Politics is everywhere. You honestly can’t seem to get away from it. It has plagued our entire lives and invaded everything we know, even our precious Sports. As the sporting industry grows, so too does the prominence of politics associated with it. The industry is a growing cash mine and where you find cash and capitalism, politics is never far away. Today we have a look at how it has changed sports - for better and for worse.

The halo effect

Athletes are revered around the world by many a fan. It is quite common to find children and adults alike, who follow athletes lives closely as though it gives them some sort of association or connection with their favorites.

Largely due to their success, publicity and the corresponding halo effect that comes with it, people seem to gravitate almost instinctively towards successful athletes.

The halo effect pushes the belief that someone is perceived to be good based on their appearance or in this case, their ability within their sport which has served to bring them so much success and revenue. Where there is relevance there is influence and influence is power. From there, it is a straight line towards politics. Politics refers to the activities associated with governance. In any organization or industry that is associated largely with revenue generation and power, you are certain to find politics making its way in

For many countries, sporting triumphs gives them validation and makes them relevant.

It is most common in events such as the Olympics where you can see the triumphs of “small nations” giving them recognition the world over. Usain Bolt has been a great servant to Jamaica in this aspect. Whilst there have been great legends such as Bob Marley who was largely influential in painting the Jamaican flag around the world, it has never been done in sport or at least not in such a big way like Usain has done.

It should not be misconstrued that Jamaica’s credibility came solely from Bolt but the country has become synonymous with success in the track and field world largely due to his brilliance. His successes are well documented across ends and it cannot be refuted that he is the best and most dominant sprinter of all time. Jamaica has enjoyed the benefits of this dominance in ways you cannot imagine.

Again, this is where politics step in as countries try to cash in on revenues and improvement in the country. Those countries with more credibility and relevance have much more influence on a global scale.

Pushing an agenda

We're sure you have come across many issues of racism and segregation across media landscapes all over the country. From Muhammad Ali to the Apartheid in South Africa, racism is never far from sports. Racism, however, is nothing but a mechanism used to segregate. One may ask what is the reason for this desire to segregate? Simply put, elitism. The belief that things should be run by an elite group or that one group is superior to others fuels this. Sadly, racism is just one way to push the narrative of political beliefs of segregation which promotes elitism.

Many athletes have shown their concern over the years and in some cases, carried out gesture that has made a lot of head way across media horizons. Of course, as you know, politicians love nothing more than influence and dogma so they have tried to use athletes to project their narrative on to citizens.

Gone are the days when sports were just games played for entertainment. It has become a revenue-oriented industry and is constantly evolving to more lucrative ideals. If you think politics doesn’t have a role in all of this, you are sadly and utterly mistaken. For many, politics has become synonymous with corruption and greed; the quest for power and money.