“Sports are like the reward of a functioning society."
Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle said that in July.
This was during conversations about coming back to play during COVID-19. While the coronavirus is still spreading quickly, this country is facing another pandemic, one that’s been going on for 400 years.
We shouldn’t keep having athletes play sports in the midst of this pandemic in the face of racial injustice. Quite frankly, we don’t deserve sports as a country.
We are far from being a functioning society — actually the furthest from it we have been in a while. The main push for trying to bring sports back was to try to bring a sense of normalcy in the midst of utter chaos.
As a sports writer, I’m not going to act like it wasn’t tough not being able to watch, write or talk about live sports for months. However, as a Black man, it was even tougher realizing that this country was trying to proceed past the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor like they seemingly didn’t happen.
Trying to make living in a country that doesn’t value you seem normal is an unjust gimmick that's been played out for far too long. Sports can't be a distraction from real life right now, and the players have as much of a role in that as the fans.
We need to take the time to look this issue right in its face. We can’t keep looking away from this ugly reality.
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was very vocal in his disapproval of the NBA playing in the Orlando bubble because he realized the mainstream distraction basketball would bring. He was in turn demonized by sports media members and fans for voicing his opinion, but he was correct.