NBC Sports Slams Trump-Backing NFL Owner, Accuses Right of Censoring Free Speech

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Tuesday's NBC Sports Pro Football Talk discussion between Mike Florio and Chris Simms fully demonstrated how the sports media's criticism of those who repeat the "stick to sports" refrain is much more of an attack on conservatives than anything else. After it became known that the NFL Players Coalition had drop-kicked Miami Dolphins owner and Trump supporter Stephen Ross out of its social justice club, he and other conservatives would be subject to attack by left-wing echo chambers.

Ross recently hosted a big-money fundraiser for President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, and the reaction from the Left has been swift and brutal. Ross's private businesses have suffered media scorn and boycotts. The NFL Players Coalition removed Ross from its midst. Numerous sports media ran the comments by Players Coalition member Chris Long:

"... The coalition is autonomous. We don't work for the owners. In fact, we just got Steven Ross to agree to be off of our working group. We can make decisions like that."

The most piercing attacks on Ross and conservatives came from the Florio-Simms discussion (see file photo of Florio, at left, and Simms above). They say it's hypocritical of sports fans and conservative media to demand athletes and coaches stick to sports when NFL owners are raising money for the Republican president they detest.

Florio began: "Trust me: I would love to stick to sports. Some times politics gets yanked onto sports. And we hear all the time, players and reporters, stick to sports. Well, is it fair, Chris, to turn it around on the owners and tell them to stick to sports? Stephen Ross isn't sticking to sports when he decided to host a $100,000, up to $250,000 per person fundraiser for the president. That's not sticking to sports. But nobody ever says that he should stick to sports."

Seething mad throughout the discussion with Florio, Simms attacked Fox News's Laura Ingraham indirectly for once advising LeBron James to stick to sports instead of badmouthing President Trump:

"He's (Ross) rich and he's white. That's why. Sugarcoat it. When LeBron James talks, or somethin' like that, yeah. There's a lotta rich, white people in certain news channels that, yeah, they love to say it, but yet they don't ever turn it around on anybody that's that way, or that they're rich or white or if they're established like that. It seems like to be it bothers me. ... Not one thing is said about Stephen Ross should stick to sports, or stick to — what is he — you know, should he stick to real estate. I don't give a damn what you think about politics, Stephen Ross, stick to what you do! ..."

Florio gained full agreement from Simms that when conservatives hear something they disagree with they feel compelled to shout down people by telling them to 'stick to sports!'' The irony is so rich to hear when progressives talk about political opponents trying to shut down discussion when their own network, NBC, ranks right up there with so many other biased media gatekeepers, along with social media tech companies, in attempts to silence free speech.

Those on the right might change their thinking if they would just listen to left-wingers, Florio argued:

"Maybe they're the smart ones! Because let me tell ya, stick to sports may be a lot more effective than trying to have a reasoned conversation where you actually understand the other side's point of view and adjust your thinking. But 'stick to sports' prevents you from ever doing that. It's the equivalent of saying 'I'm not listening, stick to sports.' Because, let me tell you something, Chris. If you and I were espousing the views that are emanating from the oval office on a regular basis, no one who would be inclined to say 'stick to sports' is gonna tell us to stick to sports."

Simms complained that Trump has been the most far-right President ever, and Florio said that if Colin Kaepernick is supposed to stick to sports, then Ross should stick to sports, too. "You can't have it both ways."

Here's the full conservative-bashing transcript of the Pro Football Talk discussion, and by the way, the Pro obviously stands for "Progressive."

NBC Sports Pro Football Talk
August 20, 2019

MIKE FLORIO: Trust me: I would love to stick to sports. Some times politics gets yanked onto sports. And we hear all the time, players and reporters, stick to sports. Well, is it fair, Chris, to turn it around on the owners and tell them to stick to sports? Stephen Ross isn't sticking to sports when he decided to host a $100,000, up to $250,000 per person fundraiser for the president. That's not sticking to sports. But nobody ever says that he should stick to sports.

CHRIS SIMMS: No, no ...

FLORIO: Why shouldn't they stick to sports?

SIMMS: He's rich and he's white. That's why. Sugarcoat it. When LeBron James talks, or somethin' like that, yeah. There's a lotta rich, white people in certain news channels that, yeah, they love to say it, but yet they don't ever turn it around on anybody that's that way, or that they're rich or white or if they're established like that. It seems like to be it bothers me. You know it does. I mean that's ... it's such a, I don't even know, a ... it's so hypocritical in so many ways. And yet I haven't heard that one time this week. Not one thing is said about Stephen Ross should stick to sports, or stick to -- what is he -- you know, should he stick to real estate. I don't give a damn what you think about politics, Stephen Ross, stick to what you do! I don't give a damn about what you think. And then you set such a pitiful example for people on your team and all these other causes that you're trying to work out, and everything like that. Ya know, I mean guys on the team are really gonna believe that you're for the right cause there when you're supporting a guy who's got very questionable character, along those kinda causes right now. So, yeah, I'm sorry. That gets me hot, I don't know what else to say.

FLORIO: I think there's also a political playbook element to all of this. And, again, look, we're embracing the political reality here for this last segment for PFT (Pro Football Talk). I think that the people who believe like you and I believe ... if someone expresses a disagreement, or behaves in a way that expresses a different belief, we don't feel compelled to shout down to them 'stick to sports!'

SIMMS: No.

FLORIO: But on the other side, the people who have the more conservative beliefs, instead of confronting the disagreement, if they hear anything they don't wanna hear, they shout you down, 'stick to sports.'

SIMMS: No, it's a one-sided thing.

FLORIO: Maybe they're the smart ones! Because let me tell ya, stick to sports may be a lot more effective than trying to have a reasoned conversation where you actually understand the other side's point of view and adjust your thinking. But 'stick to sports' prevents you from ever doing that. It's the equivalent of saying 'I'm not listening, stick to sports.' Because, let me tell you something, Chris. If you and I were espousing the views that are emanating from the oval office on a regular basis, no one who would be inclined to say 'stick to sports' is gonna tell us to stick to sports.

SIMMS: No. Agreed. And I just, um, don't know what to say. It looks like two white guys in New York were stickin' together. And then the ... this will bother me, too ... he's tryin' to argue that Trump is a centrist really, he's a centrist really. No, Mr. Ross, then you haven't been paying attention to the world the last three years. He's far from a centrist at this point. He's the most far-right that we've ever seen in a president. So that's some BS, too. It's more hypocrite. And I'd be bothered if I was on the Miami Dolphins' team. And I understand why Equinox and Soul Cycle, ya know, hey, I'd be thinkin' about leavin' my membership there, too.

FLORIO: The CEO of the foundation he started with the RISE initiative for racial equality and social justice in sports, she came out and said, 'I wish he hadn't done that, by way of the fundraiser.'

SIMMS: Of course. Right.

FLORIO: This is not gonna go away and look, I look at it this way. If we're supposed to stick to sports, if Colin Kaepernick is supposed to stick to sports, if other athletes are supposed to stick to sports, then Stephen Ross should stick to sports, too.

SIMMS: Right, right.

FLORIO: You can't have it both ways.

SIMMS: No you can't.

FLORIO: If he's not gonna stick to sports and he's going to engage in political discourse, then the rest of us have the right to engage in the same discourse and express our beliefs and we've done that, probably not enough to get in trouble, but if we continue we quite possibly will. So let's call it a day. That's it for PFT. Chris Simms coming unbuttoned later today.

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