Sports figures have behaved badly lately, with instances of apparent racist comments, domestic abuse and child-beating dominating the news. These invoked public backlash and punishment: Donald Sterling had to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, Bruce Levenson will sell the Atlanta Hawks, the NFL suspended Ray Rice, the Minnesota Vikings banished Adrian Peterson, and Danny Ferry took an indefinite (and likely coerced) leave of absence from his position as general manager of the Hawks.
I have zero sympathy for the violence of Rice and Peterson or Sterling’s core racism. However, Levenson and Ferry seem to have been painted with too broad a brush and perhaps subjected to a public yen to knock people down.
In an email, Levenson lamented the poor attendance of white people at Atlanta Hawks games and pondered what could be done to attract them. (The Hawks finished 28th in the NBA in attendance.) In the aftermath of the Sterling debacle, the immediate furor following the release of Levenson’s comments led him to announce plans to sell the team. He may have jumped the gun.
Thoughtful, race-sensitive ex-NBA players like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Len Elmore deemed his mea culpa an overreaction. Kareem wrote that Levenson “is a businessman asking reasonable questions about how to put customers in seats,” not a racist wishing black Americans away. Elmore concurred. Kareem notes that people should be allowed “minor insensitive gaffes... read more »
Tired of reading the same viewpoints over and over again? Me too.
The mainstream media landscape is now dominated by a one-track mind. Groupthink is the name of the game. If you dare to challenge the narrative shaped by politically-correct beliefs, you risk public humiliation, suspension or dismissal from your job. ESPN this year alone benched a veritable all-star lineup of Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, Dan Le Betard - just to name three - for various loose and impolitic talk.
At The Worldwide Leader, and mostly elsewhere, the marketplace of idea is now closed, replaced by a single-line cafeteria serving gruel - and you're told to like it or keep your mouth shut.
There is arguably more censorship in sports media than at anytime in its history, and likely more censorship than even in political media, where opposing views are still somewhat tolerated. Looking at most sports web sites, you will find more fascinating analysis of the issue at hand in the reader comment section than in the article directly above it.
So it's high time for one of us to stand athwart the Toy Department, yelling stop!
From now on, we at RealClearSports will offer you unfiltered and uncensored views on events that go on in the world of sports, whether it's pertaining to crime and punishment, race relations or just fun and games. You'll find us discussing issues honestly and rationally. Nothing is off limits and no one will be punished for not toeing the company line. We'll be here every week, or more often.
In essence, we'll be out in right field, often... read more »