My friends are upset with me because I won’t watch or support professional sports anymore. They challenge my reasoning on the basis that I should honor “the game” and overlook the politics that has been injected into the professional sports experience.
I could do that, but I won’t be bullied. Let me explain …
I have been a diehard Padres fan for 42 years. When I moved to San Diego in 1977 I renounced the Los Angeles Dodgers. I grew up as a member of the Dodger Family. I loved the Dodgers, but I decided that if I was going to be a San Diegan, I needed to buy into the Padres and the Chargers, no matter how bad they both were at that point. In my mind, it is important to support your community team.
So I joined the San Diego sports team family. It wasn’t easy to stick by them when they were terrible, but I did. Year after year I suffered disappointment after disappointment. But when the new season came along, I was all in again! Then, in 2017 the Chargers told their fans they didn’t need us anymore and “bolted” to LA. I will never forgive them for that.
So the Padres became my soul partner. Last season I don’t think I missed watching a single game. But like so many other things, all of that changed in 2020.
I haven’t watched a Padres game all season. And I won’t watch them again unless or until Major League Baseball issues a statement apologizing for calling me a racist. It is that simple. I won’t let professional sports, or anyone else for that matter, slander me and my country.
When Colin Kaepernick disrespected America by kneeling during the National Anthem I thought he was selfish. I was willing to overlook that instance when some teams, and the NFL itself, rejected the “kneeling” idea as inappropriate during a public display of gratitude for the freedom that America allows us all to enjoy.
But that didn’t last long …
Pro sport’s recent capitulation to the Marxist seditionists that call themselves Black Lives Matter has crossed the line. Now I am outraged, and from my perspective any individual or group that endorses, or in any way supports, an organization that publicly promotes street violence, attacks on police officers and the overthrow of our Constitutional Republic, is complicit. Organizations like the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and advertisers like AT&T, Papa John’s Pizza, and Nike, that have donated directly to BLM, will not get my business, period. Decorating the stands, uniforms and courts with the BLM logo is tantamount to flying a red hammer and sickle flag over the arena.
Don’t misunderstand me: I believe Americans can do better to protect citizens of color from abuse and injustice. But partnering with a phony anarchist group like BLM is totally misguided.
As a fan, I have always considered myself part of the family of my local professional sports teams. I have spent loads of money to buy tickets, team merchandise, cable TV, and I have hosted hundreds of neighborhood parties to share the love with my fellow fans. The fan experience has been one of the joys of my life.
But when pro sports organizations decided that me and all of my fellow white fans were systemic racists, I was indignant. Suddenly BLM is more important than the years of financial and emotional support white fans have invested in their teams. The idea that the fans should have to pass some sort of racial litmus test is infuriating.
I can’t stand by them if they can’t stand by me. I am not going to let any ill-informed, misguided, self-righteous organization abuse, threaten and intimidate me. Who appointed sports professionals guardians of public morality?
I am not going to let pro sports and their newfound tribe gaslight me.
Rick Elkin is an artist, author and columnist. All of his work including his most recent book, The Illusion of Knowledge: Why So Many Educated Americans Embrace Marxism is available at RickElkin.com.