Will sports leagues and owners make their voices heard?
For many of us, today’s events represent the realization of vague fears and concerns that have rattled around in our brains, our beings, and our souls for the last four years. The violent insurrection against our Capitol during the certification of our most recent presidential election may not be the end, but simply the beginning of the end.
The images have created shock. The response by the uniformed authorities has created confusion. As many have argued, if the insurrectionists were Black or Brown, they would have cuffs on their wrists at best, tags on their toes at worst.
So where does the sports world fit into this? At a time when players and (some) reporters have moved beyond the “stick to sports” mantra used by those who don’t want to hear opinions that differ from theirs, players and (some) reporters have been willing to use their platforms.
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat have issued a compelling statement in advance of their Wednesday night game, pointing out the “drastic difference between the way protestors this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today’s protestors who acted illegally just shows how much work we have to do.”
Similarly, the league’s official website has posted an article with reactions to today’s events from various NFL players.
It is proper. It is appropriate. It is necessary. But it is hollow without the voices of the men and women who own sports teams. Not just NFL owners, plenty of whom have supported Donald J. Trump with voices, votes, and financial devotion, but all sports owners, in all leagues.
Where are they? What do they have to say?
Now is not the time for silence, because silence in this context is complicity. So we call on all NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL owners to issue statements or to speak on camera against these treasonous events and Donald J. Trump’s role in inciting them.
That’s precisely what he did. Our 45th President, Donald J. Trump, has incited insurrection in a last-ditch effort to remain in office and, in turn, immune from arrest and prosecution from past alleged crimes.
We also call on all Commissioners of all sports leagues to condemn today’s insurrection and Donald J. Trump’s role in inciting it.
This is the moment for people of good will who have tolerated Donald J. Trump’s gradual, persistent, and calculated gaslighting of our nation to stand up and say, “Enough.” This is the moment for the millionaires and billionaires who have enabled the persistent misconduct of Donald J. Trump to stand up and say, “Enough.” Although it is far too late to undo the damage done by their past failures to stand up to a man who slowly but inevitably was becoming a clear and present danger to national security, this is the last and final chance to get on the right side of history. Because history will look back on these times with wonder and dismay regarding the persistent adherence to self-interest and/or fear of a mean tweet as the justification to treat a grown man with his hands on the levers of ultimate power as a two-year-old who eventually will get it out of his system.
He clearly hasn’t. He clearly won’t. It’s far past time for the rich and powerful to stand up and say, “We were wrong. We never should have supported him. He should go away for good, now.”
Please, sports owners and Commissioners, make your voices heard. Make your positions known. Make your employees and fans aware of where you stand on the question of whether a violent insurrection incited by the Commander-in-Chief should be treated with chilling nonchalance or strenuous objection.