“Conservative America is disgusted with the NBA, and therefore is tuning it out. We’re disgusted ….with the embrace of the radical BLM movement by the league and its players….My problem was what was allowed, indeed encouraged, during the games. I will not watch any sports event during which the preaching of politics or ideology occurs. I guess I’m not alone.”
—Conservative lawyer and blogger Paul Mirengoff on the Powerline blog, discussing the huge fall-off in TV ratings for the current NBA play-offs.
Mirengoff is wrong to attribute this reaction only to conservatives, however. I have spoken with many sports fans who would not fit that description who are equally disgusted with the professional sports leagues. All of the leagues made a foolish assumption that by embracing the views of many progressive activists, they would at least hold on to the allegiance of fans who agreed with those positions. ESPN and many sportswriters have made the same mistake., and it’s a stupid one. If I go out to dinner and the service staff bombard me with their political views during the evening, it doesn’t matter if I agree with what they say: I didn’t come to the restaurant to listen to political diatribes.
If you’re wondering about the ellipses, I left out a reference to the NBA’s addiction to China’s money, leading the league to ignore the despicable human rights record and political oppression in that country. That is a conservative complaint, and a valid one, but I doubt it affects NBA play-off ratings one tick.
I haven’t finished my letter to the Boston Red Sox, but I write it as I completely ignore the baseball play-offs as I will through the World Series. I want to make sure the team realizes that if its ugly promotion of Black Lives Matter could alienate me, it is in big trouble in the community. The players need to understand that as well, but it was up to management to tell employees to do what they were paid for, and not use their celebrity to make incompetent and divisive political statements.
The NBA and Major League Baseball players pulled a one day wildcat strike to protest the shooting of an accused rapist who returned to harass the woman he allegedly raped, after police were called by the African American victim of the rape and the alleged rapist attacked a cop, refused police orders to surrender, and reached into his car (which had his children in it) after telling police that he had a gun, and after previously brandishing a knife. All of the players should have been fined and suspended; instead, the two sports de facto endorsed a stunt that was both ignorant and offensive. Their conduct also endorsed the destructive and cretinous riots that followed.
The simple-mindedness of the two sports’ lazy and cowardly virtue-signaling was epitomized by the email I shared earlier from Boston baseball writer Pete Abraham-–I didn’t name him in the initial post, but I will from now on: no more Mr. Nice Guy—who 1) implied that I was a racist because I didn’t back the Red Sox organization’s groveling Black Lives Matter promotions in Fenway Park and outside of it, and 2) fatuously said that baseball only supported the literal (and mind-meltingly banal) slogan and not the violent, lie-based, anti-law enforcement, Marxist, racist organization that coined the phrase and uses it as its title and rallying cry.
Sports, as entertainment, has been and should be a great unifying force in a nation and a culture. If it is not, than following sports is a waste of time, emotion and money. The reaction of the public to the sports world defying the very reason it exists is gratifying here, because the Ethics Alarms position hasn’t budged since Colin Kaepernick first dropped to a knee during the National Anthem without being able to clearly explain why. That it is Kaepernick’s shallow and addled reasoning that has prevailed rather than that of those who saw his protest for what it was again confirms the frightening power of ignorance in a democracy. But as for the sports leagues and eventually their players getting the swift kick in the wallets they deserve: