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Fox Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd: ‘Teams Need to Keep Politics Out of Sports’

AP Cowherd
The Associated Press

Colin Cowherd wants the NFL to put an end to the constant distractions of left-wing politics, and get back to football.

The Fox Sports commentator jumped to air on Friday, March 9, with a five-minute segment to denounce the liberal advocacy and social justice politicking that has consumed so many professional sports teams, especially football.

Cowherd started his segment off noting that the Seattle Seahawks have had some of the loudest players protesting against America. Specifically singling out Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett.

Calling the Seahawks a “kind of progressive, tolerant, NFL political team,” Cowherd added that even so, the team has traded Michael Bennett. Cowherd also noted that Richard Sherman is “just about out the door.”

Cowherd went on, though, to note that “three different coaches called Michael Bennett, and this is their words, ‘a pain in the ass.’ This is the NFL’s most tolerant, progressive team now admitting, ‘yeah, that whole politics thing the locker room did not work.'”

“It doesn’t, you realize that,” he exclaimed.

Cowherd next insisted that social media is one of the root causes of this mess, especially for sports media. Social media “empowers” sports personalities to dive into politics despite how bad it is both for sorts and for that media personality’s career:

See, the reason the media — and I’ve seen this happen to colleagues, their shows implode, SportsCenter 6, their careers implode, I won’t mention several people’s names — is because you feel empowered by social media, which tells you more politics.

The commentator said that in his 30 years in broadcasting no one in public has ever walked up to him to ask about what is going on in Washington. He said they only ask about sports.

“And they don’t ask [about politics] of any sportscaster. So, zip it. They turn to you for sports, deliver sports,” Cowherd said emphatically.

Cowherd continued:

Now there are some athletes — Chris Long, Malcolm Jenkins — who can delicately balance some politics in their life and their social-media account, and football. But for the three-and-a-half hours or the hour-and-a-half of practice, keep it to yourself.

Cowherd again slammed social media saying that extreme political activists “empower” these impressionable athletes and he insisted that the skewed perspective that social media gives people is hurting the whole of sports media:

This is why the trust in the media in America has plummeted over the past decade. The media is trying to convince you things that we know aren’t true. We know you shouldn’t talk politics at church or at Thanksgiving. We know you shouldn’t talk politics at work or in locker rooms. Stop trying to convince me it’s awesome for sports.

The Fox talker then noted that Josh Rosen is the fair-haired boy in college sports right now, but some worry that the UCLA quarterback is about to ruin it all and “go political:”

I’ve talked to two NFL personnel people. There is absolute concern he could go political. He’s a quarterback and smart and could engage lots of players. And there are two teams that have said we’re going to pass on that.

“That’s a guy as talented as Josh Rosen,” Cowherd said with a rhetorical shake of his head as he wondered if Rosen is about to set off “great strife” inside any team he joins.

Cowherd wrapped up by reiterating that the Seahawks are now openly admitting that Bennett was a disruptive force in the locker room because of his constant social justice campaigns. “Stop trying to make us think it works, media,” Cowherd concluded.

While Cowherd’s main theme was that sports is not successful as a team effort nor as a business that can grow a fan base, some liberal sports writers scoffed that the Fox talker was saying athletes, as individuals, cannot be successful if they engage in advocacy for liberalism.

Awful Announcing’s Alex Putterman, for instance, insisted that Cowherd was saying that teams cannot win at all if they have politically active players. As evidence to refute Cowherd, Putterman pointed to the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl even though several members of the team have led the league in loud social justice protests.

Putterman groused:

Never mind that the Seahawks won a Super Bowl and reached another with Bennett, Sherman, Doug Baldwin and other outspoken stars onboard. Never mind that teams led by Steph Curry, LeBron James, and Gregg Popovich have won the past six NBA titles. Never mind that the Philadelphia Eagles and their band of racial-justice activists won the Super Bowl five freaking weeks ago.

To Cowherd’s mind, “this is the NFL’s most tolerant and progressive team now admitting that whole political thing in the locker room doesn’t work.”

But this is a mischaracterization of what Cowherd was saying. He was not saying that individual athletes cannot be both politically active and successful on the field, only that the distractions are bad for sports in general not to mention problematic for sportscasters.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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