Between Colin Kaepernick using protests as a distraction from his falling numbers, to NBA coach Steve Kerr pretty well slamming anything that didn’t align with is progressive political philosophy, the American sports fan has been subjected to a whole bunch of politics in their game-watching over the last several years.
Perhaps most notoriously, sports network ESPN had even apparently introduced a company policy forbidding the discussion of anything but their own preferred progressivism, which they definitely felt they were not only entitled to have but thought it smart to promote as part of their programming. Here’s TownHall’s Matt Vespa from spring of this year on how that strategy paid off for the network (hint: it didn’t):
[N]ew blood has been ushered into ESPN, a flagship of sports journalism, that’s been bleeding customers for years. In 2018, the network lost 2 million subscribers alone. It’s part of a marked decline that dates back to 2011 when ESPN was 100 million subscribers strong. It’s now 86 million. That’s still a lot of paying customers, but the loss of roughly 15 million $1.44 billion, it makes any further losses a serious issue, especially when the network pays $2 billion for the rights to Monday Night Football, whose renewal is due in 2021. With the continued bleeding, there’s no way ESPN could afford the rights. Outkick The Coverage’s Clay Travis broke down these numbers.
Former ESPN president John Skipper is out. The man who suspended longtime anchor Linda Cohn, a fixture on the network, for reportedly saying that politics had something to due with the 10+ million subscriber loss, but did nothing to former ESPN reporter and host Jemele Hill, who called President Donald Trump a white supremacist. More stories about how ESPN had become a bastion of political correctness ensued.
Make sure you click those links and read about how employees were pretending to be progressives to keep their jobs and were told they simply could not espouse conservative ideals.
Now, with the NBA working overtime to protect their cash cow relationship with China — who the U.S. has begun to call out for it’s abuse of the Uighur Muslims interred as political prisoners — people like Steve Kerr, who wanted to have his political opinions out there for the world to see, are being asked to weigh in on the political situation with China.
It’s not going very well.
And of course journalists would be remiss if they didn’t step up and completely misunderstand the issue and try to cover the progressive behinds of those who wanted badly to use their platforms to spread the word of social justice and big government intrusion in daily life.
I do appreciate the amount of conservatives who suddenly believe it is an athlete’s patriotic duty to speak out about politics! https://t.co/s9Z1nDZiT4
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) October 11, 2019
You should read that New York Times reporter’s tweet as sarcasm, dummy.
But what Deb misses — besides the fact that that particular image is actually calling out Nike more than Kaepernick — is that he’s absolutely right, and his tweet maybe shouldn’t be seen as sarcastic. It is good to see athletes being held to the standard they apparently wanted to be held to. As someone said to me on Twitter:
Exactly. If you brag about how outspoken you are about politics, don't be surprised if people notice when you suddenly think it is not appropriate for you to talk about politics.
— Poor Substitute for Publius (@psforpublius) October 11, 2019
Admittedly, it’s a little painful to watch given that their actual knowledge of politics is as lacking as many of us suspected it was. Which, by the way, is why many people prefer they keep political discussion out of sport. Because the sports world doesn’t apparently do the work to understand politics before spouting off about it. (See LeBron James recently gushing over California Gov. Gavin Newsom over paying college athletes.)
Sports figures don’t particularly like when fans who’ve never played their sport start trying to tell them how to perform. Word of advice to the sports world: people engaged in politics feel the same way.