In our polarized society, there are few safe topics when you strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know. Politics is likely to provoke an argument instead of small talk; music and TV are now targeted to narrow niches; and religion makes people feel uncomfortable. But there is always sports! You can talk about how the local or nearby team is doing, and liberals and conservatives and evangelicals and nones are on the same page. Even sports rivalries are generally good natured, and trash talk is usually good-humored.
But now, sports as a common, unifying social space is being politicized. Singing the national anthem at the beginning of each game–which unites both teams and all fans under a common flag–has become an occasion for political controversy, what with Colin Kaepernick protesting America by refusing to take part, a protest spreading throughout the NFL and that will be taken up in the NBA.
The NCAA has moved seven championship events from North Carolina because of that state’s law requiring that public restrooms be segregated according to biological sex. Such activism should surprise no one, since the NCAA is a creation of the same university administrators who have turned campuses into leftwing propaganda spaces. College sports are their way to build enthusiastic support for their schools while distracting fans from what is happening in the classrooms and in the residence halls. But once campus radicalism moves out of the classrooms onto the playing fields, as is starting to happen, the taxpayers who support public universities might start asking questions.
David French, excerpted and linked after the jump, discusses these issues, saying that “progressives are weaponizing sports.”
But we can still talk about the weather. As long as the conversation steers clear of climate change. [Read more…]