In whatever order they appear, the winners are all losers.
With another year almost over and at a time when the old Dr. Seuss classic gets plenty of airtime, it is appropriate to look back and recognize the biggest Grinches of the sports community in 2016. These Grinches are the people and organizations that did their best to ruin the simple pleasure of being a sports fan by inserting their personal politics and political correctness into what should be a nonpartisan respite. Without further ado please see The Top Ten Grinches in the Sports World 2016:
10 – Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Evans, a wide receiver with the Bucs, was so concerned when Donald Trump won the presidential election he decided to use his position as a player to show contempt of America’s election process by taking a knee during the National Anthem prior to a Bucs game. Later, it was learned that Evans didn’t even bother to vote in the presidential election.
9 – Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General
New York’s shameless grandstanding publicity-seeking A.G. is a gem of a politician if you consider it the Attorney General’s role to use the justice system to go after people whose opinions you disagree with. Recently Schneiderman has been in the news for using his position to harass law-abiding citizens who fail to embrace his Climate Change ideology, but Schneiderman also made headlines earlier in the year for going after sports fantasy companies DraftKings and FanDuel. His primary motivation? Publicity, of course, and to shake down the companies for cash for the state coffers.
8 – The NCAA
Putting itself in the business of worrying about wedding cakes and transgender restrooms, the NCAA has appointed itself the morality police by pulling or threatening to pull major sport championships from states and cities where it doesn’t like the local laws. And guess whose politics it finds objectionable? Basically if you’re a red state the NCAA believes you’re deplorable. Someone should remind the NCAA that red states’ taxpayers also fund the colleges they represent.
7 – Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner
In Commissioner Silver’s world, the residents of North Carolina are vile human rights violators for only allowing women to use women’s public restrooms and vice versa that he has pulled the NBA All-Star game from the state as punishment. At the same time, Silver is more than happy to have the NBA play games in Red China. After all, we all know what a great human rights record China has.
6 – Joakim Noah, New York Knicks
Basketball player Joakim Noah refused to go to a team dinner because it would have involved having to break bread with West Point Cadets, saying, “I don’t understand kids killing kids around the world.” Maybe if he attended the dinner he might have learned the history of West Point and that the Cadets’ mission is to uphold and defend the Constitution, not to kill children.
5 – Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons
Every time Pistons Head Coach Stan Van Gundy opens his mouth it becomes hard to imagine why anyone would think hiring this guy would be a good idea. First, he decided to alienate at least half the Pistons fan base (such as it is), going on an epic anti-Trump tantrum after the election saying, “I don’t think anybody can deny this guy is openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic. We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus, and I have problems with thinking this is where we are as a country.” Always politically correct but rarely correct, just a few weeks later Van Gundy, in an attempt to suck up to LeBron James, opinioned that the word posse was a racist term, and he would be more careful how he used the word in the future.
4 – ESPN
From firing Curt Schilling for being offensive (in ESPN’s world anyone who is conservative is by default offensive) to awarding Caitlyn Jenner its annual Arthur Ashe Courage Award, to canceling a network event at a Trump golf course because it was attached to the name Trump, ESPN has proved time and again it would rather be political than watched. As the network is bleeding viewers and ad revenue, it has oddly pushed its sports network into blatant political sermonizing, which has left viewers with a sour taste in their mouths. Even as the network’s own ombudsman admits the network hasn’t done enough to show viewers it’s not biased, ESPN’S bigwigs and anchors just shrug. After all, political bias is the plan.
3 – Isaiah Crowell, Cincinnati Bengals
Running Back Isaiah Crowell instagramed a graphic image originally distributed by ISIS of a police officer being beheaded with a knife and the message, “They give police all types of weapons and they continually choose to kill us…#Weak.” Even more incredible is that the NFL didn’t consider this Instagram out of bounds enough to warrant a fine, suspension, or official sanction.
2 – Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Kaepernick, the winless and clueless 49ers quarterback has used his position with the 49ers to promote Cuba’s late dictator, Fidel Castro, and to lead a movement in the NFL to disgrace the National Anthem by taking a knee. It should be noted than none of the above happened during his personal time, but during work-related functions and games.
1 – Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner
Not sure where to start with Goodell who has single-handedly been responsible for a massive decline in NFL television ratings over his strange behavior. First, he declined to discipline Isaiah Crowell over inciting violence towards the police, then he decided that players taking a knee during the National Anthem at NFL games was none of the NFL’s business. If that makes you believe perhaps the NFL is just a do your own thing league when it comes to politics, it should be noted that Goodell did prevent the Dallas Cowboys from honoring the Dallas Police after five of its finest were assassinated. After the election, Goodell publicly grumbled that Trump’s election would make his life more difficult both in and out of the office.
Perhaps Goodell should step down as Commissioner and do something more to his liking, like run for Congress in whatever district is home to Berkeley, California.
Erik Drost/Flickr-Creative Commons