Tuesday, June 17, 2008

National Identity and Sports in a Globalized World

National identity and sports have collided head on in this area of multinationalism. The Polish-born, German soccer player Lukas Podolski has been threatened with loss of citizenship because of his role in defeating Poland in the Euro Cup, American Becky Hammon has gone mercenary and accepted Russian citizenship so she can play in the Olympics, and FIFA has instituted requirements that enforce teams to be representative of their country.

A commonly praised thing about globalization is that it allows for much more freedom of movement and personal liberty. However, sports is one area where even the most internationalist of people can beat their chest and cheer on the home team. Questions of identity can become questions of loyalty when one leaves the national "family" for another (especially in the case of the Olympics where it is suppose to be non-professionals having fun for the good of the game and the world).

While this may seem to be a blimp in the progress of globalization, sports troubles can aggravate problems and become flash points ala the Soccer War. Countries who feel they have been betrayed by emigrant players or have lost their best in a sports brain drain can be pushed into rash decisions by sports embarrassments. The globalized world has made international sports possible but has also raised the stakes.

1 comment:

Dan tdaxp said...

Tangentially, unlike the Poles, we have a constitutional amendment which protects your right to play for any soccer team you wish [1]... as well as the good sense to realize that soccer is not really a sport!

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Citizenship