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In 2016 then San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, in uniform at work, took a knee during the national anthem to protest police violence against black people. Kaepernick was permitted to finish the season as the starting quarterback. And then, as a free agent, couldn’t find any NFL team interested in signing him. The sports media overwhelmingly lionized Kaepernick, turning him into a modern day sports version of Rosa Parks. As a result, Kaepernick made tens of millions of dollars – far more than he ever could have as a backup quarterback – from ESPN, Nike, Netflix, publishing houses, you name it. All of them threw money at Kaepernick and pronounced him a hero.
Most sports media also spent years castigating the NFL for refusing to employ Kaepernick, arguing, incorrectly, that his First Amendment rights were stifled. For years, I argued that most sports media members, who are overwhelmingly left wing, supported Kaepernick because they agreed with his left wing politics, not because they supported his right to protest. In fact, I argued that Kaepernick should have the right to any political opinions under the sun, but that he didn’t have a right to make those arguments in his uniform at work.
Which is, quite simply, a very settled issue of legal precedent. After all, would you expect McDonald’s to continue to employ someone who argued meat was murder when you bought a hamburger? Of course not. Most people come to a football game to watch football. Politics isn’t on the docket.
That’s why the case of Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass should be so interesting to all of us.
Where Is The Support For Anthony Bass?
Anthony Bass, on his own private Instagram account, posted an endorsement of the boycott of both Bud Light and Target based on their far left wing political statements. (Bud Light hired a trans influencer and Target now sells children’s bathing suits with tucking included so, you know, all those women with penises can help to hide the bulge in their bathing suits.) Bass’ Instagram story was noticed by left wingers, who then turned the post into a major controversy, arguing that Bass should have to answer for his political opinions. The result? A censorious left wing mob so hounded Bass that he first apologized for his opinions — in a statement that looked eerily similar to the videos hostages are made to film for their captors — and then was ritually humiliated by left wing sports media who demanded he be fired for having the temerity to utter an opinion different than their own.
This week, guess what happened?
Bass was sent down to Triple A, a prelude to his eventual release by the team.
Yep, he was fired for sharing his political opinions on social media.
Bass, who last season appeared in 73 games for the Blue Jays posting a 1.54 ERA, both career bests, is now no longer a member of the team. The Blue Jays general manager, Ross Atkins, was asked about the release and said, “There’s a myriad of variables, and performance is usually the driving one. Performance was a large aspect of this decision. Distraction was a small part of it, and something that we had to factor in.”
What was the distraction?
Bass’s political opinions shared, again, on his own social media account.
While Bass hasn’t pitched as well this year — he has an ERA of 4.95, but he’s also pitched just 20 innings — he is, as noted above, coming off a season where he was the Blue Jays’ best pitcher. And the season is barely a third over. Meaning, as is often the case, Bass has a strong chance, at least based on his past performance, to improve on his numbers so far this year if he were allowed to continue.
But that’s no going to happen.
Because Bass is guilty of wrong think, how dare he not have left wing opinions?!
Difference In Way Sports Media Treats Anthony Bass And Colin Kaepernick Is Familiar
What happened here is quite clear: Bass was fired for his political opinions, opinions that he shared outside of work on his own private, not team-owned, Instagram account.
Yet, this is probably the first column you will read comparing his situation to Kaepernick’s in all of sports media.
How is that possible?
How have all the sports media who fell all over themselves to defend Kaepernick’s right to speak out on political issues in uniform at work not even uttered a single syllable to defend Bass’ ability to share his own political opinions outside of work? I thought the sports media believed it was incredibly important for athletes to use their platforms to advocate for things they believed in.
Boy, that faded in a hurry, didn’t it?
Worse than that, how have many of these same sports media members who argued for the importance of athletes sharing their political opinions actually demanded that the Blue Jays fire Bass? It’s amazing how all the free speech defenders vanish the moment someone says something they disagree with.
Of course, this is eminently predictable. Several years ago I argued, correctly, of course, that most of the people claiming to defend Kaepernick would run the other direction if Kaeperick had, for instance, taken a knee in uniform at work to protest the legal right for gays to marry. These left wing sports media members don’t want athletes to speak out, they want athletes who share their political opinions to speak out.
There Is No Consistency When Arguing For Colin Kaepernick But Against Anthony Bass
It’s a story as old as time, most people who argue in favor of the First Amendment don’t stand on principle, they stand on politics.
That’s why standing on precedent is so important. For years I’ve argued that Kaepernick, and every other athlete, should have the freedom to share any opinion under the sun in his or her private life. Even if, significantly, I think those athletes are making imbecilic and juvenile arguments. (I’m looking at you, LeBron.) But that’s why this story is so important — Bass didn’t even speak out in uniform at work, he simply shared his political opinions outside of work on social media and for that he was fired.
If you believed it was was unacceptable that Kaepernick, who finished the season as the starting quarterback for the 49ers, was unfairly treated because he couldn’t sign a new contract with a team, then sports media should be in an uproar over what’s happened to Bass.
Yet, other than this column, you won’t see the argument made anywhere.
That’s because the sports media, which is overwhelmingly left wing and infected with the woke identity politics virus, far from defending Bass, wants to make an example out of him. They don’t believe he should be able to play baseball if he has political opinions they disagree with. So they are cheering his firing, lauding the Blue Jays for their choices here.
More stifling of discourse, more censorship, less honest exchange of ideas.
How many other pro athletes have seen what happened to Bass and will censor themselves as a result? Hell, where is the MLB player’s union? Do they really want the precedent set that players can be released for social media posts that share political opinions? (I’d ask where MLB is, but this is the same organization that pulled the all star game from Atlanta over a made up Georgia voting bill that actually managed to increase voting in the state. Politics are fine in the MLB, so long as they are far left wing. And rooted in lies.).
Make no mistake about it, if Bass had gone on his Instagram account and praised the anti-Catholic group appearing soon at the Dodgers stadium, or if he’d praised the chopping off of breasts of 14-year-olds, he’d still be a Blue Jay.
And the same sports media demanding he be fired would be calling him a hero.
Which tells you all you need to know about them, hypocrisy, thy name is sports media.
You’d think members of the sports media, who often make their living on opinions, would be smart enough to favor robust free speech. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. Because when almost every sports media member has to make a choice between politics or principle, they pick politics. Every. Single. Time.
The message from sports media to athletes is clear: speak out loudly about your political beliefs, as long as we agree with you and they are far left wing in nature, then we’ll praise you and call you a hero. But if we disagree with you? We’ll call you a bigot and use all of our power and influence to demand that you be fired.
Just look at what happened to Anthony Bass, where every MLB media member has had the same refrain: shut up and pitch.