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Separation of Sports and State

Separation of Sports and State

Before I get started, a tip of the Colorado Rockies hat to Kyle Datres. The former Loyalsock Township grad was drafted to begin his professional baseball career within the Rockies organization. At press time the North Carolina junior was hoping to lead his team to the College World Series. More on this next week.

For the love of the game, please keep political views out of athletic competition. “We the People” love sports and when we take the time to watch a ballgame on TV or attend one in person, it’s a break from reality. It’s time spent with family, friends and other fans recreationally. Yes, at the time, the outcome of the game seems of the most importance, but at the end of the day, tomorrow brings the rigors of everyday life. I must also add, without the millions the professional athletes of today get paid.
I am so over the kneeling during the National Anthem created by Colin Kaepernick. I can tell you at the time Kaepernick was disenfranchised with being benched as the starting quarterback and wanted out of San Francisco. He disliked the coaching staff, owner, and management of the 49ers. Out of this, it became a protest against injustice. I will leave it at that and not question his motive, but I know how it began.

Two years later we are still talking about it, only this time President Donald Trump has played the political sports card. I watched most of the Eagles games last season. My son is a lifetime Bird fan, and I was overjoyed for him, the City of Philadelphia, and Eagle fans everywhere when they finally won the Super Bowl. It was extra sweet the victory came at the hands of the New England Patriots.
At no point during the Super Bowl season did I ever see an Eagle player kneel during the National Anthem, so when the story hit Fox News with a picture of Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz kneeling, I knew immediately it was taken out of context. He was praying prior to a game, not kneeling during the National Anthem. How could Fox get this so wrong, was my first thought before I really listened and investigated what was going on.

What was going on was a game of political football about the Eagles intention to visit or not visit the White House. First let me state, in today’s world I don’t think our President should be spending our taxpayers’ dollars to host any sports team in the Rose Garden or wherever the intended meeting is to be. That’s not even getting to the amount of work that needs to be done for the American taxpayer.
President Trump got his feelings hurt because the Eagles were not interested in visiting the White House collectively as a team. They were going to send representation of the team. Is that not their choice, whether you agree or not? So instead of taking the high road on the issue, Mr. Trump attempted to smear the Philadelphia Eagles’ patriotism of standing during the National Anthem as a reason why he uninvited them to the White House. Just one problem, Mr. President, I’m not the only one aware of the Eagles standing as a team during the Star Spangled Banner. Incidentally, after researching this, only one Eagle knelt during the National Anthem during the 2017 season. It occurred in a pre-season game, and he was cut and didn’t make the regular season roster.

Before the dust could even settle, the President infuriated Philly fans everywhere, and it didn’t stop there. As I’m watching LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers take on Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals, politics found its way there. LeBron was stating that neither team, no matter who won, would accept a trip to the White House to high-five President Trump.

Looking at the big picture, this is what often worries me about our president. Is he that out of touch with what is really going on or does he really believe he can get away with stretching the truth like he does? And that’s being kind.

So many times I research the facts of what President Trump says, and I strike out. Either the information is not available, which is hard to believe in today’s world, or there are already sources on both sides of the political aisle lining up to debate the facts.

Getting back to the separation of politics and sports. The American people are tired of it from both sides. We want to watch the best athletes and ballplayers in the world do just that, play ball. Yes, I want them to stand during the National Anthem and keep any political sediment away from game day. As for Mr. Trump and all politicians, please stay out of the sports spectrum; don’t you have enough to do? I don’t think there’s any American that really cares if the Eagles visit the White House, other than Cowboy fans — and they don’t want the Eagles going anywhere.

Our Nation is divided over so many issues, sports at any level is a great way for uniting “We the People.”

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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