Why does The Baltimore Sun and the rest of the print and online media persist in reporting the results of auto races in the “sports” section (“Marcus Ericsson wins the Indianapolis 500 — it’s the 5th victory for team owner Chip Ganassi,” May 29 )? Race car drivers aren’t “athletes” and auto racing, while a competition, is not a “sport.” The only reason race cars win their competitions is because of the mechanics, engineers and big money poured into the development and maintenance of the cars and the skill and daring of their drivers. Are the drivers skilled competitors? OUI bien sur. But that doesn’t make you an athlete. And qualifying as a competition doesn’t automatically make something a sport. The results of auto racing should be reported in the same places that you report the results of chess tournaments or singing and dancing competitions.
In addition, boxing and mixed martial arts are not sports, and their participants should not be glorified in the sports pages. No competition in which the primary purpose (and routine outcome) is to physically hurt or incapacitate your opponent in order to win should be classified as a sport. In competition? Of course. Are the competitors skilled in their practice of what is pathetically called “the manly art?” Certainly. But the competition is a barbaric relic of the age of gladiators and should not be touted in the sports pages of any society that considers itself civilized. In fact, with the current and increasing medical knowledge of the harmful effects of blows to the head, these so-called sports should probably be banned.
—Harris Factor, Columbia
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