But I believe it runs a little deeper than that. Sports have a tendency to frame winning in validating terms. If a team wins, its function is complete, and whatever it does to get there tends to get swept aside. This creates a kind of alternate morality for sports teams, one where winning titles and growing toward your goals as an individual and an organization is an unambiguous, moral good and losing, no matter why it might be happening, is a nightmare—a betrayal of the fans, a moral failure and a stain on your character.

This system of values is refracted in the choices franchises make: they might sign someone who treats women like garbage because they know he can contribute, and the fans and the media will set aside every troubling thing about them as long as the moral good of winning is being properly pursued. And then, if and when it works, the sports media will also totally ignore their morally questionable dealing with people who perpetrate violence against women, rendering it irrelevant, or worse, an obstacle to overcome, in the light of victory.