A happy, wonderful Thursday to all of you, dear Kruiser Morning Briefing readers.
Major League Baseball is back today and anyone who has been reading the Briefing during the plague knows what that means to me. Baseball is far and away my favorite of all the sports, and I want to be ecstatic today. Unfortunately, tedious wokeness has invaded MLB just as it has every other sport.
The anthem kneeling that’s been infecting the NFL for a few years has spread like a cultural cancer to other sports and is threatening to permanently ruin what was once a relaxing escape for millions of Americans.
Perhaps sports fans should feel lucky simply because it took politics and the wokescolds longer to start bothering us than it did Hollywood. Movies and television have been full of cringe-worthy wokeness seemingly forever now. For the most part, we fan types have still had our favorite sports to retreat to when we wanted to avoid the madness of turning all entertainment into a political statement.
It was super fun while it lasted.
I have always despised the mixing of politics and sports. In the early Twitter days, I would spend Sundays blissfully tweeting about football, commiserating with other Steelers fans when they’d have a Mike Tomlin day, and trash-talking with other fans. On the rare occasions when someone would make something political I would launch into my “no politics and sports” rant, then usually block the person.
The peril in those days came from fans politicizing sports. We didn’t have to worry about the players much then.
While it’s true that athletes have made political statements in the past, it was never this rampant. The huge difference this year, obviously, is that the leagues are now involving themselves. That, my friends, is very, very problematic for any number of reasons.
Just as with movies or television shows, once one political side is endorsed, at least half the audience is offended. In entertainment, the split is probably around 50/50. In sports, however, that may be even more weighted to one side, and its not the side that’s getting all of the political love from the leagues. The politics that the pro-sports leagues are cheering on right now may be alienating more than half of their audiences, especially in the NFL.
Of the four major pro-sports leagues in America, the NHL has been the least affected by the current drama. MLB — both players and the league itself — had been relatively benign until recently. The ChiCom favorite NBA has been the worst league thus far, opting to paint “Black Lives Matter” on its courts. The fear of many NFL fans is that the league is about to have a “hold my beer” woke moment.
The NFL recently announced that it would allow social justice decals on players’ helmets this season. This is the league that just a few years ago fined a player for wearing different colored shoes to honor his recently deceased mother.
Of all the major American sports, the NFL is probably taking the most risk with the league-sanctioned wokeness. There was quite a lot of backlash from fans in 2017 when the kneeling fever ran through the league like wildfire. Many, like me, just stopped watching games. I belong to a demographic that the NFL has just recently begun to win back.
Sports fans who just want to watch sports are obviously going to have to suffer through this season. I’m actually glad that the baseball season is going to be shorter now. The best we can hope for is that this is a phase. If it isn’t, it will be RIP sports and the COVID-cancel-riot plague year will have claimed another victim.