The Daily Beast published an article Sunday accusing Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Mariano Rivera of “secret far-right politics,” solely on the basis of the fact that he is a Christian who supports the State of Israel.
The story, by Robert Silverman, is titled, “Inside Baseball Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera’s Secret Far-Right Politics.”
But there is no evidence of “secret far-right politics” in the article.
Instead, there is just an extensive recounting of Rivera’s support for Israel.
Silverman says that despite the admiration the legendary New York Yankees closer has received from fans, he has “served at the pleasure of a racist president, taken part in thinly veiled propaganda on behalf of an apartheid government in Israel, and gotten chummy with outright bigots and apocalyptic loons.”
The accusation of “serving” President Donald Trump appears to refer to Rivera’s support for the administration’s programs to fight opioid abuse and promote physical fitness, and for appearing in photographs with the president.
Silverman also asserts that Israel has an “apartheid” government — a claim he never backs up, because he cannot. (Jews and Arabs enjoy equal rights in Israel, and Arabs have the vote and serve at the highest levels of government.)
He asserts that “the vast majority of Evangelical Christians also believe in a particular messianic biblical prophecy: Jews must rule the Holy Land before Christ can return.” Silverman admits that he does not know if Rivera shares that belief, “but his support for Israel and the Israel Defense Forces is a matter of public record,” which apparently is enough to make him “far-right.”
The “outright bigots and apocalyptic loons” to whom Silverman refers appear to be one person in particular: Pastor John Hagee, a widely respected Christian leader whom Silverman attacks as “Islamophobic,” using outdated left-wing talking points dating back more than a decade ago.
Unlike left-wing athletes, who are praised for taking anti-American stances, Rivera focused on the game rather than politics. Silverman describes that as a cover-up, accusing the pitcher of undertaking “conscious efforts to keep this information about his private life under wraps.”
The article is accompanied by an illustration (above) of Rivera standing on the Israeli flag. He is perched on a white baseball mound ringed with a blue circle, which makes it appear to be a yarmulke, a traditional head covering worn by Jewish males.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.