy - possesses.
One ball more than Patrick Stuart – CEO of Strong Rock Christian Academy – possesses.


Some depressing but thoroughly unsurprising news from the land of segregated school proms, this time concerning sports and religion today, centering on a private Christian school in Atlanta where apparently the teachers and administrative staff are every bit as immature as some of the students.

ThinkProgress reports that a twelve year old girl was kicked off her school’s football team for a reason so jaw-droppingly moronic that it took me several minutes to come to terms with the knowledge that something of this nature could take place in the twenty-first century:

A private school outside Atlanta recently informed 12-year-old Madison Baxter that she would not be welcome at tryouts for the 7th-grade football team, even though she started on the sixth-grade team and has been playing football since second grade. The reason she won’t be allowed on the field? Because her male teammates are beginning to have “impure thoughts” about her, Strong Rock Christian Academy school administrator Patrick Stuart told Baxter’s mother.

“In the meeting with the CEO of the school [Patrick Stuart], I was told that the reasons behind it were one, that the boys were going to start lusting after her and have impure thoughts about her and that the locker-room talk was not appropriate for a female to hear even though she had a separate locker room from the boys,” Baxter’s mother, Cassy Blythe, told Atlanta’s WXIA-TV.

So the school’s reaction to finding out that the boys on the team were lusting after the one girl (which is pretty much what twelve year old boys do), was not to tackle the problem with any sense of proportionality, or direct their action at the people doing the “lusting” (which goes mysteriously undefined throughout the article and the school’s statements), but rather to penalise the innocent girl and remove her from the team.

The article caustically concludes:

There are more than 1,500 girls playing football at American high schools, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, and that number has increased more than 17 percent in just four years. It’s not just a boys’ sport anymore. And more than that, playing football with a girl could have been a valuable experience for Baxter’s teammates about how to appropriately interact with women and girls, about how a person’s sex doesn’t make her inherently inferior athletically or in any other way, and about how having “impure thoughts” doesn’t mean you have license to act on them. They won’t get that lesson, though, because the adults in charge of Strong Rock Christian Academy’s athletics program apparently have yet to learn it themselves.

Absolutely. This poor girl is being denied the opportunity to continue to represent her school on the football team because the “adults” supposedly in charge of the Strong Rock Christian Academy (with a name like that, you can already be quite sure that they harbour and teach some fairly wacky views) are too prudish or squeamish to sit down with the boys on the team and have a serious – and yes, mildly uncomfortable and awkward – discussion about acceptable behaviour toward people of the opposite sex. If, given this gold-plated opportunity to impart some useful information to the boys on the team, the adults choose to duck the challenge, how much does this diminish the chances of those boys to grow and develop healthy attitudes to their female peers?

My shock at reading this story, not in 1953 but 2013, was tempered, however, when I realised that the unfortunate events took place in the great state of Georgia. Georgia is, of course, famous for being the last state in the union to have a school district that continues to hold racially segregated proms.

Way to go.