On Tuesday’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” the Daily Wire editor-in-chief talks about how the sports media complex only allows politics in sports when it comes from the Left. Video and partial transcript below:
So there is a rule in sports media. The rule is that if you are on the Left and you want to talk politics, then you are a hero; If you’re not on the Left and you to talk politics, you get fired.
That is the rule in sports media. We’ve talked about this — my friend Clay Travis, who is a lifelong registered Democrat as far as I’m aware, and he fully agrees that the sports media are extraordinarily biased to the Left. Like more so, statistically speaking, than the news media, actually. This is how you end up with these two juxtaposed stories:
In The New York Times, an editorial by a guy named Barry Petchesky, who is the former deputy editor of Deadspin — [which] had turned into this wild Left outlet that had almost nothing to do with sports, they spent their days ripping on Ted Cruz until Ted Cruz owned them — [Petchesky] has a piece called “I Was Fired from Deadspin for Refusing to ‘Stick to Sports.’”
Two weeks ago, I was fired as acting editor in chief of Deadspin, where I’d worked since 2009. The entire staff resigned, following me out the door after we refused a new company mandate to “stick to sports.” Jim Spanfeller, installed as chief executive of G/O Media by the private equity firm that bought the company seven months ago, called me into his office, pointed to some offending stories on our home page and had me escorted from the building.
This is the first time I’m speaking up about my firing, and my stance remains the same as in the countless meetings with management where I explained and insisted that sports don’t end when the players head back to the locker room.
We refused to “stick to sports,” because we know that sports is everything and everything is sports: It’s the N.B.A. kowtowing to its Chinese business interests; it’s pro sports leagues attempting to become shadow justice systems for publicity reasons; it’s the opioid epidemic roiling N.F.L. locker rooms at least as hard as anywhere in Appalachia, even as the league refuses to relax its marijuana policies; it’s racist fan chants chasing black players off the pitch in Italian soccer matches; it’s Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap at the White House. (These last few stories occurred in the past week and so were not covered on Deadspin; the “stick to sports” diktat forced the outlet to ignore the biggest sports stories in the world.)
Reporting sports with integrity requires knowing that there’s no way to wall off games from the world outside.
This guy’s a hero! I mean, it doesn’t matter that Deadspin was basically bankrupt, which is why a private equity firm had to buy them, and reinvigorate them and change everything out. But the idea here is that if you speak about politics from the Left in the sports world, then you are a hero of the republic.
This guy Petchesky, he said:
Deadspin was the voice of the long-suffering fan, finding the humor and the heartbreak in everything in the world of sports. It was the fan wondering why he was paying $200 to go to a football game to watch a team whose owner would rather pocket profit than pay to improve the roster. It was also the fan troubled by the culture and politics of sports, the fan who couldn’t help noticing that the larger issues of the real world spilled onto the field.
Okay, so New York Times gives that guy an op-ed, and we’re all supposed to lament the return of Deadspin to pure sports. Then, there’s Don Cherry.
So Don Cherry is a longtime hockey analyst for the NHL, and he was on SportsNet and he commented on SportsNet on the fact that it was Remembrance Day in Canada. Now, on Remembrance Day — I’ve been there, and everyone wears a red poppy in remembrance of the Canadian soldiers who fell during World War I — and he was upset because he said who’s walking around the streets of Toronto, and he saw people who he assumed were immigrants who were not wearing the red poppy. Here’s what Don Cherry said:
CHERRY: I live in Mississauga, nobody wears — very few people wear a poppy. Downtown Toronto, forget it downtown Toronto, nobody wears a poppy. … Now you go to the small cities and you know those, the rows and rows, you people love — they come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you could pay a couple of bucks for a poppies or something like that. These guys pay for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada; these guys paid the biggest price.
Okay, so he said this and, you know, might not be wel-articulated, but he is entitled to his opinion unless he happens to be on the anti-immigration Right, at which point he gets fired. Don Cherry was indeed fired from SportsNet. SportsNet President Bart Yabsley said, quote, “Sports brings people together — it unites us, not divides us. Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down. During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.”
I mean, you could just say that, right? You could just have that debate, theoretically. But the point here is that the media will lament if Deadspin is told not to do politics; but if Don Cherry is told not to do politics, then that is SportsNet acting just as a wonderful diverse company should.
You see the same thing at ESPN. At ESPN, they will cover Colin Kaepernick kneeling for years on end, but if Mike Ditka says something they don’t like because it happens to be conservative, he says something about how he doesn’t like Barack Obama or something, they’ll fire him. He’s gone, end of Mike Ditka. You see that with Curt Schilling, too. Curt Schilling can’t appear on the network because [he] once tweeted that al-Qaeda was bad and compared al-Qaeda to the Nazis, which, of course, you’re not allowed to do even though al-Qaeda is kind of like the Nazis.
So just gonna point out the double standard in sports media — one of the reasons why sports circulation is declining. The answer to this probably is to separate off politics from sports again, or if you are going to not separate off politics from sports, then you should, in fact, allow the same sort of freedom of opinion to reign as you would in the political sphere. Don Cherry wouldn’t have been fired for saying what he said on CNN, so if politics and sports are not separate, then let a thousand voices be heard. If politics in sports are separate, well, then supplementing it when left-wing political hacks start hijacking sports websites for their own political agenda.