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Lewis Morris / Sep. 1, 2020

Sports Is for Leisure, Not Politics

Too many athletes think their physical talents give them a platform for lecturing us.

There was a time when Americans could turn to sports and be inspired by the physical ability, dedication, and determination of our professional athletes. The great shortstop, the fast-as-lightning power forward, the quarterback with the golden arm — the list of magical sports moments and big names is long and distinguished. Sports delighted children and gave them something to aspire to and entertained adults while letting them forget their worries and live vicariously through the athletes they watched.

Those days appear to be over. Professional sports, like much of American entertainment, has been taken over by radical leftists and turned into a sounding board for their anti-American, anti-law enforcement propaganda. The major sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL — and many of their players have been complicit in this takeover.

It all started in the 2016 NFL preseason when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to sit out the national anthem in protest of police brutality (or was it pouting over being benched?). He made kneeling for the national anthem his thing, and thanks to the media’s fawning coverage, Kaepernick became a bigger star for his supposed martyrdom than he probably ever would have simply playing football. Rather than be ostracized for his hate for his country, Kaepernick was given a microphone to spout off his misdirected, uninformed anti-police rhetoric.

Kaepernick, who is half white and was raised by a white family, became the figurehead of what was then a fledgling Black Lives Matter movement. He received awards and accolades along with a lucrative endorsement deal from Nike. Never mind that he hasn’t played a professional football game in three years. His actions inspired other athletes across several sports to follow his lead and share their personal views on racism, politics, and culture in America.

In the four years since Kaepernick first emerged on the scene and made it “cool” to kneel during the national anthem, American sports has been completely transformed. It hasn’t been for the better.

Professional sports are meant to be a release from our busy lives. It is where we go to forget about politics and the world, where we can celebrate human achievement and be entertained. Now we turn on the game and find ourselves being lectured and even insulted by athletes who are among the highest-paid people working in America today. They live extraordinary lives and lack for little thanks to the freedom this country offers and the money we spend on them. The irony may be lost on these activist athletes, but American sports fans have grown tired of the circus.

The media has certainly played a part in turning sports into a political arena. Sports writers, always eager for a headline, will happily give time for an activist athlete, especially when it fits the larger anti-American narrative pushed by the mainstream media.

Corporations like Nike are also at fault. The sports-equipment giant, along with the NBA that it props up, has its eye on the massive potential audience in China. Like a lot of companies, Nike and the NBA will gladly kowtow to the demands and influence of the Chinese government in order to access the Chinese market.

American sports figures and organizations are playing right into the hands of the Left, whether or not they realize it. The Left has always used racism to stir discord in the United States, and the Marxist Black Lives Matter organization is designed specifically for this purpose. Professional athletes, under the mistaken assumption that we tune into their games to hear their political philosophy, have allowed themselves to become the useful idiots of the Left, sounding off on events they don’t quite understand and protesting against a racist society that doesn’t exist.

Sporting events right now are taking place largely without audiences due to COVID-19 and social distancing. However, those audiences may not return after the pandemic if these activist athletes keep alienating their fans.

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