Friday, December 01, 2006

Sport and World AIDS Day

Because my research interest of late is in intersections of sport and activism, I was curious on this World AIDS Day, how the sports world was recognizing and addressing the AIDS crisis. A quick Google news search brought up news mostly from countries outside of North America like this one about a 3-day cycling event in Botswana sponsored, in part, by the Society of Men Against AIDS. Then there was a large half-marathon in Nigeria. In Burma a World AIDS Day Event included sporting events. And in South Africa, there were many campaigns and events including a Sports Heroes Walk.
My initial search brought up only events happening everywhere but the US. But a few hours later I found these stories:
One on Spencer Tillman, former NFLer and sports broadcaster whose brother died from AIDS-related illness.
There were many stories, including this one, on what Magic Johnson has been doing.
But that was pretty much it. Stories on individuals rather than organizations. [I found the same emphasis on individuals on the television specials that are airing this weekend; i.e. what Ashley Judd and Selma Hayek and other celebs are saying and doing to raise awareness, money, etc.] I guess in all fairness, World AIDS falls at the start of winter in the northern hemisphere. There are many bike rides and runs that raise money for various AIDS organizations in the warmer months.
Still, I was disappointed there was not more news of sporting organizations and events recognizing the significance of the day--especially when I walk into any sports store, at time time of the year and am inundated with pink paraphernalia. Not that breast cancer is not an important and worthy cause (and I wouldn't necessarily advocate for the level of commercialization that breast cancer has experienced), but there is a reason the word "crisis" is used to describe the AIDS epidemic. It would be nice if the magnitude of the disease was acknowledged more widely in the sports world.

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