On Wednesday, the liberals at USA Today were toasting the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks for pulling the plug on the national anthem. Today, they are angry with the league and the team for dropping the ball on wokeness, reversing course and reinstating the Star Spangled Banner league wide.
USA Today SJW Nancy Armour wrote Wednesday that the national anthem should have no place at sporting venues because it drowns out conversations about “real patriotism”:
“Good for Mark Cuban.
“The Dallas Mavericks owner made a decision that is sure to bring howls of outrage, threats to boycott his team and an avalanche of vile and vicious emails. But it was the right decision, and I hope it gives others in professional and college sports the courage, or at least cover, to do the same.”
Another day today, another story. USA Today’s Dan Wolken is beefing that the league “where amazing happens” had double dribbled (see players standing at attention Wednesday in Dallas during the playing of the anthem). By averting a public relations disaster amid a popularity freefall, the woke folks at the NBA are now “just playing scared,” Wolken groans.
Commissioner Adam Silver deserves criticism, Wolken says, for clumsily stumbling “into the rage inferno on the national anthem issue Wednesday by publicly tsk-tsking the Dallas Mavericks the moment word got out that they hadn’t been playing it before games this season.” Wolken also chastised Cuban, the Mavericks’ owner:
“It also goes for Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who made the decision as a political statement and didn't even own up to it publicly until people figured out what was going on, then released a statement calling for ‘courageous conversations’ well after the fact.”
What appeared to be a slam-dunk victory for deconstructionists on Wednesday had instead placed the anthem issue on the front burner of debate, further angering Wolken.:
“Now, whether we like it or not, we’re all going to have to have yet another round of debate about what the national anthem means, whether it should be played at domestic sporting events in the first place and whether the NBA is too woke for the average American.”
By resurrecting the anthem, Wolken says, the NBA is “passively standing on the safest ground possible” and retreating from having “a real conversation about what is right for the league and its players. … Good job, everyone!”
This issue angers Wolken all the more because it’s been four-plus years since former NFL player Colin Kaepernick started the attack on the tradition of honoring America prior to sports events. “The power of the moment has been lost.”
Bad publicity pressured the NBA into enforcing its own rule about playing the anthem before its games tip off, and Wolken writes that “we” have been reduced to serving as “hall monitors watching who is or isn’t participating in rote acts of superficial patriotism.”
Here’s the real rub on the NBA’s strategy, Wolken fumes. “This is a league that gets pummeled consistently from the political right in this country for everything from trying to make a buck in China to players spending free time trying to register voters. It’s also bleeding revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic and badly needs to build goodwill with its fans once they're allowed to come to stadiums again.”
Just trying to make a buck in China is a leftist’s way of excusing the abominable history of LeBron James and the NBA remaining silent over that communist regime’s brutal crackdown on freedom. Their silence protected mega streams of revenue while the less fortunate suffered at China’s dictatorial hands. Shameful.
Though Wolken contends the NBA will lose fans by pandering on the anthem, the truth is the league prefers politics, race and social justice at the expense of what actually happens on the playing courts. This is why declining television viewership preceded Wednesday’s anthem firestorm. Social justice and allegiance to Black Lives Matter are the thorn in the NBA’s side, not its insistence on playing the Star Spangled Banner.
Wolken believes that by attempting to shut down the controversy, the cowardly NBA “covered itself in kerosene and lit a match.” The truth is the woke league had already badly charred itself with its radical politics, though it blinked Wednesday night by re-thinking the national anthem.