For your own good. Appreciation of athletic accomplishment is one of the most bipartisan things I can think of. The moment you bring politics into it, especially race-baiting politics, you repel a segment of your fan base.
There are few better examples of a dramatic public meltdown than San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's smug rant at NBA Media Day.
Popovich expresses dismay over NASCAR owners cracking down on anthem protests at races. When you are a public-facing employee, there's a million things you cannot say or do. Ask the guy wearing the mascot costume at the ball game if he's allowed to engage fans on religious or political topics. Not only are people fired for political speech at work, people have lost their jobs for political positions they took outside of work, usually for espousing views that grate against the lies of liberalism, like Brendan Eich of Mozilla and Curt Schilling of ESPN. James Demore was fired from Google due to a hysterical overreaction to the most measured, restrained critique of gender-based hiring practices ever written by a layman.
Lest you forget, 3 years ago Popovich celebrated the NBA's imposing a lifetime ban on Donald Sterling for a private, non-racist argument Sterling had with his mistress. Popovich called it "absolutely appropriate" and "fantastic" that Sterling was essentially fired for speaking. It appears for Popovich that sanctioned dialogue is limited to arguing to what degree a racist an unsuspecting normal person who accepts liberals' invitation to speak candidly about race is.
Popovich is the one who is delusional if he thinks Trump took our discourse into the gutter. It was already there. Conservatives have been routinely called racist, bigoted, homophobic, and fascist years before President Trump came along. You could say 2016 is when non-Leftist Americans finally decided they would not turn the other cheek as they were belittled and their country radically transformed.
Finally, calling all white people the beneficiaries of bias (that is mostly imagined) and demanding they be made uncomfortable based on the color of their skin is the kind of racial generalization that correctly is called racism. It's enfuriating that no matter how much progress in race relations is made, whites get saddled with the worst of intentions. This is the kind of toxic rhetoric people disengage from, and it's part of the reason fewer people are watching the NBA.
Steve Kerr asked for a pay cut to coach fewer games last season. He may be getting a pay cut regardless.
J. R. Wilco of Pounding the Rock naively tries to thread the political needle in his article on Popovich's tirade, but the comments bear out how foolish dividing your readership along political lines is. Here's one such comment:
8000+ posts, this is my last.
Its pretty clear that politics will be infused in all PTR articles this year, which I do not really want to read — I originally came here to read and share the SPURS experience. With ALL Spurs fans.
Its also pretty clear that the extreme, hardcore left here will not tolerant even mainstream opinions or views. The sad irony is, having lived in Austin, the so called liberals are actually the LEAST tolerant people I’ve met. Yes, least. And I’ve been to nearly every state and a dozen countries.
Anyways, hope its a good season… I chose not to renew my Spurs season tix over Pop’s election rants too. But I will still root for the players, especially Kawhi and Manu.
Wilco comically bemoans the political bickering in the comments section of his article. Who is surprised? Is this not the Internet, where everyone has an opinion? This is what happens when the coach of the team you cover and venerate prefers the division of racial activism over the unity of his profession.