The left is “weaponizing” sports

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…]

Why Tim Tebow is good for baseball

Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets.  Much of the baseball world is skeptical and derisive. But Joel Sherman compares Tebow’s baseball dreams with those of Michael Jordan, who also, after his basketball super-career, tried to make it in baseball. [Read more…]

Did Rio cops distort the Lochte robbery story?

An investigation by USA Today says that there is more to the Ryan Lochte/US swim team robbery story than the Rio police have said.  Reportedly, a uniformed security guard did point a gun and demand money.  In his mind, he was telling the swimmers to pay for vandalism they committed.  In Lochte’s mind, the swimmers were being robbed.  That communication confusing came from neither side understanding each other’s language.

Read the USA Today story after the jump. [Read more…]

Swimmers go from honor to dishonor

Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte and three other members of the U.S. swim team lied about being held up at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro.  Two of the swimmers reportedly admitted the fabrication.

What malice.  What a black eye for the American team, which is dominating the medal count.  What a black eye for America, as the foreign stereotypes about arrogant, disrespectful, unprincipled Americans are seemingly confirmed.

UPDATE:  Lochte apologizes.  His endorsement deals are in jeopardy.  Go here for more details.

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“Chariots of Fire” and the vocation of athletics

A rabbi writing in the Wall Street Journal offers reflections on Chariots of Fire, the 1981 movie about Olympic runners Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams.  The movie, of course, is about athletics as VOCATION.

Read an excerpt from the column after the jump, whereupon I offer some reflections about it, including the difference between Liddell’s Calvinist understanding of the vocation of an athlete and what a Lutheran view would add.

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St. Sebastian, patron saint of athletes and of Rio

You don’t have to believe in the Roman Catholic cult of the saints to find it interesting that St. Sebastian–the one who was shot through with arrows–is the patron saint of athletes.  Also of this year’s Olympics host city Rio de Janeiro.  What is the connection?  Find out after the jump.

Luther said that we should not pray to the saints, but that we can learn from their example.  Note what we can learn about athletics from St. Sebastian. [Read more…]