#TakeAKnee is new, but sports have always been political, says the WSJ’s Jason Gay

If you would like all of your favourite athletes to “persist with sports activities” and keep out of politics, you’re going to wind up disillusioned, the Wall Road Journal’s Jason Gay says.

On the newest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Gay argued that, as an enormous a part of American tradition, sports activities have all the time been political. He stated the NFL gamers like Colin Kaepernick who’ve knelt in the course of the nationwide anthem to protest police brutality and oppression of African-People are simply the newest in an extended legacy of athletes over the many years.

“I perceive the impulse [behind the backlash],” Gay stated. “Like, ’That is presumably leisure, and I simply need to watch a horrible Dolphins-Jets recreation,’ and never have a part of the telecast develop into a dialog a few a lot headier matter. Nevertheless, our means to disclaim a really prolonged historical past of sports activities in any respect ranges — and I actually do imply in any respect ranges — collegiate sports activities, skilled sports activities, highschool sports activities, youngsters’ sports activities, you identify it. Little league is political as hell!”

“To disclaim the lengthy, lengthy historical past of social activism in sports activities on this nation is simply loopy,” Gay added. “I can’t consider we’re truly reverting to some antiquated argument that sports activities can’t truly be synthesized with politics in any respect; that since you’re knowledgeable athlete, one way or the other your opinion is invalid. I simply reject it utterly.”

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Gay stated the NFL’s historic lack of loyalty to its players makes the #TakeAKnee protesters particularly courageous. The League has been recognized to chop players shortly after they get injured.

“Only a few are promised a tomorrow within the NFL; the truth is, the well-known joke-acronym is that NFL stands for ‘Not For Lengthy,’” he stated. “That claims to me a number of the actions of those particular person athletes are fairly brave. I do know it’s anathema to recommend to individuals that people who’re paid oftentimes tens of millions of dollars to play a sport are by some means brave, however it’s the reality.”

He additionally pushed again on the “nonsense” concept that cable sports activities channels like ESPN are getting “too political” by speaking concerning the protests or making an effort to function extra ladies and other people of shade on the air.

“How a lot politics is definitely on the air?” he requested. “It’s politics that a vital phase of the nation disagrees with, so I can get that there’s blowback, nevertheless it’s not like they arrive on ‘Across the Horn’: ‘Okay, guys, we’re going to do tax reform for 10 minutes! What do you assume, Pablo Torre?’ That’s not occurring! They’re sticking to their bread and butter 99.99 % of the time.”

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