“Stick to sports!”
It’s a comment we hear sometimes on The Green Zone when Woodsy, Jamie Nye and I veer away from discussing hockey or football. Someone will call or text us, imploring that we stop talking about racism, politics or religion. Those listeners somehow ignore that sports are often affected by those – and other – external forces.
The sports department at USA Today, a huge newspaper, has been officially instructed along with other departments, to abide by that policy. “Stick to sports!” Only the newspaper’s political reporters and columnists are supposed to mention the American presidential election and the controversial winner, Donald Trump.
Pro athletes and coaches in the U.S. have spoken about Trump’s election because they believe it will affect them, affect their country, affect their leagues. They’re right. Opinions and sports are a part of life. Politics are a part of life. So are racism and religion. If you’re going to write for a newspaper or talk on a radio program, opinions are vital to the discussion. And pigeon-holing those opinions to sports is a disservice to everyone.