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The sports media crucified Vikings QB Kirk Cousins for much of the week because Cousins has refused the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, the same press welcomed Ravens QB Lamar Jackson back to practice Saturday with applause after testing positive for COVID a second time. Like Cousins, Jackson has refused the vaccine.
“Why did Kirk Cousins, who didn’t even test positive, get destroyed for multiple days over COVID and Lamar Jackson gets essentially ignored?” Clay Travis asked on Twitter.
The answer: because Kirk Cousins is white and Lamar Jackson is black.
The media’s logic is simple. If ESPN, the New York Times, or USA Today criticize Jackson’s personal decision to avoid the vaccine, the outlets risk someone claiming they are trying to dictate a black man’s health decisions. Just the thought of that response quashes the idea of publicly questioning Jackson’s decision.
By contrast, bashing a white man — whether he’s an athlete, politician, or actor — comes with virtually no downside. Media outlets know that Cousins, because of his skin and gender, is an easy target. It’s a two-for-one. Twitter users will retweet headlines that demand vaccine mandates and share stories that focus negatively on a white QB. Honestly, crushing Cousins is good for Twitter business right now.
Far-left social media guys Mike Florio, Rex Chapman, and the person behind Resist Programming have even targeted Cousins’ father, a pastor in Orlando.
“There’s a very good chance that [Kirk’s] refusal to get vaccinated flows from his father’s attitude toward the pandemic,” Florio wrote. Last year, Don Cousins dared to question lockdowns by reopening his church and not requiring masks. As a result, Don Cousins is now a topic on PFT and Twitter.
The sports media’s coverage of unvaccinated athletes stems from the news media’s selective reporting on vaccine hesitancy. Because most sportswriters are not smart enough to have their own opinion on a serious topic, they simply follow the news media’s lead.
Race and politics drive CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS’s coverage of vaccine hesitancy in America. Therefore, race and politics now dictate how ESPN, Bleacher Report, and the others cover the topic.
Two primary groups have not obeyed demands to get vaccinated: black Americans and staunch conservatives. Both groups share the same concern: they don’t trust the government. Yet only the latter are blamed for, what President Joe Biden and the media call, the “Pandemic of the Unvaccinated.”
At the start of July, the vaccination rate for black people in the U.S. was 15 percent lower than for white people. A subsequent chart found that black people “make up 12 percent of the U.S. population but only account for 9 percent of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.”
Viewers of CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS are stunned. Since they first heard of the Delta variant, they’ve been told that Trump voters, and only Trump voters, are the reason for this latest COVID wave.
The news media will not report vaccine hesitancy among African Americans for the same reason that the sports media won’t cover Jackson’s refusal to get the vaccine. The most you’ll get is a headline that says white people are not doing enough to help ease black Americans’ concerns over the vaccine—anything else, and the media risks one of the usual suspects labeling them racist.
“Don’t blame African Americans for fearing the COVID-19 vaccine. Blame America,” the Chicago Tribune requests.
When critics call media members liars, they are often not referring to the fabrication of stories, which does happen, but instead their selective storylines and spin jobs. On the topic of unvaccinated Americans — the lead story at most outlets — writers, hosts, and reporters tell only half the story.
“The reason Southern states have low vaccination percentages is because they have many Trump voters, who tend to be white, and also many Biden voters, who tend to be black,” Clay Travis adds in his Twitter thread. “The percentage of black Biden voters who are unvacced is the highest in the country. Yet the media ignores it.”
High-level media executives deem fact-based statistics on vaccine hesitancy among African Americans too risky to report. Therefore, their minions re-cite soundbites that blame Tucker Carlson for some Americans not getting vaccinated.
Here is the subheading of the Chicago Sun Times‘ column, “Imagine a crazy world in which people are utterly stupid about vaccines and their own health”:
“They listen to the likes of Tucker Carlson. They believe there is a higher power looking out for them, like Donald Trump. It is the stuff of science fiction. It is mystifying.”
That entire story blames white conservatives for the deaths of unvaccinated Americans.
The media, both in sports and news, also don’t care who dies of COVID. If they did, they’d mention and warn that two groups have serious hesitations. Instead, the media has weaponized COVID as a political tool, a way to take down enemies.
In sum, it’s no wonder the sports media has focused so much on Kirk Cousins’ decision to remain unvaccinated and so little on Lamar Jackson’s hesitancy.
While many Americans don’t trust the media, major institutions still do. Already this week, Holland Hospital in western Michigan ended its relationship with Kirk Cousins over his stance on COVID-19 vaccines. Unfortunately, Holland Hospital won’t be the last partner to sever ties with the hometown hero. Lamar Jackson, meanwhile, has no such worries.
Here is Clay Travis’ entire Twitter thread on the media’s coverage of Kirk Cousins and Lamar Jackson:
Kirk Cousins got absolutely destroyed by the sports media for multiple days for refusing to get the covid vaccine. Lamar Jackson refused to get the covid vaccine & has now tested positive twice. He came back to practice today and I’ve seen almost no blue checks rip him at all.
It’s similar to the way the media is covering vaccinations. The lowest vaccine percentages in the country are black & Hispanic people by far. Yet the media consistently rips the unvaccinated as if they are all red state Trump voters. Do facts matter or not?
The media, consistently, picks easy and convenient villains over factual analysis or evenhanded application of standards and precedents. Kirk Cousins and Lamar Jackson are a glaring current example in sports that reflects the larger issue with covid vaccination coverage at large.