Sports and entertainment has been going through an identity crisis lately, by emphasizing politics over its ultimate function — to entertain.
The final straw may have been the U.S. Women’s Soccer team’s shameful, anti-American demonstrations during and after the World Cup. Despite their win, America suddenly lost interest in women’s soccer — just like that.
Fans and the industry as a whole have taken a hit as a result, but a tiny glimmer of hope revealed over the weekend that we may find our way back.
On Saturday Gwen Berry took a gold in women’s hammer at the Pan American games in Lima, Peru. During the awards ceremony, she raised a clenched fist and bowed her head. The day before American fencer Race Imboden also won a gold. While fellow team mates stood respectfully at the ceremony, and another team even saluted, he took a knee.
“This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze,” wrote Imboden in a tweet Friday. Bur he wasn’t all that honored. “My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a President who spreads hate are at the top of a long list.”
Like members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, Berry and Imboden are there to represent the United States — not themselves.
Unlike the U.S. Soccer Federation, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) isn’t taking it lying down — and it’s about time.
"Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature," said Mark Jones, Vice President of Communications at USOPC, in a statement to ESPN.
"In these cases, the athletes didn't adhere to the commitment they made to the organizing committee and the USOPC. We respect their rights to express their viewpoints, but we are disappointed that they chose not to honor their commitment. Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result."
ESPN, the recipient of Jones’ statement, should take note. It lost two million subscribers last year for what was more than likely the exact same reason — its new emphasis on politics and political correctness at the expense of its own reason for being — entertainment and sports.
After former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made protesting the National Anthem a new national pastime for professional athletes, game attendance and viewership took a nosedive, and Forbes reported that it would probably continue to decline.
But the NFL’s loss turned out to be college football’s gain, suggesting that collegiate athletes want to do something new and exciting on the gridiron — play football, politics be damned.
It’s not just sports that’s declined — so have all forms of entertainment. Back in the days of the Not Ready For Primetime Players, “Saturday Night Live” was at comedy’s cutting edge. It’s since become a purveyor of far-left talking points, suggesting that the Democratic National Committee now writes and produces the once-popular program.
Vanity Fair reported that “SNL” is struggling to “find its identity in the era of Trump fatigue.” The answer is apparent — go back to writing comedy. They can poke fun at political leaders without being mean-spirited — the original cast repeatedly proved that.
Annual awards shows, starting with the Oscars, were also popular at one time, but see sinking ratings amidst profanity-laden political posturing.
In an effort to stave off the Oscar’s now-appalling ratings, Academy president John Bailey confirmed that the organization is considering adding a new category to its list — “Best Popular Film.”
But it’ll require more than that. It’s going to take going back to its original format, where a declared winner comes forward and tearfully thanks his parents, director, and co-stars and leaves the politics out of it.
They have to understand that they offend half the country no matter what political position they take, whatever political figure they love or hate.
Sports figures and entertainers also have to come to grips with just how good they have it here. Had they publicly taken the positions they had in half of the world’s countries, they could have found themselves fined, imprisoned, or worse.
From Kaepernick to Imboden, complaining about America’s racism is a common theme.
In 2013 two Swedish economists set out to determine what the most and least racially-tolerant countries are in the world. India and Jordan were by far the least tolerant; the United States and Latin American countries were among the most racially-tolerant.
The U.S. Olympic Committee is on the right track. With any luck, others will see the light and follow its lead. Then maybe — just maybe — America can be entertained again.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.