Taking Sports into the Left Lane

The American Left seeks to do more than tear down statues, as one black sports columnist surmised.

Jason Whitlock foresaw the NAACP's boycott to force an NFL team to sign free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  In criticizing Kaepernick's choice to kneel for the national anthem to protest police treatment of blacks, Whitlock saw something more insidious.

"If his goal is to raise awareness around the issue of unfair policing involving black men, he is using a silence tactic no other activist has ever used and, at this point, it’s fair to question the effectiveness of his strategy," Whitlock wrote Aug. 17.  "But what if his goal is to drive a discussion focused on NFL ownership treating him in a racist manner? 

"In that case, Mr. Kaepernick is serving as a Trojan horse for the progressive media’s attack on an iconic institution.  The NFL is the highest-rated show on NBC, FOX, CBS, ESPN and the NFL Network.  It’s an important cultural force, and a conservative one. Mr. Kaepernick is a pretense to change the way football is discussed.  It’s working this NFL off-season."

On Aug. 18, the NAACP announced its boycott against a league in which blacks constitute 70 percent of players to support a Kaepernick, who ranked in the bottom half of NFL quarterbacks the past two years -- and chose to opt out of his contract.

The nation's most revered civil-rights organization thus became a weapon in the race-tinged hysteria that the Left uses to penetrate and dominate all areas of life, including sports.

Totalitarian regimes use sports to disseminate political propaganda.  In Nazi Germany, sports served to glorify the "Aryan" race and to prepare Germany for war.  In the Soviet Union, the elite athlete became as valuable as the soldier or the diplomat in promoting Communism.

The Soviets developed a system of state-run sports schools and clubs to produce world-class athletes who would be technically proficient and ideologically correct.  A coach's fundamental duty was to instill what one Soviet sports periodical called a "high Communist consciousness" in which athletes saw themselves as "Soviet patriots … irreconcilable to the enemies of socialism and Communism." 

With Neo-Marxism permeating American education, identical thinking predominates.  Saphia Jackson, co-director of the Black Students Assembly at the University of Southern California, said during a campus rally that the Trojans' mascot horse represented white supremacy.  The mascot, "Traveler," leads the football team onto the field for home games and gallops after the Trojans score.  Gen. Robert E. Lee's horse also was named "Traveller," though spelled differently.

The idea for "Traveler" started in 1961, when Richard Salkko rode his horse during USC's game against Georgia Tech.  Salkko's horse already was called "Traveler" when he bought it.

"What if their name would be Lee? Would they want to change it?" Salkko's widow, Pat, rhetorically asked about the students.  "So now the flavor of the day is -- we all have to be in hysteria.  It’s more of a political issue.  The horse isn’t political and neither am I."

ESPN, however, effectively answered her question by replacing an Asian-American sportscaster who was scheduled to call Virginia's football opener.  The sportscaster's name? Robert Lee.

Professional athletes embody similar thinking, and not just in the NFL.  In July 2016, the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx wore black T-shirts with the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, the Dallas Police Department's insignia and the phrase, "Black Lives Matter."

Castile and Sterling were black men killed by police in separate incidents July 5-6.  On July 7, a black Army reservist killed five Dallas policemen during a Black Lives Matter rally.  The Lynx wore their T-shirts July 9 before their home game against the Dallas Wings.

In response, four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working as volunteer security left the arena and removed their names from consideration for any further security work for the team.

"Others said they heard about it and they were not going to work Lynx games," said Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation.  "I commend them for it." 

The WNBA fined the Lynx and three other teams whose players protested in similar fashion.  But 48 hours later, the WNBA rescinded the fines after players complained.

Yet the WNBA and its parent, the NBA, embrace LGBT activism.  Both were the first professional leagues to sponsor floats in New York's Pride March.  This year, Commissioner Adam Silver not only rode on the NBA's float but waved a rainbow flag and tossed into the crowd T-shirts featuring the NBA's emblem and team emblems in a rainbow motif.

In July 2016, Silver moved the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans from Charlotte after the North Carolina legislature passed a measure that, among other things, prohibited transsexuals from using public restrooms not corresponding to their biological gender.  Two months later, the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference moved scheduled championship events out of the state.

As Whitlock discussed Kaepernick, one of the owners of the Boston Red Sox, John Henry, announced that he wanted to change the name of the street along Fenway Park's eastern boundary from Yawkey Way.  Tom Yawkey owned the Red Sox from 1933 until his death in 1976 -- and was the last major-league owner to integrate his team, 12 years after Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

"The street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can -- particularly in our African-American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully," Henry said.  "I am still haunted by what went on here a long time before we arrived."

Racial tension plagued Boston for decades and spilled into the Red Sox.  Robinson, who actually tried out with the team in 1945, called Yawkey "one of the most bigoted guys in baseball."  Red Sox coach Tommy Harper filed an anti-discrimination suit against his team in 1986.

Nevertheless, Boston Herald columnist Bill Speros took issue with Henry.

"Boston, too, has changed tremendously since Yawkey Way was christened in 1977," Speros wrote.  "That part of the equation continues to be missed by far too many.  There isn’t much history to preserve here, as Yawkey Way is a mere 40 years old.  'Historic legacies' in Boston are measured in centuries, not decades.

"But then what?  Do the Red Sox scrub Yawkey from their official history?  Does Henry’s newspaper (Boston Globe) purge the names of Tom and Jean Yawkey from its archives?  Does (Ted Williams') statue come down because he may have killed Asian civilians while flying combat missions over Korea?"

Henry hopes to re-name the street for David Ortiz, a Dominican whose 483 home runs with the club rank second only to Williams' total -- and who supposedly failed a steroid test during his first spring training with the Red Sox in 2003.

So instead of honoring a former owner who allegedly held racist views, Henry wants to honor a former player who allegedly used illegal steroids.

Whitlock's conclusion refers to the NFL but easily applies to the rest of the American sports landscape.

"The NFL and its TV partners," Whitlock wrote, "will not be the first group surprised by a Trojan horse."

Joseph D'Hippolito is a free-lance sportswriter who has been published in The Federalist, Jerusalem Post, Front Page Magazine and The Stream.

The American Left seeks to do more than tear down statues, as one black sports columnist surmised.

Jason Whitlock foresaw the NAACP's boycott to force an NFL team to sign free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  In criticizing Kaepernick's choice to kneel for the national anthem to protest police treatment of blacks, Whitlock saw something more insidious.

"If his goal is to raise awareness around the issue of unfair policing involving black men, he is using a silence tactic no other activist has ever used and, at this point, it’s fair to question the effectiveness of his strategy," Whitlock wrote Aug. 17.  "But what if his goal is to drive a discussion focused on NFL ownership treating him in a racist manner? 

"In that case, Mr. Kaepernick is serving as a Trojan horse for the progressive media’s attack on an iconic institution.  The NFL is the highest-rated show on NBC, FOX, CBS, ESPN and the NFL Network.  It’s an important cultural force, and a conservative one. Mr. Kaepernick is a pretense to change the way football is discussed.  It’s working this NFL off-season."

On Aug. 18, the NAACP announced its boycott against a league in which blacks constitute 70 percent of players to support a Kaepernick, who ranked in the bottom half of NFL quarterbacks the past two years -- and chose to opt out of his contract.

The nation's most revered civil-rights organization thus became a weapon in the race-tinged hysteria that the Left uses to penetrate and dominate all areas of life, including sports.

Totalitarian regimes use sports to disseminate political propaganda.  In Nazi Germany, sports served to glorify the "Aryan" race and to prepare Germany for war.  In the Soviet Union, the elite athlete became as valuable as the soldier or the diplomat in promoting Communism.

The Soviets developed a system of state-run sports schools and clubs to produce world-class athletes who would be technically proficient and ideologically correct.  A coach's fundamental duty was to instill what one Soviet sports periodical called a "high Communist consciousness" in which athletes saw themselves as "Soviet patriots … irreconcilable to the enemies of socialism and Communism." 

With Neo-Marxism permeating American education, identical thinking predominates.  Saphia Jackson, co-director of the Black Students Assembly at the University of Southern California, said during a campus rally that the Trojans' mascot horse represented white supremacy.  The mascot, "Traveler," leads the football team onto the field for home games and gallops after the Trojans score.  Gen. Robert E. Lee's horse also was named "Traveller," though spelled differently.

The idea for "Traveler" started in 1961, when Richard Salkko rode his horse during USC's game against Georgia Tech.  Salkko's horse already was called "Traveler" when he bought it.

"What if their name would be Lee? Would they want to change it?" Salkko's widow, Pat, rhetorically asked about the students.  "So now the flavor of the day is -- we all have to be in hysteria.  It’s more of a political issue.  The horse isn’t political and neither am I."

ESPN, however, effectively answered her question by replacing an Asian-American sportscaster who was scheduled to call Virginia's football opener.  The sportscaster's name? Robert Lee.

Professional athletes embody similar thinking, and not just in the NFL.  In July 2016, the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx wore black T-shirts with the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, the Dallas Police Department's insignia and the phrase, "Black Lives Matter."

Castile and Sterling were black men killed by police in separate incidents July 5-6.  On July 7, a black Army reservist killed five Dallas policemen during a Black Lives Matter rally.  The Lynx wore their T-shirts July 9 before their home game against the Dallas Wings.

In response, four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working as volunteer security left the arena and removed their names from consideration for any further security work for the team.

"Others said they heard about it and they were not going to work Lynx games," said Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation.  "I commend them for it." 

The WNBA fined the Lynx and three other teams whose players protested in similar fashion.  But 48 hours later, the WNBA rescinded the fines after players complained.

Yet the WNBA and its parent, the NBA, embrace LGBT activism.  Both were the first professional leagues to sponsor floats in New York's Pride March.  This year, Commissioner Adam Silver not only rode on the NBA's float but waved a rainbow flag and tossed into the crowd T-shirts featuring the NBA's emblem and team emblems in a rainbow motif.

In July 2016, Silver moved the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans from Charlotte after the North Carolina legislature passed a measure that, among other things, prohibited transsexuals from using public restrooms not corresponding to their biological gender.  Two months later, the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference moved scheduled championship events out of the state.

As Whitlock discussed Kaepernick, one of the owners of the Boston Red Sox, John Henry, announced that he wanted to change the name of the street along Fenway Park's eastern boundary from Yawkey Way.  Tom Yawkey owned the Red Sox from 1933 until his death in 1976 -- and was the last major-league owner to integrate his team, 12 years after Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

"The street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can -- particularly in our African-American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully," Henry said.  "I am still haunted by what went on here a long time before we arrived."

Racial tension plagued Boston for decades and spilled into the Red Sox.  Robinson, who actually tried out with the team in 1945, called Yawkey "one of the most bigoted guys in baseball."  Red Sox coach Tommy Harper filed an anti-discrimination suit against his team in 1986.

Nevertheless, Boston Herald columnist Bill Speros took issue with Henry.

"Boston, too, has changed tremendously since Yawkey Way was christened in 1977," Speros wrote.  "That part of the equation continues to be missed by far too many.  There isn’t much history to preserve here, as Yawkey Way is a mere 40 years old.  'Historic legacies' in Boston are measured in centuries, not decades.

"But then what?  Do the Red Sox scrub Yawkey from their official history?  Does Henry’s newspaper (Boston Globe) purge the names of Tom and Jean Yawkey from its archives?  Does (Ted Williams') statue come down because he may have killed Asian civilians while flying combat missions over Korea?"

Henry hopes to re-name the street for David Ortiz, a Dominican whose 483 home runs with the club rank second only to Williams' total -- and who supposedly failed a steroid test during his first spring training with the Red Sox in 2003.

So instead of honoring a former owner who allegedly held racist views, Henry wants to honor a former player who allegedly used illegal steroids.

Whitlock's conclusion refers to the NFL but easily applies to the rest of the American sports landscape.

"The NFL and its TV partners," Whitlock wrote, "will not be the first group surprised by a Trojan horse."

Joseph D'Hippolito is a free-lance sportswriter who has been published in The Federalist, Jerusalem Post, Front Page Magazine and The Stream.

RECENT VIDEOS