META: "The End of "Stick to Sports" (MGoBlog Mentioned in Ringer article)

Submitted by jmstranger on January 30th, 2017 at 3:47 PM

Interesting article about sports writers possibly getting outside their lane? Mentions our Fearless Leader as an example. Should sports be safe spaces from politics? Should we demand sports writers stay inside the realm of sports?…

[Ed-S: aaaand it's done. Had to banish a 6-year veteran. No more nice things]



January 30th, 2017 at 4:03 PM ^

Sports and politics have always been interwoven. It's only recently that I see people complaining about athletes and coaches having opinions and protesting. I think it has to do with the social media age bc these same people would prolly hate life in the 60s when the relationship was even more prominent.


January 30th, 2017 at 4:29 PM ^

I don't really mind if politics raises its head in sports.  Hard to seperate life into cylos that never intermingle.  What I don't particularly care for are people who are really good at "playing pretend" (Hollywood) or who can hit a ball with a stick / put a ball in a basket and all of a sudden they beleive their opinion is more valid than the public.


January 30th, 2017 at 4:32 PM ^

This is like saying, "I have the right to blink my eyes." Of course you have the right to not watch a channel for whatever reason you like. Maybe you don't like the color of the news anchor's tie or maybe you hate the theme music for "Jeopardy." Change the channel. Stop visiting the site. Don't read the posts about politics. There's a great big world out there. 


January 30th, 2017 at 4:37 PM ^

Right, and my point is that even if an athlete or organization has an opinion on something doesn't mean I have to agree or even listen to what they have to say. It doesn't make me think of them any more or less as an athlete (or a person), I just don't really care what they think and enjoy sports for their entertainment value.


January 30th, 2017 at 7:13 PM ^

I think the discourse is that many people tell sportswriters and athletes to "Stick to Sports" because they don't want to see opinions they disagree with.

While this has lately applied mostly to players with liberal views it has also happened to those with far right conservative views like Curt Schilling.


Personally I think if the opinions expressed are civil and based in facts everything is good - it always helps to know and understand why someone disagrees with you. The problem is that twitter is full of egg avatar batshit insanity.


January 30th, 2017 at 8:58 PM ^

I get what you are saying. It just doesn't make any sense for me because anytime politics is brought up, no matter how innocent it may seem, one comment will cascade to dozens of inflammatory ones which don't tend to amount to a better understanding of anything, just a place for people to reinforce their own views. 

That is of no interest to me. I'd rather sit on the sidelines for those things and keep my opinions to myself, and going down that rabbithole on a sports site seems especially messy (and, given the current climate, perhaps a bit opportunistic).

Ali G Bomaye

January 30th, 2017 at 4:49 PM ^

The internet isn't a newspaper, which has a "sports" section and a "politics" section. Most websites are variety sites, at least to some extent. The entire concept of blogging (if anybody still uses that term anymore) was to create an eclectic virtual diary.

If you want to read sports and only sports, there are plenty of big corporate sites like where your content is pretty categorized. But this site - and many smaller sites - are more or less the thoughts of one person or a few people. Those people may think about Michigan sports a lot more than is healthy, but they also think about other stuff occasionally.


January 30th, 2017 at 5:21 PM ^

thinks about other stuff, then Michigan sports, at least I hope they do. The difference is this place is dedicated to UM sports and that is all we should talk about when here. Politics is something that will always turn heated and your never going to change people's minds and usually it leads to hard feelings. There are boards and places to talk politics.

I like that there is a no politics posting clause for this site and think everyone should stick to it, including the moderators of this site. Let's just talk UM sports in general and leave the politics to DC.

People say well just don't read the posts if you don't like them, but I come here to read and discuss UM sports not have to weed through politics. Isn't it easier for people to just follow the rules and not post about politics?

blue in dc

January 30th, 2017 at 11:00 PM ^

While I agree with the sentiment to minimze politics on mgoblog, i find the comment, leave politics to DC frightening. Do people outside of DC not care about health care, how their taxrs are spent, the rules governing their abilities to use cellphones, who makes decisions about how much pollution a factory can emit or countless other things that impact our daily lives? Leave politics to other forums, that makes sense. Leave politics to DC, that seems a recipe for even more of a disaster than we have now (and to be clear, by now I am not just refering to this President's term).


January 30th, 2017 at 5:10 PM ^

"Stick to sports/acting/singing because you're just an athlete/actor/musician" is an ad hominem response. I frown on such sentiment.

"Stick to sports in this space -- our sports blog" has merits and I quite agree with such sentiment.

We all, including the contributors and editors of this site, should engage in political discourse at the right time/space and certainly have a right to do so outside of this specific forum (or others like it where members agree to prohibit policital discourse).


January 30th, 2017 at 5:11 PM ^

Here's why I think people react so strongly to political opinions by public figures like sports stars: It's the one goddam place where we can finally all have one thing in common.  We go to to a game and we all want to see the same thing.  We come here and we all want the same thing.  We might differ as to the methods but we just want the team to win.  I don't want politics in my sports because if I'm wearing the same team colors as the guy next to me, I don't want to know if he goes to BLM rallies or Trump rallies, I just want to cheer about the same stuff for three measly hours.  If I go to a concert, I just want to listen to music I like performed by an artist I like.  The whole point of sports and entertainment is to not have the real world involved.  It'll still be there waiting for us when we leave the building.  And the whole point of a uniform is to unify.  It's right there in the name. Throw politics in there and by definition you divide instead.

MI Expat NY

January 30th, 2017 at 5:43 PM ^

My question is why does it matter what the athlete says/thinks/does?  I take it pretty much for granted that on a team of x number players, there's going to be someone on the team who has profoundly different views than me on a whole number of topics.  We should deny them the right to speak their minds because you don't want to have the rational thought that someone you're cheering for to do one specific thing may have differing views in a completely unrelated topic?  That seems selfish to me.  It's even more unrelistic when you're talking about artists whose work is often shaped by their views on the world around them.  

As for sports sites, sure, I generally support keeping them apolitical in all aspects (except when the political side necessarily infringes on the sports side.  For example, hard to cover the women's national soccer team over the last year and at least discuss some political points).  However, I don't think that extends to their own twitter accounts and what-not.  I'd apply the same rule of the preceding paragraph.  I expect many sports-writers have different opinions than me.  I can enjoy their sports work nonetheless.  I won't deny them their own personal outlet on political topics so I can pretend they don't have differing opinions.  


January 30th, 2017 at 6:58 PM ^

That comes with the territory in a lot of jobs.  FoMoCo just issued a statement to iterate the company's position on Trump's immigration executive order.  Do you think Mark Fields is free to come out and say, "man, that Trump, I voted for him and I just love that position he's taken on immigration!"  Even if he says in the strongest possible terms that it's his own personal opinion?  Do you think another Ford exec could, as well?

Military, same thing.  For obvious reasons, the military strives very hard to be as apolitical as possible.  It limits the free speech of its members accordingly.  They specifically can't, for example, display a Navy bumper sticker and a political one together on their car.

They understand the power of a uniform and how what you say while representing it reflects not just on you, but also on the uniform - sometimes even more so.  So do, for example, the Philadelphia Eagles, who took action against Riley Cooper when he exercised his own, rather offensive views.  Do you think they had the luxury, as the 49ers did, of saying, welp, that's his own views and he has the right to exercise his freedom of speech?  No, because they understood that nonaction on their part reflected on them as an organization.

I don't think it's being selfish to ask athletes to put a lid on the political protests, especially at games.  It's their workplace.  Almost no workplace allows overt political displays.  I'll turn it around on you: why should you and I, at our workplaces, have to shut down on the politics, but athletes (who already have paychecks and privileges you and I only dream of) should feel free to spout anything they like - especially in front of people who pay thousands of dollars to watch?

MI Expat NY

January 30th, 2017 at 10:08 PM ^

So because a CEO can't publicly undermine his company's position (which is a dumb proposition anyway, since he likely is instrumental in the position itself), and our military must be scrupilously non-partisan, our athletes have to also keep their mouths shut? That's ridiculous.  That those are the examples you chose to go with demonstrate the baselessness of your position.

There is no real reason why athletes shouldn't feel free to speak their mind.  Athletes are people.  They have opinions on topics.  Their opinions generally have no bearing on their job or their performance.  Just because you apparently are incapable of separating their political feelings from their performance, does not mean they have to sit on the sidelines of political discourse.  


January 30th, 2017 at 10:24 PM ^

That would be two examples of a phenomenon that exists nationwide at employers everywhere, which seems to have flown over your head.  So did the part about political expressions at the workplace.  Do you think a bank teller can wear a Bernie pin next to her nametag at her desk?  Do you think a Lowe's floor guy can say, "Paintbrushes are in aisle 5.  Vote Trump!"  Do you think a CPA can wander from desk to desk at her job handing out Hillary stickers?  Do you think a nurse or a doctor should preach to their patients?  Does any of that stuff routinely happen?


January 30th, 2017 at 7:51 PM ^

This guy gets it. I'll echo the tweet I saw earlier today. If the fearless leaders who create this free content (for which I am grateful) want to discuss something other than UM sports, please by all means create MGoPolitics and put it over there. There is a time and place for all discussions, this place has been and should be for UM sports. If the owners of the blog want to change that, it would be disappointing at best, divisive and partisan at worst. The internet does not lend itself to intelligent, honest discourse and debate. It lends itself to echo chambers where dissenting views (and those who hold them) are shouted down and punished (trips to Bolivia would be a common occurrence for any who dared to disagree here I think). The "No Politics" rule isn't about just not seeing who voted for who or avoiding being offended, it's about staying on topic. I get that there are many who hold different views than I do. I don't care who you voted for or where you come from or how you choose to worship (or not) a higher power. I care (probably more than I should) about UM sports and would like to keep the best place for information regarding UM sports a place I can come and peruse without having to remind myself to not engage with some idiot who is clearly wrong and will never change his/her or my mind on the subject.

Can't we all just get along? Can't we stick to one thing we all can agree on? Can't we have one place where we can escape from the real world and enjoy the outcomes of games played by 17-23 yr olds? Please? Is it really too much to ask? The issues facing us in the real world are troublesome enough without having them permeate every aspect of our existence.

The other problem is that just because you have a platform doesn't mean you have a social responsibility to use it. It looked to me like the question in the article (which I did not read) was whether readers want their sports commentators to discuss politics as well. My answer, unequivocally is no. People used to ask Michael Jordan why he never spoke out on political issues. His response was as honest and practical as it could be "Republicans but shoes too". Why risk pissing off any portion of you fan base when you will change no one's mind? My politics have changed over the years, but never because of an internet message board or what some commentator had to say on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else. It has changed and evolved with my experience. No one is going to change my mind with a cutting quip or snide remark. Please let's keep those out of this space.


January 30th, 2017 at 5:29 PM ^

but sometimes that threshold is tough to define and recognize. We are flawed humans with fairly complex minds, and sometimes the lines get blurred a bit, but when the discourse is constructive and/or respectful, there shouldn't be a problem. But often there is a problem because of the nature of internet people who don't always have the education or temperament to have a constructive conversation about the political side of anything. Or for that matter, some can't even talk sports without flaming out.


January 30th, 2017 at 5:08 PM ^

I like it that we have a no politics rule here, just as there is always (or should always) be a no politics rule at Thanksgiving, other holidays etc. Usually people feel that their political perspective is "obvious" and anyone who disagrees is profoundly misguided. That rarely leads to rational debate. That said, in other venues -- the World Series, say -- I like to see acts of political awareness, like the Black Panthers in Mexico City. It shows that athletes are thinking humans who have lives beyond the sport. I have seen our own football players on Twitter making political statements and I respect them for that, whether they're left or right.


January 30th, 2017 at 4:44 PM ^

that Harbaugh is a Christian. He's referenced it many times. I wonder how long a board topic would last about a talk someone had with Harbaugh about his faith? And I don't mean a locking, I mean a deleting. The long and short is, your post aligned with their politcal views so it was a "wait and see - oh fuck it blew up! - well let's just claim we let it stand because it was a Michigan-centric" thing. You think that's gonna be the same case with my hypothetical post?


January 30th, 2017 at 6:31 PM ^

The question to me is, what about when it is relevant? What about when a political or religious discussion directly intersects with a Michigan sports related question?

Where this really comes to play is with recruiting. We know that 17 year old kids go to different colleges for all different kinds of reasons. Some come for the opportunity to win a national championship, some for the academics, some for the position coach, some for a good school close to home, some for friends, some because there are other pacific islanders attending, some for the rep of the head coach.

But there are also some kids who really resonate with (or are repulsed by) the faith life of coaches, of athletes, of support staff. We can joke about players coming to a school for "hookers and blow." (probably none for hookers, and maybe 25 - 30 percent for blow?) But there are some guys (and definitely some player's moms) who like the support staff, the faith life, of a team. I am kind of cynical that this NEVER comes up for discussion. Because it is a forbidden topic. It is kind of like discussing Oliver Martin as "gritty, coach's kid, hard-working, like Wes Welker," all as a euphenism for "white." Sometimes, I read stuff here, and I suspect that there are spiritual issues involved, but they won't be talked about.

In general, I am fine with the "no politics, no religion" rules of the board. But when either issue directly intersects with sports, I am a lot less fine. When coaches or athletes bring it up as a positive or negative, I believe that it is a reasonable thing to cover and to talk about.


January 30th, 2017 at 11:39 PM ^

All Catholics are Christians, but not all Christians are Catholics.

In terms of religion, the biggest categories are

  • Religious (believe in spiritual reality)
  • Atheist (believe there is no spiritual reality, no god or gods)
  • Agnostic (don't know, and don't care)

Among the religious, you have:

  • Monotheists (Christianity, Islam, Judaism)
  • Polytheists
  • Pantheists

Among Christians, you have 3 large groups

  • Orthodox (from whom the Roman Catholics broke off)
  • Roman Catholic (from whom the Protestants broke off)
  • Protestants

And then, among the Protestants, there are hundreds and hundreds of different groups.

This is obviously an oversimplication, but largely valid. The more you know . . .


January 30th, 2017 at 4:22 PM ^


Left-leaning posts and discussions hang around, but right-leaning posts get deleted, negged to oblivion, or user sent to Bolivia for the gall to go against the great left Overlords.


January 30th, 2017 at 4:32 PM ^

This board does do a good job of "no politics" as a whole.  However, you will see left-leaning opinions leak in and be allowed to stand.  But if a right-leaning opinion is put out, it tends to get handled with more authority.


Take for example, the opinion that marijuana should be legalized.  I consider that a political topic, but pro-legalize posts are not uncommon here, and seem to be allowed to stand.


January 30th, 2017 at 8:53 PM ^

usually, they do have something to do with race, gender, religion, etc.

And you can always bet the policy is aimed at making a vulnerable, disenfranchised part of society even more disenfranchised. Hence the shitty person thingy. The way out of this stereotype is to not be that thing.



January 30th, 2017 at 10:12 PM ^

See, that's exactly the point.  The assumption that you can't be on the other side without being a shitty person.  There are two sides in this country: Good People who vote one way, and Shitty People who vote another.  The only reason to not want affirmative action in college is Fuck Black People.  The only reason to be pro-life is Fuck Women.  The only reason to be against illegal immigration and sneaking across the border is Fuck Mexicans.  The only reason to promote religious freedom is Fuck The Gays.

Words you're using like "only way" and "always" and even "usually" are why people feel disrespected.  Stereotypes for thee, but not for me.


January 30th, 2017 at 6:22 PM ^

Most certainly not and Libertarians were speaking on the Diag during Hash Bash as far back as the 80's as a 'rights issue' and medical topic, moreso than political.  It's just now nationally that most seem to recognize that legalization is more akin to alcohol and hypocrital to say otherwise.  There is some validity to the historical role that the alcohol lobby has played in fighting the legalization of weed, and in that light the issue isn't about politics, its what every issue is ultimately about.