In response to a question comparing sports and politics, on FB:
I mostly don't care about sports at the level of "virtue." There's no such thing, for the most part. They're all cheaters. Gaylord Perry's in the hall of fame, noted and celebrated for his cheating. Bonds cheated, Clemens cheated, and I don't care. Good for them -- I might not have done the same, but only because of health fears, not out of venerance for the game. I'm reasonably sure Hank Aaron used speed; don't care.
Wouldn't change my opinion of Kobe if he turned out to be on steroids; wouldn't change my opinion of Lebron, who I suspect is. They're both among the great talents of the game and would be regardless of whatever aids they use in keeping their body in tune. Why one class of ridiculously complex treatment is OK and another isn't? Nonsense, mostly.
I don't care if Rose bet on baseball. I do care if he bet against his team ... but he doesn't seem to have done that. That said, he's in a different class from the drug cheats -- like NBA ref Donnelly, you have to believe the games are honest or there's no point in playing them. (Or at least, no point in playing them beyond the entertainment you get from pro wrestling.)
So Rose's sin actually strikes me as a sin, though a small one; the drug cheats don't. And I think he's mostly earned the circumstances he's in, by lying over and over again about what he did do. A mea culpa followed by a plea for mercy, decades ago, might have gotten him into the Hall of Fame. Not that I care about that, but Pete probably does.
... politics is an entirely different beast. It matters. It impacts how people around the world live, and die. George Bush killed people by the hundreds of thousands, at least, in his invasion of Iraq. Barrack Obama got millions of people, including me, health care. Politics doesn't just matter, it's literally life and death stuff from a lot of different angles.
... so when a politician takes money from the bankers, from the military industrial complex, even though it's "legal," it is brazenly immoral. Legalized bribery, in a system of soft quid pro quo. I despise Donald Trump for the most part, but he was perfectly up front when he said he donated to Dems and Republicans because he expected payback.
"Who does it hurt" would be my core question in distinguishing among the two sets of conduct. In sports, really no one, not even the fans much. I'm still mad about the Detroit series in 2004, about David Stern knifing the Lakers over Chris Paul a few years back. But it doesn't matter. The sixteen banners make me happy, but they don't matter.
When people whose jobs involve life and death decisions whore themselves out to the people who want to make a buck off those decisions, that does matter. That's sin in the grand, classic old sense of the word.