A lot of smart journalistic voices are writing about sports right now. But for every thought-provoking, boundary-pushing thinker, there's an Armando Salguero, the Miami Herald Dolphins columnist who once told a war veteran he "sucked as a soldier" and now has the gall to lecture black athletes on how to respect the flag.
This past Saturday, Salguero published a new column, creatively titled "Dear Sports: Stick to Sports," that tells NFL players they should stop protesting during the National Anthem because white nationalists might get upset and stop buying tickets.
"Jennifer Lawrence, who makes $20 million per movie, blamed President Trump for hurricanes and attacked climate-change skeptics," Salguero wrote. "You know what happened next? She is the subject of an alt-right boycott. Yeah, if you want to run a successful business, don’t alienate any of your customers."
That's right: If a portion of your customer base is made up of knuckle-draggers who think black people should be enslaved or dead, you'd best do all you can to keep those knuckle-draggers happy.
Salguero also wrote a second story this weekend about how he was angry NFL players might kneel for the National Anthem but stand for the U.K. anthem in London — as if NFL players have a responsibility to be upset about the laws of a country they don't live in or that it's not OK to protest one thing at a time.
This is far from Salguero's first column scolding black people for speaking out about police brutality or racial injustice, but it's the first time he's argued that the NFL should cater to Nazis. The rest of Salguero's column is asinine: He whines about how protesting athletes are forcing him to think about human injustice instead of just drinking nacho cheese directly from the stadium dispenser.
"Stop with the social justice protests," writes Salguero, who didn't respond to a Sunday email from New Times asking him to elucidate further on his arguments. "You’re not going to convince me to march to your drumbeat by playing while I’m eating a hot dog and watching football."
Salguero is not only illogical but also hypocritical. In 2011, he made waves by blasting out a furious mass email to the Herald newsroom because he was upset about how the paper was covering GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
That's right: "Stick to Sports" Salguero basked in Tea Party fame by, yep, taking a political stand at work.
Yet in his latest column, he rages that other people are forcing him to deal with ideas he doesn't feel like thinking about. He asks readers to feel bad for him for having to contemplate societal injustice while watching a "sporting event," which he believes should be acted out by unfeeling sportsbots who aren't paid to have opinions on company time.
Salguero admits he's set up his own fantasy world where problems don't exist and where he can pretend the 100-plus people running in circles on his TV screen have no thoughts, families, opinions, or problems. Sports and professional athletes are completely divorced from American life:
And, yes, here come all the complicated enlightened people who think I’m an oaf because as a citizen of this embattled planet I must be eager to swallow every social justice message ever conceived by someone who is aggrieved or otherwise has an opinion to share. And since I’m not getting that opinion where it belongs because I don’t attend rallies or watch CNN, they’re going to force feed it to me while I’m simply trying to enjoy a game.
So fine. Call me names because you’re smarter than me.
Think less of me because on my free time, when I’m simply trying to decompress from the stresses of daily living — stresses caused by politics and social agendas and the economy and rogue actors sullying every corner of our culture — I do not want to consider your friggan’ social message.
Dude, buy some videogames. Go sit in a sauna for an hour. There are ways to unwind that don't include subjugating other people and trying to silence them from using their platforms for social change.
Salguero claims he keeps getting dragged into writing about politics, as if he's forced to use his space in one of the nation's premier newspapers to scold black people every week.
I believe sports journalists, be they liberals or conservatives (there’s like 12 conservative journalists in America), should stick to sports when they’re working. You’re there to cover the game. That’s it. That’s all. Do your job.
(About once a year I get pulled into a political mess and I hate that but I recognize that is not ever my mission).
So, yes, stop with the social justice protests. You’re not going to convince me to march to your drumbeat by playing while I’m eating a hot dog and watching football.
The idea that he gets "pulled into" talking about "politics" about "once a year" is wholly inaccurate. Salguero elects to write about kneeling Dolphins players pretty much every time it happens. That hints at an issue that's honestly bigger than he is: Is anyone at the Herald taking Salguero to task for basic facts?
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Newspaper editors take a more hands-off approach when it comes to opinion writing, but that's mostly a cop-out: Simple fact-checking invalidates swaths of Salguero's latest piece. He doesn't get "pulled into" writing about politics; he repeatedly chooses to do so.
And he also shares multiple ideas that have no basis in fact. He claims the Emmys are losing viewership because they've gotten too "political," yet the show has seen declining numbers dating to the Obama era and actually improved slightly over last year's numbers. He says this year's summer movie season was a bust because too many actors and actresses complained about Trump, but again, the truth is a far more complex, long trend linked to Hollywood's struggles to adapt to the digital age.
But Salguero doesn't bother to link to a single study or any data to back up his points. A city desk reporter at the Herald could never get away with this sloppiness. He's just making up nonsense.
But, hey, if it keeps the Nazis from unsubscribing, he must be doing something right.