A new poll finds that 34% of those surveyed are watching less pro sports due to the endless social justice activism of athletes. This result should hardly be a revelation, yet sports leagues, teams, and players just can’t stop themselves from finding new and exceedingly irksome ways of disconnecting from the Regular American Fan who still makes up most of their core customer base (for now). According to a Yahoo article on the YouGov/Yahoo News poll:
“Ratings across all major sports were down in 2020, the result of a range of factors including time-shifted sports calendars and the presidential election, but it’s clear from this poll that politics and social justice had some impact on the ratings decline.”
The Cheap Seats Have Never Been So Far Away
At this point, it should be apparent to the most casual observer that professional sports, like so many other once-iconic cultural vehicles, are being used to enhance a privileged upper-crust agenda. Critics of elitist power constructs will find most of the core identifying traits of those institutions on display daily in the world of big-time sports. Commitment to a leftist social agenda, naked money grabs that show no regard for the consumer, and a bloated sense of entitlement by the leading figures in the “game” are rapidly making formerly beloved franchises indistinguishable from unpopular mega-corporations such as Comcast or Bank of America.
Not long ago, hockey fans used to be the quintessential blue-collar fan base in the sports galaxy. A seemingly deliberate effort to turn off these kinds of fans remains in full throttle today. It’s revolting enough that the NHL has allowed corporate branding of its divisions for the 2020-21 season. But the league has taken crass to a new level by slapping garish big-brand corporate logos on player helmets as well.
The Philadelphia Flyers, the franchise once known as the Broad Street Bullies, now skate around the ice with an enormous TCS logo defacing their helmets. What is TCS? That would be Tata Consultancy Services, “a global IT services, consulting and business solutions company,” as NBC Sports put it, based in Mumbai, India.
The Washington Capitals took the cheese to extraordinary lengths by tabbing Big Bank Capital One as their helmet sponsor. “Two of D.C.’s biggest brands coming together,” a promo video produced by the team blurted out. It’s the Dream Team sports fans never asked for. “Gross,” “Wow, this is terrible,” and “This cannot be for real” were typical of the responses to the video on Twitter.
As this is going on, another NHL team has decided to lecture its fans about proper pronoun use. “The use of pronouns gives everyone the opportunity to self-identify instead of assuming someone’s identity and/or which pronouns they use,” the Carolina Hurricanes ponderously tweeted out on March 27. This verbiage is virtually identical to a “Pronoun Guide” on the website of GLSEN, an activist organization focused on children that promotes “transgender inclusion in high school athletics.”
And Starting at Quarterback: Harvey Strauss Cuomo
Finally, there is the current controversy surrounding superstar NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Houston Texan has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by a whopping 19 women (as of this writing) working as masseuses. There are reports that Watson is looking to settle, but regardless of whether or not all these women are lying, the nature of this modern pro football scandal alone is telling enough.
NFL players have never been choirboys. But while unruly NFL stars of the bygone past used to trash bars, today’s athletes are being accused of the kind of actions usually associated with the sense of high-brow entitlement found in high-profile politicians such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and French powerbroker and ex-IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Watson signed a four-year $156 million contract with the Texans at the beginning of the 2020 season. He then promptly demanded to be traded from the team after it endured a losing campaign. That is diva pampering on a Hollywood scale.
Even in their alleged misbehavior, modern sports figures manage to widen the aristocrat-in-cleats/peasants-in-the-stands divide. Cheering for the guy with a drinking problem is one thing. Who wants to root on the latest Harvey Weinstein-type just because he’s wearing your team’s jersey?
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