Michael Sam, Donald Sterling, and Politics in Sports
May 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
New column by me in today’s Lompoc Record, ends with a call for both local high school teams to change their crappy mascots.
In a week of headlines dominated by Michael Sam and Donald Sterling, one of the most frustrating responses has been from commentators and fans who wish we could “away from all the politics” and “just focus on sports.”
Not only is their wish for a politically neutral entertainment world impossible, it would ruin sports.
If openly gay NFL draft pick Michael Sam makes the NFL, it may not be a Jackie Robinson moment, but he will undoubtedly add a new thread to the tapestry of personalities that make up the landscape of sports. Similarly, when NBA forward Kevin Durant, in tears, thanked his mother while accepting his MVP trophy, it was an inspiring moment for me and thousands of other sons of single parents who grew up poor.
We watch sports not just for the times when our team wins, or the pure aesthetic marvel of top athletes doing things no one else can do. We watch to follow stories like those of Kevin Durant, Michael Sam and even Donald Sterling and the players working for him. And in cases of identity politics, like that of Michael Sam, the personality and the politics are inextricable.