On public funding for professional athletic arenas.
Professional athletic leagues have traditionally steered clear of politics in order to emphasize the purity of their entertainment and to avoid dividing fans over partisan controversies. That has changed in the last year. Players in the National Football League have “taken the knee” during playing of the national anthem as a protest against police practices; the National Basketball Association has embraced Black Lives Matter, also as a protest against the police; and now Major League Baseball has taken this year’s All-Star game out of Atlanta as a protest against Georgia’s new voting law, though baseball executives do not appear to have studied that law. Through these gestures, formerly non-political organizations have allied themselves with explicitly political causes.
These steps are unusual and unprecedented. Business corporations generally prefer to serve inclusive markets while avoiding controversies that might divide customers for or against them. The new corporate alliance with liberals and the Democratic Party is not only new – it is also dangerous. It will politicize the country along new lines, introduce political controversies into the internal operations of corporations, encourage boycotts and assaults on all sides, and much more. Some of this is already happening. As a strategy for dividing America, this one would be hard to beat.
James Piereson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
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