Culture Wars Now Infest NBA

Why can't basketball be as "lucky" as baseball — where a "boys will be boys" brawl will always offer some good, clean headlines?

And of course, since the two brawling teams were in the same division, the owners will no doubt be tempted to "cure" the "disease" by adopting a "balanced schedule," under which division rivals would only meet nine times each, with non-division opponents having eight yearly meetings (let's also not ignore the fact that the brawl-marred game was played at Progressive Field — home of the obviously "woke" Cleveland Guardians).

Of course, the luckiest thing about baseball is that very few of its players have ever "taken a knee" during the playing of the national anthem.

In his quixotic crusade to "out-Trump" Donald Trump, Florida governor Ron DeSantis had this to say — or more accurately, tweet, since it came via a post on The Social Media Platform Formerly Known As Twitter:

"It appears the NBA took a break from protesting our anthem and bending the knee to Communist China [sic] to chirp about our policies."

Communist China? As Cris Carter liked to say on ESPN: c'mon, man! Who says that anymore? It is just like "venereal disease" — which became known as "sexually transmitted disease" literally decades ago. Even "AIDS" is rapidly passing out of use — replaced by "HIV."

Ron DeSantis was born in 1978. It is difficult to believe that he thinks he can actually gain votes by talking as if he was born in 1918.

As for "Communist China," go into any college town in this country — the more radical the better, like Berkeley or Madison, Wisconsin. Trying to count the number of "Free Tibet" bumper stickers on cars should keep you "molto occupato," as they say in the old country.

Without any intention of letting DeSantis' puerile, malicious (and largely calumnious — at least compared with the NFL, anthem desecrations by NBA players have been minimal) rant go unresponded to, the National Basketball Players' Association had this to say:

"The National Basketball Players' Association issued the following statement today (this past Thursday) regarding the recent political donations made by the Orlando Magic organization:

A political contribution from the Orlando Magic is alarming giving recent comments and policies of its beneficiary.

NBA governors, players, and personnel have the right to express their personal political views, including through donations and statements. However, if contributions are made on behalf of an entire team, using money earned through the labor of its employees, it is incumbent upon the team governors to consider the diverse values and perspectives of staff and players.

The Magic's donation does not represent player support for the recipient."

Can't we keep politics out of sports — and sports out of politics?

And above all, we need to really, really keep race out: while the disrespect being shown for the national anthem is unfortunate, sports fans are not physicists, chained to the concept that for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction — especially when it is considered that most of those lashing out the hardest are self-professed Christians whose putative faith teaches them to turn the other cheek. And most do just that: race was a total non-issue during the parade that followed the Eagles' victory in Super Bowl LII — something that did not go unnoticed.

From the Buffalo Soldiers and the Tuskegee Airmen of the two World Wars to the soldiers of color who died fighting George W. Bush's two wars of choice in Afghanistan and Iraq, African-Americans have always answered our country's call — and as former NBA head coach Doc Rivers wondered aloud, African-Americans have always loved our country.

So why won't our country love them back?

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