On the bench: Dear politicians, stay out of sports

Since Trump declared war on NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, the sports world is becoming more and more political in every way. Owners, leagues, players and sports media all seem to be involved in some political controversy. From the most controversial news involving Colin Kaepernick’s actions and the president’s criticism toward Jemele Hill and the Twitter-fueled controversy that ensued, sports are slowly turning into another outlet for politicians to manifest themselves in a way that reaches a different type of audience.

I miss the time when sports outlets and YouTube channels related to sports were about one thing: Sports. Now, it seems like there’s a new controversy every day surrounding a different aspect of the industry. These controversies are hurting the sports industry, and it’s changing them in a way that makes it possible for politicians to make a statement and show their support or rejection toward X or Y issue. One clear example of this behavior was Vice President Mike Pence’s stunt on Oct. 8. He walked out on the Indianapolis Colts game after some players knelt during the national anthem to protest racial inequality, which President Trump has repeatedly condemned. This stunt ended up costing taxpayers nearly $250,000 according to Vanity Fair.

Additionally, players are starting to notice the way sports are being used and how they could use it for their own agendas. If politicians and players can’t keep their beliefs regarding politics away from sports, it will become a toxic and unpleasant environment to watch and hear about. One thing worth noting is that people can and should protest against any injustices they feel exist. However, it’s important to find the right time and place in which it could be appropriate to do so.  

Sporting events are not the right places to talk about social issues. Many people watch sports to get away from their everyday problems, including politics. If politicians keep doing things like this, sports could become yet another weapon for politicians to go after one another and make statements, something that the sports world was never intended to do or become.

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