Sports has never been just an escape.
Welcome to Mike in a Minute: I give my take on something that happens in the news. Original! The catch is, it won’t take you longer than a minute to read. I keep the maximum word count (not including this explainer) at 300 – the number an average adult reads per minute, according to Forbes according to Staples. Today’s topic: “sticking to sports” has never existed.
Donald Trump. NFL. You know by now.
With my 300 words, I won’t hash out the complex opinions on national anthem protests; that’s for Facebook arguments with your family and friends you haven’t spoken to since high school.
What I will address is how so many people STILL cling to the tenet that such demonstrations shouldn’t take place near sports. As someone I love texted me, “I pay good money to see a game or go to a show. I want away from politics, not to be held captive while you make a point.”
Total escapism is a fair wish in a perfect world.
We do not live in a perfect world.
We never have.
Jackie Robinson, Curt Flood, and Muhammad Ali were all demonized in life, lionized in death. Read what our President had to say about a man who, in the prime of his athletic career, refused military service, used his sporting platform to promulgate social activism, and rubbed half of America the wrong way.
Putting aside the tone-deafness of exclamation-pointing a death, I think everyone would agree if Ali happened today, Trump would by no means speak of him so fondly.
With time, history usually favors the oppressed. Entertainment simply helps expedite such progress. Athletes, actors, et al, are not puppets designed to entertain their oppressors – see: the various music hits spurred by the Vietnam War or iconic movies inspired by Cold War tensions. The “real world” encroaching on our escapism has always existed. Only when it encroaches in a manner with which one doesn’t agree does it seemingly become a problem.
People pleading for athletes to “stick to sports” miss the bigger picture: athletes never have. Our nation is better for it. If history’s any indication, we’ll be even better – eventually – for what’s happening now too.