Chalk-talking politics? Sports rant about political issues

When we are little, we are taught not to ask a woman her age, not to comment on the size of someone’s house, and not to discuss politics or religion in the workplace. Yet these argumentative and intrusive questions appear to be the new trend in sports newscasting.

More specifically, sports newscasters and professional athletes seem to find that discussing politics in the workplace is now a more viable option for getting views rather than actually discussing sports.

While political discussion is most likely spurred on by the poignant presidential election and the ever-increasing audacity of the media, these external factors do not mitigate the offenses being made in sports media. There are multiple players and newscasters that find themselves questioning the society that they live in. And while they are rightfully upset and deserve justice, they should not be voicing their own political opinions in a public, work-related setting.

One of the prominent kickoff points to these political discussions was the 2016 ESPY awards. The awards, produced and created by ESPN, went out of their way to not only feature players’ own political opinions, but also present a clear left-wing agenda throughout the entire broadcast.

Despite ESPN’s claim that their “reputation and journalistic credibility are of paramount importance” and, “that political pressures or personal interests do not influence our news decisions,” one would be inclined to think otherwise when the event was clearly organized with a leftist agenda in mind. Throughout the program, ESPN featured a “Black Lives Matter” speech, gun control rhetoric including the videotape of Barack Obama promoting his anti-gun agenda, and the naming of police brutality victims.

With the development of ESPN’s clearly defined political agenda, other sports stations will be bound to follow their practice, which corrupts the entire purpose of unbiased media. The purpose of a sports media station is not to entertain a political agenda in one’s broadcasting. Their purpose should solely be focused on the broadcasting of sports, which is informative and unbiased. If a sports station cannot present facts in an impartial manner, then they should not present anything about the subject at all.

Not only do newscasters seem to find it difficult to keep their political opinions out of their content, but athletes have also added to the political fervor. Seattle Seahawks football players Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin made a statement about their political views by declining to talk about football, and instead speak on police brutality. While this outburst has been taken better by the public than Colin Kaepernick’s protest, the players, critically, are neglecting their job.

As professional athletes, these players are paid to play football. When any person, not just a professional athlete, signs a contract for their employment, they bind their responsibilities and actions according a specific job description. Using their employment as a platform to advance their own political ideals is not only selfish, but also an unjust exploitation of an institution’s influence on the public. To say that athletes are overstepping their boundaries as hired employees is an understatement. Under any normal circumstance, an employee would be fired for these actions.

In any professional environment, it is crucial that an individual remains cool and collected. While it is not impossible to express views and feelings with other workers on a private level, it is neither responsible nor necessary as a mature adult to promote one’s political views within a public work environment. It does not augment the worker’s professional image, nor is it effective in aiding the support of one’s political views.

In my plea for the restoration of well-written unbiased sports media, I turn to my fellow journalistic writers. As a news promulgator, keeping one’s opinion out of non-designated “opinion” content is one of the hardest guidelines to follow. There are problems in this world that are downright wrong and deserve some kind of recompense for injustice; however, a work-related media platform is not the proper stage to go ranting about one’s own opinion.

Emily Stancliff is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and