Courtside: Politics is not the problem in the modern world of sports

first_img“Could’ve been a happy new year, but you ruined SC football,” wrote another. “You suck, Carol.” Reddick, Folt and all the sports figures that we’ve targeted with our sick culture of toxicity are human beings. One of them was on a cheating team, one retained an underperforming head coach. These are both bad things. They don’t deserve to rot in hell for them. The sports community, hopefully a small minority of it, needs to take a long look in the mirror and consider that maybe, just maybe, we tend to blow things out of proportion — affecting not only our personal happiness but also the people onto whom we project our anger, and it casts a shameful light onto the world of sports. I don’t even need to say how disgusting this is — that much should be painfully obvious.  “Love USC. Hate you,” chimed in a third.  I find this misleading.  The aforementioned Folt vs. Dedicated Disgruntled Disheartened Trojan showdowns prevalent on literally any of her Instagram posts came to mind after I read of repulsive developments in the baseball world last Friday. Houston Astro Josh Reddick, a member of the team during the 2017 cheating scandal, told reporters at the team’s Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., that he had received death threats and wishes for his children to get cancer via social media in the wake of the cheating revelations. “Go to HELL Folt,” one user replied to a Dec. 26 post, clearly still relishing in the joy and good spirits of the day before. The rapidly-increasing intertwinement of politics and sports is what many people claim threatens the purity of sports as we know them.  I’m not of the “it’s just a game” crowd. Anyone who has ever played sports understands that often, it’s not just a game. It’s part of what makes us who we are. But I also understand that sports aren’t everything, and that’s where the Reddick-Folt comparison applies. I love sports, I appreciate the role they play in our society and I get pissed off when my teams lose. But I don’t allow sports to seep into every other facet of my life. And that understanding is where many sports aficionados fall short. Have we any decency?  I hate the Astros. With a burning passion. And President Folt, if you’re reading this, I wholeheartedly disagree with your — er, athletic director Mike Bohn’s — decision to retain Clay Helton for the 2020 season. I also hope you’re having a nice week and that you didn’t trip and fall on your way to Bovard this morning. Nathan Ackerman is a sophomore writing about sports and sociopolitics. He is also an associate managing editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Courtside,” runs every Friday. “Everyday I pray to god u leave Southern california you’re a terrible leader and have ruined 2020 already,” one commenter wrote.  The problem that contributes to the shameful toxicity in the sporting world today is not the sociopolitical issues we choose to include in the realm of sports but rather somewhat of the contrary: how far we allow sports to dominate our everyday lives and influence our perception of everything around us.  “You’ve ruined the decade already,” said one user in the comment section of a Folt post nine days later. Seven others like the comment in agreement. Again, I’m not at all equating these two examples. One is far sicker and more disgusting than the other, but they’re both microcosms — to varying degrees — of a problematic sports climate in which society dehumanizes the figures we’re trained to treat as one-dimensional, forgetting that each of these individuals have lives apart from sports which are far more significant than how they play or the personnel decisions they make. If you’ve read the first approximately-400 words of this column and have so far concluded that I’m equating mean comments on a school president’s Instagram to hopes that a child develops cancer, you’re greatly mistaken and are missing the point entirely.  The problem isn’t our unwillingness to keep the outside world out of sports, it’s our inability to establish reasonable boundaries between the aspects of our lives that should include sports and those that shouldn’t. This inability is what leads some fans to claim Folt ruins their day, month, year, decade, century, millennium, and wishing her to burn because of it. And, in extreme cases, it’s what leads the lowest of the low to project their inhumanity onto, yes, a cheater, at least by association, but a human being nonetheless — and his less-than-five-month-old twins.  I’ve noticed a popular refrain — a call to action of sorts — in the world of sports these days, and it goes as such: Keep politics out of sports.  “Happy New Year, Trojans,” President Carol Folt captioned a Jan. 1 Instagram post featuring a Trojan Marching Band player with a trumpet in one hand, making the “Fight On” signal with the other. “Here’s to 2020.” It’s a popular opinion, one with which I disagree. I hold the view that sports are political as is, that there’s nothing we can do to remove politics from sports without upsetting a massive proportion of the United States population and, frankly, that we shouldn’t even try to do so in the first place. last_img

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