Politics and Sports Will Never be Separable
If you have ever un-ironically told someone to "stick to sports" whether it has been online (like maybe at Jemele Hill for example) or in some other medium, you might want to just click away.
The fact of the matter is as much as people want to believe in their own perfect worlds that the landscape of politics and sports has no overlap that is not the case, and will never be the case.
Sports has become a grand stage in part because of the people who follow it, watch it, and support it monetarily. Whether it be through jersey sales, tickets and concessions bought, or upgrading to that premium cable package because you just have to see your team no matter what. You are supporting sports and making its platform even bigger if you have ever done and are still doing something of this nature.
But as we've seen a number of times in recent years, when athletes use that platform to talk about issues involving them, people get upset. Boycott this, boycott that, hate tweet this guy etc. And now even the President of the United States has crossed the lines between politics and sports with little regard for those who think the two should be separate.
In a span of 24 hours, Donald Trump openly mocked the NFL Players' Association for writing an official memo the the league requesting a social activism month (much like October's annual influx of pink is for breast cancer awareness). He even took it a step farther saying fans should exit stadiums and that he would "love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now. Out. He's fired! He's fired!"
Keep in mind, people have been talking about NFL protests long before Trump was even in office. This is not just now coming to the forefront of a national conversation.
Trump says the protests are "hurting the game" and even though he did not mention specific players, his scathing words toward NFL players as a whole was basically a "do what you are paid to do" type sentiment. Slightly ironic when you think about it.
If the irony is lost on you, here's a second dose of it. The President is preaching "stick to sports" propaganda, while not following that mantra in the job he currently holds.
After his attack on football, Trump took to twitter to uninvite the Golden State Warriors who were weighing the decision to visit the White House after they won the NBA Championship last season. The move came in part because of rumors saying the team would vote as a unit to not go, and Steph Curry was public in saying he would vote "no" if that meeting were to happen.
Reading the writing on the wall, Trump had to make a show of it on twitter like some mafia man who will not be disrespected.
Did this information need to be made public? No. But it was going to be found out by the public anyway, and it could have been through an official White House release or even the Warriors' PR team who could have broke the news and the general public would have likely understood. However, Trump instead opted to do it himself, probably in part because he feels slighted by what the Warriors (and for that matter what a solid majority of the NBA) feel about him.
Petty? Yes. Unnecessary? Yes again.
Are all the news organizations in the world supposed to ignore when the President makes critical and borderline threatening remarks over the de facto National Pastime? Or when a recent tradition is suddenly broken over differences in opinion? No. You as a person should not expect that to be the norm.
The point is that even if the President made no comments on the affairs of sports there will always be some story in where sports crosses into the political realm or vice-versa. These issues from just the last day were already being talked about by most of the country, so why does the President also feel the need to weigh in now?
In short, give up on the idea that people who cover sports should "stick to sports", it is impossible given the territory. This is true especially in the current political climate where the most important politician in the world, who didn't have a shred of political experience when he won the job, takes it upon himself to not "stick to politics".