Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-Politics in sports?

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The U.S. Women’s National Team has been making headlines recently for victories as a team, and as individuals for political statements.

Last week, the team won their second back-to-back World Cup. Shortly after the game, player Allie Long was seen dropping an American flag during the post-game celebration. Her teammate Kelley O’Hara recognized the significance of a flag being dropped on the ground, and immediately scooped it up.

One report from The Daily Wire explained that Long dropped the flag to participate in a celebratory dance with teammate Megan Rapinoe. But the video quickly went viral and comments poured in criticizing Long for her carelessness and thanking O’Hara for stepping in.

It’s very possible that Long meant no disrespect, but just got caught up in the moment and didn’t know that an American flag is NEVER supposed to touch the ground. Nonetheless, millions of viewers were not happy.

If you watch the video, it doesn’t appear that Long is trying to make any sort of political statement by dropping the flag. However teammate Megan Rapinoe has CERTAINLY been making headlines recently for her statements.

Megan Rapinoe (far right) is a great soccer player, but her political statements anger some. Credit: The New York Times

Although Rapinoe is mainly known for being a phenomenal soccer player (she won both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards this year), her progressive ideals have, let’s just say…raised eyebrows. Rapinoe is very outspoken about her homosexuality and dislike of President Donald Trump.  She has followed the example of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick by refusing to sing or put her hand over her heart during the National Anthem. The pose she makes after scoring a goal of standing with her arms outstretched is supposed to be a symbol of fighting for equal pay, race relations and issues at the United States/Mexican border.

For years athletes have used the attention given them for their athletic success as a means to shed light on their social platforms. There’s nothing wrong with that if they’re promoting awareness for a disease or a foundation that supports children with special needs. But should we as a society draw a line when it comes to political issues?

Some would say there’s no problem- depending on what they do to make the statement. Certainly being a famous athlete gives one more media attention than the average person. Like I mentioned in my last column post, there’s no difference in an athlete and an actor or actress, and they supply their endorsement all the time!

When Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during the National Anthem in 2016, many Americans were outraged. Not necessarily because of his protest of police brutality, but because he chose to do so in a way that many Americans found disrespectful to those who have served in the military. I was, and still am, one of those people. In my opinion Kaepernick and now Rapinoe are missing the mark. Kneeling or not showing respect during the National Anthem is to turn a blind eye to those who have sacrificed everything to give you the freedom to play your sport. It doesn’t have anything to do with first responders.

Nowadays there’s a gray area between sports segments and political talk shows. The two intersect on a daily basis. Just the other day on our live sports show, Instant Replay, my co-host Dave Garner and I had an entire segment dedicated to Nike’s decision to pull the sneakers with a design of the American flag sewn by Betsy Ross on the back. This decision was made after Kaepernick insisted that the flag had a racial history.

I thought Colin Kaepernick was out of the spotlight, but he found a way back in.

I suppose the whole reason this gray area exists is because of the technological advancements of the media. Celebrities who want use their status as a means to promote a certain viewpoint can do so more quickly because of how easy it is to post to Twitter. And in a society that demands news at every moment, something has to take up time in a sports show!

So back to the original question- should there be a line, and if so, where?

Here’s my opinion- sports is sports and politics is politics. Part of the reason I watch a football game or a baseball game is because I want to watch a football game or a baseball game. We are living in a time where politics are more divisive than ever before. One reasons sports are as big as they are today is because of the communities they create. Why should we mix something that causes so many problems to interfere with something that is supposed to help solve them?

When I turn on ESPN, I don’t want to listen to people debate over what is considered disrespectful to the National Anthem. And the next time I watch Fox News, I DARN sure don’t want to hear the name Colin Kaepernick.

Author

Who should Get The Respect?

Opinion

Who Should Get the Respect?

Just what is it with this tawdry business of the NFL players not paying due respect to America’s precious emblems, especially our flag and National Anthem? It might have all started with that former German NFL Quarterback who looks like a burned tumbleweed, but it didn’t. He was the flash point for another Leftist attack on American men, part of the Left’s campaign to feminize American men by attacking the NFL from a direction other than the notion about dangerous concussions and lifelong injuries to athletes doing their jobs. What is shocking is the NFL’s jumping in to help with their own destruction.

Actually, when I first saw Kaepernick (that’s German, isn’t it?) kneeling two seasons ago during the singing of the National Anthem I thought at first he would be in big trouble for praying. It impressed me that he was humbling himself before God for his good fortune of being born an American, raised by a loving family and accepted into the ranks of America’s greatest spectacle of sports, NFL football, as a highly paid performer. I thought he would be crushed like they crushed Tim Tebow when he acknowledged his adulation to a higher power for his skills.

Then he spoke. Oh, no, he knelt because of some conceived idea about how bad blacks were still being treated by the racists police in American, wantonly killing them as they pleased and keeping them from advancement and achieving the American dream. Where did that crap come from? He makes a higher income in one game then I will in the remainder of my lifetime.

Then we learned he has a new girlfriend, in New York City, who is not only a striking beauty and a newscaster, but a Muslim as well. Now the plot thickens. Not only have the feminists found a way into neutering machismo American men (concussions), but now it appears the verbal Jihadists are in the game as well. What a surprise.

The law of unintended consequences once again revealed itself. Somehow, the leaders of the NFL thought it important enough to involve the entire NFL enterprise, every team, staff member and player, in the controversy. The Pittsburgh Steelers got top billing not only because their underprivileged head coach, an American of African descent as well as a Clinton donor and fundraiser, Mike Tomlin, counseled that the entire team should stay in barracks until the completion of the National Anthem. But, he got pissed that one player, Alejandro Villanueva, disobeyed and did present himself in public showing respect for America. No matter Villanueva was a West Point grad and a decorated Ranger trained Captain of Infantry with combat experience, he disrespected his team mates. But, did he? No, he disrespected the stupid idea that they were better than the country they lived in and the warriors that make it happen.

So, was it Donald Trump’s emotional outburst that precipitated the whole NFL orgy of self-gratification, or a media excuse to find another way to denounce their hated Trump? When I heard the comment, “sons of bitches’, I wasn’t offended or even shocked. He took the words right out of my mouth. I knew his comment was general and not directed at any individual. I was proud that my non politically correct president is still telling it like it is.

Apart from team Steelers and its management looking like the complete fools they are, the sales of Villanueva’s Jersey’s shot through the roof. Don’t you just love free enterprise! My views here are not conflicted at all. That team should have been on the field and, instead of taking the knee in prayer, each individual member should have been given the option of staying inside their safe space until the anthem was over or, remaining on the field and rendering the respect due.

The disrespect shown by decisions of the NFL, some individual team owners and coaches to our selfless warriors, police and first responders, is incomprehensible especially as the arrest rate of black NFL players has risen to nearly one a week. That’s a cultural problem.

I wonder how many actual veterans there are within the ranks of the NFL, blacks and whites. Who should get respect? Who earns it? Players who beat up their wives and girl friends, shoot up nightclubs and do drugs, or the lowly paid Infantry slug just returned from a combat tour?

America is filled with people possessing different notions of what constitutes the good life. Is it bravery, heroism and duty while proudly wearing the government’s uniform, or reaping in big salaries for being good at a sport? NFL players are in it for the money. No problem. There is no other reason for facing crushing injuries once a week for three months a year, other than getting paid big bucks for it. I got it! If a man can make a good living playing football because he’s fast and agile, can catch balls and tackle runners, then he surely earns his rewards. But, do not disrespect the soldier or policeman. That’s an attitude problem.

Unlike the combat soldier who goes into battle, whose financial rewards are minuscule but include the 50-50 chance of permanent injury or death, with a small insurance stipend waiting,  the NFL football player can look forward to the big payoffs, homes, flash cars and liquid screen TV’s for their mama’s.

If the NFL thinks they’ve won some battle because Trump called them SOB’s, they are sorely mistaken. Americans are fed up with this Leftist social engineering crap, and, to now infect the NFL with it because of political correctness, is to doom it to an oblivion faster than the Grand Old Party will get there.

Pro football is an entertainment. People pay for entertainment. People will learn quickly enough  to do without it because every community has peewee, Junior and Senior High School league football where their attention to mayhem can be directed, and their devotion to bravery and personal achievement can still be realized.

Somebody out there had better make a decision and soon. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.

Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (26Sep17)

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