The Wokification of American sports is now complete. And plenty of sports fans in this country are not liking what they are hearing as MLB, NBA and the NFL prepare to launch their upcoming seasons.
The NBA has announced that a very prominent “Black Lives Matters” logo will be displayed court-side at many NBA games this year.
And now the NFL has announced that before every game played on the season’s opening weekend, the “Black National Anthem”, “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing” will be played. It has not been reported that it is replacing the National Anthem, so apparently both songs are going to be played for all sixteen games.
The NFL had the whole kneeling-for-the-national-anthem issue resurrected back in early June after Drew Brees, the popular quarterback for the New Orleans Saints made a comment during an interview. Brees drew immediate backlash for saying “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag.”
In less than 48 hours, after being deluged with fierce criticism for this statement, Brees did a complete and humiliating reversal. He issued an apology and began criticizing President Donald Trump, saying “We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform.”
Here We Go Again
The NFL had successfully navigated the anthem issue after seeing a viewership plunge in the 2017 season. Prior to San Francisco’s QB, Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling for the anthem beginning in 2017, the anthem was rarely shown on national telecasts. That was usually reserved for special games, such as the NFL’s Thanksgiving and Super Bowl broadcasts.
However, Kaepernick, and then other players around the league kneeling during the anthem became newsworthy, and so the networks began focusing attention on it. The ritual quickly became a staple of most NFL regular season broadcasts: showing the anthem and then having the cameras find the kneeling players, coaches, and in some cases, owners, as the network sportscasters discussed police brutality, white supremacy and other racial topics, often up to the game’s opening kickoff.
Many fans of the sport reacted negatively to this, and at the end of the season the NFL noticed a decline in viewers. Although there is some dispute about how much the kneeling protests affected the ratings, there’s no doubt there was an awful lot of chatter from fans about this new trend, and it was almost all negative.
The solution that the NFL worked out with the broadcast networks for the 2019 season was to simply go back to what had been the standard operating procedure before all this started: The players having the choice to stay in the locker room while the anthem was played, and the network’s cameras skipping the anthem altogether. The broadcast audience never saw anyone kneeling on the sidelines, so out of sight, out of mind.
With the kneeling and the political lectures excised from the national broadcasts, the ratings for the NFL games ticked back upwards during the 2019 season and it looked like the league had learned a valuable lesson: stick to sports.
And then one comment from Drew Brees brought all this roaring back to the forefront.
How Sports Are Covered Has Changed Dramatically – And Often Not for The Better
I’ve been a frequent consumer of sports programming for the past 40+ years, ever since I was first enthralled by an NFL playoff game in 1979 between the Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons.
That was followed in 1983 by the excitement of watching the Houston Cougars advance to NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game only to lose at literally the last second on an ally-oop dunk at the buzzer.
I started watching the NBA in 1985 with the advent of Michael Jordan, and continued into the era of Kobe, Shaq, and Tim Duncan.
I am far from the only sports fan that has noticed that the nature of sports broadcasting has changed dramatically in just the last few years. It has become incessant political lecturing briefly interrupted by sporting events.
This is not an accident. Sports reporters and sports broadcasters know they are viewed by 'real' news reporters as junior league, as those not quite good enough to write about 'real news' and so relegated to covering adults playing kid's games.
Sports reporting is full of people yearning for deeper meaning than merely trying to come up with dramatic copy to be published in some magazine or newspaper about an easily forgettable NBA/NFL/MLB/NHL game where the Bucks beat the Goats. They want to write about something that matters.
Sports and culture are intertwined, and so this avenue is used by many a sports reporter looking for deeper meaning behind the game’s athletes play, the fans who watch and celebrate the play. When done right, yes, this kind of sports coverage can be fascinating.
Ken Burns did it right with his multi-part documentary on the history of Baseball. THAT was how you look deeper behind a sport, the games that are played, the people who play them and watch them and how they affect and show the changes in a culture around it.
But what Ken Burns and other real documentarians and sports reporters with talent could do going beyond the mere games, a whole host of chattering heads on our TV's and in our sports magazines these days don't even get within yodeling distance of doing.
What we get today is rote thoughtless racial talking points babbled by people with the intellectual depth and penetrating insight of a murky unflushed toilet.
The Worst Sports Year EVER
America is about to have to endure one of the WORST sports years in its history as an entire babbling class of sports reporters, broadcasters, players, owners and celebrity fans spend the rest of this year pontificating about racism to the rest of us.
There shall be no escape except to tune it all out. NFL, NBA, MLB, CFB, NHL, NASCAR, MMA, Boxing, Tennis, every single league, and the corporations that sponsor them is out to prove to the fans how 'woke' they are about America's systemic racism.
Woke political activists hectoring the country about their wokeness noticed long ago that normal sane people had an avenue of retreat from the public square where social justice warriors could often not follow them: the sports world.
This grieved the fanatical social justice warriors very grievously. They became determined to change this! And now they have! The sports world has now been completely penetrated and saturated with woke cultural politics.
Right now these fanatics that won’t shut up and won’t change the subject are telling themselves they've won, they cracked the sports code, now all those multitudes of politically disinterested slimy racist sports fans who've been avoiding the necessary woke hectoring about racism are a captive audience! There is nowhere else for them to retreat to!
Well, here's where the social justice warriors and their new corporate sports league sponsors and enablers have made a huge mistake.
You see, that audience of sports fans isn’t really being held captive. The woke brigade is going to begin finding this out in late July and August.
The Fans Are Going to Revolt
Fans are going to quit watching in droves. Viewership numbers and attendance are going to plummet like nothing these leagues have ever seen before. Of course, they’re going to tell themselves at first the COVID virus and social distancing are to blame.
But the ratings will show the truth. People will refuse to watch sports broadcasts that always start with kneeling during the national anthem and then announcers disguising a political lecture as sports coverage. I have been an NFL fan since 1979 and I'm finally out. So are millions of others.
Watch how long the feel-good virtue signaling and audience hectoring last when the networks, the sports leagues, and the owners see the plummeting ratings, the sale of team merchandise nose-diving, tickets piling up in the box offices.
This sports year is pretty much lost. But hopefully, by Fall 2021 enough of these leagues will have changed course as a matter of economic survival as they try to woo back all the fans they lost as a result of their woke shenanigans.
Brian Cates entered the political arena in March 2012, following the death of Andrew Breitbart. He is currently a political columnist for The Epoch Times and UncoverDC. Brian is based in South Texas and is the author of: “Nobody Asked For My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!”