Perhaps the saddest part of the ongoing National Anthem protests taking place primarily in the NFL is that professional athletes who engage in this behavior are willingly embracing victimhood and wasting their opportunity to be motivators. Here you have highly-paid athletes who have worked incredibly hard to become the best at what they do, and instead of passing along their work ethic to others to emulate, they are using the stage to promote victimhood and helplessness. Theirs is the most anti-motivational message you can deliver. Athletes in high school and even in grade school are emulating the take-a-knee athletes they see in pro sports, really not knowing what they are protesting. They just see their “role models” doing it, so it must be cool. What a terrible thing to do to your own brand. But that’s liberalism in a nutshell: anti-motivation.
Last year, I started boycotting the NFL after some of its players began taking a knee during the National Anthem. So I’m not suddenly announcing I’m boycotting the NFL. It is ongoing, and unless the NFL changes its politics by entirely removing politics from its product, it will continue ad infinintum.
Here’s the thing. The NFL needs me, or at least tens of millions like me, but I don’t need the NFL. The NFL was always a source of entertainment in my life, and nothing more. Entertainment comes in many forms, and each source of entertainment is expendable and easily replaceable. I watched the NFL for many seasons, but only for one reason. It was entertaining. NFL players, like all professional athletes at that level, are the best at what they do, and are a pleasure to watch. But that’s the only reason I ever let the NFL into my life. I was willing to pay to watch them play in person, and willing to invest hours of my time each week watching them on television. When the NFL stopped adding anything of value to my life, I told it, “You’re fired!”
The NFL ceased being worthwhile when it began injecting politics into its product. The ONLY thing I ever wanted from the NFL was football. When some of its players began using their positions to engage in the politics of grievance, I turned them off. For some reason, because millions of fans pay to watch them play, many NFL athletes falsely assume that fans care what they think about certain issues. Perhaps some likeminded fans do care, but I sure don’t. If I want political wisdom, I’ll turn on Rush Limbaugh. When they decided to open their mouths about things unrelated to football, NFL players revealed themselves to be full of foolishness, hateful toward America, and no different than your average #fakenews reporter. And the NFL surely isn’t entitled to my money or my time.
The irony here is that those who are protesting racial injustice and oppression are flourishing under an American system which has afforded persons of color the opportunity to become millionaires playing a game. Most of the fans who visit exorbitant stadiums to pay exorbitant ticket prices, consume exorbitant concessions, and buy exorbitant jerseys make less per year than the average NFL player makes per game. And we’re supposed to feel sorry for their plight. Of course, you’ll never see an NFL player, or any progressive, for that matter, protesting the scourge of black-on-black crime. The focus is solely on those rare cases when a black person is killed by a police officer. The hypocrisy is over the top.
If you want to take a knee against your country, then fine. Take a knee. But don’t whine when President Trump properly calls you an SOB. Trump is not an island. He’s speaking for millions of us who don’t really appreciate it when millionaire athletes overtly display their hatred toward a flag that service members have died to defend. Don’t whine when fans stop showing up. Don’t whine when we trade you in for a different sort of diversion that doesn’t involve the politics of grievance. (Leftists always seem flummoxed when they get pushback, as though they can exercise their freedom of speech, but you and I better not.) Believe me, the NFL is incredibly easy to replace, and the opinions of its employees aren’t any more valuable than mine.
I love the United States far more than I ever cared for the NFL. Donald J. Trump is my president; Roger Goodell is just a clownish commissioner overseeing the demise of a once-great organization. I have a great deal more respect for members of the U.S. armed forces than NFL players. I pay homage to the American flag, and not some NFL team logo. I want to defeat Islamic militants and communists far more than the football opponent of the week. I worship a God in heaven, and not professional athletes. You get the point. When one puts the NFL in its proper frame, he realizes how small and inconsequential the NFL truly is.
Unfortunately, the NBA is not far behind the NFL in its politicization. The NBA has given itself over to progressivism and political correctness, and was already hanging by a thread in my life when David Fizdale, coach of my former favorite team, the Memphis Grizzlies, called me, a Trump supporter, “sick or just plain stupid” after Trump’s post-Charlottsville comments. Open trash can, toss in the NBA, close trash can. Not long after President Trump properly referred America-hating NFL players as SOB’s, President Trump disinvited Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors from the White House for showing disdain toward the idea of visiting the White House. And so NBA players quickly circled the wagon, just as NFL players and owners had done. One of them was LeBron James, aka “King James,” who called our esteemed president a bum. (These professional athletes can be rather child-like.) King James, arguably Ohio’s most famous citizen, campaigned for Hillary Clinton last year. Donald Trump won Ohio in a landslide, which demonstrates just how irrelevant professional athletes are when they stray from the field of play.
And this past weekend we saw our first baseball player take a knee during the National Anthem. And you know what? I have no trouble whatsoever dumping baseball, too, if MLB players start openly disrespecting the flag.
In a different era, baseball players left the game en masse to join the armed forces and fight for America. This occurred primarily during World War II. Perhaps the best known of these athletes was an outfielder for the Boston Red Sox named Ted Williams. The Splendid Splinter was quite possibly the greatest natural hitter to ever play the game. He hit .406 in 1941. No one has batted .400 since. Today, it is a feat that is regarded as a virtual impossibility. Williams played all or parts of 19 seasons from 1939 to 1960. He missed the entire 1943-1945 seasons, during what would have been the prime of his playing career, to help defend the United States. He also missed large chunks of the 1952-1953 seasons while fighting in the Korean War. Despite this, he still compiled some of the most impressive batting statistics ever achieved, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, his first year of eligibility.
In 2017, America-hating seems to be the new favorite pastime of professional athletes. Good riddance to the lot of you. God bless America. Make America great again.
This year I purchased a football season ticket for the Memphis Tigers. Last year I purchased individual game tickets because I was only able to attend 4 out of 7 home games. This year I have resolved to attend all 7. So I picked out what I thought would be a great seat on the front row in one of the end zones. There are 5 seats in the row, and mine is the middle one. I thought it was a little odd that there would be one open seat in the middle of a row of 5, and Saturday I discovered why it was open.
The owners of seats 4 and 5, as it turns out, are a man and wife who are grossly obese. I would estimate that they each weigh over 300 pounds. So when they sit down, the two of them take up three seats completely. The “3” that marks my seat is totally obscured by the woman’s ample rear end. Of course, seats 1 and 2 in my row are also occupied by season ticket holders (normal size), so my assigned seat is unavailable to me without some sort of (probably ugly) confrontation.
What’s a bit strange is that there was never any acknowledgment by the fat couple that they take up too much room. When it was obvious that we had a conflict over seating, the woman — and I estimate both of them to be in their late 30’s — turned to me and said, “It looks like they sold you a bad seat.” Bad seat? It’s not a bad seat. It’s the same as all the other tens of thousands of bleacher seats in the Liberty Bowl. I didn’t say anything to this. What was I supposed to say? Apparently, the fat couple was unwilling to state the obvious — the obvious thing being that in all fairness, they should purchase three season tickets for the two of them. (Don’t airlines force obese passengers to pay for two seats?)
Also, the implication on her part was that it’s somehow the athletic department’s fault for not knowing that a pair of 300-pounders occupy seats 4 and 5 and to avoid selling seat 3 to anyone. I mean, there wasn’t a single acknowledgement from either of them, not even a “Sorry, I know we sorta take up a little more room than most.” Nothing. And what’s more, she made it a point to tell me that she and her husband have had those seats “for over 13 years.” In other words, they weren’t moving or making the slightest accommodation to account for their size.
In a fortuitous twist of fate, there was apparently a wasp’s nest somewhere near our seats. When I left, the oversized couple were being harassed by a pair (and possibly more) of wasps. Trying to fight them off, the husband fussed, “These wasps are starting to p*** me off.” I certainly hope the wasps were just as unwilling to give up their place, too.
Now I’m not a mean person. I’m a peaceful, quiet guy. (Although I was yelling my head off during the game.) I’m not going to get into a confrontation over a stadium seat, especially in front of other people. So I found other places to sit throughout the game. And the obese couple are Memphis fans, too. Saturday was too happy a day to be arguing amongst ourselves.
What I have done is email the athletic department (pasted below) regarding my dilemma. If they are willing to resolve it, great. If not, then I believe I’ll upgrade my seat myself and find someplace to sit on or near the 50-yard line for all remaining games. We’re never completely sold out, so there will be a premium seat for me somewhere every game.
And when I decide to renew my season ticket for next year, it will definitely be for a different seat.
Dear UofM Athletics,
This year I purchased a football season ticket for a seat in the end zone I have never occupied before this season. There are 5 seats in my row. I have the 3rd seat. And I have a problem. The occupants of seats 4 & 5 are, shall I say, very large people. Combined, the two of them completely take up 3 seats. Normally, I would just scoot over to seat 2, but seats 1 & 2 are also occupied by season ticket holders. So I have literally been squeezed out of my seat. Is there any way you can assign me a different seat in the same section for the remaining 5 home football games? Otherwise, I’m a man without a home.
I gave up watching ESPN a long time ago. And I am in my second year of boycotting the NFL. So when the NFL is on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, it earns a double-boycott. Thus, I didn’t find out about this until listening to yesterday’s Rush Limbaugh Show. ESPN has lost many viewers during the past couple or three years, owing, in large part, to its overt mixing of liberalism with its sports reporting. Yet ESPN responds by doubling-down on its liberalism. And this is what it looks like.
I have been a Phillies’ fan for 37 years. I jumped on their bandwagon when they were making their championship run back in 1980. I did not know any better at the time. But I have stayed with them ever since. We have had some good years together — two championships now! — and we have had some not so good years. This year might be their worst. At the moment, they are 29-59 and own the worst record in baseball. What is a fan to do when his team is the absolute worst? I figure there are three options.
1). Jump on someone else’s bandwagon. I’ve always had a disdain for bandwagon jumpers, because it requires no loyalty and no emotional investment. I’ve been with the Phillies for 37 years. I’m not going anywhere.
2). Take it seriously and go insane. No thanks. Sports isn’t worth my sanity.
3). Find humor in futility and make self-deprecating jokes for comic relief. This is where I am this year.
We are in the middle of the NBA Finals. And I couldn’t care less. For the last three years, it’s been the same two teams. Before that, the Miami Heat played in 4 finals in a row. LeBron has played in the last 7. If you’re not a 1 or a 2 seed, you have nearly a 0% chance of winning an NBA championship. The last team seeded lower than #2 to win a title was the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. They were a 3 seed.
There are 16 teams in the NBA playoffs each year. The NBA playoffs are a sham, because 12 of those teams have virtually no chance of making the finals, much less winning a championship. By the time those 16 teams are whittled down to two, it’s almost assured that a #1 will be playing a #1, or a #1 will be playing a #2. And your seed is ultimately determined by which teams can collect the most superstars. The era is past when a franchise could build a championship team by stringing together years of successful drafts.
The Golden State Warriors are 14-0 this playoffs. They are in a league of their own. They were in a league of their own last year, until they blew a 3-1 lead in the finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then they went out and added to their roster possibly the best player in the NBA who isn’t named LeBron. That would be Kevin Durant.
No, I’m not demanding the NBA “do something” to level the playing field. Players are welcome to sign with whomever they want and teams are welcome to sign whomever they can afford. I’m not saying the NBA is rigged, either (although the league does have its favorites). What I am saying is that the NBA, as it is presently constituted, has evolved to predictability; the league champion is either going to be the Golden State Warriors or whichever team LeBron happens to be playing for. The remainder of the league’s 28 teams are more or less going to be bystanders.
Contrast this with the NHL, where an 8 seed is currently playing in the championship round. Or baseball, where last year’s World Series champion Chicago Cubs won for the first time in 108 years, and the year before that the Kansas City Royals won for the first time in 30 years. That’s what makes those sports interesting. But the NBA? It’s just plain boring.
ESPN has today announced they are laying off more than 100 on-air staffers. No, I’m not gloating about people losing their jobs. The only people I like to see unemployed are Democrat politicians and RINO’s. Still, I have to say that a lot of us saw this coming. ESPN has been headed down the rathole of progressive politics for years. They were top-notch when they just did sports. It’s when they began injecting politics into their programming (Bruce Jenner, Michael Sam, “hands up, don’t shoot”) that viewers began to lose interest.
There are, as you can imagine, a lot of media types in denial. The meme I’m seeing online thus far is that ESPN is losing subscribers only because people are cutting cable. A couple of media figures I’ve seen on Twitter today claim…
And then there are the idiots saying this is happening because ESPN is political. It is happening because people are unplugging cable.
Reading Twitter responses about ESPN layoffs, it occurs to me a lot of sports fans really don’t like anyone who stands up for civil rights.
So you see, it’s our fault. Either we’re cutting cable for economic reasons, or we’re racists — and who didn’t see that coming? — and it has nothing to do with ESPN. I have no doubt that some people are cutting cable. This is true. Some people are cutting cable and going to streaming services like Sling TV or Hulu, or some other alternative that’s less expensive. Perhaps some sports enthusiasts are cutting cable because they are tired of getting politics from ESPN.
Then there are people like me. We haven’t cut cable — yet. But I have stopped watching ESPN altogether, except in the rare case they happen to be showing a game I want to see, like the Grizzlies/Spurs game Saturday night, for example. Otherwise, I do not watch SportsCenter, or any other show on ESPN where there are talking heads. I do not watch because ESPN inserts politics into their shows. They don’t understand, and even in the wake of a mass defection of subscribers/viewers they won’t understand, that sports fans tune into sports stations for sports. If I want politics, I’ll find a political channel. I don’t want politics mixed in with sports. I need a break from it sometimes, and sports has always been that perfect getaway.
ESPN will not change their content. Even if customers tell them to their face to please stop mixing politics with sports and stop using sports to project a social justice platform, ESPN will not reform. ESPN is run by progressives, and they can’t help themselves. They are like the rest of the media. They don’t dabble in real-world consequences. Just as the Democrats and #fakenews media blamed Trump’s election on the Russians, so will ESPN and other sports media figures blame ESPN’s layoffs on something other than the real reason.
The Memphis Grizzlies were blown out of game 1 of the opening round of the NBA playoffs vs. the San Antonio Spurs. And the Spurs fought off a late surge by Memphis in game 2 to ultimately win by 14. It looked like a repeat of last year’s sweep by the Spurs over an injury-riddled Grizzlies team. Like last year, the Grizzlies are the 7th seed in the West and the Spurs are 2nd. Memphis was never expected to win, but we were manhandled those first two games in San Antonio.
And then this happened…
Starting at about the 1:24 mark, Memphis coach David Fizdale unloaded on the officiating crew for their one-sided effort. (The Spurs attempted 32 free throws to the Grizzlies’ 15, even though Memphis took far more shots in the paint.)
He was ultimately fined $30K — the players say they are picking up the tab — but in just over 60 seconds, David Fizdale lit a fire under the city of Memphis. The Grizzlies won the next two games at home, including a thriller Saturday night that wasn’t decided until Marc Gasol’s runner with 0.7 seconds left in overtime.
I’m not going to claim victim status because that’s just not me, but I can say that the Grizzlies are perpetual underdogs and routinely disrespected by the NBA and sports media (with the exception of Charles Barkley). Say what you will about Memphis, but we do rally around our people when they are disrespected. I know it’s just sports, but sports is perhaps the only thing that unites the people of Memphis, so let’s hear it for Memphis sports.
So now the series heads back to San Antonio for game 5 tonight, then game 6 in Memphis on Thursday. I know we’re still longshots to win the series, but it’s best 2-out-of-3 now, and if the Grizzlies can somehow win 1 game in San Antonio…
But it’s not for the same reason the rest of us lament politics in sports. I guess it’s all in how you define “politics.” A baseball reporter for NBC, Craig Calcaterra, was offended by the display of an oversized American flag at an Atlanta Braves game on Sunday and tweeted, “Will you keep politics out of sports, please. We like sports to be politics-free.”
I wonder how Mr. Calcaterra feels about athletes kneeling during the National Anthem, or when a group of St. Louis Rams injected the false “Hands up, don’t shoot” meme into their on-field antics? I guess it’s okay when left-wing politics invades sports, but not patriotism.
Honestly, I’ve never viewed the American flag and other displays of American patriotism as politics. It used to be that love of country transcended politics. It’s something we all shared regardless of political affiliation. But during the last couple of decades, an anti-American fervor has taken over the American left so that patriotism, to them, is political. This is simply who they are now.