I am writing in response to a recent column in the Bristol Herald Courier by Mike Pace, “Football games, protest, don’t mix.” I heartily agree with his comments, and am currently not watching televised NFL games.
There are other sports columnists who agree that sports once unifying and inspiring have become divisive. Jason Whitlock, TV and radio host, writes “The entire American sports world — a culture that traditionally celebrates victors, meritocracy, colorblindness, and patriotism has suddenly immersed itself in black victimization and left-wing radicalism.” This is damaging American culture, and undermines national pride.
Alejandro Villanueva, a Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle, Army Ranger Bronze Star recipient, writes of players national anthem protests, “I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, providing you $16 million a year when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for less than $20,000 a year.”
Fans are voicing protest with their TV remotes, giving the televised NFL and NBA games disturbingly low TV ratings. By not watching, sports fans object to politics infecting sports — whether they agree with the sentiments or not, they just want to enjoy a game without being lectured. This includes social logos on playing fields and player jerseys, and woke multi-millionaire players lecturing us on social justice issues.
As a fan, I hope feckless leadership in the NFL and NBA will take steps to returning American sports to what it has been in the past, a force for unity, and a model of a diverse and colorblind meritocracy.
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