so what if everyone knows some 'thing' is wrong. as long as the thing obeys general laws of metaphorical physics, generally speaking, it will continue.
so, in one of the arenas of the entertainment world problems, it comes up: everyone knows that in many ways, shapes, and forms, most every major sporting competition is corrupt and fixed to some degree. from fifa to the major american ones. they are close siblings to the acting-wrestling that is marketed as entertainment (as opposed to the so-called mma and boxing which pretend to be genuine contests).
and so everyone knows that the nba management and referees rig their finals to be a 7-game series so as to maximize the advertising revenue that comes from additional 'episodes' of the entertainment series. the live 'drama'. but mostly everyone continues to watch anyway. some don't care. some say 'what are you gonna do? it is what it is.' but all but maybe 5% (10%?) continue to watch. so long as the organization running the show maintains the pretense of validity the audience engages in an all-too-willing suspension of disbelief.
and when i say everyone, i mean everyone. several weeks ago i went over to my mother-in-law's house while she was on vacation to watch a pistons playoff game (they are my home team -- i'm obligated to support them) because my wife was watching a movie with her sister on the big screen at our house. there was a contractor at m-i-l's house doing renovations. we talked a little bit and he let me know, unsolicited, that he'd stopped watching the nba because it was rigged and there was no point. he's part of the 5% (15%). (it helps that pittsburgh has no participating team in the sport -- much easier to walk away.)
and so while even the actors in the drama, the employees of the enterprise, the athletes and coaches, are among the everyone aware of the situation -- acutely aware -- what are they going to do? pointlessly throw away a lucrative career for a gesture that will accomplish nothing? but sometimes these actors, or their friends and families, speak up. because deep down they want more than just the money they are given to participate -- they relish the idea of engaging in a true competition of sport and attempting to accomplish the goal of defeating all comers. and so they speak up. gabrielle union did on behalf of dwayne wade after he was subjected to the rigging instead of benefiting from it.
but the best was tonight. everyone (again EVERYONE) knew that the nba would be fixing the games so that the finals series would last seven games. and that therefore the cavs would 'win' games 5 and 6, no matter how outmatched they might be. and that this would be carried out in large part by the calls (and non-calls) of the refs. and so tonight curry was given six fouls and ejected from the game. steph curry is not a player that gets six fouls in a game. look at his resume. not once in these playoffs had he received more than 4. not once in this year's regular season of 82 games had he received more than 4. steph curry is not a player who is ejected. but when those in charge have no other way to imprison and neuter the best player on the court to suit their ends, that is what they resort to. and finally, fed up, curry's wife and coach spoke up. ever so briefly, but the most that they could, considering their dependence on the nba for their careers.
ayesha curry: "i've lost all respect sorry this is absolutely rigged for money... or ratings in not sure which. i won't be silent. just saw it live sry."
coach kerr: he's the mvp of the league, he gets six fouls called on him, three of them were absolutely ridiculous. i am happy he threw his mouthpiece; he should be upset."
the nba wants nothing more than for people to be silent (tyranny tyranny tyranny loves silence), especially the people closest to the situation. but in the end, they just power through the instances in which people speak the truth. they control the brakes and you can't stop this train. silence is nice but ultimately inconsequential.
in the end, even steph curry, who wants this championship with every fibre of his being, has to say 'it is what it is. what can i do?'.
and me, all i can do is remain one of the 5% who won't watch (i watched my pistons but as much as i enjoy watching steph's feats of athleticism i couldn't bear to watch ought else). and hope against hope against hope that maybe someday the 5% may become the 10% may become the 50% may become the 90%. because that's the only power we have in this oh-too-familiar instance of inequality. to walk away. so i know what i'll do. and i know what steph curry can't do. but to any fan of sport who reads this i ask, what will you do?