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The Wide Woke World of Sports

Posted on Monday, August 2, 2021
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As American athletes compete in the Tokyo Olympics on the other side of the world, a storm of wokeness is turning sports — once a shining example of color-blind meritocracy — into just another battle ground of the culture war at home.

In the five years since Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem, sports has gone from a unifying diversion to another division. And wokeness keeps winning.

In baseball, the Cleveland Indians just announced that they will become the Cleveland Guardians starting next season. What these Guardians will guard—other than fragile feelings in faculty lounges far away from Cleveland—remains unknown.

In football, the former Washington Redskins still wait in sports purgatory as the even more meaningless Washington Football Team. It’s no wonder that the team looks lost on the field.

And in basketball, NBA players seem to kneel for the anthem more than they stand for it.

All this woke virtue signaling is a far cry from the power of American sports in the past.

Just think of Jesse Owens winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Hitler could spew racist rhetoric all he wanted, and Nazis could hang their banners and chant their slogans. But, after the gun fired and the race started, Owens humiliated them on their own soil.

And when the Star-Spangled Banner played, he saluted.

And who could forget the iconic scene of baseball superstar Sammy Sosa circling Wrigley Field carrying an American Flag before his first home game after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001? When Slammin’ Sammy hit a homerun in the second inning, he carried Old Glory around the bases with him again, evoking a thunderous, patriotic roar from the crowd.

Again and again, athletes in the past of all colors have worn red, white, and blue. Again and again, they proved the American ideal: a person’s talent and hard work are more important than a person’s background.

That’s why sports are the perfect American stage. Inside the lines, talent is everything. Skin color doesn’t make you run any slower or throw a ball any farther. Your last name can’t save you. And team identity—not identity politics—determines success.

More than any other sport, basketball once captured this ideal, showing the way forward on race relations.

Take Bill Russell, the Hall-of-Fame center for the Boston Celtics in the 1950s and 1960s. Sure, he heard racist taunts from fans. But, inside the league and on the court, he won five MVP awards, eleven championships, and ultimately became the first black coach of any major professional sports team and the first to win a championship.

By the 1980s, when the rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird captured the public’s imagination, fans and the media often saw the embodiment of a racial, black-versus-white struggle.

But the two players themselves never did. In fact, they constantly rebuked efforts to make their rivalry about anything other than basketball. Through the fires of athletic competition, these two legends of the game, one black and one white, formed a unique bond based on mutual respect that transcended any racial divide the media attempted to impose on them.

That’s ancient history now. Once a great proving ground for the power of a color-blind meritocracy, basketball now reflects the decline of the American consensus on the desirability of color-blindness.

In fact, the NBA as a league often appears to be more focused on promoting certain political causes than actually producing a watchable product for fans, thereby undermining the great strides in racial progress made by players of past generations.

For example, players today across the NBA wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts so often that video games now include the shirts for in-game play. In case you missed the BLM merchandise in warm-ups, “Black Lives Matter” was also painted across all NBA courts for most of the abbreviated 2020 season.

The NBA’s brightest star for the last fifteen years, LeBron James, has made more news for his statements on “systematic voter suppression” than for his performance on the court in recent years.

But despite what ESPN and the liberal media want you to believe, the numbers show that fans just aren’t that crazy about the new activist NBA.

Perhaps most telling of all – and most concerning for the billionaire owners who run NBA franchises – NBA television ratings have plummeted in recent years. Even during the middle of the pandemic last year, at a time when ratings for other shows were skyrocketing, one NBA Finals game drew only 5.9 million viewers, and the first game of the 2020 Finals had the lowest viewership ever for a Game 1. While ratings for the 2021 Finals were up from the previous year, the numbers still showed a 34% decrease in viewership from 2019.

The left-wing bent of the NBA is also affecting players’ business endeavors off the court. James’s new Space Jam film reboot has made less than $100 million worldwide, compared to Michael Jordan’s original, which made over $230 million. The film was an embarrassing flop for someone who is consistently rated among the top-3 most famous athletes in the world.

It’s just too bad that, as the NBA becomes the Woke NBA, “WNBA” is already taken as an acronym.

But that might not last long—a whole league closed to everyone except women? That seems far too exclusive—far too gendered—for the woke left of 2021 who apparently now control the direction of seemingly every major American sports league.

By all indications the Woke leagues will certainly be continuing their activism. The only question is, how much longer will anyone watch?

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PaulE
PaulE
2 years ago

Sports? Oh yeah, I remember sports. That used to be a means of entertainment the whole family could enjoy and that used to be apolitical. Just an enjoyable pastime. Then the left decided it should be highjacked as a megaphone with which to constantly bludgeon the American people with how bad and racist their country is. The worst place on the planet to live. All despite the vast majority of the these minority players protesting being some of the wealthiest, most successful people in the country and world. That they have been afforded an opportunity to live their dream and achieve a level of success few other countries offer. Go figure huh?

Yeah, I remember sports, but I refuse to watch a bunch of multi-millionaires whine about how bad life in the United States is, while no one has stood in their way of attaining a lifestyle few ordinary Americans enjoy. They are the definition of spoiled, ignorant children championing a phony narrative just to get Instagram and FB likes.

Nancy Jo
Nancy Jo
2 years ago

I don’t think sports are winning. The ratings and viewership for the Olympics is so far down, the sponsors are crying. MLB, NFL, NBA all are plugging along, but nobody really cares. Ticket sales are down, even when they open the parks, and merchandise is sitting in the stores.

dave rynex
dave rynex
2 years ago

this is why i no longer watch sports

CoNMTX
CoNMTX
2 years ago

I no longer watch any sports. Haven’t watched a second of the olympics and won’t. I simply can no longer stand to even look at the ahtletes. I have no use for any of them. I never watched anything but football anyway but now I haven’t watched that for 5 years And, after 5 years, I not longer even miss it. I’ve found much better things to do with my time than watch idiots act like fools and mock America.

Barb
Barb
2 years ago

I’m not a big sports fan but I do watch the Cincinatti Reds and the Pittsburgh Steelers and I’m proud of both teams and their owners for the way they’ve handled all this ‘woke’ crap. What’s happening right now won’t end racism it will only make it worse.

Kathy West
Kathy West
2 years ago

At one time I enjoyed going to baseball, football & basketball events. In very recent years the political element entered athletic events and I no longer will attend nor purchase any of their merchandise. Hockey is the ONLY event I still attend. We live in America. If we don’t like America….MOVE. These athletes & their owners have the money….What are they waiting for?
RE: Olympics….This is MY OPINION….If you won a ‘spot’ to join the USA Olympic Team, then respect that Team and that Country. You could have tried out for a spot in another country!!!

Steven Krouse
Steven Krouse
2 years ago

If woke culture can claim “white privilege” for caucasions in business and other areas why can’t there be “black” privilege in NBA basketball and many other sports. Skin color matters or it doesn’t matter. You can’t have it both ways. Are athletes in this country favored because of skin color or talent?

George Rivera Jr
George Rivera Jr
2 years ago

I took a knee on Professional Sports long ago – and have enjoyed normal priced beers and non-tethered weekends again.

John Bonds
John Bonds
2 years ago

Professional sports is all about money, we all quit watching and they will really wake up. You kneel, no deal.

LauraC
LauraC
2 years ago

I’m not so convinced the woke left is winning. Game and sports attendance in general are down and who is watching the Olympics? Not too many, by all reports. You can’t win if no one is watching you make a complete jacka.. of yourself. We pay their salaries and we make them famous. We don’t have to do either of those things unless we choose to do so. Vote with your dollars and feet.

Michael A Marra
Michael A Marra
2 years ago

done with the nba and there racist PCBS…been 4-5 years since that sport was relevant…nfl heading in same direction…the pendulum has swung to far in the other direction where …REVERSE RACISM IS Rampant…voter ID>s is not racist its being used an excuse to foster anti white sentiment…..unwoke now…our countries future depends on it

David Spade
David Spade
2 years ago

I watch the television news media if I want to watch political events. I do not watch professional sports on television due to the misguided political content and behavior of their so-called sports stars. The pro sports teams are suffering through a backlash of their former fans through declining ticket and sports gear sales, lower television viewership, and general lack of interest. I am sure their management teams have figured out financial cost of the backlash, but they are beholden to their liberal leftist stakeholders to stay with the “bash America” course of behavior. Being “woke” in pro sports will be the death knell, and the same stupid behavior has impacted a handful the Olympic hopefuls. Those who turn their backs on the National Anthem don’t deserve to represent America at any venue, and they will be ridiculed the rest of their lives for doing so.

Timothy Smith
Timothy Smith
2 years ago

Excellent observation, very compelling, and well though-out. My only question (likely take another article to answer) is this: how do we reverse this growing trend? Hardly a day goes by that one irritated snowflake or another, or perhaps the entire rainbow insists we not only accept “their right to be___,” but in the process of accepting and acknowledging “their rights” they push beyond their boundaries into our area and REQUIRE us to validate them, praise, and facilitate them, regardless how far it infringes on our right to NOT.

Mark
Mark
2 years ago

I watched very little last year, but will watch even less this year. The NFL has stated they will play the “black national anthem” before EVERY game, put messaging in the end zones & even allow that crap on helmets. I call that doubling down on stupidity. I also call it Bye, Bye NFL.

BILL STOUT
BILL STOUT
2 years ago

These overpaid athletes are the epitome of nothing to do with sports anymore, and what used to be a reasonable price to see a game has now become increasingly higher for fans that really are paying them. I don’t watch sports of any kind, I care less about what they do. They used to be great Role Models but today they represent the worst of any sport. The thing that amazes me is that the fans will pay an outrageous amount to watch these self centered, unsportsmanlike individuals play. I wouldn’t pat a quarter to watch any of them play in my back yard and the folks that spend money on going to these over-priced games I really have to wonder about your intelligence

Dave
Dave
2 years ago

Done with NBA…Done with MLB…Done with NFL…Done with college basketball…Probably headed down that path for college football too. If I watch anything, I DVR it so I can bypass all the WOKE advertising like Subway and the BLM enriched ads. Roger Godell has shown how he has become a servant to the players while still taking his millions a year. I hope the NFL crashes and burns….

aluminum head
aluminum head
2 years ago

When the East Germans entered some guy in the marathon against Frank Shorter, and beat Frank handily, that German was chock full of steroids( and God knows what all else ). This was in ’76. Wrote off that political agenda cheaters convention ( never to come back. Then we had Mr. / Mrs. Jenner. Do I have to say more ?

aluminum head
aluminum head
2 years ago

I’ll tell you what . . . .when I do watch a franchise sports event, I see a LOT of empty seats. White fans refuse to be insulted.

‘Nonymous
‘Nonymous
2 years ago

Viewable sports are dead to me. Don’t bother with the game, the meet, or whatever, and just pass out the participation trophies and skip all the rhetoric!

John M
John M
2 years ago

Haven’t wasted any of my time watching sports, of any kind, for several years now. Greatly enjoying my “new-found free time”!!

Larry W
Larry W
2 years ago

These overpaid sports figures and movie stars don’t get my support. I’m tired of them bashing our great country. They can only do what they do because of the opportunities available in the USA but at the same time badmouth the country that gives them the opportunities. Please tell them to get a “real job”.

Jerry
Jerry
2 years ago

How about “Washington Liberals” or Washington Democrats?

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 years ago

Hope US Olympic Teams IF Woke Lose otherwise Win

Hal
Hal
2 years ago

The tarnishing of patriotism in the US contemporarily has a lot to do with deterioration of News Reporting, Democrat Liberalism and illegal dishonesty in rigging voting, and many liberal nuts hogging media attention.

Dave R
Dave R
2 years ago

If people wanted to bring these athletes to their knees and come back down to earth, QUIT WATCHING! I realize there will be some patriotic athletes that would suffer but that is the only way that these thugs (professional, college, and amateurs) will ever cease their shameful displays of disrespect to our country! I know it stinks not being able to watch your favorite sport but as long as you keep feeding the thugs money they are going to show their a**!

Jorge L Rios
Jorge L Rios
2 years ago

I wonder what things would have been like back when the founding fathers were diligently trying to create a new country and constitution, and even for several decades later in those early years, if everyone had been totaly mesmerized with following sports instead of paying attention to the business of the country? Without strong, ethical, moral leadership of the country what difference does it make who wins what game of throwing a little ball around. We all need to be mesmerized and focussed on our elected officials and the law of the land so we can hold on to our constitutional republic and therefore be able to have and enjoy our freedoms, we should be spending our time watching what is going on with our country not watching a buch of millionair grown men (whos salaries come from raising the cost of everything the rest of us consume) throwing a little ball around and getting excited about which one can do it better. NONE of that makes ANY difference whatsoever about anything in anyones lives, Think about it!!! Untill about the mid 1800’s we had close to 99% voter paricipation in elections, people were focussed on their freedoms, their rights, and who was protecting them. These days some elections have 1-6% voter turn out, people don’t even know who their leaders are, but you can bet they know who is playing for what team and who won or lost the last game.
The American citizenry has been hypnotized to blindly pay attention and focuss on these “games” rather than pay attention to their country, faith and family and how to protect those things, the important things in life.

LAWRENCE EDWARD ADAMS
LAWRENCE EDWARD ADAMS
2 years ago

I totally stopped watching any professional sports. They have no use in my life. Anyone who can’t get along without watching these brats and paying more money for a ticket so these brats can make 1,000 times more than they are worth, has a serious problem with their self worth.

Jerry Finger
Jerry Finger
2 years ago

I may have watched 5 minutes of the Woke olympics and for that I am sad. I Wanted to see Team USA bring home the Gold Medal in Soccer and Basketball but somewhere the Teams forgot who they were playing for and started playing for themselves or whatever cause was available. I feel sorry for this and the next generation of athletes that if this keeps up won’t know who or what to play for. The professional sports have sold out to the CCP for mega $$$$ and they could care less. Amateur sports are pretty much dead.

Jmaj
Jmaj
2 years ago

If the patriotic and heroic athletes of the past would step forward , both white and colored, side by side, perhaps as many as could be persuaded to take part, and campaigned for sports to return to the games instead of social
Statement, maybe the young ones would see things in a different light.
The owners and managers are weak people for bowing to the unpatriotic show boaters of the “woke generation”
Shame on them. It will be just desserts for them to suffer financial losses.

Kenneth D.
Kenneth D.
2 years ago

It is certainly surreal and sad to watch a nation that was known throughout the world for freedom, independence and an indomitable spirit decay into a conglomerate of whiners, ingrates, self-proclaimed victims and parasites dependent upon a corrupt and incestuous political establishment. We are reaping what we have allowed to be sowed during the past 60+ years under the guise of labels such as tolerance, political correctness, diversity and racial preference. Now everyone is referred to as a hyphenated American rather than a genuine American. This is the antithesis of the Founding principles and the “Dream” of one of America’s greatest sons, Dr. Martin Luther King. Shame on us for being mesmerized into accepting some of the oldest and most destructive social and cultural scams that have proven to be abject failures throughout history. I am grateful that I was alive to see America at her 20th Century zenith before her tragic decent into the dark abyss of fallen empires and civilizations……

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
2 years ago

If I were running the Cleveland baseball team I would have considered naming it the Cleveland Not The Indians, JFTHOT.
I look for PETA to bemoan naming teams after animals with the vegetarians and vegans decrying naming streets after trees and flowers. And if you’re really “Woke” picket flower shops.

J. Farley
J. Farley
2 years ago

I have watched zero seconds of the Olympics, I have watched no Basketball in 4 or 5 years, I watched about 1 hour of Pro-football last year, I do watch Baseball, but did not watch the sold out lying all a star game, I am selective about and do watch some College Football. Here is my take, if all sports continue to speak out on things that they know nothing about and continue to lie for the left and China, I can quit watching all sports, I have a life and there are lots of things that I can do, and the Big corporations that play advertising on sports programs may soon find it will bring diminishing returns if they support and mouth off two

RFD
RFD
2 years ago

I stopped watching the NBA during 2019 along with the NFL. This year I stopped watching the MBL due to the fiasco in Atlanta. As far as the Olympics is concerned I am rooting for all soccer teams playing against the USA and thankfully my wish has been coming true to see them get their ass kicked. I will not be watching the game for the bronze medal but praying the USA will loose. I am disgusted with with teams the take a knee or fail to place their hand over theirheart during the National Anthem.

RC100
RC100
2 years ago

I wonder just how long the Teec Not Pos, AZ. Red Mesa High School can keep their mascot name of Redskins?

And how about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish? As part Irish myself, I am offended by the name denoting violence in the name of the auld sod.

RC100

Gregory Russell
Gregory Russell
2 years ago

From the nba, to the nfl, and now even the ncaa, Im finished with most sports. Ive been watching the Cincinnati Reds and have been enjoying that, but will turn them off for good too if they provoke me.
From these idiots supposedly representing the United States on an international stage, to the kneeling, to the idiotic name changes, to college kids getting paid to play a game, its all just ridiculous, and Im done with them for good. I actually feel better about doing something else with my time.
My recommendation would be that if youre that dissatisfied with the United States, your travel agent will accommodate you. Try out North Korea, China, Russia or Iran. Regardless of what you do or where you go, unless youre going to leave this country, shut your idiot, ungrateful mouth. You live in the greatest nation that God has ever allowed to exist on this planet. You can make anything of yourself here that you wish, providing youre willing to assimilate, work hard, and commit to your dream for the long haul. Support this great Republic and contribute to its greatness, or, get out. But either way, shut up and just do whatever you`re going to do.

Free American for now
Free American for now
2 years ago

Amazing how the wealth privileged disdain the country that made it possible for them to attain the wealth. Take away the money folks and they are just a bunch of dumb athletes that MIGHT get a job at Arby’s!

D.P.
D.P.
2 years ago

As Regan would say….”well, there you go again…” The sports world has lost its way…..I for one have no participation in with any professional sports team….including my favorite…NASCAR who have gone the way of the woke as well. Now college teams and even at the high school level, sports is becoming a business deal and the “wokeness” is invading there as well. Pretty soon, little league and the street stick ball will fall to this insanity. Perhaps, as people walk away with their wallets, these big money groups will get the message….the key for me is that the atheletes themselves take charge and concentrate on ability, work, skill, and diligence for the sport…..by rejecting the woke people face on.
But they too…the “performers” of these sports are far too rich after the fact….with sponsors who promote politics, managers and team owners who do the same, and the outside groups (ie. BLM, etc) join the fray. This is just one leg of the monster that is devouring our nation bite by bite…..
Heros are a sham. Sportsmanship is a profit center and the past is being erased.

HocasPocas
HocasPocas
2 years ago

I won’t be watching any sports anytime soon

Michael
Michael
2 years ago

Sports notwithstanding, better start learning Chinese because that’s where we’re headed.

RJ from Arizona
RJ from Arizona
2 years ago

They can all go bankrupt for all I care. I don’t know anyone who watches sports anymore.

Luke
Luke
2 years ago

These woke jackasses pander to the media’s cameras. They know how to manipulate media and make Nancy Pelosi look like an amateur. And, of course, media is only too eager to hammer those images into the minds of every gullible citizen of Planet Earth. But, media doesn’t seem to pick up on the antics of woke athletes from other countries though. While there are fewer woke athletes from other countries disrespecting their flag and anthem, I find it especially disgusting and cowardly on the part of American athletes and North American news media. This crap is 99% media-driven by lazy media employees indoctrinated at American and Canadian universities who refuse to abandon their cushy comfort zone.

edward
edward
2 years ago

I stopped watching professional sports several years ago, after kapernick’s debacle and the other “leagues” following suit. Haven’t missed it one bit. College football better watch their ass as well as cutting that out would give me back both saturday and sunday from watching tv all day!

Hal
Hal
2 years ago

As for U S Olympic squad members, NO political expressions of any kind while involved in representing the Nation. Outside of that, they have the right (and in may cases stupidly) to express their personal opinions which might be derogatory against the USA. In seems that more and more high achieving athletes get a God complex????

JJ Johnson-Smith
JJ Johnson-Smith
2 years ago

American Sports Fans don’t CARE what color an athlete is, or what their views or politics may be. What we DO care about, is how they play the game, what kind of message they send our young people, and how they represent our schools, states, and country. They are paid millions a year to fulfill those few expectations, and they can no longer do even that much? Athletes and Celebrities need to count their blessings, blessings they could only enjoy in America and nowhere else on earth. They need to SHUT UP and do what we pay them to do, and keep their ideologies to themselves.

Art
Art
2 years ago

Kneeling is a sign of submission. If you want to protest stand tall. Most of the “protesters” are from the “oppressed group.” They are being paid generational cash to display their talents on the courts and fields of competition. Many fans spend major money to sit in the stands. If it were not for TV contracts the players wouldn’t be getting paid the amounts of money they receive. Players are eligible to be paid what their market value indicates but should keep THEIR POLITICS in perspective and to their own time.

Enuf Said
Enuf Said
2 years ago

What really amazes me, these “so-Called” oppressed people only protest in America. This PROVES their effort is only self served. Why do you not protest in China, Russia, and the dark continent countries? Google ten worst countries TODAY for slavery and you can bet the farm- 7 to 8 of them are in Africa. Wonder what percentage of their people are millionaires? Immigrants make up 25% orf the millionaires in AMERICA. Yet, these same Biden brain dead fools try to tell me how racist we are.

Enuf Said
Enuf Said
2 years ago

If that is “Woke”- GOD, please let me stay ASLEEP!!

Raymond
Raymond
2 years ago

Very simple solution:
Don’t attend any games! No people paying to see a game, the owners make no money, then they can’t pay the athletes. The athletes will have to go to another country to play and the can STAND for their new country

Drue
Drue
2 years ago

Who wants to watch a bunch of tall crybabies whine and pout while kneeling and wearing BLM on their uniforms? I say raise the hoop 3 feet and see how they perform. I cannot fathom these rich infants crying that they are oppressed.

Garye
Garye
2 years ago

Shameful that individuals who made MILLIONS from the opportunity this great country offers would believe the lies and anti american actions of the radical communist democrats and their 50 year lie!!
Wake up and see these failures for what they are and what destruction, hatred and division they subscribe to.

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