is a game and tech journalist from the US. Aside from writing for RT, he hosts the podcast Micah and The Hatman, and is an independent comic book writer. Follow Micah at @MindofMicahC
You’d expect a nation deprived of live action to be glued to the TV as basketball and baseball return. But as the players take the knee, US viewing figures have tanked – proving people don’t want woke preaching with their sport.
With the return of basketball and baseball to US TV sets, Americans were looking forward to watching something that would demonstrate a return to normality. After all, Covid-19 seems to have disrupted everything about our day-to-day lives.
But what we were greeted with was a bunch of athletes kneeling during the national anthem, which is seen as a sign of disrespect by many in the country (traditionally, we stand for our anthem).
Black Lives Matter was splattered on the basketball courts. The players were wearing Black Lives Matter shirts. The only thing missing was the athletes looting the concession stands and burning them to echo “the protests.”
Many Americans weren’t very happy about this. When Colin Kaepernick was protesting whatever it was he said he was protesting, the NFL lost millions of TV viewers. Not much has changed. Week to week, millions of viewers have dropped out of the NBA and MLB according to Ryan Glasspiegel at Outkick. Considering almost six million people tuned in to see Tom Brady play golf, this isn’t a good look.
To be fair since I compared MLB vs NBA return night 1, here is night 2MLB (last Friday, ESPN)Mets-Braves (4p) – 922KBrewers-Cubs(7p) – 1.0MAngels-As (10p) – 797KNBA (last night ESPN)Celtics-Bucks (6:30p) – 1.3MMavs-Rockets (9p)- 1.7M
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) August 1, 2020
You could chalk sagging interest up to pandemic conditions, but 5.8 million tuned in to watch Tom Brady hit golf shots into the woods https://t.co/vIPxNc1uDi
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) August 2, 2020
Once again, major league sports in America simply have not learned. In fact, I’d go beyond that and say that they are completely and totally out of touch with what their fans think.
Bending the knee during the Star Spangled Banner, using the same slogan as people burning down businesses and generally having a disrespectful tone towards the nation aren’t positives for the average sports watcher.
Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, there are common unifying factors for most Americans. One is respect for our country. We all stand for the national anthem, because it shows respect for our home and the people who sacrificed their lives for it to even exist.
Kneeling for the national anthem does nothing but anger some people. And it’s not going to get them debating police brutality or whatever else these players think they might be able to force viewers to discuss. Instead, they’re going to talk about how the players of the NBA and MLB are entitled millionaire jerks.
The fact of the matter is that a “woke” agenda is not popular. Most Americans do not follow that line of thinking, nor do they care for it. When people sit down to watch the NBA, they want to have a beer and a burger, and enjoy a good game.
They’re not switching on for political messaging. Politics suck. They aren’t fun, and people don’t want political point scoring with their entertainment. The elite athletes who play professionally are there to win games and entertain people. Nothing else. If you’re not there for that, what are you there for?
If you want politics, run for office. But please, keep it off the courts and fields.