Sportswriter Thinks the American Flag and a Military Flyover Is Political

I like sports to be politics free. When I watch a baseball game, the last thing I want to hear about is politics – even when I agree with whatever issue may be front and center.

Major League Baseball teams do a great job keeping politics to a minimum. When Jayson Stark of ESPN and Chuck Todd of NBC bemoaned the lack of politics in the sport, I wrote the following:

If Major League Baseball dives head first into politics, it won’t be long before players are asked not about a win or loss, but rather called upon to offer their view of President Donald Trump’s latest tweetstorm. Politics will become intertwined with baseball, to the detriment of the game.

Many people are content to let politics encroach on every area of their lives, and that includes both liberals and conservatives. That’s certainly their prerogative, but for others, myself included, the escape from politics is a nice departure from time to time.

Baseball is underway and being a Yankees fan living in Atlanta requires the purchase of an MLB.tv subscription to watch Yankees games. Yesterday afternoon I took some time to watch my Yanks play the St. Louis Cardinals. The entire time I watched, I couldn’t have cared less what Donald Trump tweeted or any news about the upcoming special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional district. I was just watching baseball.

Displays of the American flag and military flyovers before the start of games is quite common, and there’s no political element. It’s simply a patriotic symbol and a nod to the men and women who wear the uniform, ready to fight when called upon to do so. One sportswriter sees it differently:

Craig’s first issue is he’s obviously a Dodgers fan. I’ll write that off as a character flaw, but more important is his absurd conclusion that what we see here is anything “political.” He was challenged on that and said in subsequent tweets:

So? Just because the flag and a military flyover are “saying something very specific” doesn’t make it a political statement. Two other tweets get to the root of Craig’s ‘problem.’

What Craig is doing here is engaging in the fallacy known as “the red herring.”

Craig is discussing Topic A – He insinuates the American flag and a military flyover are political.

He then introduces Topic B  – Those who question military ventures are silenced and cudgeled under the banner of “patriotism” claiming it is relevant somehow to Topic A.

He then hopes people forget about Topic A.

He tried another tactic when he tweeted the following:

In this example, he’s engaging in a diversionary tactic. He’s taking an example of when the flag was used as a political tool to deflect away from his original contention, which is the mere display of a giant American flag and a military flyover is inherently political. 

Craig may argue that’s not his contention. If that’s the case, then he should choose more carefully how he wants to make an argument. Otherwise, he’ll do what he did this morning, which is fall over himself to defend what he said.