Sports and Politics Don’t Mix, Yet They Keep Colliding
Even Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and voting rights organizer Stacey Abrams, who came close to winning the gubernatorial election that Kemp won, strongly oppose the state’s new election law, yet — like Kemp — oppose the loss of jobs and revenue that the boycott brings.
And, unlike the climate around North Carolina’s bathroom bill, both sides of Georgia’s political divide may be hardening along party lines as the debate goes national with each side seeking to energize its base with big-name boosters, including ex-presidents. Barack Obama tweeted, “Congratulations to @MLB for taking a stand on behalf for voting rights for all citizens,” and compared the MLB’s boycott to Black former Atlanta Braves great Hank Aaron, “who always led by example.”
Donald Trump countered by calling — in a statement that others tweeted, since he’s been kicked off Twitter — for a boycott of the MLB for “going big time with WOKE CANCEL CULTURE and our sacred elections.”
Since boycotts of people or institutions over their political views fits well within the definition of “cancel culture,” woke or unwoke, it’s fair to say that Trump is not above some big-time canceling of his own, when it suits his purposes.
That’s an inevitable contradiction in the war against “cancel culture”: Everybody has something or someone that they want to “cancel,” which is why the nation’s founders tried to at least protect political speech from being infringed by lawmakers.
And that’s also why a lot of us look to sports as one place that plays by the rules and judges people fairly by their merits. That’s what a lot of people liked to think about pro baseball, even in the days when Black and white players weren’t allowed to compete on the same teams.
That, in my view, was an early form of fantasy baseball. Today’s intersection of sports with politics is not new. It’s just another example of the real world uneasily trying to get into the game.
(E-mail Clarence Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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