The team owners who push legislatures for stadium subsidies. Arena-wide displays of patriotism that honor military campaigns “fighting for our way of life.” Controversies over domestic violence, performance-enhancing drugs and concussions. A certain red cap in Tom Brady’s locker.
The list goes on. Anyone who believes sports and politics shouldn’t mix, or that they typically don’t, must have taken too long a bathroom break between innings. The recent Black Lives Matter solidarity protest launched by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (and later adopted by dozens of other athletes of every level, sport and race) was not new in type. But it was unique in its timing, arriving in a social-media saturated environment at a moment of unique political tension.
The only thing better than a mixture of politics and sport is a cocktail of smart journalists, good conversation and, well, cocktails. That’s what BRIC-TV’s reporter roundtable program, Straight Up, served up this week as Rhiannon Walker, associate editor at ESPN’s The Undefeated, New York Times sports columnist Michael Powell and sports journalist Andrew Jerell Jones joined me at the Bedford Hall Bar: