The New York Times is simultaneously applauding the left-wing politicization of sports and calling conservatives the aggressors in the “Culture Wars.” But being a progressive “journalist” means never having to make sense.
Sports associations and LGBT activists fired the first shot of a raging culture war battle by waving biological males into female games. But the NYT’s Kurt Streeter accused conservatives of opening a new flank in divisive wars over social progress through “gauzy myths” and unnecessary Republican legislation aimed at transgenders.
Streeter says, “(Donald) Trump provided a powerful accelerant. He stoked the flames amid his ardent supporters who view sports as a last bastion for the good old days and their gauzy myths.”
Presently, Republican lawmakers in half the states have sponsored legislation to protect the integrity of women’s sports. As Streeter tells it, they have ulterior motives. They’re doing this “under the guise of ensuring the rights of athletes who were born biologically female.” (Women and girls, to normal folks.)
Streeter spanks conservatives seeking a return to the “mythical notion” that sports should operate at arm’s length from the important issues of the day. He views sports as “much more than a forum for entertainment and the exploration of human potential.”
A conversation Between Streeter and Harry Edwards, for 60 years a sociologist and guru to sports radicals, led both to the belief that sports is the leading stage for battles over societal change. Good luck selling this line to the Pittsburgh steel worker settling in for three hours of head-knockin’ football!
The state legislation barring trans athletes from despoiling women’s athletics is “unnecessary.” It only fires up a base that’s fearful of expanding LGBT rights, Streeter charges. Edwards claims “sports have become society’s prime cultural battleground for every hot-button social and political issue.”
Edwards predicted the social battles will all play out on the stage of sports. The “most prominent athlete activists” — LeBron James, WNBA player Maya Moore and Colin Kaepernick — “are more astute than the players of old at ‘dreaming with their eyes open, working for justice, cultivating the tools to make those dreams happen.’ ”
The activists don’t wage their political pouting parties without drawing negative reactions either. “Expect the other side to operate in direct opposition to what these athletes are pushing for,” Edwards forecasted. “Conflict is inevitable. So is change.”
The pandemic gave athletes on the Left time to organize and plan their protests, Streeter said. There were the infamous boycotts by athletes in multiple sports last summer, led by the heavily criticized social justice warriors of the NBA and WNBA.
Streeter concedes that “when mixed with the drive for change and the demand for new protections of rights, our sports get messy.”
That’s especially true when those drives are filled with false narratives shaped by athletes and media alike. Things got very messy once athletes and the media started glorifying criminals like Jacob Blake (see above photo of WNBA players who knelt in support of him last summer) and during violent nationwide BLM rioting. Fans are turning off and tuning out, but Streeter did not broach that inconvenient truth. He was too preoccupied with declaring sports venues the perfect place for political activism.