On Wednesday night, ESPN, or “MSNBC with footballs,” as Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro prefers to refer to the sports network, used its ESPY awards as an opportunity to forward its leftist agenda, which includes race-baiting a la Black Lives Matter, gun control rhetoric which included the usual videotape of Barack Obama intoning his anti-gun agenda, and the naming of black victims without distinguishing which were truly victims and which ones were the instigators of violence against them, as well as insisting that the “system is broken.”
The broadcast opened with NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul. Dwyane Wade and Lebron James offering their insightful opinions on where American society has gone wrong:
Good evening. Tonight is a celebration of sports, celebrating our accomplishments and our victories. But in this moment of celebration, we asked to start the show tonight this way: the four of us talking to our fellow athletes with the country watching. Because we cannot ignore the realities of the current state of America. The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust, and anger that plague so many of us. The system is broken. The problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new. But the urgency to great change is at an all time high.
We stand here tonight accepting our role in uniting communities to be the change we need to see. We stand before you as fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, uncles, and in my case, as an African-American man and the nephew of a police officer, who is one of the hundreds of thousands of great officers serving this country. But Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile: this is also our reality. Generations ago, legends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, and countless others—they set a model for what athletes should stand for. So we choose to follow in their footsteps.
The racial profiling has to stop. The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando—it has to stop. Enough! Enough is enough. Now, as athletes, it’s on us to challenge each other to do even more than what we already do in our own communities. And the conversation cannot—it cannot stop as our schedules get busy again. It won’t always be convenient. It won’t. It won’t always be comfortable. But it is necessary.
We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence. We do. But that’s not acceptable. It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “What are we doing to create change?” It’s not about being a role model. It’s not about our responsibility to a condition of activism. I know tonight, we’ll honor Muhammad Ali, the G.O.A.T. To do his legacy any justice, let’s use this moment as a call to action to all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence, and renounce all violence. And most importantly go back to our communities. Invest our time, our resources. Help rebuild them. Help strengthen them. Help change them. We all have to do better. Thank you.
Barack Obama made his usual ubiquitous appearance, this time to introduce the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, (given last year to Caitlyn Jenner!) to a deserving recipient: Zaevion Dobson, a high school football player who died while shielding three girls from bullets flying in gang warfare crossfire. Instead of simply honoring Dobson’s sacrifice, Obama intoned, “We need to rewrite laws. To make it harder for the people to get guns. Some progress has been made, but just a few months ago in Tennessee, a law was passed to allow people to carry more guns on college campuses. What sense does that make? We need to go in the opposite direction.”
As Larry O’Connor cogently noted at HotAir:
Remember when Curt Schilling was fired for speaking out on his Facebook page about transgender bathroom laws? And when Schilling spoke out about his firing, he made it clear that it’s only a certain kind of politics ESPN doesn’t want to hear … remember this viral video from former ESPN NFL analyst Ray Lewis? “Why do we always find ourselves the victims, and now we have the separation once again that we’re being victimized because of one bad white cop, two bad white cops, three bad white cops, killing a young black brother. But every day we have black-on-black crime, killing each other?” Of course, Lewis was not a former analyst for ESPN when he delivered these powerful words. But within a month he was fired.
But ESPN continues to lie about their agenda, stating:
At ESPN, our reputation and journalistic credibility are of paramount importance — and that extends to our coverage of the Presidential Election, candidates, issues and the intersection of sports and society. Our audiences should be confident that political pressures or personal interests do not influence our news decisions. At the same time, the news cycle has evolved and there is an increased appetite for broader coverage of candidates, placed in proper sports context.