Sports Illustrated – Wrong on Auburn, Wrong on Global Warming

by Ben Lieberman on January 11, 2011

in Blog

            Undefeated Auburn beat Oregon to win the BCS championship last night, yet Sports Illustrated magazine failed to include Auburn in its Preseason top 25.  Believe it or not, this was far from SI’s silliest error in recent years.  The magazine was even further off the mark with its March 12, 2007 cover story on global warming.

Yes, SI devoted an entire story to global warming, and in particular its impact on sports.  The tone was set by the cover itself, which depicted then-Florida Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis in Dolphins Stadium.  Presumably he’s on the mound, but it’s hard to tell since he is above his knees in water – the text explains that “the seas will rise and coastal areas, including parts of South Florida, will eventually be underwater.”   In fairness, SI’s prediction of sea level rise stretches to 2100, so it cannot yet be disproven.  But the cover certainly suggests more immediate impacts, and elsewhere the story stresses that “global warming is not coming; it is here.”  Much of the rest of the piece is an anecdotal litany of spectator and participant sports purportedly being ruined by global warming – ski seasons getting shorter, summer heat waves causing cancelled high school football practices, and even the bats used by the hitters Willis faces jeopardized by warming-induced insect infestations of ash forests.      

             Nearly four years later, few of the article’s scary scenarios are standing the test of time.   Since 2007, we have seen bad ski seasons have followed by good ones, unusually hot summers followed by mild ones – in other words, fluctuations in weather that are completely normal and nothing for the sports fans – or the rest of us – to be particularly worried about. 

            The good news is that the public is wisely tuning out global warming alarmism, though Willis may have been convinced by rising sea levels to move inland – he is on the Cincinnati Reds roster for 2011.  Either it was global warming or the $12 million a year he is getting from the Reds.

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