If you are one of the few remaining that are watching professional sports these days and haven’t been turned off by their misguided protests, statements, blatant disrespect, and hyperbole, then you will no doubt remember 2020 forever. I will admit I’m still watching baseball because I just need something that isn’t “end of the world” on my television to keep me sane.
Cardboard fans, virtual fans, fake crowd noise, socially distanced bench areas and dugouts are all just a few of the oddities of the game these days, coupled with political unrest and it’s just organized chaos. I guarantee we will look back and 2020 and shake our heads wondering just what in the world we were thinking. For there is no more a hypocritical example of leadership than what we have seen in the last several months from professional athletes, organized sports bodies and the governments that control them. There is plenty more to say about that but I think about Major League Baseball last week and many games being “protested” by players due to racial injustice after an officer-involved shooting in which they automatically side with the alleged criminal, and not the officer working the toughest job on the planet. Forget taking sides at all, I, like most fans wish they would simply understand the facts, they refuse.
I championed a return to the games back in May, hoping that a welcomed distraction of pro sports would give us something to cheer for, instead of always against. The first few months of the return of basketball and baseball proved I was wrong; I will wear that mistake all day. Maybe I was just naïve, remembering when athletes used their performances on the field and courts to unite communities, not their social media timelines and staged protests to divide them further. All the while cashing million-dollar checks and increasing Instagram followers.
The NBA is a prime example, as “activists” like Lebron James are using 2020’s events as a soapbox for human rights, meanwhile he endorses Nike who makes 78% of their shoes in Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Thailand in factories that have been criticized for hiring underage workers, paying subsistence wages, hiring abusive managers and exposing employees to dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals. But, by all means let’s make him the poster-child for human rights.
Nothing says racial injustice in America like Dominican-born baseball players, rescued from the slums of their third-world country, refusing to play last week in several MLB cities. How quickly have they forgotten the lengths this country has gone to allow foreign-born players to play in our nation while being paid handsomely to do so. Latino players represent nearly 28% of all Major Leaguers, the second- highest demographic behind American-born white players in MLB. Let us not forget this as well, the so-called oppressive, unfair, and unjust federal government issued MLB an antitrust exemption to simply exist. Without that major pro sports leagues would be subject to the Sherman Antitrust Act and the power of the MLB owners to control things like league expansion, team relocation and a variety of other antitrust issues would go away. Congress holds the ability to remove that exemption whenever they feel like it, in any other year I would suggest they reconsider that, but given the makeup of Congress for now, it’s a non-starter.
It’s not just pro sports that are rife with hypocrisy this year. In California we are not “allowed” to have organized games, but yet thousands of California kids make the trek to states like Utah on a monthly basis to play club level sports and tournaments. Funny how that is not leading to a reported rise in COVID-19 cases in Utah, maybe they are labeling them “protests” which makes them immune from coronavirus, that seems to be working in Portland, Kenosha and Sacramento. It is scientifically baffling that we are being told it is unsafe for sports in California, but other states are moving along as close to normal as possible. Something, or better yet, someone is being played in the Golden State, and I am not talking about an athletic contest.
But that’s 2020 for you, a perfect combination of a science fiction, science fallacies, political ignorance, and the perfect storm to eliminate competitive sports as we know it because heaven forbid someone win and someone lose. In 2020, we are all losing, we’ll remember that forever.
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