SBJ/September 17 - 23, 2001/Opinion


Like the rest of America, our sports community was held captive by last week's horrific assault on the nation's business, government and social heart. Sponsorships were shelved, marketing plans set aside. Media and financing deals delayed. Ticket sales became trivial in the wake of terror.

So did the task of putting out this magazine while smoke still billowed from the Pentagon and filled the skies of lower Manhattan and rescue workers frantically looked for survivors.

Those of us who work in the sports industry were solemnly reminded of our place in the greater scheme. Events were postponed or canceled as our minds tried to comprehend what had happened in New York and Washington. Life and death, heroism and sacrifice, hatred and vengeance — these were the themes, not wins and losses. Our industry, after all, is about games.

All of us were touched in some way by Tuesday's terrorism. We have walked those streets. We have colleagues, business associates, trusted sources and even a full bureau in New York. For some, friends or family members remain unaccounted for. Two hockey scouts were reportedly passengers on one of the doomed planes. Business dealings were disrupted; travel was interrupted.

As this was written, rescue workers in New York and Washington were striving to account for the people who were on the four hijacked planes or in the targeted buildings. The twin focus was on the search for survivors and the recovery and identification of victims. Politically and militarily, the resources of the government were rightly hunting the perpetrators and preparing an appropriate response.

In an age when terrorism seems so easy, questions about prevention and deterrence are exponentially tougher to answer. Workable solutions are going to impact every business and every individual, from travel restrictions to crowd control. Some proposals are certain to bump up against the personal freedoms that Americans expect as their birthright; there's a fine line to walk. Sports businesses will have to adapt to these changes.

Life will never be the same, it's been said more than once. Yet this country will go on, and as it does, we in the sports business community will reclaim our place. Sport is part of the fabric of this nation; at its best, it embodies the ideals of competitiveness, fair play, teamwork and capability that have contributed so much to America.

Sport — what we do every day — is a diversion, but it's much more. Sport is both a symbol of and a participant in our collective recovery.

— SportsBusiness Journal

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