The Cubs went to the White House today and it looks like a good time was had by all. Rizzo wore his Ron Burgundy jacket, and Theo gave the Prez an official pardon for being a Sox fan, as well as a W flag to fly at the future presidential library in Chicago. The Cubs also presented our president with a lifetime admission pass to Wrigley, which he noted was “NON TRANSFERABLE.” Lots of laughs all around, and a nice Chicago sendoff for President Obama in his last week in office.
Noticeably absent, however, was Jake Arrieta, who tweeted the morning after the election that it was time for Hollywood to pack up and head for the border. Apparently a Trump supporter (although he denies it), many people figured Arrieta was boycotting the White House visit. In response, Jake claimed he had to be home for his mother-in-law’s surgery and his kid was getting a tooth pulled, or something.
Well, whatever, maybe Arrieta took a stand against President Obama or maybe he didn’t, but the general consensus on the String was that athletes and entertainers of whatever stripe need to just shut their traps and stay out of the political discourse. These “coddled retards,” so the String thinking goes, are “total douches and ‘loosers’,” who need to “shut their ignorant mouths and focus on entertaining me” because any athlete or movie star who takes a stand “has an over-inflated sense of themselves and their accomplishments.” Well, big shocker here I am sure, but I totally disagree, and not just because I am totally disagreeable.
First off, the rule should be that anyone should say whatever they want. Not gonna invoke the First Amendment here because I went to law school and haven’t forgotten the requirement of “state action,” but the general concept still applies. And that rule should apply to everyone including those gifted individuals amongst us who can throw a 95 mph fourseam fastball, or sing a great song, or are really, really good at crying, and pretending like it is a tough choice when the Nazi’s make you choose whether to kill your son or your daughter. Just because more people are paying attention when these people mouth off doesn’t change anything.
Secondly, this is nothing new, you guys. Artists, entertainers, sports stars and music people have been popping off for, oh, I don’t know, basically FOREVER. And from both sides of the aisles. The Dixie Chicks, Ted Nugent, Springsteen, Mellencamp, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Bono, the Duck Dynasty Guy, Curt Shilling, John Rocker, Colin Kaepernick, Sean Penn, Jon Voight, Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Schwarzenegger. FUCK, how about RONALD REAGAN??? Heard of him? How about your new president for the last 30 years? He wasn’t only talking about tits and ass on the Howard Stern show. Oh, but Meryl Streep says a few words, and it is the end of the world. Christ. Well, buckle up you big fucking babies, because anyone who thinks that art and politics don’t mix hasn’t been following either art or politics.
Can’t leave out the GOAT on mixing sports and politics. Anyone heard of Muhammad Ali and his stance on the Vietnam War? Ali refused to get drafted, declaring that “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.” That didn’t go over so well back in the 60’s. But unlike your president who used daddy’s money to get a draft deferment, even though Trump was supposedly a sports star, Ali took a public stand and spoke out. Ali was stripped of his title and damn near went to jail, but he generated public attention that helped get U.S. out of Vietnam.
So yea, sports stars can and should speak out, and their views can make a difference.
But let’s be honest. Let’s talk about what is really going on here.
You will be hearing a lot more that actors and musicians and athletes should STFU, and this “just entertain me” bullshit. This is the new Republican talking point as their ridiculous reality TV star takes office. And why? Because they want to shut down dissent, and the right of EVERYONE to speak out against the government. It is not just movie stars they are worried about. They know Trump is an absolute buffoon, and will do reckless things and say and do the stupidest things imaginable. When the stars comment on it, and they will, it will draw even more attention to his buffoonery, and that their president is absolutely unqualified to hold this nation’s highest office. So they will argue, employing the evil lie of false equivalence, that stars should not speak out AT ALL. They will not address the actual substance of the comments (Should we make fun of physically handicapped people?), but only that we all need to get over it, “respect the office” and not comment on their national buffoon.