Posted by Brother Bob on 2 May, 2017 at 6:47 pm. 6 comments already!


After enjoying the three day festival known as the NFL Draft, as well as the excellent picks made by my beloved Philadelphia Eagles, this seemed like a great time to weigh in on a few sports-related topics.

The Conservasphere has been having a blast dancing on the soon-to be grave of ESPN. After a few years of increasingly obnoxious radical left wing politics being forced on its viewers, as opposed to sports reporting, ESPN is in an economic death spiral. The Nation’s resident sports scold, David Zirin, dropped a surprisingly coherent summary:

As Ley and others have explained, these layoffs are about the staggering multi-billion dollar price tags that sports networks are paying for the rights fees to broadcast games because live sports are the last shows that people are willing to sit through commercials to watch. They are also related to changing viewing habits that has more people “cutting the cord” of cable and the high costs of having ESPN as part of our cable packages.

But naturally Zirin couldn’t just give us a smart take before going full idiot:

If you see any article that tries to blame ESPN’s economic struggles on the “liberal” tilt of the network, use those to line your birdcage. First, it’s not true. Second, it seems to be a reaction to the fact that ESPN actually has a laudable commitment to diversity and putting women, black people, and people of color in a position to actually talk about sports. This sends the alt-right sewers of the Internet and their minions at publications like the National Review into fits of hysterics. It’s an unserious argument made by unserious people.

Yep, the ink was barely dry on a fair point when Zirin had to fall back to that tired Leftist cry of racism. If you want a really good analysis of ESPN’s downfall, head over to The Federalist for Sean Davis’ story.

I’m right there alongside the many who’ve gotten tired of ESPN. After their heyday of the 90s ESPN started becoming unwatchable in the early 2000s. There wasn’t a 15 minute interval that could pass without either some Sportscaster host belting out his catchphrase, one of those awful sponsored segments (remember those “Here’s to football” Coors Light segments?), or two random guys screaming at each other trying to mimic the two idiots who started it all, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon on “Pardon the Interruption”. I slowly watched ESPN less and less until we finally decided to cut the cord. Shortly before we did (although this did not influence or decision), ESPN hit a low point for me in September of 2014.

For some backdrop, my favorite day of the football season is opening day – the optimism, the return of football, the unofficial start of fall. On this day the Eagles would storm back from a 21-0 first half shutout to beat the Jaguars. Even better, our division rivals Giant and Redskins lost, and our most hated rivals, the Dallas Cowboys lost to the SF 49ers in a three-interception game by their Quarterback Tony Romo. I hadn’t looked forward to the following day’s Sportscenter like this in a while. Instead of the football bonanza, the hour of programming was dominated by… the domestic abuse story concerning Ravens running back Ray Rice. So instead of enjoying football highlights half of the episode featured some of ESPN’s personalities in a round table with some feminists lecturing us on violence in sports.  Not that the Rice story should have been ignored – it absolutely deserved reporting, but not a 30 minute screed that was guaranteed to appeal to absolutely nobody who is tuning in to catch sports highlights. Sound familiar?

To Zirin’s credit, he did briefly lament at the top of his post that the people being laid off are journalists, not the on air personalities before becoming your typical leftist tirade. The smarter analysis came from the close of Davis’ post, which sadly I doubt ESPN will follow:

“The most interesting aspect of the mass layoffs on Wednesday isn’t that they happened, it’s who the network targeted. Not the high-priced carnival barkers and the know-nothing loudmouths doing their best to make Rachel Maddow proud. Nope. ESPN targeted sports reporters. In an effort to cut some fat from its bottom line, ESPN exchanged a scalpel for a chainsaw, skipped the fat entirely, and went straight to cutting out muscle.

If ESPN wants to once again be the worldwide leader in sports, it should refocus on covering sports, which used to be a refuge from politics and the news.”

On to the next topic, we stay with Zirin. who back in March was calling for the players to go on strike and not play in the Final Four games of the tournament:

In 2016, ESPN college basketball broadcaster and longtime NCAA critic Jay Bilas dropped a bomb on a March Madness telecast when he said:

I think it’s almost offensive for those that are paid and making millions to tell those that are unpaid and the engine generating millions that they are blessed is equally laughable and kinda sad. Because [a boycott of the Final Four] has been discussed among players.

If this sounds vaguely familiar to regular readers it’s because I addressed this same issue two years ago when Zirin made a similar demand of Duke’s Coach K. drop everything, turn his back on his team and carry the flag for the Radical Left’s outrage of the day. But regarding players unionizing, I came out in full support of this idea two years ago, If college athletes were to unionize I think they would get more of a practical education than anything they could possibly learn in those re-education camps passing for classrooms. As proof of the power of athletes Zirin cites the “success” of the University of Missouri’s football team:

Anyone who doubts the economic power of young athletes need only look back to 2015 when Mizzou’s football team refused to play in protest of the school administration’s inaction in the face of on-campus racism. The university faced a $1 million fine and the president was gone within a week.

Some triumph. As I pointed out when this went down, in the era of online profiles every member of the football team is going to have a hard time finding work after graduation. And after my post went up Missouri became even more of a racial SJW hornet’s nest, and as a result enrollment has plummeted while alumni donations shriveled. The beauty of being a Leftist is not giving a damn about who gets hurt by your ideas!

How about Colin Kaepernick? Last year I threw in my two cents on how the Radical Left praised his kneeling during the National Anthem, while ignoring a retired NFL player of far greater character. Apparently now Kaep is out of work not because of his actions but because of a conspiracy against the former 49ers quarterback! According to WaPo’s Kevin Blackstone:

What I can believe is that the NFL’s coldness toward Kaepernick is not accidental or rooted in analytics, advanced or otherwise. It may not have come down directly from commissioner Roger Goodell’s office, or up from the owners. But there is a tacit support given that Goodell verbally welcomed Michael Sam as the league’s first openly gay draft prospect after Sam revealed his sexuality, which was followed by the Rams choosing him and the Cowboys giving him another look after he was cut by the Rams. Goodell even pointed out that the league had “ . . . a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. We will have further training and make sure that everyone understands our commitment. We truly believe in diversity and this is an opportunity to demonstrate it.”

But the NFL doesn’t have a rule like the NBA’s H-2 under Player/Team Conduct and Dress that demands: “Players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem.” As a result, a stiff arm in free agency was the only punishment for Kaepernick available to the NFL for his remonstration during its game’s manufactured opening.

I won’t go into Blackstone conveniently distorted Kaep’s on-field shortcomings, but as I’ve pointed out in a number of different situations: While discrimination for a number of factors is illegal, “a**hole” is still not a protected class. And since Blackstone brought up Michael Sam, let’s close with a look at the timeline of his story and how it ended:

•December 2013 – Sam wins SEC Defensive Player of the Year. This is a great accomplishment, but nothing that guarantees success in the NFL

•February 2014 – Sam comes out as openly gay. I applauded this for a different reason than the Sports Media – at least Sam waited until after his team had played its bowl game so as not to be a distraction and take all of the attention from is teammates.

•Spring, 2014 – Reporters want to follow around Sam and make an even bigger circus of him. He declines, saying that he wanted the focus to be on his play. Again, I agree with his move

•May 10, 2014 – Sam is drafted by the St. Louis Rams with the seventh to last pick (out of 256 players), as the media scolds that his coming out made his draft stock slip. While I agree that coming out probably had a small impact, his play was mostly responsible. Yep, I weighed in on this one, too

•And when Sam was picked, he celebrated by kissing his boyfriend on camera. Naturally, the media squealed excitedly over this and all of the bigots who would disapprove. For those of you who never watch the draft, sometime a girlfriend is with the player and an onscreen kiss is rarely the immediate reaction. Think about this – how many college relationships are so serious that at the biggest moment of your career the first person next to you is your girlfriend and not your family? And 7th round picks are never surrounded by press when their name comes up. So now I dislike Sam

•May 14, 2014 – Sam announces a reality show agreement with Oprah. Now I’m really questioning his commitment to football and wonder if his soon to be employers were aware of this.

•May 16, 2014 – Show is canned. Sanity prevails, as Sam realizes he’s a long shot and turning training camp into his personal freak show might not help him make the team.

•August 23, 2014 – In the Rams’ third preseason game, Sam sacks Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel and taunts by celebrating with Manziel’s “Money” hand sign. And for the moment I liked Sam again. On a side note, Johnny Manziel was the up and coming talented head case QB coming out of Texas A&M. And because he had gotten in so much trouble off the field, Manziel and Sam seemed to make up the vast bulk of the stories regarding the draft. This annoyed me to no end, as I wanted to hear more about players would have an impact, as opposed to two who I predicted would both be out of the league in four years. I’m rarely right on sports predictions, so forgive me for blowing my own horn here. The only part I got wrong was both of them being gone in four years – it happened in two. But for the moment, taunting an idiot made me like Sam again.

•August 30, 2014 – Sam makes it to the final round of cuts, but is released by the Rams

•September 3, 2014 – Sam is signed by the Dallas Cowboys to their practice squad. Now I’m REALLY rooting for Sam, since we now know that he isn’t good enough to play in the NFL, and if a hated rival wants to waste a roster spot (albeit practice squad) on a publicity stunt diversity hire, more power to them!

•October 21, 2014 – The Cowboys waive Sam, ending his NFL career.

•May 22, 2015 – Sam signs a 2 year deal with the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Allouettes, beginning this series of bizarre events, via Wikipedia:

On June 12, a day before the Alouettes’ first preseason game, Sam was granted permission to leave camp for “personal reasons” to return to home to Texas, and was placed on the suspended list. The specific reason for his departure has not been publicized. On June 26, the team announced that Sam had returned to Montreal and would resume practicing with the team on June 30. After sitting out the team’s first five games, he made his CFL debut on August 7, 2015, against the Ottawa Redblacks, and became the first publicly gay player to play in a CFL regular season game. He did not record a tackle in the game. Sam missed the next game after the team reported he had a sore back. He left the team the following day, citing concerns with his mental health after a 12-month stretch which he described as “difficult”. Montreal again placed him on their suspended list. After leaving Montreal, Sam told radio host Dan Patrick on his show that he never wanted to play in the CFL to begin with. “It was a really last call to go to the CFL. I never really wanted to go to the CFL, but I did and I committed to going”

The moral of the story? Openly gay athletes are obviously head cases and make terrible teammates at the pro level!
Ha ha! I’m kidding, of course. As for my personal view on  the subject, I’ll leave you with how I closed my post on Sam a few years ago:

Back to Zirin’s column, and he couldn’t hide his annoyance that most conservatives’ interest in Sam was not for reasons that someone like Zirin deemed proper:

The New Republic’s Cohn even put out a plaintive tweet asking people on the right, “What do conservatives & Republicans think about a gay player in the NFL? Honest question, hoping for positive answers.” He did receive a curt tweet or two in response, mostly of the, “I don’t care as long as he can play football” variety.

Imagine that. Judging a man based on the worth of his word and his actions that back them up, rather than on his race, gender, or sexuality – what a novel idea. Who knows? If Sam has an outstanding career maybe the left in this country will learn to look past their own bigotry and celebrate Sam as a great player rather than have to label him a great gay football player.

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Cross posted from Brother Blog’s Blog

Image at the top of the post appears via The Peoples Cube

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