Most sports fans watch sports to be entertained, not to be lectured. Although everyone should be allowed a forum, a political one at a pro game is not necessarily a judicious venue, argues Andrew McCarthy in NRO.
Astronomically paid athletes are good at what they do. And fans – conservatives and liberals, black and white – appreciate what it is like to have such talent and the necessary dedication to compete at elite levels.
If there is a salable, unifying value of today’s athletes, it is in giving the rest of us –the fans – an escape from our personal struggles and social divisions, observes Mr. McCarthy. Pro sports are an oasis, if you will, from turmoil.
BLM’s Distorted Narrative
The smear of systemic racism – that the nation’s police force is hunting down black men – is an irrational, distorted narrative over critical thinking. Education today most often does not include or encourage critical thinking. Instead, as Mr. McCarthy notes, the focus is on tribalism, grievance mongering, and hostility to sharing ideas and viewpoints.
Who wouldn’t want everyone to stand in unison for the national anthem – a couple of minutes that invite our attention to being one national community, to forebears who sacrificed for the preservation of our free society, to the duty of preserving it for our children? Yes, you may want it, but you don’t insist on it.
My Way or the Highway
America is about pluralism not about “my way or the highway.”
Don’t expect fans to watch a ballgame if the experience is against them. Fans come together to enjoy a ballgame, to celebrate the athletic abilities of sports elites, not to air our grievances.
Entitlement to a Captive Audience?
The players have an arrogant presumption: that their free-expression right includes entitlement to a captive audience. Fans are a community coming together to express its admiration of sports and competition, and most fans don’t want to be subject to a lecturing by an athlete.
With a nod and a wink, the Left is peddling Black Lives Matter, the Marxist, anti-American enterprise. In a rapturous code, we are enticed or extorted into endorsing a shrewdly crafted catchphrase at face value — Black Lives Matter! Change! Choice! Living wage! Social justice!
And we’re expected to pretend that the slogan is not the wedge for a policy menu that its advocates dare not state plainly.
Rights Are Not Cost Free
Rights, however, don’t exist in a vacuum. They compete with the rights of others, Mr. McCarthy reminds readers, and exercising those rights is not “cost free.”
When Bill de Blasio or Ilhan Omar tries to lecture me (McCarthy), I change the channel. When I arrive at something billed as a celebration only to find that it is a demonstration — especially one aimed at making me feel unwelcome — I leave. If you want an audience, you have to provide what the audience wants, not give the audience misgivings about staying.
Nobody Has to Watch Sports
There are too many aspects of life where we have to put up with the Left’s tireless badgering and its bleak portrayal of the country. But nobody has to watch sports. The NBA boycott, cheered by the media and thus trending through other sports leagues, is a bad idea. The pandemic has the players in a bubble. Each game is another chance to play before lots of empty seats. Another chance to acclimate to the future.
LeBron James, for example, is to be saluted for investing heavily in the education of at-risk children. Mr. McCarthy applauds LeBron for “giving back, for having skin in the game rather than just virtue signaling.”
Tireless Badgering and Bleak Portrayal
James has combined his “incomparable talent with a superhuman work ethic.” But, if the price of admission to see him play is to endure his pregame antics, then I’d rather not,” writes Mr. McCarthy, who admits he would rather “get a root canal than listen to LeBron bloviate about police reform.’”
(LeBron) has chosen, moreover, to make himself a politically polarizing figure, and there’s a deep popularity cost for that, too — which is not to be dismissed when you’re in pro sports, a popularity business.
Many times in life there is no escaping the Left’s tireless badgering and bleak portrayal of America. But the NBA’s boycott is not one of those times. The NBA’s boycott “cheered by the media and thus trending through other sports leagues, is a bad idea,” continues Mr. McCarthy.
The pandemic has the players in a bubble. Each game is another chance to play before lots of empty seats. Another chance to acclimate to the future.
And speaking of boycotts … aren’t boycotts about consumers not buying a product from a company that is objectionable beyond what it sells? Shouldn’t the media at least be able to get that right?
From the LA Times:
Despite James and other players referring to the actions as boycotts, the traditional definition of the term revolves around an organized effort to hurt an entity financially in order to drive change or attract attention. That doesn’t fit this situation. The players aren’t trying to damage their employers — or affiliated entities like sponsors or television networks — but instead want to draw attention to the Blake shooting and social injustice.
“From a pure legal standpoint, I would term these wildcat strikes,” said Joseph Longo, an adjunct professor who teaches sports law at Loyola Law School. Longo is also an attorney and MLB player agent.
Learn more about BLM and the Marxist agenda to transform America in 2020 and burn the place down from Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul. And read about how many Americans have been duped by the BLM movement and its terrorist leaders.