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On this year’s Fourth of July vacation—a holiday my family still celebrates (call us old fashioned)—my wife and I were walking along a Grand Haven, Michigan street when we overheard how, in the World Cup semifinals, Britain had just tied the U.S. women’s soccer team at 2-2. Unable to watch the remainder of the game, later that night in our hotel room, we made a point to stay up late to see if, in fact, America’s women won the match.
As is so often the case, the word on the street was wrong—Britain had never tied the match at 2-2 and the Americans won 2-1.
Only later did we hear about the kerfuffle about U.S. forward Alex Morgan’s “tea sipping celebration” following her game winning goal against Britain, which came on the heels of critiques of our U.S. team’s celebrations after thumping Thailand 13-0.
Yes, it is impolite and impolitic and—if one inspires one’s opponent—often injurious to mock another team. Thus, while American athletes in international competition who show restraint in their celebrations may marginally help our nation’s image, throughout the global sports world that ship has sailed. Celebrations are an important factor in building an athlete’s brand and enhancing their off-field marketability and, ergo, profitability.
In the present instance, where our U.S. women’s soccer team is poised to win back-to-back championships, their stars’ have an enormous potential for lucrative opportunities. But why, then, would world-class American athletes engage in divisive partisan politics and risk limiting their marketability and reducing their short- and long-term earnings?
Because it doesn’t.
So long as the athlete is a regressive.
It doesn’t take a genius like Joe Biden to know regressive politics is behind Team USA’s forward—and no fan of President Trump—Megan Rapinoe’s preemptive regrets to a presidential invitation: “I’m not going to the f—ing white house.” (For his part, the self-professed “big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer,” President Trump urged that “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!”)
Later, discussing this ideological clash of “should they stay or should they go now,” Morgan said it would be a team decision, but left little doubt the answer would be to demur: “I think there has been a lot of talk, prematurely, about the White House and about Trump but first we have to do business and then I think you guys know the answer to the question anyways.”
The reason one can “know the answer to the question” is that the Left is doing to sports what it has done to the entertainment industry and every other industry and institution into which it sinks its hooks. Sadly, former National Review editor John O’Sullivan’s dictum retains its perspicacity and verity: “Any institution that is not explicitly (and actively) right wing will become left wing over time.”
It is no coincidence Nike, which has evidently chosen Colin Kaepernick as it standard bearer for all matters commercial and political, has acceded to the erstwhile NFL quarterback’s wishes and removed the circular, 13 starred-and-striped “Betsy Ross” flag from its Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July sneakers because he claimed it’s an image of hate. Per Nike, it “made the decision to halt distribution of the [shoe] based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.”
Nike lacks the self-awareness to realize—or is it the honesty to admit—it is not a centuries-old patriotic symbol that has unintentionally offended and detracted from the nation’s patriotic holiday; it is Nike’s ahistorical and reprehensible decision to remove that patriotic symbol from its shoes that has offended and detracted from the nation’s patriotic holiday. Yet one could expect no better from a corporation that, in the first place, didn’t give a rat’s rear-end about how half the citizenry felt about hiring Kaepernick to be a face for its “Just Do It” campaign.
Thus does one see the familiar devolution: an institution accommodates then capitulates to the Left; and the voices of those not of the Left are ignored and/or denigrated—until the day comes when they will be silenced altogether.
The athletes of our U.S. Women’s Soccer team get this. Those who control the money and the means to make one a marketable and profitable athlete are becoming solidly regressive; and that as it is in Hollywood, the “red listing” and silencing of conservatives will soon be a fait accompli. Imagine the Left’s response if a team member had proclaimed she couldn’t wait to wear a MAGA hat beside President Trump in the oval office. At best, the media would call her “controversial”; at worst, the media would call her a fascist.
And Nike damn sure wouldn’t be offering her an endorsement deal.
As for Nike and similar corporations who divisively fuse regressive politics into their branding, that’s their decision to make. For my part, though I won’t boycott a corporation’s products based upon their regressive politics, it may well prove a tie-breaker between theirs and another less political company—specifically, one that doesn’t solely use regressive left-wing tropes and folk in their ads.
Will my stance break Nike? No. But neither will my wallet break open to enrich them for dissing America and dismissing we deplorables.
And speaking of tie-breakers, my wife and I were quite pleased our U.S. Women’s Soccer team defeated Great Britain. As a proud American, I believe our nation should unite behind our teams, regardless of some athletes’ divisive political gestures. And after they finish celebrating winning their second consecutive World Cup, our team’s members can go to the White House or not. Because in America, when invited into one of the epicenters of national power, a sovereign citizen can say “no” without being imprisoned, tortured, or killed. Try doing that in Communist China, Iran, Venezuela or a host of other brutal regimes.
Shocking, isn’t it, how, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, liberty still reigns in 2019?
Go, Team America!
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Photo Credit: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images