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Can’t We Pause the Culture War and Just Watch the Game?

Posted on Jan 9, 2016

    The painting “Mire G 42” by the late French artist Jean Dubuffet. (Pedro Ribeiro Simoes / CC BY 2.0)

“Everything is a culture war now,” grouses sports humor writer DJ Gallo at The Guardian. “And it’s impossible to avoid, even in the movies and sports many of us go to in hopes of finding a brief respite from all the yelling we find online and off.”

From Will Ferrell’s purchase of a soccer team to Tom Cruise’s avowal of Scientology and complaints to the FCC that football player Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend during the 2014 NFL draft broadcast, political incursions into entertainment are hindering the enjoyment of film, television and sports.

“Sometimes I just want to watch the game, you know?” Gallo continues. “Maybe flip on the TV and forget for a few hours that Donald Trump could become president of the free world.”

But then you see Tom “Donald Is A Good Friend Of Mine” Brady and all the garbage creeps back into your brain when all you want is to see one of the greatest quarterbacks ever throw a ball to a man named Gronk. Then a Cam Newton touchdown highlight comes on and you can just feel the disturbance in the atmosphere as millions of people instantly fill with outrage over his chosen celebration routine. Please don’t take sports from us, too, culture wars.

This is not an appeal for everyone to stick to sports, or in the case of Hollywood: stick to movies. Tom Brady obviously has just as much right to his opinion about things off-the-field as I do or you do – and probably even more of a right, since he’s rich and famous and this is America, after all. And one day, if (when?) he runs for national office, I’ll want to hear all of his opinions. Because they’ll have a potential impact on my life. But for now, I don’t want to know who he’s voting for or what is in his Netflix queue.

It might just be fun if sports and movies went back to being the place we can get away from all the partisanship that we find in so much of the rest of our lives. Yet somewhere online right now, you know there’s an article about Andy Dalton’s thumb injury devolving in the comments section into an argument about Obamacare. No, thanks. I don’t claim to be above the fray. I’m just tired of the fray. I’ll happily take every piece of personal information shared about an athlete to be prompted by a warning: “SPOILER ALERT: What we are about to tell you could make you dislike this person. If you want to keep enjoying him as an athlete, please mute your TV now.” Agree or disagree, I don’t want to know. I just want to watch sports again. […]

[…] I’m starting a group called the Know-Nothing Sports Fans. Join me. We will just watch sports for sports. We will watch every game on mute. We won’t care who athletes are dating or voting for or how they are celebrating. It will be wonderful. We will make being a sports fan great again.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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