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The Politicization of Sports

Earlier this yeartest, I got some news and my heart shattered. In the middle of the NHL playoffs, ESPN cut one of best hockey commentators of our time: Berry Melrose. Not only him though; many people were cut including two of my other favorites, NCAA commentator Danny Kanell and Sportscenter AM hostess Jaymee Sire. It was a really sad day for me, but there were deeper reasons for it. The most basic reason that people are cutting the cord and they’re losing lots of viewers is simply because there are many alternatives to viewing on ESPN. It’s unfortunate for them to lose viewers, but there is one reason that could be hurting them more than people think.

Ben Shapiro called ESPN, “NBC with footballs” for good reason; it has taken an extremely liberal turn. I, for one, have pretty much stopped watching any commentators and have been only watching games. Why? Because I don’t need their agenda shoved down my throat. It’s unfortunate, but many people who are avid sports watchers like I am have the same values. Things like not everyone getting a trophy, merit over looks and hard work are being given up and it is turning our society into a mess.

The left-wing turn has been gradual, with Jamie Collins and Michael Sam becoming headliners because they are gay. Neither of them were ready for professional sporting but they were seen as heroes for taking such braves steps. The recent Colin Kaepernick controversy turned the gradual increase into a 90-degree climb. Discussions over who were true playmakers gave way to sports commentators lecturing us about how racist the NFL is no matter how many black men it has dragged out of poverty. I’m not a professional commentator, but based off the amount of football I do watch, I know Colin is definitely not a quarterback that teams desire. They don’t desire him for the same reasons Robert Griffin III and Tim Tebow, both Heisman winners (the highest award in college football) aren’t desired: run first quarterbacks do not thrive in the league. There have been exceptions, but overall pocket passers who know when and how to run when there are no other options are the successful ones. The claims of Colin Kaepernick not being signed based on racism is foolish. They aren’t signing him because 1. He’s not a good quarterback and 2. Kneeling for the anthem as a form of protest is not good for business. If he was a good enough quarterback to see past this, the general manager and coach wouldn’t care, but he’s subpar. Most sports people love America and won’t get behind this form of disrespect. It’s his right, absolutely, but it’s also stupid.

Colin has already proved to be a fraud when he opened his mouth. A man whose parents left him and who was adopted by a nice family (of white people, shhhh) gave him the chance to succeed. Based on his rhetoric and his attitude, you would have never thought that that was his past. People who are obsessed with communism, Islam or ideas of black oppression love Colin; those who appreciate American values and sports traditions will not support him. He has every right to kneel, and every good American shouldn’t disagree with what he did based off his right to do it. However, based on his reasoning of a systemic oppression of black people in the best place for them in all history is obnoxious. He only made it worse with the comparison of police to slave catchers. Not only is this ignorant in its historical context it is also very degrading to the work that law enforcement does. This isn’t even to comment on the fact he didn’t vote. Now he girlfriend is hurting the situation by calling Ray Lewis an Uncle Tom or house negro. It’s just getting worse and worse.

Sports are what a lot of Americans sit down on the couch after a long day to enjoy. They’ll watch them on Saturdays with their friends to have a good time. The last thing people want after a long day’s work or when they’re trying to hang out with friends is to be lectured on how a quarterback should get playing time simply because of his social stances. I, for one, am willing to give people the benefit of the doubt on their social stances if they give me reasoning and facts. I find Colin’s, and many of those who defend him, wanting. We watch sports to get away from the madness of politics, not be dragged down in it.

If you don’t care about sports, never fear. I believe that the turn in ESPN is reflective of the turn in American politics. Hillary is supposed to be releasing a really long looking book titled “What Happened”, which is going to talk about the election. Conservatives are already ripping it to shreds, deservingly, because she seems to have no self-awareness. With no Russians and no voter fraud (except for the fact illegals voted), this election was won fairly. Hillary forgot the country is not New York, California and Miami. The electoral map is not reflective of someone who cares about all of America. Donald Trump’s “hateful” rhetoric on the election trail wasn’t hateful. It was raw and relatable. To be frank, a coal worker in Pennsylvania who is struggling under Obamacare and not quite sure about whether he’ll have a job under new environmental standards and doesn’t mind people that aren’t like him doesn’t need his “white privilege” or his transphobia shoved down his throat. He just needs a job. “I’m with her” is a slogan for sheep who are willing to buy in to someone’s identity before they even consider her merit. Was she qualified? I believe so. She was just buying into what one sect of liberals were telling her and not even trying to understand what other Americans felt. “Make America Great Again” was a highly mocked slogan, but appeals to a lot of people who felt screwed over by Obama and felt like the country is falling apart. I believe America is still great, but it was still a slogan I could buy in to.

The left unfortunately does not understand that these games they play don’t appeal to all of America. We have so many rights and freedoms and have done so much to be accepting and inclusive, but there is a level when it needs to stop. ESPN has fallen in to the trap, probably because of their Disney overlords, but it’s a dangerous game they’re playing. If people are able to gain access and just watch games with no commentary, ESPN will be left with close to nothing. Since ancient times, sports were meant to take people’s minds off daily life and some of the unfortunate realities that came with that. To start mixing them is going to really hurt them in the long run. The reality is while the left keeps pushing for these extreme cases of social justice, America has stopped buying in to all the talking points. A guy who accepts Colin for being a black man in this country doesn’t need to be lectured that the money he gives to NFL yearly is to promote a racist organization. America is done listening, that’s why the 2016 electoral map looks the way it does and why ESPN will continue to lose viewers if they push left wing propaganda.

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Alex Newman

Alex Newman is studying History in Tampa, Florida. His dream is to be a teacher so that he can inspire and empower the next generation to truly think for themselves, to build off of the successes and to fix the failures. If you would like to contact Alex, please reach out to him on Twitter @_alpha_flight_.

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