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Sports Medley ESPN Should Act Consistently on Political Statements By Commentators 18 Sep 17

by Tony Medley

ESPN is hemorrhaging subscribers; millions have opted out in the last few years. One main reason is its virulently left-wing orientation which alienates at least half of its viewers, if not all. ESPN fired commentator and former Red Sox star pitcher Curt Schilling for protesting recent laws allowing transgendered people to use whichever bathroom they wish. ESPN fired commentator and former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka for criticizing Obama and saying he would vote for Trump. ESPN fired singer Hank Williams, Jr. for comparing Obama to Hitler.

But when ESPN commentator Jamele Hill tweeted that Donald Trump was a

“white supremacist,” an allegation that is absurd on its face and is itself racist, ESPN looked the other way. Here’s what she tweeted:

“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/other white supremacists.”  and

“Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.”

So long as they express leftwing views or are black female racists, it’s OK with ESPN that its commentators make political statements. As a result Hill was given only a mild reprimand and remained on the job. But if you are a white conservative male and speak up, out you go!

How injudicious can ESPN bosses be to alienate at least half of its viewers by allowing its commentators to make gratuitous comments that have nothing to do with sports and which are clearly offensive to a large part of ESPN’s audience?

How can viewers offended by this fight back? ESPN has a virtually monopoly on televising sports, so tuning out is not an option because it would be self-destructive. The only thing that could be effective is to attack ESPN by writing to its advertisers and telling them that you will not buy their products if they continue to advertise on ESPN until ESPN changes its policy. That’s what I’m doing with Procter & Gamble after it recently distributed a shamefully racist video. I will no longer buy Crest toothpaste, Gillette razors, and Tide detergent, all P&G products I have heretofore purchased.

In the end, people don’t want sports mixed with politics, whether it’s to the right or to the left. Sports should be a refuge from politics. But the left wing zealots who run ABC and ESPN don’t agree. I don’t think anyone should be fired for expressing a personal opinion. But if ESPN fires people solely because they express conservative views, it should also fire people who express left wing views.

Dodgers’ stupidity continues apace: In the bottom of the fifth inning in Sunday night's game against Washington, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Hyun-Jin Ryu who had been pitching a fantastic game, allowing only 3 hits, no runs, and striking out five. With two outs and nobody on base, Ryu  walked two batters, both on 3-2 pitches (after the batters had fouled off innumerable pitches). Into the game stumbled reliever Ross Stripling who got the third out on a mammoth 400 foot fly ball to center.

Stripling was left in the game to pitch the bottom of the sixth inning. He walked the first batter, Anthony Renden, allowed a sharply hit line drive single to center by Daniel Murphy and then a tremendous home run blast to Ryan Zimmerman.

Even though he single-handedly blew the narrow 1-0 lead that Ryu had protected, Roberts left Stripling in the game. Think about this. He pulled Ryu who was dominating after he walked two batters on 3-2 pitches, but he leaves Stripling in after allowing a walk, a hard hit single and a monstrous home run facing four batters.

Is there any logic to this? The answer is, no. This is sheer, utter nonsense and explains why the Dodgers are faltering. Roberts is the worst handler of pitchers I have ever seen. He does not understand the thought of a starting pitcher throwing a complete game, and is completely mesmerized by the idiocy of the concept of the 100 pitch count (Ryu had thrown 98 pitches). On Sunday, Roberts’ bull pen allowed another home run and four additional runs as Washington won the game going away 7-1, all scoring coming against Ryu’s relief pitchers.

There’s an old adage in baseball, “Managers don’t win games; players do.” But there is a corollary, “Managers lose games” and we see it every day in the way they handle pitchers.