In the Long run: No politics in sports


Michael Long, Sports editor

Sadly, politics have always divided us. There have always been those touchy topics that get people all riled up such as police brutality, religion, racial equality and more recently, immigration. Now, we’re seeing stuff like this in the wonderful world of sports.

For those who don’t know about the controversy in the sports world right now, let me catch you up. On Sept. 24, a normal NFL Sunday turned into a day filled with protests. Over 100 players, including some coaches, showed unity and protested against inequality by linking arms or by kneeling during the National Anthem. Some people are in support, as the kneeling is to bring awareness to police brutality, but some see it as showing disrespect towards our military.

The kneeling became a big deal last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He started kneeling throughout the season last year to protest racial injustices (which earned him a hefty contract with his couch on game days) and others started to follow. That carried over into this NFL season which prompted President Trump to tweet some rather aggressive things. Trump said on his Twitter that players who do not stand should be “fired.”

These aggressive tweets from the president caused the NFL protests to escalate to the level we saw on Sept. 24 and 25. The entire Pittsburgh Steelers team,with the exception of former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, stayed in the locker room during the anthem on the 24th and the next day, the entire Dallas Cowboys team, even owner Jerry Jones, took a knee before the anthem.

These protests are dividing sports fans all around the country. Some think that the players have the right to kneel and agree with what they’re protesting while others think it’s pure disrespect towards our country and the people that have fought for it.

I was watching the local news and a man was in the middle of his interview saying that the players had every right to kneel and a guy walked by yelling “stand up” and the two had a short yelling match right there on T.V. Other people were saying how they were never coming to Colts games again and some were even giving up their season tickets. This division shouldn’t exist in a place where everyone pays money to cheer for their team and have a good time.

On top of the drama in the NFL, there is also some controversy in the NBA. It started with Trump disinviting Golden State point guard Stephen Curry from the White House for the traditional championship-team visit. Trump made the choice to disinvite him because Curry “hesitated” and going to the White House should be considered an honor.”

This caused NBA superstar Lebron James to weigh in on the issue, calling the president a “bum” and tweeting “Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up.”

The issue bounced around the NBA for a bit and somehow ended up in the hands of San Antonio Spurs head coach, Gregg Popovich. I don’t know who asked what in this press conference with Coach Pop, but he went on and on about how uncomfortable subjects (race, L.G.B.T movements and women’s’ suffrage were all mentioned specifically) must be talked about in order for change to happen. He made some great points and said very interesting things, but… why is it all being said by the head coach of the Spurs?

These type of issues should not be dealt with by coaches and players. It causes division in a place that shouldn’t be divided. Sports have always been a source of entertainment for people, where people can celebrate a win together and suffer a loss together. This cannot be done if everyone is at each others’ throats because of political views. We see politics enough in life. Let’s at least keep it out of sports.