The sentiment has been echoed a million times on the political right, so let’s just go with the latest one, which earned one-time “Punky QB” Jim McMahon some kudos from The Federalist and revoked any punk cred he ever had:
“I don’t think they should be disrespecting the flag or the national anthem,” McMahon said in a Chicago radio interview this week. “There’s so many different platforms if people want to protest whatever they’re protesting.”
Time and place, show some respect, yada yada yada, keep politics out of sports. Sports, after all, are supposed to be an escape from real life, a sacred bubble into which no social issues shall ever incur. We’ll honor the First Responder of the Game, and the Veteran of the Game, occasionally do a military flyover, and of course play God Bless America, and those things will remind us of what is Really Important and Bigger Than The Game and Brings Us All Together As Americans.
Once a year, though, we really can put everything aside and have a moment — yes, it’s got a corporate sponsor, it’s still sports — of pure sentiment and unity for something that isn’t the game itself. It’s the annual moment at the World Series when everyone in the stands, all the players, all the players and umpires, and even the broadcasters hold up signs on which they’ve written the names of people close to them who have been affected by cancer.
Because fuck cancer. That’s the one thing we can all get behind. Nobody likes cancer.
That moment came on Friday night during Game 3 of the Fall Classic, won 6-2 by the Dodgers to take a 2-1 lead over the Rays in a series that has so far been less than gripping. Fox did its usual series of cuts to people on and off the field with their signs, and they got into the crowd, and…
I STAND UP FOR
Shoutout to the people a couple of luxury suites over in the stadium that had its roof closed, not only not holding up signs but not wearing masks, which is a different kind of political statement, because somehow preventing the spread of a highly infectious virus became polarized.
You want to take the Stand Up To Cancer moment to make your political case about standing for the flag? Okay. That’s your right. You’ve been given a sign, a marker, and had a camera pointed at you. That’s your platform to share the message you want to share.
The thing about the anthem is, there’s a long history there, including the decision to play it before games being a political act all its own. With cancer, it’s that everyone agrees cancer fucking sucks, and MasterCard likes to look good by taking up this unanimous position as a corporate sponsor.
So, you’re free to use that moment and your sign to say whatever you want, but when you take the anti-cancer moment to espouse a position that isn’t “cancer can kick rocks,” you look like an asshole.