Let’s be clear about one thing right up front. “Stick to sports” does not mean “stick to sports.” “Stick to sports” means “shut the fuck up and don’t tweet anything even remotely political that I disagree with or don’t like.”
I’ve tweeted about Seinfeld ad nauseum since joining Twitter in 2009. No one ever told me to “stick to sports” when I did so. When I tweet about food (especially bacon), tons of people weigh in with an opinion. Never a “stick to sports” reply. When I tweet about the daily minutiae of life, the replies steadily come in and none of them ever say “stick to sports.”
But tweet anything that can be interpreted as political and prepare for the backlash. Even just saying, “I’m watching Real Time with Bill Maher,” will generate nasty responses, unfollows and rants about how liberals are the worst people on earth.
And just to be perfectly clear, I much prefer being unfollowed than being sent a stupid or nasty reply. Actually, what’s worse than a stupid or nasty reply is when someone pulls a Kellyanne Conway and sends a reply that has nothing to do with what I tweeted, but addresses something totally unrelated in politics.
I digress, but just wanted to reinforce all of that because I will never “stick to sports” on Twitter no matter how many followers I lose, and I’ve lost a ton over the past few months. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like much of the sports media will stick to sports, either.
Every single person in the country, no matter what their job is, has the right to voice their opinions. People in the sports media are no different from people in any other profession. No one from sports media is storming into your house to give their political thoughts. Sports media people aren’t confronting patrons in their local Starbucks to convert them from Republican to Democrat. Sports media people aren’t lecturing commuters on a train or bus to explain the various faults of the people running the United States of America right now.
They are sharing their opinions on a social media tool that is built for this exact thing. They should not and cannot let any Twitter follower stop them from expressing their view and calling out hypocrisy and injustice. They should and cannot be affected by anyone on Twitter telling them to be quiet or “stick to sports.” Not when a reality show host is President.
As for those sending the “stick to sports” zinger, a piece of advice: Instead of firing off that tired and unoriginal tweet, just unfollow and you will never have to see that person’s political opinions ever again. You need to understand that there isn’t one person in sports media who will “stick to sports” because someone they don’t know on Twitter is telling them to. The success rate that any and all “stick to sports” tweets have is 0%. And that’s not an alternative fact.
Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy sent this brutally honest tweet on Election Night.
Tonight's result affects me none because I'm rich, white and male. Yet, it'll be a long time until I'm able to sleep peacefully.
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) November 9, 2016
I’m in the same boat as McCarthy, minus the whole being rich thing, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t affected by and frustrated with the dizzying madness taking place.
I have two nieces. One is a special needs child who goes to a special school. So you’ll have to excuse me if I find Betsy DeVos to be a completely frightening and downright dangerous human being and I’d rather tweet about that than what the New York Jets should do for a quarterback.
Having restless nights like McCarthy, or being concerned about the education system does not mean you’re a “snowflake” and it does not mean you are “triggered.” It means you’re a compassionate human being and a concerned citizen.
Everyone on Twitter wants everything to be black or white. But for many people, including myself, this isn’t a Republican-Democrat or Conservative-Liberal thing. This is about one unqualified businessman who seems to have a severe personality disorder being the most important person in the free world. This is about that person giving Steve Bannon all the power to do what he wants.
There would be FAR FEWER tweets from everyone in sports media about politics if Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush or John Kasich became President.But the reality show host won and now we’re all living in the ultimate reality show. Guess what? People are going to tweet about that, including those who cover sports for a living.
Here’s the other thing about the stupidity of “stick to sports”: Athletes and sports figures, just like people in sports media, have opinions about our government and they’ve been sharing them more and more. Politics are now part of the sports world whether you like it or not.
Lakers forward Luol Deng powerfully addressed the insanity that took place this past weekend.
— Luol Deng (@LuolDeng9) January 30, 2017
The best basketball player in the world even chimed in this week about “goofy votes.”
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) January 27, 2017
The best quarterback of all time who is playing in his seventh Super Bowl this Sunday also made himself part of the political discussion during the election season.
Hell, even former Major League Baseball player Aubrey Huff decided to jump in the fray this weekend with tweets ripping protesters. (Those have since been deleted.)
The ironic thing about the “stick to sports” instructions from Twitter followers is that I tweeted about Donald Trump being an awful human being long before he decided to run for President.
The horniness/pervertedness/creepiness of Donald Trump is truly off the charts.
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) March 5, 2012
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) June 17, 2014
Neither of those tweets generated a “stick to sports” response.
But I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. Being told to “stick to sports” is probably better than being told to stick to being a fictional character, even if that fictional character is one of the best in television history.
Bye Jeff. https://t.co/vuqFp565zI
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) January 31, 2017