Instapundit thinks there is a connection between the dodgy cover-ups in US public life such as Rathergate and the Sandy Berger affair, as detailed here, and the basketbrawl and its public implications as detailed here. For good measure, he invites us to call him crazy.
I do not think he is crazy, but he might be taking a short term view. As Jim Geraghty put it:
There’s one set of rules for regular folks, and another set of rules for celebrities, former high-ranking government officials, and other “important” people. If we break the rules, we pay the price. If a Dan Rather lies on the air, or Sandy Berger steals classified documents, there’s no consequence.
Well, yes. I would posit, though, that rich and powerful figures in society have always benefited from these sorts of shenanegans. There is nothing new there. What IS new is that thanks to the compressed news cycle and bloggers, whistleblowers and better education, is that people are much less willing to put up with it. Compared to the dodgy dealings of earlier times, Rathergate is small beer indeed. We are not talking Teapot Dome here.
That is not to say that we should not worry about this level of dishonesty. Dodgy dealings by those with public responsibilities should never be tolerated. But it is a positive sign that people are increasingly unwilling to tolerate illegal behavior from what is laughingly known in some quarters as the Great and the Good. (Maybe one day people will worry about the actual laws that get passed. I remain an optimist.)
Instapundit thinks there’s a connection between dodgy dealings and boys behaving badly, either playing or attending sport. I remain to be convinced. The actual fight in question seems to me to be a bit excessive, but hardly unprecedented. I have seen worse fights in Australian country football, and as for players and spectators interacting, well, after 25 years of watching cricket, I think I’ve seen it all before.
The shock that US bloggers seem to be in over the affair does suggest that it is new to American sports lovers though. But as a sportslover with a more global perspective, I would say that the behavior of sports fans (and indeed players) is probably somewhat improved, if you take a long term and global view.
But then, when it comes to the long term (longer then the next electoral cycle), I am a raging optimist. I think Professor Reynolds is wrong on this one.