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.
Striking the latest blow for pregnant and “chestfeeding” men, the NCAA has mounted its righteous high horse and is pulling seven championship events from North Carolina venues. The Tar Heel State, you see, has the hateful audacity to mandate that its citizens use the public bathrooms that correspond to their biological sex. The NCAA’s decision comes on the heels of the NBA pulling its all-star game from Charlotte, and in the midst of a rolling series of small-scale (though much-hyped) national-anthem protests at NFL football games. . . .
While the NCAA — as perhaps the peak representative of progressive hypocrisy and cheap virtue signaling — is an easy target, its action raises a much more significant concern. Simply put, there are not many cultural spaces remaining where Americans can meet on more or less neutral ground — where Americans of all faiths and political beliefs can meet, unite, and share a positive communal experience. . . .