MSESPN and Politics In Sports

Here is perhaps the best essay on politicization in sports media that I have read, and Clay Travis is far from a right-winger:

https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/first-amendment-espn-modern-media/

His point is, ESPN should not fire Jemele Hill despite her making some patently false, inflammatory and what could be interpreted as racist comments. It was done in private time, not on air. Unfortunately, MSESPN has dug itself into this hole by previously punishing or firing others for making comments that offended left-wing sensibilities, also in their private time not on air, thereby making it very clear which side of the political spectrum it sits on. Quoting Clay, here is the rub:

“ESPN shouldn’t be in the business of deciding what political opinions are appropriate and inappropriate, but when they fired Curt Schilling entirely for his political opinions nearly a year and a half ago they put themselves in the business of analyzing employee speech and determining what was permissible and what was impermissible. Rather than stand up to a left wing Internet mob that was upset with Schilling’s Facebook posts about transgender bathroom issues, ESPN could have simply said they disagreed with Schilling’s private beliefs, but didn’t believe those beliefs made him a bad baseball analyst. So ESPN had an opportunity to establish an important precedent with Curt Schilling, they could have simply said this to the online social media mob: “While many of you on social media may find this shocking, we employ tens of thousands of people to talk and write and produce shows about sports. And not all of them have the exact same opinion about political issues. Rather than demand that our employees avoid discussing politics or having any opinions on important issues facing our country, we’ve instructed all of them that those political opinions should never appear on our airwaves. But in their private lives, they may advocate for whichever causes and opinions they deem just. What they believe in their private lives is not our business so long as they do good jobs at work. We’re in the business of sports, not politics.”

ESPN must either allow all political speech by its personalities, or none at all. If it does not, it will soon be a footnote in media history.

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