Beware the Splinters is Salute Magazine’s weekly sports column, authored by Sports Editor Dustin Brown. The column will be a weekly look at something that has ruffled the feathers of Mr. Brown or is just a topic he feels he needs to rant about or discuss. With what is currently going on in Virginia — potentially a city near you — it is time to put sports in the correct category and focus on some troubling events.
Sports have long been a form of entertainment that allows people to escape from life and the ugliness that it sometimes brings.
But in light of recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, now should be the time that sports fans decide to turn their eyes to events that have a major impact on the human race.
Politics and sports are never a good mix, as fandom can go too far even without the former, but fans also need to understand that sports isn’t the be all, end all. Call it what it is, a form of entertainment. There is nothing wrong with losing your voice cheering on your team, tailgating or any other form of celebration that occurs on game day.
But there are fans that fail to think that sports is clear of political schemes, even though they cross paths more often than expected.
Possibly the most upsetting thing is that we get so focused on an NFL player that doesn’t have a job now but lose sight of what is taking place in our backyard.
This isn’t a lecture — far from it actually — simply a reminder that sports is smaller in the grand scheme of things than other important issues society is faced with here and there.
But the furthest thing from anyone’s mind in Charlottesville, Virginia, right now is a sporting event of any kind. In fact, because the rally marched its way to the University of Virginia, the school canceled all sports related events.
Neo-Nazis and white supremacists are marching in the “Unite the Right” rally carrying torches like a scene out of “Frankenstein.” They are facing counter protests and the events have already led to a death and a person plowing through the crowd with a vehicle. Again, sports is the least of our concerns as a country at the moment, though they are still being played.
Charlottesville is under attack, yet we still bicker over moot points surrounding the suspension of Ezekiel Elliot and how Roger Goodell is a hypocrite. What will it take for us to realize that sports often imitate life and are a microcosm of the world that we live in?
John McCain summed it up nicely in his statement after the car-versus-people incident in Virginia.
“Our Founders fought a revolution for the idea that all men are created equal,” his statement read. “The heirs of that revolution fought a Civil War to save our nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to that revolutionary proposition. Nothing less is at stake on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, where a violent attack has taken at least one American life and injured many others in a confrontation between our better angels and our worst demons.”
“White supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals that define us as a people and make our nation special,” McCain continued. “As we mourn the tragedy that has occurred in Charlottesville, American patriots of all colors and creeds must come together to defy those who raise the flag of hatred and bigotry.”
Racism still exists in sports and society, long after the strides that Jackie Robinson and so many others made in both the former and latter, and will continue until everyone decides enough is enough.
If this means that we need to turn our focus away from our favorite teams for a few brief moments to focus on the real problems we are faced with, then maybe we will learn that we aren’t all that much different from one another.
However, if we sit back and continue to complain about sports and politics being “forced together” in the same sentence, torch-bearing protestors will remain in the streets threatening all that this country has previously fought against.