The fallacy of "stick to sports" has been very much addressed in recent weeks by many multi-layered columnists and personalities who can't help but comment on the ongoing, deteriorating state of the republic. But it's possible none have done a more thorough or appropriate dissection of just how nonsensical that phrase really is than Dan Le Batard, who managed to stick it to his employer for appeasing the radical right by taking "politics" out of their coverage, allowing atrocities and racial animus to advance unabated.
Stop what you're doing and watch this.@LeBatardShow responds to the racist "Send her back" and "Go back to your country" attacks against Ilhan Omar and other congresswomen.— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) July 18, 2019
"If you're not calling it abhorrent, obviously racist, dangerous rhetoric, you're complicit." pic.twitter.com/ntOC2Seg3b
Perhaps Le Batard's most important point surrounds just how often major sports networks and those in power skirt around the issues facing our country by attempting to only discuss them through the guise of a sporting angle. If Steve Kerr calls for justice for the oppressed, then by all means, let's put the onus on him! But god forbid someone who has the microphone in front of their face six hours per day has a chance to plead directly to the nation, pouring out their own heart and soul if the issue is close to them.
Dan Le Batard is from a family of immigrants; his Cuban exile parents came to this nation to make a better life, not to spend 50 years watching society regress to the point where an arena full of people can chant, "Send her back!" at a Somali refugee who's worked hard enough at her craft to be elected to congress and change lives on American soil. It's abundantly clear at this point that the main agenda of those in power is to make people like Ilhan Omar a villain by any means necessary, manufactured or embellished, and if the people who can speak truth to power don't, then the well only deepens.
“You’re more privileged, you’re whiter, you’re richer. … You’ve had every privilege afforded to you by America. Every privilege. And now what you do with that power is you go after brown people and black people and minorities?” https://t.co/gXcTbjt1bb— Camille (@Becomingcamille) July 19, 2019
As always, ESPN bent to a loud group of fools when they made a sweeping statement about removing politics from their sports coverage. After all, sports contain people, and people have opinions, and often share them in times of great injustice. If we can't speak about the issues these people are raising, as well as raise our own when the situation calls for it, then we're just creating the sort of feckless, muted discourse that these viewers will only ditch eventually in favor of more Fox News anyway. They'll always find something else to cry about.
As Le Batard says, Jim Brown fought for a better nation than this. So did Bill Russell. Both men are nearing the end of their rope. So why not speak a bit louder in the establishment's face while both of them can still hear it?
If you'd rather the world stick to sports because you prefer a series of mindless drones tackling and sprinting, and athletes arguing for fair and ethical treatment rarely fall in line with your side of the aisle, then enjoy your safe space.