Nobody expects politics in the sports section; when people flip on ESPN, they’re typically shocked to see commentators taking positions on issues ranging from gay marriage to gun laws and global warming. But not only are such opinions freely expressed, they’re almost universally liberal. In the past several years, Sports Illustrated has featured feature articles on transgender athletes, gay rugby players, the impact of global warming on sports stadiums, and the Israel-Arab conflict. ESPN features constant political commentary from figures like Michael Wilbon (left) and Tony Kornheiser (left) and Colin Cowherd (left); it’s no coincidence that arch-lefty Keith Olbermann got his start in sports there before going insane and leaving.
The latest episode of sports bias came last Saturday, when Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, then drove to the Chiefs practice facility and shot himself. This incident by an evil human being – who else would perpetrate such an act? – was quickly spun by the sports media community into a case against conservative America. Seriously.
How did they achieve this alchemy? First, they attacked the Second Amendment. Belcher used a handgun, you see, which means that he wasn’t to blame –it was two other folks, by the names of Smith and Wesson. Sports columnist Jason Whitlock, most famous previously for tweeting in racist fashion about the size of basketball player Jeremy Lin’s genitals, suggested that Belcher wasn’t responsible for his actions:
A 25-year-old kid gunned down his 22-year-old girlfriend in front of his mother and three-month-old child …. Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. In the coming days, Belcher’s actions will be analyzed through the lens of concussions and head injuries. Who knows? Maybe brain damage triggered his violent overreaction to a fight with his girlfriend. What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.
This is patent nonsense. Belcher was an NFL linebacker. Kasandra Perkins was outmatched physically; if Belcher wanted to kill her, he didn’t need a handgun to do it.
But more importantly, Whitlock’s argument that a supposed “gun culture” is to blame for Belcher’s action is condescending to the point of racism. Belcher wasn’t a “25-year-old kid.” He was a 25-year-old man with a baby and a career, raking in a rich salary. And as to the idea that the “gun culture” somehow influenced Belcher into murder, that’s idiocy. There is a culture that incentivizes murder. But that culture is the culture of leftism: a culture that suggests that a 25-year-old man who kills someone isn’t responsible; he is merely the tool of the sinister object in his hand and of the society that surrounds him.
Whitlock wasn’t the only societal critic to sound off on Belcher in delusional fashion, though. So, too, did Bob Costas of NBC, who echoed Whitlock. And so did CNN columnist Kevin Powell, former Democratic Congressional candidate and cast member of MTV’s “The Real World.” He blamed the culture of “manliness” for Belcher’s murder-suicide:
Belcher was a man living in the supersized macho world of football, a world in which many of us American males reside, be it football or not. Too many of us have been taught manhood in a way that is not healthy. Be tough, men do not cry, man up …. Or we use derogatory and sexist or homophobic words to describe men or boys who do not meet the “normal” of what a male is supposed to be. Some of these male authority figures mean well, or are simply repeating what they were socialized to be or to do, and do not realize that they are unwittingly teaching that manhood has little room to express hurt, disappointment and sorrow.
But it’s not the culture of manliness that is a problem. Real men marry the mothers of their children. Real men do not murder the mothers of their children. Manliness requires taking responsibility, not shirking it. Societal homophobia? Belcher was straight. Macho culture? Belcher grew up in the home of a single mother.
There are societal problems that likely contributed to the action of people like Belchder – like single motherhood, lack of authority figures, tolerance for multicultural sexism, and the like. But the sports media misses it, because they’re too busy carrying leftist water. And ironically enough, it’s that water in which Jovan Belcher drowned.
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