With this week’s Major League All Star game taking place in San Diego, it got me thinking about what really makes up an All Star. This isn’t one of those countless articles debating which players should and shouldn’t have been selected to play in this year’s game, but rather, does character count for the players and teams you root for or the politicians that you vote for?
Being a modern sports fans can be a bit exhausting, as we are asked to get emotionally involved more than previous generations. When I was a kid, you had your favorite players and teams, and if they did well on the playing field you were happy, and if they did poorly you weren’t.
Today we are asked not just to judge players by their on-field performance, we are also asked to make value judgments on players’ ethics as well. Have they ever taken steroids? Did they send out an offensive Tweet? Once video emerged in 2014 of NFL running back Ray Rice dragging his then fiancée, now wife, from an elevator after he knocked her out cold, the morality litmus test of the moment in the professional sports world became domestic violence.
For a fan, being the ethics police can be a bit confusing and conflicting. Take the New York baseball fan, for instance. The Yankees have one of the premier closers in the game in Aroldis Chapman, and the Mets have resigned former star Jose Reyes and added him to their roster. Oh, by the way, this season Chapman served a 30-game suspension for domestic violence and Reyes a 52-game suspension. In Chapman’s case the police chose not to criminally prosecute him, and with Reyes the charges were dropped when his wife refused to testify. So what is a New York baseball fan expected to do? Root against the Yankees and Mets for signing these players? Root for the teams, but not for Reyes and Chapman individually, or just root for the players and teams as normally as if nothing happened?
My guess is that the outrage for Reyes and Chapman is selective, meaning New York fans will be a lot more forgiving of Reyes and Chapmen’s alleged transgressions than non-New Yorkers, especially if they perform well. For precedence one needs to only look back at Barry Bonds, who for about a decade was easily the most hated man in baseball for his steroids usage. The exception to this rule was San Francisco, where Giants fans treated Bonds with adulation for swatting all those home runs for their team.
All this, I believe, is useful background to the 2016 Presidential election. President Obama may think so highly of Hillary Clinton that he recently said the following, “There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary.” If polling is correct, however, most Americans are saying to themselves, “There has never has been any man or woman more crooked for this office than Hillary.”
The laundry list of Hillary’s scandals is exhausting and makes Reyes, Chapman, and Bonds look like slackers in comparison: Travelgate, Whitewater, Cattlegate, The Rose Law Firm, Hillary Health Care, illegal campaign contributions, Benghazi, The Clinton Foundation, classified emails, perjury, the horrible treatment of women by her and her husband. Need I go on?
Yet, despite all this, and with the public’s general acknowledgement that she is dishonest, she is the prohibitive favorite to be the next President. Why? For this the answer is simple. Hillary is to Democratic Party members what Barry Bonds was to San Francisco Giants fans. She is their best hope to beat the opposition and then to have their way with the country. Nothing, neither logic nor common sense nor calls to a higher purpose, will persuade Democrats to abandon her on Election Day, because winning, whether in politics or sports, justifies everything.
By all means Republicans and Independents should continue to press Hillary on every ethically challenged and unlawful activity she engages in, but they shouldn’t count on it to change the polls one iota. For that, they will need to make the compelling case that based on her track record and her campaign pledges, she will be an absolute disaster as President on the issues Americans care about such as the economy, law and order, and foreign policy. If that case isn’t made persuasively we will be looking at another eight years of the Clintons in the White House. Steroids will be superfluous.
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