At the University of California-Davis, display of the American flag at Student Senate meetings is now optional.
Stating “patriotism is different for every individual,” the senate stressed the Stars and Stripes was not being banned. Its action merely eliminated the flag’s mandatory presence.
Also last week, during ceremonies opening the Atlanta Braves’ new home, SunTrust Park, dozens of Sun Trust Bank employees deployed a giant American flag that covered most of the outfield. Flags were also on display on the video message boards.
This prompted NBC News lead baseball writer Craig Calcaterra to tweet out on Easter morning — three days after the flag display — after he was sent a photo of the giant flag after it was unfurled during the ceremonies:
“Will you keep politics out of sports, please. We like sports to be politics-free” pic.twitter.com/Mx3omxcNhu
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) April 16, 2017
After getting the expected pushback; everything from people wishing he contracted cancer to the standard, “America, love it or leave it,” Calcaterra wrote a column saying he was “sarcastically adopting the voice of one of the many ‘stick to sports’ people we’ve mocked around here many, many times.”
Most people don’t believe exhibiting the flag is a political act. It should be an apolitical, bipartisan act. But as Calcaterra pointed out in his column:
“…patriotism and flag-waving are a huge part of political strategy and always have been. There are entire ideologies based on it. It is likewise used for other, non-purely-patriotic purposes. Brands routinely wrap themselves in the American flag to sell you stuff. Indeed, there are rankings of which brands best-leverage patriotism for commercial purposes.”
But it’s true; most Americans apparently do like sports to be politics-free. Just remember back to the Colin Kaepernick affair and see how that affected NFL attendance and viewership. And look at ESPN, which continues to see a downward ratings spiral.
Perhaps it’s that Americans want sports to be left-wing politics-free.