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NY Post
New York Post
1 Apr 2023


NextImg:Sports leagues and teams don’t really care about social issues — just PR

There’s a gag about the poor fellow nightly sent out to solicit donations for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

On this night, cold and rainy, he knocks on the door of a man’s home and announces his mission. The homeowner says, “Well, don’t stand out there in the rain, come in, sit down and dry off.”

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After a few minutes the homeowner asks, “So, what can I do for you?”

“How the hell do I know,” comes the answer, “this is as far as I’ve ever gotten.”

To much that same end, might it be time for our sports leagues and their teams to cut it out, to be seen and known as a sports business, no apologies, virtue signaling and “Repent Sinners!” strings attached?

It’s a business that relies on the public, thus must toe the line of new era social engineering and activism? Why? Who says?

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How come the dry cleaner and the local deli owner don’t choose to participate? Or feel pressure, real or imagined, to participate?

Of course, the NHL felt some players’ blowback on its Pride Week jerseys in support of LGBTQIA people, even if not NHL fans. But why were these players put in such a position to begin with? To think that a Pride Week uniform will change the course of social history — even a little — is both naive and needlessly divisive.

Eric and Marc Staal declined to participate in the Panthers’ Pride night.
NHLI via Getty Images

It takes time and personal relationships — family, friends, friends’ kids — to burnish such change in thinking and acting. And where one’s religion condemns LGBTQIA positions, the NHL demands tolerance from sides that have difficulty tolerating each other.

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The NHL, as MLB, the NFL and NBA — all with their own internal social problems that need attention and change — should have made it clear with some formal statement as issued in Gary Bettman’s name:

“Thanks, but no thanks. We’re a hockey league, not a legislative branch, social lobby or political action committee representing North America.

“While we fully support everyone’s legal right to pursue happiness, this one, forgive my bluntness, is none of our business.

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“That said, LBGQTIA people will as always be welcomed to enjoy our games. As a hockey league there is no loftier policy we can attain or maintain. And we don’t have to literally wear it on our sleeves.”

The most right-headed and effective social change advocate has always been time. Time, like water, seeks and finds its own level.

Twenty-plus years ago, as same-sex marriages proliferated, there was no logical reason to get bent out of shape in either direction as every American family knew or would soon know that there is a loved one in their lives who is gay, thus would never deprive them of their chosen mates and futures.

I’ve seen once hard-core, anti-gay adults cry for joy at same-sex weddings, walk their homosexual son or daughter down the aisle, their giant smiles lighting their way.

The forced version of change — the choice of sports holding themselves at ransom — is the equivalent of playing a losing hand, cards up, raising all the way.

We saw MLB go blind from political intrusion when it supported a racial propaganda last year in Georgia, removing the All-Star game from Atlanta to prove its fealty to those claiming that the state’s new voting legislation was flagrantly racist, designed to prevent blacks from voting, and a return to Jim Crow government.

Rob Manfred
Rob Manfred
Getty Images

But before last year’s elections, there was only dubious evidence that the legislation was racist, and on election night more blacks voted in Georgia than ever before. For MLB, a bad beat.

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So what did socio-political activist/capitulator Rob Manfred do with those facts? Nothing. He just pretended MLB never involved itself in the first place — much like the media that backed his foolish activism.

Perhaps no league is more in need of social reforms than the NFL, which drafts and indulges more violent criminals than you can shake a Glock at.

Yet, the on-field, on-helmet and off-field messages that pandering phony Roger Goodell has chosen and sustained is that NFL fans, not its players, suffer from social disorders, that we’re those in need of fixing.

Adam Silver speaks at a news conference, wanting an apology from Kyrie Irving who tweeted a link to a film containing antisemitic material.
Adam Silver speaks at a news conference, wanting an apology from Kyrie Irving who tweeted a link to a film containing antisemitic material.
AP

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Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving
Getty Images

The NBA’s Adam Silver declared that a vehement anti-Semite such as Kyrie Irving to the full support of a religious legion of anti-Semites, is not an anti-Semite. Thus, Irving — a bona fide, world-is-flat, fringe lunatic — must merely be a paid spokesman for hatred of Jews, like Tom Selleck for reverse mortgages.

Our commissioners — better written, the team owners’ commissioners — now too often act out of fear of sticks, stones and words hurting them. They’re cowardly.

They should take a tip from “The Buck Stops Here” Harry Truman who, as president, said, “I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.”

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As per the new rules, the majority of Thursday’s Opening Day games were played in under three hours. But if the baseball was faster, was it any better?

Depends on where you were, what you saw and your sense of good, highest-level baseball.

Giants-Yankees, an 8 ¹/₂-inning number played out in just 2:33. But of the 51 outs, well more than half — 32 (63 percent) — were strikeouts.

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Despite Michael Kay’s relentless hype that we were watching something extra special, it was not the kind of game that would leave in-house or at-home customers clamoring for more.

As for more-of-the-same manager-afflicted game there was Blue Jays 10, Cardinals 9, which ran 3:38 due to the use of 14 pitchers, four of them replaced despite highly effective work.

The winning pitcher, Yimi Garcia, allowed two earned runs on two hits and two walks. In other words, it was exactly the kind of game Rob Manfred’s new rules would eradicate.

The best way to deal with stats? Ignore them.

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Wednesday on YES, Nets analyst Sarah Kustok eagerly noted that the visiting Rockets “clean up nicely” as they lead the NBA in offensive rebounds.

But given the Rockets are 19-59, such a stat stands to reason. The primary reason Houston has had such a miserable season is that they miss a lot of shots, creating more opportunities for offensive rebounds.

YES

The YES Network’s Sarah Kustok and Chris Shearn look on after the game on January 8, 2023.
NBAE via Getty Images

Reminds me of when NBC’s Doug Collins said that heading into the playoffs the Pacers have to improve their offensive rebounding, as they had the fewest in the NBA.

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But those 58-24 Pacers were among the NBA’s best shooting teams, thus the best way to improve their offensive rebound totals was — and remains — to miss more shots!

Howie Rose’s new Mets radio partner, Keith Raad, is a Long Island kid promoted from the Brooklyn Cyclones to replace Wayne Randazzo, who left to call Angels games.

A Chaminade High then University of Dayton grad, Raad, 29, debuted Thursday to a gracious intro from Rose.

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Not that we’re surprised but attention-starved Paige Spiranac, playing out of Cleavage Valley, is now seen in TV commercials selling a sports betting operation as she operates on a golf course.

It’s symptomatic of the marketing belief that boobs attract boobs.