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Virgil: Woke Means Broke — the Impact of Cultural Marxism on Pro Sports



On September 3, 2018, former football player Colin Kaepernick tweeted, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt.”

 That was the beginning, of course, of a hugely ambitious Nike ad campaign, making Kaepernick a wealthy man—probably far wealthier than if he had somehow managed to eke out another season or two in the National Football League.

Yet now, two years later, it’s obvious that Kaepernick’s version of woken sports politics—we might dub it “Kaepernickism”—has radiated across our culture and society. Moreover, as we shall see later, Kaepernickism has some interesting intellectual antecedents.  

Yet first, let’s focus on the impact that Kaepernickism has had on pro sports.  

The NFL season opened on September 10, as the Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Houston Texans. The spectators in the stands—it might not be accurate anymore to call them “fans”—booed both teams. As Jason Whitlock explained in Outkick, “The booing you heard at Arrowhead Stadium Thursday night isn’t hard to understand. Black Lives Matter is toxic and divisive.”  

In fact, TV ratings for the debut game were down more than 16 percent from the year before. And for all the games on Sunday, September 13, ratings were down as well.


These data are worth mulling over, because, after all, at a moment when so many Americans are spending more time at home, one might expect that TV sports ratings would be rising.

We might find some clues about this ratings-tumble from another kind of rating, as measured by Gallup. On September 8, the opinion-survey firm reported that the favorability rating for pro sports had plunged over the last year. Having surveyed public sentiment on 25 industries and sectors, the company found that esteem for some industries, such as health care, has risen, while others have fallen in esteem. And yet, Gallup reported, “The biggest slide . . . has been for the sports industry, with its positive score falling 15 points—from 45% to 30%.” Notably, if one looks at the partisan “internals” of the poll, one finds that positivity among self-identified independents fell 36 percent, while among Republicans, it fell a whopping 46 percent. 

As Gallup observes oh-so-politely, it’s likely that “controversies swirling around the industry” are responsible for this “slide in popularity.” If so, then the events of the NFL’s opening week are likely to accelerate that slide.  

To know what’s been happening lately, we might consider this headline from the Associated Press: “Racial injustice themes fill empty NFL stadiums.” The September 13 article offered a wrap-up of the non-game activities that have gotten in the way of the game:  

Jason Myers kicked off to start the Seahawks’ season-opener against the Falcons, and the ball sailed through the end zone for a touchback. No one moved a step.  Instead, the players all dropped to one knee.

 So what was going on? As the AP wrote of the players, “After years of pleading with the NFL to act against systemic racism, they were willing to wait another 10 seconds to make their point.” To some, including in the media, such demonstrativeness might be good political action, but to sports fans, it’s not good sports action. The AP further recounted:

 Teams opening the year in empty stadiums knelt, locked arms, raised fists in protest or stayed off the field entirely for the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the Black anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” on Sunday as the once-reluctant league brought racial injustice to the forefront on the NFL’s first full slate of games. In Atlanta, the teams wore armbands honoring civil rights leader John Lewis and staged the most striking of the day’s gestures: They barely flinched as the opening kickoff landed beyond the end line, took a knee, and remained there for about 10 seconds before trotting off the field to resume the game.

n the words of Falcons running back Todd Gurley, “It’s a start . . . You don’t want to make it a one-time thing.” In other words, we should expect more of this politicization this Sunday, and the Sunday after, and on and on. 

Meanwhile, the second week of the NFL got less attention–lots of other news crowding it out, and pro football does, indeed, seem less significant these days–but as Deadline recorded on September 21, the New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins all were out of sight during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, while other teams mixed up variations of standing, kneeing, and fist-flying.  And yes, TV ratings were down again.

Interestingly, one of the TV networks—the outfits that provide pro sports with most of their revenues—is telling its people to dial things back, lest viewers be alienated. As Forbes caught back on September 8, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said of his sportscasters, “They’re not going to interject their opinion or their philosophy. They’re there to cover the game.”

The fear, of course, is simple: Woke Is Broke. That is, ordinary Americans, especially on the center-right–which is where most sports fans, as well as most Americans, are to be found–won’t pay their hard-earned money to be criticized, even insulted, by the players

 Read More Here: Breitbart

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