Mike Florio at NBC’s Profootballtalk blog doesn’t want to sing Kumbaya, national pandemic crisis or no. And that’s cool. What isn’t cool is his nasty dishonesty going after NFL stars who don’t show enough contempt for Florio’s political enemies.
“NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and President Donald Trump are in the midst of a friendly back and forth on Twitter,” Florio began his April 18th blog. (If it helps, try reading Florio as voiced by Jeremy Irons’ “Scar” from The Lion King.)
Jackson had tweeted a video of himself and team-mate from the 2018 NFL draft. “On Saturday,” Florio related, “the President re-tweeted Jackson’s tweet and said, ‘Really nice to see this and, what a great pick!’”
Now here’s where things get really dark: “Jackson has since re-tweeted the Trump tweet, with the message ‘Truzz Trump.’”
The horror … Wait, what? That’s it?
That’s it. They didn’t talk politics. Lamar didn’t endorse the president. The two didn’t reminisce about plotting to gut the welfare state over golf at Mar-a-Lago. It was nothing more than an acknowledgement. But Florio saw the insidious danger in that seemingly harmless “Truzz Trump.”
“Jackson can tweet whatever he wants,” Florio said. This, of course, is a lie. The entire purpose of his blog is to make sure Jackson understands he can’t tweet whatever -- or whoever -- he wants.
FS1’s Jason Whitlock noticed, tweeting:
Florio trying to stir up shit for Lamar Jackson. It's a harmless tweet. This is how they try to control what you think, what you do.
Exactly. And Florio then abandoned his, uh, subtlety, and gave Jackson an explicit warning: “Politics have become more polarized than ever before. Whether he realizes it or not, Jackson has assumed the risk of a very real backlash, especially from folks in Baltimore. Especially in light of the harsh things that the President said last year about the city Jackson now calls home.”
Nice career, ya got there, kid. Shame if anything was to happen to it.
Meanwhile, Florio made a half-hearted stab at pretending the post was a meditation on the politicization of sports. “And the same people who bristle when some say ‘stick to sports’ should have nothing to say if/when Jackson decides to stick to sports,” he wrote. “(Meanwhile, those who routinely say “stick to sports” may applaud Jackson’s gesture.)”
This must be the most laughable contention in the inglorious annals of the “Shut up and dribble” wars. Jackson replied to Trump about football. To rational people, “stick to sports” refers to content, not who is or isn’t an acceptable Twitter correspondent to self-important sports bloggers.
But anyway, that’s beside the point. Florio was sending a message to Jackson and anybody else who might, just for a second, forget who they’re supposed to hate and how continuously they're expected to show it. After all, “Politics have become more polarized than ever before.” And you'll keep it that way, if you know what's good for ya.