In an almost refreshing take, the top trending topic on social media today isn’t about politics or catastrophic weather, but rather the boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. It makes sense why it’s so popular, the fight has been hyped heavily for the past months and the two fighters are both renowned loud mouths who back up their bark with their bite. Following along, it’s almost easy to forget about all of the horrible things in the world when you have such good live entertainment. Almost. Instead of being able to enjoy even this, I’ve seen multiple fights break out on my social sphere of people politicizing this fight, claiming that people don’t like Mayweather because of his skin color or that only a certain kind of person can understand boxing. If you try to stay away from private figures sharing their political thoughts on the match, you’ll only find yourself on ESPN or some other sports network, who are taking time out of boxing discussions to rant about whether or not Colin Kaepernick should’ve knelt or not years ago. The entire situation is frustrating, and it’s emblematic of a bigger problem.
Sports have always been an outlet for human beings to compete with one another in tribal warfare without actually committing acts of aggression. People from a geographic region latch onto a person that represents them, and root for them as they try to win against the people from other geographic locations. The jaded younger generations scoff at enjoying athletics, pretending as if they’re barbaric and forced corporate entertainment, but they’ve failed to realize the genuinely essential role that sports play in our day to day lives. Sports tap into our need to see somebody heroically win and somebody horribly lose. We enjoy seeing people at the peak of their craft partake in competitions to determine which borderline demi-god is the best. There’s an amazing Vsauce video I’ll link here that talks about how wired in sports are in our genetics and cultures, and I think that’s why politicizing them is such a disastrous decision.
Stepping back from the way celebrity figures like Mayweather and Kaepernick are treated in the media, the most widespread and almost tired argument against politicizing sports is in the “Participation Trophy Culture” that sprouted up in recent years. Foolishly, politically correct parents softened their children and removed the reality of the world from them by turning sports from competitive learning environments to paid evening day care where everyone gets awarded. It’s no wonder that all of my fellow peers think it’s funny to call every athletic event, “Sportsball”, and make quirky jokes that criticize athletic culture, they were raised not to care. Instead of sports being a healthy learning environment that not only got kids to exercise, but also learn the value of cooperation, personal improvement, and the satisfaction of earning a win, they were turned into a useless chore that all of their popular media mocked endlessly. This athletic aversion isn’t the sole factor to why we have a weight issue in this nation, but it obviously doesn’t help.
Now, tie the previously stated sports allergic culture we’ve created with the bias corporate media machines, and you understand why the Disney owned ESPN has become such a hotbed for political soapboxing and unnecessary drama. The fact that ESPN has the audacity to run multiple articles where sports owners are called “slave owners” and reduce modern athletics to a system of promoting single motherhood and shaming athletes’ personal lives is a sign of how much power politics has in our day to day events. In 2017, where we don’t have to worry about segregated leagues, a lack of players because of war or famine, or lack of funds to have the best viewing experiences whether we are watching the event live or at home, it’s a shame that the professional outrage machine decided to consume sports as well. Just as the media is out of touch with average Americans on political stances, they are out of touch on this front as well. People are sick and tired of football, basketball, baseball and even professional cycling being turned into machines for outrage instead of the escapism that they ought to be. Folks in the entertainment industry looking for the next million dollar idea are missing out on creating a politics free athletic platform, where sports are celebrated for what they are and Americans can enjoy a pure act of live entertainment without political elites corrupting them constantly. The media have turned one of the last few outlets for the average person to unwind into yet another spin machine for political conversation, racial division, and hate mongering, there’s no wonder people are literally killing each other in the streets. Once we lose our culture folks, we have nothing, it’s time to start taking it back.