By Ken Reed
Fox News’s Laura Ingraham is the latest talking head to tell athletes, coaches and sports journalists to “stick to sports.”
Ingraham was upset with NBA stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant for speaking out against Donald Trump and his “leadership” style.
“Must they run their mouths like that?” asked Ingraham on her Fox News show.
“Unfortunately, a lot of kids — and some adults — take these ignorant comments seriously … Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So, keep the political commentary to yourself or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”
What is wrong with people like Ingraham? Do they think only talk-show hosts have the right to criticize elected officials or speak out on the issues of the day?
Do these “stick to sports” people not understand the rights and civic duties of American citizens? Is this not supposed to be a free country, home to the First Amendment, the greatest piece of government work the world has ever seen? Have these “stick to sports” folks not heard of the marketplace of ideas?
I guess not. Either Ingraham doesn’t understand any of these concepts or she doesn’t believe in them.
We need more citizens speaking out about the state of the country, and the issues and challenges of the day, not fewer.
Maybe Ingraham is just against athletes or celebrities publicly sharing viewpoints that differ from hers. Maybe she thinks all non-conservative athletes and entertainers should just go away and be quiet.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ Chris Long fired back at Ingraham by pointing out all the athletes and celebrities that have been on Fox News spouting their far right views, e.g., Bobby Knight, Curt Schilling, Chuck Norris, Jon Voight, Ted Nugent and Kid Rock.
“So, Fox News folks who agree with Laura … you okay with these segments?” asked Long.
“And if you reply, ‘stick to sports,’ you should probably tune out of Fox News because they’ve got karate guys talking climate change on there. (Which I’m cool with … it’s his right.)”
Ingraham alluded to James and Durant by saying, “You’re great players but no one voted for you.”
Well, dear Laura, nobody voted for you either. It might be a blow to your ego but LeBron James and Kevin Durant have a lot more clout and influence in this country than you do.
Most importantly, they are contributing to the marketplace of ideas, just like you do every day.
The more Americans that do that and get involved as active citizens, the better this country will be.
So, keep spewing your opinions Laura. But maybe, just maybe, the millions of Americans who value the First Amendment and civic involvement will drown you out with their opinions.
A guy can hope, can’t he?
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.