by Stephen Moore
There’s a famous Woody Allen joke: “Those who can’t do teach, and those who can’t teach teach gym.”
Well, here’s a modernized version of that old saw: Those who can’t do write, and those who can’t write write about sports.
One of the most amazing revelations about the shameful and unpatriotic antics of NFL players who are taking the knee (or even lying on the ground stretching) during the national anthem has been the near-universal approval by sports journalists. The left has infiltrated the locker room, and sports commentators now all think they are social reformers and muckrakers.
Exhibit A is the recent Sports Illustrated cover story “A Nation Divided, Sports United,” which glorified the insulting behavior of the NFL players and their blatant disrespect to those millions of heroes — black and white — who have served our country in the military. Apparently, Colin Kaepernick and his fellow kneelers are modern-day Jackie Robinsons.
The issue is a celebration of professional athletes who insult the fans who pay their munificent salaries. The tone of nearly the entire issue, as stated in its first story: “Stick to sports? Not possible when the passions stoked by protests and the president threaten to subsume the games themselves.”
It is the protesters, not Donald Trump, who stoked these fires months ago, and it’s the acts of protest that are subsuming the games.
This is nothing new from Sports Illustrated. Nearly every issue since November 2016 has taken gratuitous shots at Donald Trump.
Even worse has been the swift decline into the liberal sewer of the USA Today sports page. Once upon a time, you had to get USA Today for the sports section. Now the sports page barely has room to give you sports news — you know, box scores or game summaries — because the editors have to make room for left-wing social commentary.
The two lead features writers are Nancy Armour and Christine Brennan. Armour regularly writes about the sins of capitalism and how it is “intertwined with racism.” She recently excoriated Tom Brady, sermonizing that he “no longer gets a pass on his friendship with Donald Trump.” Why? Because, Armour tells us, “the country is boiling over in rage and indignation at Trump’s decision to turn America’s back on refugees.”
Actually, I don’t remember the country boiling over in rage. But this is a woman who tells us that the Trump campaign was “steeped in racism, bigotry, and misogyny.” We get it, Armour: You don’t like Donald Trump. But the election is over. Your candidate lost. Get over it.
What does any of this have to do with sports, for goodness’ sakes? These opinions belong on the op-ed page, not the sports page.
This is the ruination of sports entertainment. Sports offer an escape, a respite from the politics and problems of the world. I think I speak for millions of sports fans: I don’t want to turn to the sports page and get lectured about race relations. And I don’t care about Brittney Griner’s sexual orientation or with whom she’s sleeping. I just want to find out if the Cubs won last night. I guess that makes me a bigot.
If Sports Illustrated, ESPN and NFL linebackers want to protest what an unjust and sexist society America is, they have every right to go to the public square and express themselves until the cows come home. All we can do as fans is exercise our freedom to turn them off — as millions of Americans are doing. After 40 years, I finally canceled my subscription to Sports Illustrated.
If someone starts a politics-free sports magazine — that entertains and informs us about, well, sports — it will make millions of dollars.