The hyperpartisan world has transformed sports into what used to be a unifying experience among races into one of division and contempt, NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre lamented.
"The jury is out on whether it will be a good thing or not," Favre told author Andrew Klavan in a wide-ranging interview posted on YouTube, about the national anthem controversy driven as a wedge by social justice movements. "I think it's created more turmoil than good.
"Something has to unite us. And the game, or games, and sports in the past has been something of kind of a unification. Now it's almost like a division."
Identity politics have no place in sports, Favre said, before admitting it has permeated sports in an unfortunate way.
"Yeah, I think both sides, for the most part, want to see it just remain about the sport, not about politics – at least that's my interpretation," Favre said. "I know when I turn on a game, I want to watch the game. I want to watch the players play and teams win and lose, come from behind. I want to watch all the important parts of the game, not what's going on outside the game. I think the general fan feels the same way."
Identity politics are "lopsided" against conservatives like himself, Favre added.
"Absolutely, it's very lopsided," he said. "Whatever happened to your ideas, your thoughts, your beliefs being yours and not wrong?
"That seems a distant past."
Favre used his golfing with former President Donald Trump and his own anticipated backlash as an example, as he has faced political persecution in the divided states of America.
"By no means are any of us perfect, but I'm the furthest thing from a racist," he continued. "I think I'm a pretty good guy that cares about other people. I knew it was going to create a firestorm, by first fault, playing golf with the president, which I thought was an honor, regardless of who that president is.
"And by tweeting my support for then-President Trump, I knew that would create more issues.
"Again, I go back to the people who know me, know me and would speak on my behalf in a positive light. You know, I really don't worry about it a whole lot. It's a shame; it's really a shame that we've come to this. But the old saying, it is what it is."
Favre said the divisions are now pervasive throughout sports, including moving the MLB All-Star Game out of Atlanta, Georgia, to Denver, Colorado, because a state duly passed new election laws.
"I know a lot of people telling me, 'I don't watch anymore; it's not about the game anymore,'" Favre said. "And I tend to agree.
"There's always been differences; there's always been issues within the world, within the country, within our states. But again something has to unify us, and I felt like the flag and standing patriotically, because Blacks and whites and Hispanics have fought for this country, have died for this country. It's too bad."
Favre also touched on race in the locker room and made it clear there were no issues when he played in the NFL for two full decades.
"That was sort of our protected space, if you will, where we could let our guard down," he said. "We were in something together. We fought together. We won together. We lost together. And we truly were a family. So yeah, to answer your question, we absolutely didn't have issues.
"If there are problems within the locker room, that's too bad."
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