Sports Viewership Is Down Because It’s No Longer Escapism

As previously reported by The Hayride The NFL’s ratings have dropped significantly due to the heavy influence of Social Justice and preaching of progressive politics including the now defacto promotion of Black Lives Matter.  It could be easily viewed that this “Get Woke, Go Broke” montra with sports is what is ultimately driving away audiences.  This particular author views this as only half right.

Historically the viewing of sports has been viewed as a form of escapism.  When I want to watch sports, I only want to watch sports.  The only drama that should be conveyed should be the competition on the field.  The players should be out there to compete, not use the sport as a type of platform to convey a political message.  Likewise the same type of standard should be held to the broadcasters.

For example during the first week of the 2020 NCAA division 1 football season, the commentators on ESPN in the middle of the game, stopped talking about it altogether to condemn their own generation for not doing enough to stop segregation claiming that they could pat themselves on the back for no longer having white and colored signs over the bathrooms but all they did was drive segregation underground.  That was not an exaggeration, that was a quote.

Makes you wonder why audiences are no longer engaged in these sports broadcasts.  The same could be said if lets say Fox Sports would do the same but instead of promoting progressive causes, they were pushing the MAGA narrative.  As a Trump supporter, I would not want his narrative plastered all over the sports broadcasts, because if I wanted to hear a political echo chamber, I would be watching One America News instead of sports at that time.

The act of escapism seems to be lost on present day sportscasters.  People historically have played and watched sports to escape the everyday drudgery and to give them something the cheer for.  Most people who watch sports are not athletically gifted to play and gives them an escape to feel that they are still a part of the team they are cheering for and when the team wins, they win along with the team.

Michael Jordan said it best as part of the multi-part documentary on the Chicago Bulls entitled The Last Dance with regards to not alienating half of his fans.  in the 1980s  Jordan was asked to endorse Harvey Gantt over incumbent Republican Senator Jesse Helms.  Jordan’s response was “Republicans buy sneakers too” referring to his line of Nike Air Jordan shoes.  Jordan handled the situation with class and decorum because he wanted to remain a role-model to all Americans, not just the ones he was politically aligned with.

Contrast this with the contemporary comments from LeBron James  after Laura Ingraham said, “shut up and dribble.”  First Ingraham herself gave LeBron free ammunition because anyone can dribble.  LeBron isn’t earning $154 million from the LA Lakers for dribbling, he’s earning nine-figures for guarding, rebounding, and shooting 3 pointers.  But he’s now using  his status within the NBA as a platform  and Ingraham’s comment as a way of broadcasting his progressive political agenda to a far wider audience than if he was an average Joe.  They both were wrong.  LeBron would have a far more positive effect if he conducted himself more like Michael Jordan and political commentators on both sides should not be giving athletes and celebrities ammunition to throw back at them, especially if they have no idea what they are talking about half the time and the end result ultimately is tearing this country apart.   The old expression of don’t meet your heroes in real life, you’ll be disappointed comes to mind.

This gets back to the original topic that sports and entertainment are no longer outlets of escapism and not outlets of division.  America was founded on being the melting pot and through organic and not forced diversity and we can be a functional nation of differing of opinions but can still be friends with each other.  Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neal were famous for hating each other’s political policies but were friendly drinking buddies after 6.  Likewise before the 1990s people generally people generally didn’t talk  politics in public. You could go to restaurants, bars, ballparks and arenas and watch people of diverse political backgrounds get along with each other and cheer for the same cause.  Not so much for the past couple decades and definitely not now where the country is as polarized as it was before the start of the first civil war nearly 160 years ago.

Maybe society as a whole we should examine ourselves and realize that the forced “solutions” are causing more problems then they are solving.  That we should look back at the 1980s and 1990s and other than the War on Drugs, were things handled that badly?  Was there deep racial and social division?  Did we have to worry about societal breakdown, correction outright societal collapse?  Reagan lead us out of the societal breakdowns of the 70s which were not nearly as bad and what Donald Trump is trying to fix currently as President, but he can’t do that alone.  Not only does he need our votes but also our help outreaching to those that oppose him.  We need to be the bigger people and say, I don’t agree with your beliefs that that doesn’t stop me from either liking your as a person or to be friends.  Why can’t we go back to watching sports, not as a propaganda piece but for the sake of competition.  Make sports about sports again.  That’s not the end all solution but it is a good start.



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