Simple: Sports And Politics Don’t Mix



By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

Sports and politics are not a mix and by now it is obvious with the National Anthem, the National Football League and President Donald Trump. Instead of playing Monday morning quarterback and analyzing Week 3 of what went wrong on the gridiron, the discussion is about the American flag and the protests.

What has gone wrong? Obvious, sports and politics do not co- exist and who is to blame? This is a matter of contradiction from a controversial leader who resides in the White House, and a show of force from the highly paid athletes who provide that thrill of victory and agony of defeat.

First and foremost, the National Anthem has always been a tradition and we stand before every game and at every venue. Baseball before the first pitch, football prior to the kickoff, basketball before the opening tip, hockey before they face off with the puck.

Boxing has the array of international anthems before they throw the first punch and soccer prior to the first kick of a ball. Is is about politics and pride. Does this have a place, and now more of a question because Donald Trump, the leader, continued to focus on an issue that is meaningless when there are more significant issues at hand.

Besides the National Anthem offering respect to freedom and honoring those who fight for our honor, the most famous song of our land has become a spectacle of entertainment. There are few exceptions when a military hero comes to the forefront and sings those famous lines and with pride.

And there are the various celebrities and special guests who get their two minutes and manage to sing the famous lyrics of Francis Scott Key that symbolize freedom and when they do it is all entertainment.  Those two minutes of fame at times take away the symbolism of the American flag and what the lyrics represent.

We stand, honor, and applaud. We stand in the press box as they sing and some sports organizations have a mandate that their employees stand and honor America, evident in the media dining room at Citi Field.  And at times there are those who don’t pay attention and more so when the National Anthem becomes a spectacle.

Have you heard some of the latest that have made a mockery of the National Anthem? They sing and it becomes their two minutes of fame. The rendition at times is more suited for an audition that talent agents can review.

But getting back to the issue that has become a discussion and subject, and it is not about the five touchdown passes that Tom Brady made on Sunday or the nail biters of NFL games, or the baseball pennant races as the final week of a long season begins.

No, instead the NFL and their players are the subject of discussion and it’s a political issue. Sports was never intended to mix with politics, instead the games are played to be a diversion from the cruel realities of the bad that is a part of our everyday life.

We saw baseball return and offer that diversion after those horrible events of September 11, 2001. Suffering and survival  from hurricanes and a devastating earthquake in Mexico are more important issues at hand and so is a nation under guard from a possible nuclear attack.

But we have a President who gets involved with an issue that should be void of controversy. This does not mean ignoring the American Flag is correct, but sports and politics is not a good mix and deserves a degree of one not being with the other.

This is a time to note that President Trump bypassed throwing the Opening Day pitch at Nationals Park in April.  Now, that has always been a tradition and in the city where all the decisions of this nation are made, but that was the beginning of this entire issue.

The matter at hand here is about tradition and that is long gone out of the ballpark. quicker than an Aaron Judge home run ball.  Monday morning quarterback discussions are not about the why and why not today. Instead it’s about politics and sports, and that is the issue.

Sports and politics don’t mix and it’s time to end this discussion. If not, as we see today, a nation is further divided.

Comment Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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