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Douglas Andrews / April 1, 2021

The Left Is Ruining Sports

When it comes to televised sports, the American people are tuning out — and the reason shouldn’t surprise anyone.

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The Left destroys everything it touches. It’s true. You name it, and, as Dennis Prager astutely observes, the Left has likely ruined it: religion, free speech, literature, the arts, even late-night TV.

But perhaps nowhere has the Left’s pernicious influence, its overbearing and infuriating wokeness, been felt any more powerfully than in the world of sports. And the fans, it seems, are taking notice.

As Jay Busbee writes for Yahoo Sports, “In the wake of last summer’s social justice protests, which consumed sports for much of the second half of 2020, nearly half of all Americans changed their sports viewing habits, according to a new YouGov / Yahoo News poll. As athletes and leagues embraced a new, progressive strategy aimed at amplifying messages of social justice and political advocacy, some Americans began watching more sports, but about three times as many watched less.”

Think about that: three times as many fans are tuning out rather than tuning in. By any analysis, that’s an institutional crisis. As Busbee continues, “The breakdown by political party runs as might be expected. … 13.7 percent of Democrats say they watched more sports in the wake of social justice movements, while 19 percent watched less. On the other hand, only about 8.6 percent of Republicans watched more sports, while 53 percent watched less once social justice messaging became prominent. Worth noting is that Independents came in somewhere in the middle, with about 8.7 percent saying they watched more sports in the social justice era, and about 38.6 percent saying they watched less.”

It’s obvious that Busbee is trying to put a positive (or at least non-negative) spin in his “somewhere in the middle” characterization of independents: Their numbers hew far more closely to Republicans than Democrats.

But back to the infection of sports by the Left. Not coincidentally, we think, this influence has been most noticeable in the sports that have the greatest percentage of black athletes. We suspect this is because the Left gets a twofer here — the intersection of two distinct things it’s ruined: race and sports. Take the National Basketball Association, for example, whose membership is 81% black and whose ratings have done more than merely slump of late — they’ve fallen off the table.

Here, one wonders about the paucity of pale-faced performers on the hardcourt and whether the Biden administration will take steps to make the NBA “look like America,” as it has committed to doing with its cabinet selections. Or whether newly woke Coke, with its training regime that urges employees to be “less white,” will use its influence to encourage the NBA to be “less black.”

We’re not holding our breath. Nor are we seriously advocating for such a change. In the world of sports, teams win championships by playing their best players, not by obsessing over whether their starting five could look “more like America.” The same should hold true in the world beyond sports — so long as that world places a greater value on excellence than “equity.”

Sadly, it seems, we no longer do. As Prager points out, “America has become the least racist multiracial society in world history. On a daily basis, Americans of every race and ethnicity get along superbly. But the Left constantly poisons young minds with angry diatribes about systemic racism, microaggressions, and white privilege.” Is it any wonder, then, that folks are getting sick of having race shoved in their faces? Of being made to feel insufficiently woke?

Some folks — lots of them, in fact — simply want to enjoy the dang game. “Why are so few people actually watching sports?” asks Clay Travis of OutKick. “It used to be that if you wanted to get a break from the serious things in life you would actually watch sports, but now sports have become politics by any other name.”

Sadly, this damaging trend lurches only one way: to the left. As evidence of this, the U.S. Olympic Committee just released its “guidelines” for social protest by American athletes at this year’s Olympic trials. And, yes, the same athletes who hope to represent the United States in the upcoming Olympic Games will be allowed to take a knee during the national anthem, or raise a fist, if they’d rather.

Again, it only goes one way. Otherwise, we’d have “NRA Night” at New York Knicks games, and “Honor Our Cops” night at LA Lakers games, and “Fiscal Responsibility Night” at Washington Wizards games.

And maybe, in arenas all around the nation, we’d have “Uyghur Genocide Awareness Night,” and we’d wonder about the sickening kowtowing to the Communist Chinese of supposedly socially conscious corporations like Nike, whose products, it seems — and our purchase of them — are contributing to China’s genocidal campaign against its Uyghur Muslim minority.

But, hey, what’s a little genocide between and among our woke college and professional sports teams? What time’s the game on?

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