It's Super Bowl Sunday, and no one is safe from post-election politics.
Addressing a group of business leaders Friday, President Donald Trump quipped about the sad, politicized state of our culture.
"One of the things that I heard this morning ... watching the news was that - amazingly, it's never happened before - that politics has become a much bigger subject than the Super Bowl," Trump said.
Media fact checkers, lower your pens and go for the cheese dip. The president was joking, not asserting a literal statement of fact.
True or not, Trump's comment highlights the politicization of football and other sports that are supposed to buffer us from real-world conflicts with potentially dire ramifications.
We've had a year of self-righteous athletic multimillionaires kneeling for the flag of a country they think is beneath them. Last year's Super Bowl halftime featured a tribute to marriage equality and dancers in black berets with raised fists. The modern football field resembles an edgy editorial page.
We have endured conservative media hysteria over the likelihood Lady Gaga will wax political during today's halftime show.
"Gaga was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton during the campaign, speaking and singing at the Democratic candidate's final rally on the eve of the election," reported The Guardian. "In the hours after Trump's victory she was pictured standing on a sanitation truck outside Trump Tower in New York holding a sign that read 'Love trumps hate.' "
Liberal media are upset about Trump's friendship with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
"This isn't easy to say about someone I've idolized as an emblem of determination and athletic heroism for more than 15 years, but here in the reliably blue precincts of New England, Brady is already assuming a strange new role in the eyes of many fans: Tom Brady looks like a loser. Tom Brady looks like a coward," wrote Boston-based journalist Luke O'Neil for The Washington Post, explaining in 1,400 words his anxiety over Brady befriending Trump.
Liberals, give it a rest. Conservatives, give it a rest. Populists, give it a rest. Have a tailgate party and lay off the sorehead tirades.
Politics and government are for workdays. They have real consequences. They determine whether we are at war or at peace.
Football is for fun. Today's game determines nothing, other than which fans enjoy the thrill of a one-year championship.
As faux conflicts with no life-changing consequences, games are supposed to give us a break from consequential conflicts that don't end at the buzzer. They give us reason to gather with family, friends and colleagues to share victories or enjoy polite disputes over which team has the best quarterback, coach, mascot and uniform.
Entertainers, athletes, coaches and fans should keep politics out of the living room today. Let's keep the fun in Super Bowl Sunday.