[…]

Remember this little spotlight on the Times’s sports coverage last year?

Well, Simon Barnes – the well-known appreciator of Russian pole vaulter Elena Isinbaeva – has written about the ongoing Allen Stanford saga. Fair enough. Except apparently the whole debacle confirms that “sport is a whore”.

This is because sport is there for the recreational pleasure of men, of course.

“When a billionaire comes a-calling, sport doesn’t waste its precious time by saying, ‘I’m not that kind of girl.’ No, one whiff of the inside of a fat wallet and sport is flat on its back with its legs in the air, shouting: ‘Come and get it.’”

That metaphor might be crass, but Barnes’s penultimate paragraph is nauseating:

“Just because you can make money from a situation, it doesn’t mean you have to. Say you are a man married to an unspeakably beautiful woman. There is a clear commercial opportunity here: you could rent her out by the hour to billionaires. But perhaps you think that she, perhaps you think that your relationship with her, perhaps you think that the whole concept of marriage, is worth more than quite a lot of money.”

Of course! An obvious business opportunity! If a man has married an “unspeakably beautiful woman”, then evidently she is then his property, and only a belief in the concept of marriage would prevent him from acting as her pimp!