Is everything in America for sale?

By Tom Joyce -

Tom Joyce

Rather than just calling what I’ve produced here today a newspaper column, I would like to announce that it hereby shall be known as the Acer Computers Saturday Column.

I am typing on an Acer model, so it seems appropriate to put a corporate label on the column and even though that company has not offered to endorse me, maybe this will be put the idea in their heads.

And like most people doing any kind of work, I usually take a break somewhere along the line and go outside to stretch my legs and get a breath of fresh air before coming back in and finishing up the column.

This routine henceforth will be known as the Biscuitville Halftime Break, since during my brief sojourn I’ll probably be sipping on a cup of coffee obtained from that establishment.

And as all columnists do from time to time, I’ll likely hit a point where writer’s block sets in, which will put such a strain on my feeble brain that I get a headache and must seek relief in order to complete the column and move on to something else.

That occasion will become known as the BC Powders Post-Column Report.

I can think of other potential corporate sponsors to cover every aspect of my professional or personal life, right down to the Fruit of the Looms.

And if all this sounds ridiculous, just consider that something similar soon will be occurring with the National Basketball Association.

Beginning with the 2017-2018 season, advertisements will be appearing on NBA players’ jerseys. The dimension of the ads will be 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches and these are to be displayed on the right side of the chest of their jerseys.

This is already being done with other sports leagues, such as Major League Soccer and women’s pro basketball.

Yet the fact the NBA is adopting the practice is extremely noteworthy given its prominence on the American sports scene. And I would guess that it won’t be long before we fans also start seeing advertisements plastered on the shoulder pads of National Football League players.

Now the root of all this is money — more specifically greed — with NBA officials estimating that the jersey ads could generate an estimated $100 million in revenue for the league.

Keep in mind that the NBA and its respective teams are as popular as ever and don’t seem to be hurting for money at present. They certainly have no problem paying salaries to superstars such as LeBron James which are in the $20 million range.

Of course, we live in a capitalistic, free enterprise system that allows and encourages every business to be as profitable as possible, so I don’t begrudge the NBA for getting its piece of the advertising pie.

But my concern is for the sports fans, who — at least in my case — are becoming overwhelmed with advertising blitzes of every description.

Take NASCAR, for example.

Last Sunday, Carl Edwards won a hard-fought race at Bristol and after his customary back-flip off his car Edwards also engaged in the post-race ritual of waving the checkered flag out the window during a victory lap.

Yet the first thing I noticed was a gaudy yellow Sunoco logo plastered over the checkered flag, a sacred racing symbol.

Then there are the endless strings of TV commercials one must endure for NASCAR races and every other sporting event and telecast these days, which seem to happen every 10 minutes and go on forever.

Along with the ads, there are more corporate tags to endure, such as The Home Depot SEC (Southeastern Conference) on CBS, the Geico Halftime Report, the NAPA Auto Parts Play of the Game and so on.

You also can’t watch a college basketball game without seeing advertisements of different companies constantly pop up along the sidelines, which are a distraction from the play itself.

And when an athlete or coach does an interview, there is almost always a backdrop behind them containing advertising logos, and even football stadiums aren’t immune from this phenomenon.

They tend to bear names such as FedEx Field, MetLife Stadium or Charlotte’s own Bank of America Stadium. Thank God there’s still good old Lambeau Field and Paul Brown Stadium, honoring actual pioneers of the game.

Simply put, just about everything in our existence appears to be bought and paid for nowadays.

I just wonder where all this is going to end — maybe with the Bic Stick The Pen Through My Skull Moment.

Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

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