Opinion / Politics

The Year-in-Woke-Sports: 2021’s Biggest Whiffs, Fumbles, and Strikeouts by the Radicals Ruining America’s Favorite Pastimes

AMAC Exclusive by Andrew Abbott

sportsAfter COVID-19 rocked the sports world in 2020, with most professional teams playing shortened seasons for empty stadiums and many college and youth teams canceling their seasons altogether, Americans were understandably ready to return to a semblance of normalcy in their favorite pastimes in 2021. However, as with corporate culture, schools, and seemingly everything else in American life over the past year, radical left-wing ideologies have infiltrated the sporting world and prevented any “return to normalcy.”

Here are six of the most egregious examples of how wokeism ruined sports in 2021.

  1. Male College Swimmer Changes Gender, Becomes Fastest Female Swimmer in the Country, Drawing Fawning Media Coverage 

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas is lighting the women’s swim world on fire. The 22-year-old swimmer now holds the Ivy League’s 500 Freestyle, 200 Freestyle, and 1650 Freestyle women’s records. For that final record, the second-place swimmer finished a full 38 seconds behind Thomas. She’s on pace to take down Katie Ledecky, arguably the greatest female swimmer of all time. There’s just one small caveat.

Before Lia Thomas was Lia Thomas, she was Will Thomas. Will competed for three years at UPenn as a male swimmer, took a year off to “transition,” and is now competing as a “woman.” Before the transition, Will was a competitive swimmer in the male division but far from a world record holder. Now, as a woman, Thomas will likely be, statistically, one of—if not the—greatest swimmers in women’s swimming history.

The NCAA only requires a trans female athlete to take one year of testosterone suppressants to compete against women. Most health experts believe a minimum of two years is necessary to even begin to equalize the physiological disparities between men and women. Even then, it’s not clear that someone born a male who transitions to a female wouldn’t have a clear physical advantage in any strength-based athletic competition. In short, the science suggests that Lia has an advantage over her female competitors akin to using performance-enhancing drugs.

Regardless of the fairness of the situation, Lia is considered “amazing” and an “inspiration” by the mainstream media. Perhaps someone should ask the female swimmers on UPenn’s team who Lia has replaced, who worked their whole lives to compete at that level—or those who have had their records shattered by someone who just a year ago was an average male swimmer—if they feel the same way.

  1. ESPN Makes Documentary About Bubba Wallace “Noose Incident” that FBI Investigation Ruled Was Bunk

In June of 2020, reports emerged that a noose was found in the temporary garage of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, the only black driver on the full-time NASCAR circuit, at Talladega Speedway in Alabama. Quickly labeled a hate crime, the incident was seized upon by ESPN, the mainstream media, and the wider cultural left as another example of “systemic racism” in American culture.

The only problem was, according to an FBI investigation, the rope was not, in fact, a noose, but was a garage door pull that had been there for months, long before Wallace used the garage. Some commentators pointed out that, as a professional NASCAR driver, Wallace and other NASCAR officials should have quickly recognized this simple fact, raising questions about the true intentions of those pushing the narrative that Wallace was the victim of a hate crime.

But none of this stopped ESPN from creating an entire documentary based on the event – ironically enough, released just one week after Empire actor Jussie Smollett was convicted of staging a hate crime against himself. The trailer for the documentary makes no mention of the fact that the noose was not actually a noose, and goes to great lengths to shed doubt on the FBI investigation. Toward the end of the documentary, an exasperated Steve Phelps, the President of NASCAR, seems bewildered at the insistence from ESPN and other left-wing voices that a hate crime did occur despite all evidence to the contrary. “There wasn’t a hate crime, isn’t that a good thing?” he asks. “There wasn’t a hate crime, thank God there wasn’t a hate crime!”

  1. NFL Caught Funding “Abolish the Police” Groups that Bailed out Child Rapists and Domestic Abusers.

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the National Football League made it clear they are committed to “change.” No, they wouldn’t be addressing the absurdly high cost of games, the harassment of cheerleaders by team owners, the disturbingly frequent incidents of domestic abuse by current players, or even the startling number of neurological complications plaguing former players that have led to a number of high-profile suicides. Instead, according to a new report, the NFL – at the direction of perhaps the most unpopular commissioner in sports, Roger Goodell, and with the backing of key owners like John Mara of the New York Giants and Art Rooney II of the Pittsburgh Steelers – chose to “Inspire Change” by giving money to social justice groups dedicated to abolishing the police, prisons, and immigration detention.

We now know that one of the groups they chose to send money to was the Minnesota Freedom Fund. This organization believes all forms of cash bail are wrong and racist. Their solution is to post bail for any detained individual, regardless of their crime. This principle led to the release of rioters who attempted to burn down federal buildings, child rapists, and domestic abusers. Other groups like “The Community Justice Exchange,” which the NFL also worked with, have aggressively pushed to eliminate all prisons in America. Though that goal may help the NFL considering how many of their athletes have served significant jail time for violent offenses.

  1. Cleveland Indians Change their Name to the Cleveland “Guardians.”

2021 saw another sports franchise name sacrificed upon the altar of wokeism. The beloved Cleveland baseball team, once known as the “Indians” is now the “Guardians.” While the woke celebrated this as a victory for indigenous persons, another team’s similar experience suggests otherwise.

In 2016, the calls to rename the NFL’s Washington Redskins reached such a fevered pitch that the name change seemed imminent. Then, the Washington Post revealed a poll that seemed to shock even the pollsters. They found that nine out of ten Native Americans didn’t find the name “redskins” offensive. Those calling for the name change turned out to be predominantly white liberals looking for something to get angry about.

Nonetheless, the Redskins logo and team name were revoked in 2020. Then this past year, the Cleveland Indians were renamed the “Guardians,” a name that only 15 percent of Cleveland supported. In a fitting symbol of how much of a flop the name change was, the new ‘Guardians’ sign above the team shop crashed to the ground and shattered the very first day after it was installed. It could be worse! They could be a football team from Washington named “The Washington Football Team.”

  1. Mark Cuban Orders Dallas Mavericks to Stop Playing National Anthem

They tried to sneak this one past us. With COVID-19 raging and NBA teams playing in vacant courts, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban quietly told his organization to stop playing the Star-Spangled Banner before games. Ever since Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the National Anthem in 2016, the simple act of playing the song had become so vilified by the left as a reminder of “systemic racism” that the outspoken Mavericks owner decided to do away with it. After all, who would care? And if it meant Cuban would be more popular with Hollywood A-listers and cultural elites, all the better.

To the surprise of no one, there are a great many Americans for whom the Anthem is a source of pride and patriotism, not controversy and shame. After intense backlash and a ratings plummet, the NBA affirmed that playing the song was required before all games. While the woke police have backed off, for now, they will undoubtedly be back.

  1. MLB Strips All-Star Game from Georgia Because it Passed Voter Integrity Law that Actually Expanded Voting Access

In the wake of last year’s election disasters, and accusations on both sides of fraud and voter suppression, respectively, this year Georgia and other states passed voter integrity laws that both expanded voter access and made fraud less likely.

While this seemed like a reasonable move to most Americans, Democrats, the mainstream media, and Major League Baseball absolutely lost their minds.

In an almost comical move, former Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia Stacey Abrams actually encouraged corporations to boycott her own state, saying that “boycotts work” in an op-ed for USA Today. Of course, once Abrams realized the economic devastation that would likely come as a result of her statements, USA Today quietly edited the piece to downplay her support for boycotts.

Democrats nonetheless began pressuring everyone from corporations to musicians to boycott the Peach State. Major League Baseball listened and relocated their All-Star game to Denver, costing Georgians $100 million in potential revenue. The move particularly hurt black-owned businesses in Atlanta, who would’ve stood to make huge profits from the economic activity surrounding the game. In what struck many as a satisfying stroke of karma, the Atlanta Braves won the world series later the same year—and Atlanta fans roundly booed the MLB’s foolish woke commissioner, Rob Manfred.


That rounds out the worst of 2021’s year-in-woke-sports review. While wokeness largely had its way with many of our most beloved pastimes this year, there are, at least, some small signs of hope for the new year ahead. For example, a recent report found that, while 63 percent of corporate executives – which includes the people who, at the end of the day, own and are responsible for the actions of sports franchises – believe their companies should speak out on social issues, “only 36 percent of voters agree.” Based on the declining ratings for nearly every major sports league, it appears that those voters are sports fans as well. With their precious profits threatened, perhaps sports teams will reverse course back, and resume their proper function in American life—as an escape from politics, stress, and social division, rather than an extension of it.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.

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10 months ago

Lou Holtz was asked what is the difference in football players today and 50 years ago. He answered “Simple, Today’s athletes talk about rights and privileges. And the players 50 years ago talked about obligations and responsibilities!” To me that describes society today in all areas including the workplace!!

Joe Blow
1 year ago

What kind of idiots decide that insulting roughly 50% of their potential customers is a good business plan? Do they think that the woke will now spend twice as much?

Elena Tellez
1 year ago

If the original US National Anthem is not played at any sports venue, the fans, if they wish, can stand up and start singing. If I were at a game, I would, and I’m sure many, if not all, would join me.The rest of this trans-gender competition stuff is pure cow dung. We’re watching less and less sports… the leagues will be hurt by all this IMO.

1 year ago

The NFL has a commercial that they play which shows some of the things they are doing to help improve housing in minority communities. Fair enough. Except that, the commercial shows a black man standing in the middle of an underprivileged community stating “if a black person looks at a house in the wrong neighborhood they will be arrested. In the words of Uncle Joe, Cmon Man…when was the last time someone got arrested just for looking at a house, anywhere in this great country of ours. I don’t doubt it may have happened, but to imply it is standard practice is nothing up divisive and racist in and of itself.

Spade David
1 year ago

I was an NCAA College swim official for 25 years. If I had been on deck when this chap swam for the women’s team, I would have walked off the deck and not started the meet. There is absolutely no way that a male could have transitioned to a female and not won every race in a college meet posing as a woman. There is no way that I would have ever participated in a fraud that tilted the outcome of a women’s race toward a male.

Nick Granite
1 year ago

I would add the forced jabbing of athletes that at least appears to be injuring/killing a number of them, particularly soccer players. There may not be enough direct evidence for this years list as all the information we’re getting so far is “died suddenly” but keep it in mind for next year.

1 year ago

This all started in 2020 with kapernack kneeling during the US National Anthem. I haven’t watched a football game since college or nfl. As a matter of fact, I will not watch or attend any sporting event to include the Olympics. Sick of all the bs coming from all these ungrateful idiots

1 year ago

I totally stopped watching all professional sports the year after kaepernick took his knee, as a veteran I found it a disgrace to the flag and our national anthem. Do I miss professional sports yes, but I won’t honor those spoiled brats by watching their woke sports and what they stand for now.

Big Dog Louie
1 year ago

The problem is that Corporations are now run by the same kids that were brainwashed in Universities around the Country over the past 30 or more years. As more of them become corporate leaders, it will get worse. These ill-informed children will be running the entire world in the next 20 years. As Thomas Sowell said recently, and I paraphrase, I’m not sorry to be as old as I am because I thankfully won’t live long enough to see this Country become another third world nation…

1 year ago

Let all these spoiled multi millionaires buy their own protection at their events and medical services . Police stand together and not work these events . YAWN I don’t watch that garbage anymore . And people that don’t play the National Anthem get the Hell out of America .

1 year ago

When Sports stopped standing for OUR National Anthem, I stopped watching. And you know what? . . . I haven’t missed anything worth watching!

1 year ago

After 61 years as an avid football fan I have stopped watching or supporting any kind of football. The NFL is all about money and kissing up to the Networks. Unfortunately, they won’t stop placating these radical Marxist groups until they feel it in their pocketbooks.

1 year ago

I quit watching baseball in the 90’s when they went on strike and wouldn’t refund season ticket holders their money. I don’t watch any professional sports and only watch one college football team, but maybe not for long. Only democrats want to hear politics mixed into sports. If everyone would boycott these sports, they might stop this nonsense. Then there is the china element within our sports. Democrats think Americans are a worse threat to America than china. Seems like China and BLM have more power in America than Patriotic Americans. When they bark, Biden jumps.

John M
1 year ago

Personally, one good thing has come out of “Sports Wokeness”, I now have time to pursue hobbies, get outside in nature, and spend quality time with family as I no longer waste that precious time time in front of the TV watching these “woke idiots”!

1 year ago

The organization protesting Cleveland’s use of Indians as team nickname was the Ohio Chapter of the…….

American Indian Association

1 year ago

It is obvious from the lack of outrage to this hit piece that most Americans don’t buy into your idea of a woke philosophy. Can someone tell me why it is mandatory to play the national anthem at all sporting events? Since 93% of the population has done nothing to protect and defend this country, and a large conservative majority does not consider protecting its older veterans by getting a little shot either a good idea or even worth doing, playing the anthem seems to be smoke and mirrors for the right. But what the heck, if it makes you feel more patriotic without actually doing something, go ahead.

1 year ago
Reply to  Footgoo

As for the outrage, why would anybody be outraged by simple statements of facts…that is unless its someone on the left who doesn’t like facts.
And to why the national anthem is played at sporting events, the history of this can easily be found on the internet, assuming you know how to look it up. Hint, it’s not in the 1619 project.

1 year ago

I’d like to think that a view of the profit/loss statement might wake some of the team owners up but that would require them to have a modicum of intelligence. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you’re smart.

1 year ago

Lifelong baseball and football fan here, but..no more! Haven’t watched a game in 2021 (pro anyway) and don’t intend to return. The fools in charge have the right to destroy their businesses and I have the right to assist them in their efforts. Go woke, go broke.

1 year ago

This junk began to take place once the ignorant were convinced gender is the same as sex. It is not! Transgender don’t change their sex; they convince others that their delusional brain gender defines who they are.
It should be the policy of all sports venues to ignore the ‘gender’ one claims to be and simply ask them to drop their pants and let their biological sex make the determination whether they be male or female.

Matthew Florio
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane

Just wait until North Korea brings an all-trans team to the Olympics, with a roster full of “former” men who lopped it off for Dear Leader.

1 year ago

Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Africans, but White countries for EVERYBODY?
That’s Genocide!
Anti-racist is a code word for Anti-White.

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