bookmark_borderTom Brady did not “get a pass” for endorsing Trump

USA Today columnist Nancy Armour recently published a deeply wrong, racist, and offensive column in which she claims that Tom Brady “has gotten an undeserved pass for his past support of Donald Trump” because he is white. Contrary to Armour’s claim, Brady has not gotten a pass because he is white. He has gotten a pass because, well, he did nothing wrong. As difficult as this may be to comprehend for those who subscribe to the intolerant ideology of political correctness, people have the right to endorse any political candidates they want. It is disturbing that expressing support for Trump is presumed to be something morally wrong, for which a person deserves to be punished.

“How mighty white of him,” Armour writes with respect to the fact that Brady once had a MAGA hat in his locker and endorsed Trump in the 2016 election. “Brady’s ability to enter and exit the debate at his choosing, to shield himself from accountability, is the height of white privilege. As this country grapples with the far reaches of systemic racism, look no further than Brady, for whom the expectations, and allowances granted, will always be different.”

The column also quotes author David Leonard, who says that “Whiteness is the benefit of the doubt… He reaps the benefits that we as white Americans reap each and every day in different contexts.”

Silly me. I thought that whiteness was a skin color. Both Leonard’s allegation and Armour’s “how mighty white of him” comment are blatantly racist.

Armour’s column is based on an idea first put forth by Shannon Sharpe on his Fox Sports show. The talk show host alleged that Brady “got a pass” for having praised Trump, while a hypothetical black athlete who praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan would have been “canceled.”

I disagree with this claim. In today’s society, white athletes, and white people in general, are overall subjected to harsher criticism than their black counterparts. Additionally, public figures who express support for right-leaning causes or candidates are criticized much more harshly in our society than those who express support for left-wing causes and candidates. As evidence of this, one need look no further than the near-unanimous support across all professional sports for the Black Lives Matter movement. Not once has any athlete, or public figure, been criticized for supporting this movement, despite the fact that its supporters have perpetrated widespread and horrific destruction of cities, businesses, and irreplaceable works of art.

“Brady has been allowed to divorce himself from it while Black athletes are made to own their views in perpetuity,” Armour writes of the QB’s past Trump support. “There is no end in sight to Colin Kaepernick’s blackballing, even though his protests to bring attention to police brutality of Black and brown people have proven to be an alarm we should not have ignored.” This contention ignores the fact that Kaepernick’s behavior – wearing socks depicting police officers as pigs and demanding (successfully) that Nike stop producing a patriotic sneaker with a Betsy Ross flag on it – is reprehensible and his “blackballing” therefore completely justified. And the fact that despite this behavior, Kaepernick is hailed almost unanimously as a hero and a victim of unjust treatment, while Brady is harshly and incessantly criticized, as the existence of Armour’s column demonstrates. 

Armour describes it as a privilege that Brady has not been asked about his views on the January 6th protest and that he is “not asked to speak for white America.” She writes: “Even Brady’s aversion to talking about politics or current events is itself a form of privilege. Like other white athletes, Brady is seen as an individual in a way minority athletes never are.” Leonard echoes these sentiments, saying: “Seeing sports and living sports as an uncontested space is the privilege of whiteness. It’s the privilege of being a man. It’s the privilege of being a heterosexual athlete. That is a luxury that Black athletes and other marginalized and disempowered athletes have never been afforded.”

First of all, there is no such thing as “white America,” and it is racist and think and speak in such terms. Additionally, I disagree with the allegation that minority athletes, female athletes, and gay athletes are never seen as individuals. I also disagree with the claim that it is a privilege and a luxury to be seen as an individual or to have the choice of whether or not to discuss current events. Being able to express one’s views on politics and current events, or alternatively, to opt not to do so, is a right, not a privilege.

Armour closes by criticizing Brady’s “moral cowardice.” She writes that “celebrating what he’s done while turning a blind eye to what he has not is a privilege Brady does not deserve.” Actually, it is Armour who is demonstrating moral cowardice. And having one of the nation’s most well-known and widely-read newspapers as a platform from which to spew her pompous, mean-spirited, racist nonsense is a privilege that she does not deserve.

Thankfully, Fox Radio host Clay Travis had some sensible words to say about this situation. “Do [74.2] million Americans who voted for Donald Trump have to answer for their support?” he asked. “That’s what America is. It’s a democracy. I voted for Donald Trump… Nobody ever has to apologize when they support a Democratic or left-wing politician in the world of sports. Why in the world should Tom Brady have to apologize for supporting the former president of the United States? I think that’s what makes American sports so fantastic. It cuts across our racial, our ethnic, our socioeconomic, our political divisions and brings us all together. And I hope on Sunday we can all sit down, grab a beer, have some nachos, and enjoy one of the greatest games of all time regardless of who the politicians are supported by the players on the field.”

Amen to that.

bookmark_borderUFC President Dana White stands up for free speech

Dana White, the president of the UFC, is an example of how sports leagues ought to handle the issue of free speech on controversial topics.

In a press conference after a victory, fighter Colby Covington called the Black Lives Matter movement “a complete sham.” He continued, “It’s a joke. They’re taking these people that are complete terrorists. They’re taking these people that are criminals. These aren’t people that are hard-working Americans, blue-collar Americans. These are bad people. They’re criminals. They shouldn’t be attacking police. If you’re breaking the law and you’re threatening the cops with weapons, you deserve to get what you get. Law enforcement protects us all. If we don’t have law enforcement, it’d be the wild, wild West.” He also called a fellow fighter who supports BLM a communist, a Marxist, and someone who “hates America” and “stands for criminals.”

Sounds pretty reasonable to me. Covington could perhaps have phrased things a bit more diplomatically, but I agree overall with his sentiments. Of course, given the political environment of 2020, fellow UFC fighters and sponsors promptly erupted in outrage, calling Covington and his comments “flat-out racist” and “disgusting.”

To his credit, White defended athletes’ freedom of speech. “These guys all have their own causes, things, their own beliefs,” he said. “We don’t muzzle anybody here. We let everybody speak their mind. I don’t know what he said that was racist. I don’t know if I heard anything racist that he said.”

More coaches, teams, and leagues should adopt similar attitudes. True diversity and inclusion require tolerance and acceptance of a wide range of political views. With athletes almost unanimously expressing support for the BLM movement, usually with the wholehearted endorsement of their teams and leagues, it is important to consider the rights of those with dissenting views. If athletes can speak out in favor of BLM, fairness requires that they also be free to speak out against BLM if that is how they feel. 

bookmark_borderCyclist suspended for pro-Trump tweets

In the latest example of intolerance practiced in the name of tolerance by today’s politically correct society, cyclist Quinn Simmons was suspended for tweeting his support of Donald Trump. 

According to ESPN/Associated Press, the “controversial” tweets began when Dutch journalist Jose Been tweeted: “My dear American friends, I hope this horrible presidency ends for you. And for us as (former?) allies too. If you follow me and support Trump, you can go. There is zero excuse to follow or vote for the vile, horrible man.”

Simmons, the 2019 junior road race world champion, responded “Bye” with a dark-skinned hand emoji. 

When someone else tweeted, “Apparently a Trumper,” Simmons responded, “That’s right” with an American flag emoji. 

His team, Trek-Segafredo, said in a statement: “Trek-Segafredo is an organization that values inclusivity and supports a more diverse and equitable sport for all athletes. While we support the right to free speech, we will hold people accountable for their words and actions. Regrettably, team rider Quinn Simmons made statements online that we feel are divisive, incendiary, and detrimental to the team, professional cycling, its fans, and the positive future we hope to help create for the sport. He will not be racing for Trek-Segafredo until further notice.”

They added in a separate statement that Simmons “was not suspended because of his political views. He was suspended for engaging in conversation on Twitter in a way that we felt was conduct unbefitting a Trek athlete.”

And the team’s manager said that Simmons “has a bright future as a professional athlete if he can use this opportunity to grow as a person and make a positive contribution for a better future for cycling.”

According to Cycling Weekly, the organization Diversity in Cycling alleged that the use of the dark-skinned emoji was a form of “blackface” and pompously lectured him to “listen and learn.”

“To those who found the color of the emoji racist, I can promise that I did not mean for it to be interpreted that way,” Simmons responded. “I would like to apologize to everyone who found this offensive as I strongly stand against racism in any form. To anyone who disagrees with me politically, that is fine. I won’t hate you for it. I only ask the same.”

In my opinion, this is a perfect example of much ado about nothing. Simmons expressed his support for Trump, something that he has every right to do. When one considers the wide range of opinions, thoughts, insults, and profanities that exist in the vast world of social media, Simmons’s tweets are really pretty innocuous. He did not attack or insult anyone, use profanity, or call anyone names. Interpreting the dark-skinned emoji as racist is a stretch and is certainly not an interpretation that would occur to me upon seeing this tweet. There wasn’t any need for Simmons to apologize, as he didn’t do anything wrong. By suspending him, his team went way overboard and veered into the realm of hypocrisy. Any organization that truly values inclusivity and diversity would embrace people with varied political beliefs. There was nothing incendiary or divisive about Simmons’s tweets, unless by divisive the team meant demonstrating ideological diversity, in which case being divisive is not a bad thing. There is no need for Simmons to “grow as a person” or “listen and learn,” as he has already demonstrated good character and courage by daring to voice unpopular views. It is the practitioners of political correctness run amok who need to listen and learn about what diversity truly means.

bookmark_borderPavel Bure’s refreshing comments on BLM

The recent protests by professional athletes in a variety of sports have been demoralizing to anyone who truly values justice. The decision by athletes and their leagues to cancel games as an expression of support for the Black Lives Matter movement has made me, until this point an avid sports fan, seriously consider boycotting watching sports.

It was refreshing when I happened upon some comments by retired Russian NHL superstar Pavel Bure on the BLM movement. “If we talk about equality, one law should be interpreted equally for everyone, he said, according to a translation by RT. “If something happens to a white person, it’s OK, but if he is black – it’s a big tragedy. All people should be treated equally. I worked in America for more than 20 years playing with guys from different ethnic groups. My best friend was Gino Odjick, an American Indian who introduced me to his ethnic community. But native Indians are the most oppressed nation in North America. Donald Brashear, a black guy, was also my friend and there was no racism. What is happening now is outrageous hysteria, reverse racism. Why should anyone apologize?”

Retired NHL goalie Ilya Bryzgalov also expressed refreshingly reasonable views on this topic. “I don’t see any connection between the NHL games and the Wisconsin shooting, which we know very little about,” he remarked, according to RT. “How can ice hockey and sport be linked to unlawful acts performed by a policeman?… I’m tired of this hype. Talking about the Black Lives Matter movement, I just want to ask, don’t the lives of other nations, like Latin Americans and Asians, matter? It’s highly politicized. Finding a connection between such things is absurd!”

Exactly. The fact that the NHL canceled games as a protest against a police shooting in Wisconsin is absurd. As both gentlemen expressed, everyone should be treated equally, and the BLM movement does the exact opposite of that. It is not appropriate for the NHL or any other sports league to express support for this movement. 

bookmark_border“No justice, no Derby”

The Black Lives Matter movement yesterday chose the Kentucky Derby as its latest occasion for protests. Activists gathered in a park near Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, and marched towards the racetrack chanting “No justice, no Derby!” The fact that the race was even run was described as insensitive, callous, and tone-deaf.

These criticisms are, in my opinion, ridiculous. There are legitimate concerns about police brutality, and people are understandably demanding justice in the police-involved shooting of Breonna Taylor, who lived in Louisville. But why is any of this a reason to cancel the Kentucky Derby? Police officers who abuse their authority deserve to be punished, as do all those who perpetrate racism in our society. But to cancel the Derby would not accomplish this. It would punish the hardworking trainers, jockeys, grooms, and owners who have dedicated their lives to caring for horses, as well as the racing fans, and most importantly, the horses themselves who have been training for this moment all year long.

There are all sorts of injustices and wrongs in our society. Racism against black people exists in some places, and racism against white people exists as well. Anti-Semitism exists, as does prejudice against gay, transgender, and asexual people. Income inequality, social pressure, animal cruelty, and climate change are all serious issues. As a person on the autism spectrum, I face discrimination and other challenges on a daily basis. But no one who is affected by any of these other issues has demanded that major sporting events be canceled. Yes, racism and police brutality deserve to be condemned and protested against. But so do all forms of injustice. All of the injustices that I listed are equally widespread and equally problematic as what the Black Lives Matter movement is protesting against, if not more so. So why do Black Lives Matter protesters believe that their issue should be treated preferentially to all others? To demand that the Kentucky Derby be canceled as a response to the injustices that the BLM movement cares about is unfair to everyone affected by other injustices, as well as to everyone who loves horse racing.

The fact that something unjust happened does not mean that events that have absolutely nothing to do with the injustice should be canceled or that people who have nothing to do with the injustice should be punished. The Kentucky Derby is not a frivolous social occasion. It is more than an excuse to wear fancy hats and drink mint juleps. It is a prestigious sporting event for equine athletes, which horsemen and horsewomen build their entire year around. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the race was rescheduled from the first Saturday in May to the first Saturday in September, and was held without fans. These measures are more than sufficient; there is no reason to demand that the race be canceled entirely. Supporters of BLM should focus their criticism and protests upon people who are racist and police who commit acts of brutality; not innocent horses and the people who work with them. To demand that the world of horse racing stop in its tracks for the BLM movement, after already being disrupted around the country by the pandemic, is truly tone-deaf.

P.S. Although I was rooting for Tiz the Law, congratulations to Authentic and all of his humans!

bookmark_borderAthletes’ boycott is inconsistent and illogical

The world is finally emerging from a government-ordered lockdown during which countries, states, and cities forbade their citizens from leaving their homes for anything other than necessities. A more severe, wide-reaching violation of people’s rights can hardly be imagined. 

Yet because of an incident in Kenosha, Wisconsin in which Jacob Blake was shot by police officers, the NBA, NHL, and MLB have decided to cancel their games as a form of protest. I do not mean to minimize the injustice of what happened to Jacob Blake. Obviously, being shot and paralyzed as a result is absolutely horrible, and he did not deserve for this to happen. But I disagree with the claims by the Black Lives Matter movement that incidents like this are symptomatic of an overarching trend of systemic racism. Like the equally unjust and tragic killing of George Floyd, this was an isolated incident. It is being investigated, and if any of the officers involved are found to have acted wrongly, they will be punished. The shooting of Jacob Blake is being handled the way it should be. 

So why did so many athletes boycott their games in response to this but not in response to issues that are actually important? 

As a result of demands by its athletes, the NBA agreed to postpone all of yesterday’s and today’s playoff games. The NHL called off today’s playoff games, and MLB postponed three games yesterday and seven games today after some players decided to sit out and their teammates and managers backed them. 

Contrast this with the complete lack of reaction when the majority of states in the U.S. enacted stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, banning all people within those states from traveling, going to parks, doing outdoor activities, getting together with other people, and operating businesses. Did any professional athlete express any opposition whatsoever to these tyrannical policies that violate every person’s rights on a massive scale? If so, the media has done a good job of keeping it secret. 

As another example of an issue that merits widespread protests, take the barbaric destruction of buildings, businesses, and worst of all, statues that has been perpetrated by protesters affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement across the country. Why have no professional athletes taken a stand against these violations of people’s rights? Why has no one pledged to boycott games until the vandalized statues are restored and protected?

It’s not only recent injustices that merit protests. Why have no athletes protested against technology companies’ constant tracking of everyone’s internet activities? This practice violates every person’s privacy rights. Why did no athletes protest the deployment of full-body scanners at airports in 2010, also violating every traveler’s privacy rights? Why did no athletes protest when the federal government passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, requiring all people to purchase health insurance? This law violates every person’s right to decide what to do with his or her own money. And why did no one protest the passage of the Durham-Humphrey Amendment in 1951, requiring each person to get a doctor’s permission before being allowed to purchase medications? This law violates every person’s right to make his or her own medical decisions. I could continue listing examples until this blog post became as long as a novel, but I think you get the point.

All of these issues are more important, and more deserving of protests, than an isolated incident of police brutality. The decision by so many basketball, hockey, and baseball players to boycott games over one instance of injustice while completely ignoring others is illogical, inconsistent, unjust, and unfair. Their gesture is meaningful to Jacob Blake and those who care about him, but it is a slap in the face to all those people who are negatively affected by other types of injustice. 

bookmark_borderAutographs are for people of all ages

In a recent column, Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy listed various ways in which having games without fans in attendance will actually be a good thing. One of them really bugged me:

“No adults asking players for autographs, or knocking kids to the ground to retrieve foul balls that should be for kids only.”

This is a sentiment that I have heard from numerous people over the years. Once I heard a talk radio personality express the opinion that adults should not go to Patriots training camp unless they are accompanying children. As an adult sports fan who watches practices and sometimes asks players for autographs, I’m offended by this. Why should getting autographs from one’s favorite players be restricted to one age group?

I became a sports fan around age 14. The first team I liked was the Red Sox. Later, I became interested in the Bruins, Celtics, and Patriots as well. It wasn’t until my 20s that I became a big enough fan to start going to Bruins practices. I’m not sure why it is that I became a sports fan relatively late in life. Perhaps it is because, as a kid, I was obsessed with animals, dinosaurs, and Beanie Babies, and didn’t have time for other interests. Perhaps it is because my parents almost never put sports on the TV, so it didn’t occur to me that watching games was even an option. As I got older and had more control over what I watched on TV, I realized that watching a Sox or Bruins game, even if just in the background while I was doing other things, made my day better. Sports also provided a refreshing sense of balance as I became increasingly interested in more serious topics such as law, history, and philosophy. Sports are generally not matters of life and death, or moral right and wrong, but it is mentally stimulating to follow the statistics, strategies, and personalities and to listen to the colorful banter of the commentators.

Anyway, if one argues that there is something wrong with adults asking for autographs, one believes that someone like myself should be content to live my entire life without ever receiving a player’s autograph. I didn’t have the chance to ask a player for an autograph as a kid, because I wasn’t a sports fan then. (Well, technically I had the chance to, I just didn’t choose to go to any practices or games because I had no interest in sports.) Plus, when it comes to lifelong sports fans, why should they be limited to obtaining the autographs of only the players who were active when those fans happened to be kids? Collecting autographs is one of my hobbies, as is the case for many people of all ages. If one collects autographs, it makes sense that one would attempt to get autographs from as many players as possible across the years. People should not be frowned upon for pursuing their hobbies, merely because of their age.

Additionally, politely asking a player for an autograph, while being respectful of the other fans around you, should not be lumped into the same category as knocking kids to the ground. When I go to a Bruins practice, if I decide to try to get an autograph, I calmly make my way in the direction of the tunnel through which the players leave the ice. I wait behind anyone who is already there, and I politely ask the player to sign my notebook if he appears to be relatively non-hurried and in a good mood. I do not shove anyone out of the way. I do not squeeze in front of anyone who is already there. Generally, if someone younger than me is approximately equally close to the tunnel as me, I let him or her talk to the player first. What exactly is wrong with this?

And why should foul balls be for kids only, for that matter? The same principle applies to them as applies to autographs. I think we can all agree that it would be wrong for an adult to knock a kid over… but for an adult to knock over another adult would be wrong, too. So would a kid knocking over another kid, or a kid knocking over an adult.

Finally, I also think that viewing autographs and foul balls as kids-only defeats the purpose of having these things at all. Personally, I know that the kid version of myself would not enjoy an activity as much if I knew that I would only be allowed to do it for a limited time, and that when I became an adult I would not be allowed to do it any longer. People should be allowed to have something to look forward to as they grow older. Becoming an adult should not mean giving up your hobbies and interests and having all joy and fun gradually sucked out of your life.

I realize that I have probably way overanalyzed a somewhat silly topic, as I am wont to do. To sum up: no one should knock other people to the ground, but everyone should be free to pursue their hobbies, regardless of age.

bookmark_borderNASCAR is wrong to ban the Confederate flag

Following the Black Lives Matter protests, NASCAR decided to ban display of the Confederate flag at its races. NASCAR’s statement read:

“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”

African-American NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace had called on the organization to ban the flag. “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” he said. “It starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”

In my opinion, banning the Confederate flag is the wrong decision and actually makes NASCAR less inclusive. Just like the trend of tearing down statues that are objectionable to the politically-correct crowd, banning the Confederate flag shows complete disregard for people who like the flag and consider it an important symbol. A common justification given for banning Confederate flags, statues, and other imagery is that to many people, these things are symbols of racism. But the fact that many people think something does not make it true. The Confederate flag is a symbol of the Confederate States of America, a country that existed from 1861-1865. Yes, the Confederacy had slavery. But slavery is not the sole thing that the Confederacy stood for, nor the sole reason why it went to war in an attempt to gain independence. The Confederate flag does not stand for slavery or racism. It stands for the Southern culture, for the brave soldiers who fought for the South’s independence, for states’ rights, and most importantly of all, for resistance to government authority. That is why I, who have lived in Massachusetts my entire life and am distantly related to Ulysses Grant, love and cherish the Confederate flag. That is why my heart soars whenever I see its stars and bars flapping in the breeze. And that is why I’m devastated by the attempts to eradicate Confederate imagery from America’s culture.

Obviously, not everyone feels the way I do. Plenty of people don’t like the Confederate flag, and that’s fine. But the fact that you dislike and disagree with something does not give you the right to have it banned. Bubba Wallace recently began displaying a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme on his car, which is awesome. I personally would not do so if I was a NASCAR driver, because I disagree with many of the things the Black Lives Matter movement and people associated with it have done recently. But I would never argue that displaying support for that movement should be banned. Just as NASCAR drivers and fans have every right to express their support for Black Lives Matter, drivers and fans should be able to express their admiration for the Confederacy as well.

By taking away the freedom of expression of one group of people in order to make another group of people more comfortable, NASCAR is essentially saying that some people’s feelings and opinions matter more than others. That is neither fair nor just, and it makes NASCAR less welcoming, inclusive, and diverse.

bookmark_borderMLB players and owners have a right to advocate for their interests

The past few weeks, there has been one article after another blasting Major League Baseball and its Players Association for failing to come to an agreement on a plan to re-start the season.

For example, Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy called the owners “odious,” the players “repugnant,” and their disagreement “the most tone-deaf, callous, self-centered, stupid, and clueless behavior these eyes have seen in 45 years of covering professional sports.” 

Columnist Tara Sullivan wrote: “The ongoing, odious, selfish, tone-deaf, return-to-play negotiations are almost beyond description, and they are most definitely beyond comprehension.” She also argued that baseball missed a chance to be “a force for optimism and hope” and that the failure to come to an agreement shows “disdain” for fans.

Honestly… I don’t get the outrage. Neither the owners nor the players are doing anything wrong. The owners have a right to make as much money from the game of baseball as they can. And the players’ union has a right to advocate for the most money possible for its members.

Because the season will be shorter than the standard 162 games regardless of what schedule is agreed to, the players have agreed to receive only a percentage of their regular salaries, based on how many games are played. The owners argue that they will lose money for each regular-season game played and are demanding that the players absorb further salary cuts. The players do not want their pay cut further on top of what they already agreed to. “For me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof,” Rays pitcher Blake Snell said. “No, I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine.”

In my opinion, both positions are understandable. The owners should not be expected to put on a season if they are going to lose money on each game, and the players should not be expected to accept less money than what they agreed to in the contracts they signed. Would you continue happily showing up for work if your boss cut your pay by 50% or more?

If the sides can’t agree and there is no season, so be it. Personally, I think the break from sports is a good thing. Why not take a year off from baseball and have a normal season next year, instead of trying to squeeze some semblance of a season, without fans, into a shorter window of time and messing up the schedule for next season?

I don’t understand how any aspect of the negotiations is tone-deaf, callous, stupid, or clueless. Yes, the nation is in the midst of a pandemic, an economic recession, racial unrest, and protests that have resulted in businesses being looted and burned down. There are certainly people out there who are suffering worse than anyone involved in professional baseball. But I don’t see what that has to do with anything. A compromise agreement between the players and owners would not solve any of these problems, and the lack of an agreement does not make any of these problems worse. As for the accusations of being selfish and self-centered, I don’t see what’s wrong with that. Just like any other business, MLB exists to make money. It does not exist to provide viewing material for the American people, and neither the owners nor the players are obligated to provide games as a public service when doing so does not make economic sense. The owners and players are advocating for their own interests, as they have every right to do. There’s nothing repugnant about that.

bookmark_borderIn defense of Patriots kicker Justin Rohrwasser’s tattoos and political views

With almost no sports happening at the moment, the NFL draft last month was a huge story. In New England, a large amount of attention has focused on kicker Justin Rohrwasser from Marshall University, who was drafted by the Pats in the fifth round.

According to a profile in the Boston Globe, Rohrwasser has numerous tattoos, including an American flag, one that reads “don’t tread on me,” another that reads “liberty or death,” and another that resembles the logo of a group called the Three Percenters. This group advocates for small government, freedom of speech, and gun rights. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Three Percenters are an “anti-government group,” meaning that they “advocate or adhere to extreme anti-government doctrines.” The Three Percenters, however, have characterized themselves as “very pro-government, so long as the government abides by the Constitution.”

Additionally, on Twitter, Rohrwasser has expressed support for President Trump, Ayn Rand, and psychologist Jordan Peterson. According to one of his college coaches, Jim Fleming, Rohrwasser wore a red “MAGA” hat at school and expressed conservative beliefs, particularly about economic policies, in conversations.

What is wrong with this, you may ask? In my opinion… absolutely nothing!

Yet because of his political beliefs, Rohrwasser has been inundated with criticism online, accused of being a racist and a bigot. This is an example of self-proclaimed “liberals” displaying qualities that are the very opposite of the tolerance they pretend to espouse. Rohrwasser has done nothing wrong by having, and expressing, conservative (or libertarian, or however one wishes to characterize them) beliefs. He has every right to get a Three Percenters tattoo. He has every right to “like” and retweet whatever tweets he wants to. There is no rule that every person must have moderate, mainstream, middle-of-the-road, politically correct views. To condemn someone for having non-traditional views is the true bigotry here. This is bullying, plain and simple.

As Rohrwasser’s high school coach, John Barber, put it: “For him to be called a racist thug and a Nazi and Hitler, it just turns my stomach, because that’s not who he is. They don’t understand the full story of who he is, just want to take something out of context and destroy a kid, which wasn’t called for.”

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