The current politicization of sports erupted when Black NFL players refused to stand for the national anthem as a protest against discriminatory and abusive treatment of blacks by police. Undoubtedly such behavior exists. The degree of it is debatable, and some fans pushed back and boycotted the NFL, offended by what they regarded as behavior dishonoring the flag and the nation. Then, the NBA in its abbreviated “bubble” playoffs last year, took it to an even higher level joining the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd was killed in an altercation with police in Minneapolis.
Now, with Major League Baseball returning for a full season as the pandemic recedes, the joy of fans has been dampened by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s entry into the partisan politics of wokeness with his absurd and hypocritical decision to snatch the All-Star Game from Atlanta and move it to Denver. Democrat activists and President Joe Biden sought to symbolically punish Georgia Republicans and intimidate other states considering election reforms. Manfred assisted them with his theatrical exercise in virtue-signaling. It was misinformed and unwarranted, endorsing the counterfeit ideology of the radical “woke” movement and its phony claim that Georgia’s recently passed voting integrity law was designed to suppress the Black vote.
Former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent slammed Manfred, declaring that “Major League Baseball can’t become a weapon in the culture wars, a hostage for one political party or ideology.” He noted the move would hurt Atlanta’s stadium workers and local vendors. Ironically, Atlanta is 55% Black; Colorado, just 10%!
Elements of Georgia’s new voting law mirror much of what Colorado has done and include an even better balance between voting rights and voting integrity. Moreover, it’s less restrictive than laws in other states like New York and Delaware; both Democrat strongholds. Systemic suppression of Black voters is a self-serving fiction and false narrative promoted by Democrats, Black radicals and leftists. For example, their premise that obtaining a photo ID is too difficult a task for Blacks is a condescending, racist insult. What Democrats want is to make illegal voting easier, presuming their candidates would harvest most of those votes.
Sadly, Manfred’s pandering has been replicated by other cowardly corporate elites who’ve unjustifiably piled on Georgia, like Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian and Coca-Cola’s James Quincey. Those companies are based in Atlanta and are wary of protests and boycotts if they don’t appease the radicals. This is another kind of virus that’s spreading in corporate executive suites across the nation.
There’s a misconception that corporations are filled with free-market conservatives. Not hardly. Corporate executives who might be Republicans and politically conservative in their private lives don’t necessarily act that way in their jobs, where they’re more pragmatic than principled. Auto companies are partial to Democrats who bail them out of mismanagement or subsidize electric cars. Corporations lobby for government restrictions on would-be emerging competitors. Silicon Valley and Big Tech are notoriously liberal. Corporate PACS routinely split campaign contributions between Democrats and Republicans. And corporate contributions to foundations and advocacy groups go mostly to those on the left.
There are some corporations that are openly conservative but relatively few these days. When Coors was privately held, Joe and Bill Coors supported numerous conservative causes and were punished for that by the left. That didn’t deter Joe and Bill, but the marketing people were concerned that it hurt beer sales.
On the other hand, Ben & Jerry, the two ice cream guys from Vermont, could support leftist causes with no negative consequences. While Chick-Fil-A gets boycotted and vandalized because its owners, the Cathy family, adhere to their Christians values. Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors were boycotted but not sponsors of Stephen Colbert or Rachel Maddow. The dominant liberal media’s powerful megaphone has much to do with this disparity.
The political pendulum has lurched radically to the left. Joe Biden’s campaign pretense to be a moderate and a uniter has been shown to be a fraud. Don’t expect pushback from the liberal media, academia, Hollywood, TV or social media. They’ve led us to the stage of the left’s “fundamental transformation of America,” as President Obama phrased it, and want to take it further yet. 2022 will be a pivotal moment. Americans have historically used midterm elections to change horses and reverse course when one party overreaches. Business leaders can help if they get some backbone and stop being so “pragmatically” shortsighted. When the left takes us to full-blown socialism, it’ll be too late.
Mike Rosen is a Denver-based American radio personality and political commentator.