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Remember when sports were a relaxing and nonpolitical activity, and nothing could be more laid back than a softball game? The renewed calls for civility after the ghastly attack on a softball practice in Alexandria, Virginia due to political beliefs are long overdue. If you haven’t noticed lately, your local neighborhood sports venue has been turned into a theater of the politically absurd and is now lunatic central for uncivilized behavior.
Halfway across the globe in Australia after the most recent attack by Muslim radicals in London, there was an Australian World Cup qualifier between Saudi Arabia and Australia. Before the game there was a planned moment of silence to honor two Australian citizens killed in the barbaric London attack. The Saudi team refused to participate in the moment of silence, staying visibly active on the field. Later, when pressed by critics on why they were so uncivil, team officials gave a nonsensical explanation of how moments of silence weren’t part of the Arab/Saudi culture. When it was pointed out that Saudi Arabia had participated in moments of silence before, they changed their rationale and offered an apology about as sincere as a Bill Clinton promise. Along these lines, in 2015 Turkish soccer fans disrupted a moment of silence for the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris of that year.
Speaking of civility and sports closer to home, no sooner had the Golden State Warriors popped the champagne after winning the NBA title a rumor circulated that the team unanimously voted not to attend the traditional White House “meet and greet” for NBA champions. The team denied this report, but Stephen Curry, the most visible member of the team, quickly announced he wouldn’t be going. Mind you, no invitation had been sent yet, so the sad sack players were announcing in essence they weren’t going to a party they haven’t been invited to. Of course, the tradition of inviting the champion to the White House is a non-partisan event, and President Trump represents the American people in his role for this occasion. At this point, if I were the President I wouldn’t waste tax payer money on an invitation or visit from the Warriors. Instead, I’d invite a high school basketball team that would relish the honor.
Switching over to the NFL and the national sports media, this week ESPN’s Max Kellerman made the argument that the Star Spangled Banner is a controversial political statement. In defending Colin Kaepernick his logic was the NFL was at fault in the whole anthem debacle last season for playing the anthem prior to football games anyway. He called it “the NFL injecting politics by playing the national anthem and putting pressure on you to stand for it in the first place.” One hopes Kellerman was under heavy medication when he made the remark, otherwise you’re left with the conclusion he honestly believes the National Anthem is a partisan event, and if you don’t like the politics of the moment you should thumb your nose at it. Talk about lack of grace and civility on Kellerman’s part.
All this politically charged uncivilized behavior in sports is nothing more than a reflection of our times and takes us back to James Hodgkinson. Mr. Hodgkinson, who in his video ramblings sounded like an infomercial for your average progressive politician or media member, marched to a softball field with a kill list in his pocket of GOP congressmen before opening fire. Since the shooting, we had a news cycle of politicians calling for civility, but reality tells us this is too little too late. For example, are the leftist thugs that patrol college campuses in places like Berkeley, who don masks and threaten bodily harm (sometimes succeeding) whenever a conservative dares to visit or speak, are they now going to behave civilly? Or are all those millions of minds poisoned by radical Islam suddenly going to see the error of their way?
The answer, of course, is no. We are living in a different America and world than the planet we were born into. That world was troubled for sure, but this brave new world we now reside in is downright psychotic in comparison, with no signs of let up. This is the new normal.
So excuse me if, from time to time, I wax nostalgic for days not so long ago, when you could go to or participate in a sporting event to get away from it all, and not have the troubles of the world come along with you.