Steven Malanga writing at City Journal, Aug. 28:
With their boycott of games earlier this week to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, athletes in the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball have crossed a bridge that they may find difficult to return from. Though professional athletes have become increasingly politicized since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his “Star Spangled Banner” protests in 2016, the widespread cancellation of games, including NBA playoff contests, is unprecedented. . . .
Modern professional athletes are wealthier—staggeringly so—and more popular than previous generations of sports figures. With their entourages, security forces, and legions of adoring social media followers, they live in a kind of bubble . . . The players have become more dogmatic, more certain of the righteousness of their approach to the issues, and more dismissive of those who don’t agree with them. On social media and in polls, they get some support for their activism—but it’s also clear that they’re leaving plenty of other people behind.
Sports leagues and teams never had to deal with political partisanship as a filter for attracting fans. Up until recently, sports united people of different political persuasions. Now, we have whole leagues embracing questionable political messages designed to offend and alienate large segments of the target audience.
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