Politics and sports, ESPN learned the hard way


Braden Ward

ESPN preaches the views of the most politically correct group in the country: social justice warriors. Photo from the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education.

Politics has skulked its way into almost every form of mass media. Blatantly biased discussions based on identity politics, political correctness, and socio-economics seem to arise on a daily basis.

This is expected with sources such as MSNBC and Fox News, but now it has regrettably affected sports journalism too. A prime example is ESPN. Formally, “the worldwide leader in sports,” can be seen as a worldwide leader in political correctness.

They constantly cover the played out Colin Kaepernick for his “brave” protest, they awarded Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage over an Iraq veteran, and they barred commentator Robert Lee from announcing a University of Virginia football game because of the recent removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee (a Confederate general) in Charlottesville. Only for the sake of being “politically correct.”

ESPN has also fired employees because their political views do not match their own.

Baseball analyst and former MLB All-Star pitcher Curt Schilling was fired in 2016 for expressing his distaste for North Carolina transgender laws on Twitter. No warning and no suspension, just fired.

ESPN cannot offend anyone?

Yes, opinions should be prevalent on strictly sports news, not what political policies marginalize youth athletes.

So, why did they make the move to politics in their content? Ratings.

ESPN faced lower ratings because of their high price, the rise of streaming services, and the rise of other popular sports channels such as Fox Sports and NBC Sports.

To spice up their content, they politicized their content in a modern liberal/leftist direction. Many liberals were satisfied with the change, but the criticisms were started by conservatives; the criticism spread. The very same would have happened if ESPN started to preach conservative views on their network.  

At the very least, ESPN has recanted the politicization of their content in the face of criticism. Their president stated in August that they want fewer politics on their network.

In conclusion, I am not against the right to freedom of speech, I am just asking the worldwide leader in sports to focus on sports news, rather than political opinions.