Why I’m Not Rooting Against Team America During the Olympics

Why I’m Not Rooting Against Team America During the Olympics
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

It has become fashionable among some in the conservative movement to root against American Olympic teams because many of the athletes are engaged in wokeism. Some prominent individuals on the right have openly celebrated when these teams lost to other countries.

Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield said late in July that he was rooting against America’s women’s soccer and men’s basketball teams because he did not approve of their political views. In a segment titled “The Woke Olympics,” the host discussed recent losses by the men’s basketball and women’s soccer teams. He said:

“I found myself rooting against not just Megan Rapinoe and her merry band of America-hating female soccer players, but I took pleasure in the men’s basketball Team USA’s first team loss since 2004.”

He continued:

“The collection of whiny overpaid social justice warriors are very hard to root for.  The team is filled with anthem kneelers and I find it ironic that they are willing to put USA across their chests, but in the not so distant past, they would kneel for the anthem.”

Members of both teams knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality in the United States, a practice made popular by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Unfortunately for Stinchfield, the men’s basketball team ended up winning their fourth, consecutive gold medal.

But the Newsmax host was not the only one celebrating American losses. Former President Donald Trump, during a recent rally in Phoenix, AZ, claimed “Americans were happy” that the women’s soccer team was defeated by Canada.

Despite what folks on the right are saying, I can’t get on board the “root against America” train. I have as much contempt for the hard left’s obsession with wokeism as the next guy. I spend much of my writing time savaging the destructive ideology that the far-left seeks to foist on the rest of the nation.

Still, I cannot bring myself to side with another nation against my own — regardless of the stupid, political ideas being expressed by those representing the U.S. Whether we like the wokie athletes or not, they are still competing in the name of the red, white, and blue. I won’t be pulling for Canada, France, or other nations who want to defeat us in the Games.

Moreover, hoping that America loses is also insulting to athletes who aren’t participating in the woke nonsense. These people are there because they seek victory, and as Americans, we should want them to win.

I know what you’re thinking: “But Jeff, these people HATE America!”

This argument reflects the usual trope that anyone who criticizes America — or issues going on in the country — automatically hates the nation. It’s a knee-jerk assumption that lacks evidence.

Is it possible that some of these people might hate the country? Sure. But I, like many others, can recognize that criticism of aspects of America, whether I agree with their criticism or not, is not a definitive indicator that they carry hatred for our country. There are things about America that I’m not too fond of and would like to see changed. But a modicum of critical thinking will tell us that it would make no sense to assume that I hate the entire country.

Moreover, it is also worth noting that much of this sentiment on the right is pure tribalism and could very easily apply to the left. If Megan Rapinoe and Kevin Durant wore MAGA hats while shouting the national anthem, as tears streamed down their prideful faces, neither Trump nor Stinchfield would be celebrating their losses.

But you know who would? You guessed it – the left would. CNN’s Don Lemon would be throwing a party every time they lost. MSBNC’s Rachel Maddow would be giving a teary-eyed monologue when they scored victories.

This stuff is based on tribal politics, folks.

There is no need to root against America because of politics. We can criticize the stupidity of the wokie athletes while also hoping they beat France. I mean – it’s FRANCE. C’mon, people!

Let’s do better.

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