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Professional Sports | Spokane, WA
What makes sports so popular in our culture? The answer is simple: It's a couple of hours of escape from the real world during which people from all walks of life can forget about their troubles and cheer for a competition that, at the end of the day, is relatively meaningless.
Athletes, black or white, have every right to participate in politics and work for causes important to them on their own time. But when they bring their political statements onto the field of play or refuse an invitation to the White House, it destroys many fans' connections to sports.
Sporting events themselves are meaningless. Bill Russell, the greatest winner in team sports history, said so himself, remarking at the height of his career, "I consider playing professional basketball as marking time, the most shallow thing in the world."
He was right. It is that very shallowness that gives sports their tremendous appeal. When athletes contaminate sporting events with politics, they extinguish the only thing that makes sports matter: their very irrelevancy. The real world hits us in the face every day. Sports are our escape, and if fans lose that benefit from the leagues they love, the leagues will lose their fans. (Source" Politics drains sports of its appeal," by Gary Abernathy, publisher and editor of the (Hillsboro, Ohio) Times-Gazette, writing for The Washington Post, October 15, 2017)