Before I say anything, I want to make something clear.
Politics are important.
Politics are a facet of everyday life that should be in every American’s thoughts. It is what shapes the lives of our citizens, what has made the American infrastructure, and has a lot to do with everything good and bad about the country. They are necessary.
With that being said, things are a little bit different when it comes to the world of sports. The world of sports is a reality of its own. It is where dreams are made and where imaginations fly. Where kids become legends and where the average joe can find a sense of family among other like-minded individuals.
When a person becomes a fan of a team, it has nothing to do with the political affiliation of the members of that team. It doesn’t have anything to do with the personal opinions of the players or coaches of that team on matters like national security, healthcare, or climate change. It is because of how the players and coaches on that team perform. Because of their tempo, their style, and their abilities.
Along with sports, come announcers, broadcasters, and reporters. Many sports fans, including myself, like to follow these sport celebrities on social media and watch them on TV to get their takes on breaking news. However, we do not follow them because of their stances on political matters.
When you go to a sports analysts twitter and it is full of hot takes such as this one..
It can be pretty aggravating.
This is not because these people should not have voices, they are American citizens of course. It is simply because that is not what their platform was made for. As a sports writer, your following does not grow so that you can spew political takes whenever you want, those followers want sports and nothing but sports.
For example, Michelle Beadle of ESPN recently tweeted this:
I won't 'stick to sports.' I live here. I pay taxes here. I'm an American in the eyes of the world, and that used to be a good thing.
— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) January 29, 2017
The issue with this statement is not in that freedom of speech does not apply to Beadle, it obviously does. The problem with this statement is that the approximately 1,300,000 who follow her on Twitter, do not follow her because of her knowledge of American politics. They follow her because of her knowledge of sports.
And it’s not just reporters.
“If we’re trying to combat terrorism by banishing people from coming to this country by really going against the principles that this country is about and creating fear, it’s the wrong way to go about it.” -Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors Head Coach
With a quote like this, you’d think it was coming from a reporter from a political source or possibly even someone who holds a public office. No, this quote was from a press conference with the coach of the Golden State Warriors and former player, Steve Kerr.
Frankly put, that’s not what these people are getting paid hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of dollars to talk about. The media doesn’t pay attention to what doctors or bankers think about elections and it should be no different for those in the sports world, considering neither has a line of work that has anything to do with politics.
“Either you can do it or you can’t do it—you can’t bullshit. Ultimately, sports are just about as close to what one would call the truth as it is possible to get in this world.” -Harry Crews
And that is why you can’t mix politics with sports. People look to sports to give them solace in troubling times. Sports teams give people hope when they may not be able to find it in the rest of their lives. Don’t mix that up with political stances that based off of personal opinions. Leave sports pure and factual.