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I’m Sick of Politics; I Want to Watch Sports

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Photo from the Pittsburgh Penguins Twitter Account

The Pittsburgh Penguins accepted an invitation to visit the White House. As it should be. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup and earned a visit to the house inhabited by every President since Thomas Jefferson. Politics don’t matter. The Penguins politics don’t matter. Good for them.

Alejandro Villanueva stood proudly for the National Anthem, Sunday. As it should be. The hulking left tackle risked his life for our freedom to act like spoiled children and exercise rights listed in a constitution we often quote but haven’t read.

Yes, I’m worn out. I’m mad that no one is allowed to enjoy anything without either side of the political spectrum throwing a temper tantrum. Everyone, chill out.

At some point, this feels like a fight with my younger brother, when my parents would send us to our rooms despite our protests–“But he…!”. Someone, please be the bigger person here. Someone, please take that step forward. Someone please, for all that is holy and all that this country has achieved, all that it has done for the advancement of humanity and all of the lives we have saved from tyranny, oppression, and poverty, please take a deep breath.

Reach out to someone who is diametrically opposed and listen. Then talk. Then listen. Read more. Read both sides.

I had a nasty exchange with my friend, Mark Lazerus (Chicago Sun-Times) over police brutality, this weekend. Today, I regret it. He’s my friend. But that’s where we are at, today. Instead of discussing solutions, we argued different realities, both armed with statistics and facts. That makes me a hypocrite for writing this article, too.

And I’m sorry.

Political Weekend

It was a political weekend. Hell, everything is political in this era. Every thought, every word, is political. From the bathrooms we use to the food we eat are judged by inserting politics. We no longer have opinions, we have moral obligations to correct and shame anyone who steps out of line.

Let’s be clear: We’ve gone too far. We’re making our problems worse, not better because we can’t talk to each other.

Even support for public servants such as police officers has a racial tone.

There have been several awful incidents of unarmed black men dying at the hands of police officers, including Deravis Rogers in Atlanta. In fact, simply google “unarmed man shot by police” and there are pages of stories.

The shootings happened during a Democrat presidency and continue during a Republican presidency. This isn’t a Republican-Democrat thing. I also believe statistics show this isn’t even a white-black thing (Whites are the victim of a police shooting at the same rate commensurate with white violent crime rates, just as other racial groups are proportionally victimized at the violent crime rate in their communities, according to Washington Post statistics. In full disclosure, the WaPo came to a different conclusion because 24% of victims of police shootings are black, despite accounting for 13% of the population. Articles linked at the bottom).

We should know what is happening and why, but I also refuse to accept moral direction from an athlete who wears a murderous, communist dictator on his T-shirt as a symbol of being “woke”.

As adults, let’s discuss what we expect of police officers, why these incidents occurred and what we can realistically do to help. Doesn’t that seem a better solution than yelling slogans and kneeling during a solemn moment of unity; the National Anthem?

I’m not writing you can’t protest–I am writing there are better ways.

By kneeling during the Anthem, it’s symbolically removing yourself from the country which needs your help. It also leads more people to remove themselves and fans the flames of anger. Have the protests helped or hurt? You be the judge.

And someone please, for the love of God, stop our President from tweeting. You’re in the White House, not a Trump Tower reality show, kiddo. We look to our President for guidance and leadership in times of turmoil. We’ve got a chubby despot firing missiles over Japan and arming himself with nukes. We’ve got barbarians at the gate who are using social media to coordinate attacks to kill innocent civilians around the world because those civilians don’t follow the same interpretation of Islam, or have a different religious belief. And we are tearing ourselves apart.

I stand for the inalienable rights of every man, woman, and child in the United States and around the world. I think 99% of us do the same. I will not tolerate, participate in or stand silent if any person has their rights infringed. Period. However, I don’t care if you voted for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson or Donald Duck. It is irrelevant to the conversation.

We can stand together and discuss where rights are being infringed. Let’s stop shouting and condemning others.

I’m sick of politics. Sports used to bring us together. I want to watch sports, again. And talk about important problems, but not at the same time. We need some common ground. Maybe you feel the same.

I respect your opinions. Leave them below. Please keep it civil–that’s the whole point of the column.

Here is the Washington Post Story about the disparity in violence

Here is a National Review Counter.

Feel free to read both. Then take a deep breath. It ain’t easy. But we must. That includes me, too.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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kman
kman
4 years ago

Neutrality, silence, insistence that “this isn’t the time or place,” these are the tools of oppression by acquiescence or apathy. If you want to look the other way, or bury your head in the sand, or if you even affirmatively support that which others feel is injustice, that’s your right. And you are entitled to spend your free time however you want to spend it, including being entertained by television, or music, or sports. But you are not entitled to be entertained, by those entertainers, on your own terms. And your country’s flag and national anthem, that you stand for,… Read more »

ace
ace
4 years ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

If the Penguins really wanted to put “politics aside,” they would have declined the invite. Now, they have turned into pawns in Trump’s game. He’s going to use their visit as a political statement and a way to demean NFL and NBA players. Does anybody really think his speech will not involve politics?

The photo of Crosby awkwardly smiling in the background while Trump makes off-color political remarks will haunt him for the rest of his career.

John
John
4 years ago
Reply to  ace

If the penguins declined, they alienate half the population. They decide to go, they alienate the other half that didn’t vote for him. They went to Obama, and I didn’t protest. Everything is so political now. Let’s just watch them play

kman
kman
4 years ago

Fair enough. And if you don’t want to weigh in on issues of social justice, that’s certainly your right. I wouldn’t presume to know how you vote, or how you think, or how your readers do, or how your employer does and what kind of latitude the writers here have to weigh in on political or social issues. You maybe very well have a different set of nuances in your thinking than a lot of other people who seem to be with you on this, but lately, I hear from a lot of sportswriters, and other famous people who are… Read more »

Dcpinpgh
Dcpinpgh
4 years ago

So koan, if one thinks kneeling for the anthem is disrectful, then being silent or neutral would be signs of oppression . If one looks the other way, or bury their heads in the sand, then being silent is oppression, am I reading that correctly?

Dan, how about personal responsibility? You commit a crime then attack a cop, and the cop doesn’t let you win the confrontation. That’s not a racial issue that’s individual actions. To many people put membership of a group over the indivual actions.

kman
kman
4 years ago
Reply to  Dcpinpgh

Dcpinpgh, just for clarity’s sake, it is totally fair to think kneeling for the anthem is disrespectful, that’s a separate question. I imagine there are players who kneel during the anthem and people who support their stance who would say others are misinterpreting the gesture as disrespect for the country or its military, and I’m sure there are people on the other side who would say the protesters are misinterpreting the gesture of standing as acceptance of everything the country does and allows to be done. People on opposite sides of most arguments have a tendency to claim they are… Read more »

BubbaBanjo
BubbaBanjo
4 years ago

Amen Brother! Its like taking your muddy boots off at the door. Mama dont like it.

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