And in 2020, President Donald Trump targeted NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag from races, which Trump clearly saw as a bad thing.
If a strange new attack on the National Basketball Association from Sen. Marco Rubio is any indication, the GOP culture war on the sports world may now turn into a gun debate. This escalating battle is shedding light on how the GOP culture-war debate over guns really works and why it may soon be hard to pull off.
Florida Republican anger, as it were, was triggered by a Miami Heat announcer who spoke about the murder of 19 children in Texas, then asked the audience to pressure lawmakers to pass gun-safety measures. requested. Rubio slammed it as “politicizing a horrific tragedy” and posted the video:
Note that some in the audience expressed happiness The suggestion is that lawmakers pass gun-safety measures. This may be what really annoys Rubio: A private business delivered speech that could successfully engage people politically opposed to the Republican position.
Let’s determine that there is nothing wrong with Rubio criticizing the NBA’s behavior in China. Legislators on all sides regularly criticize private actors. Sports moguls hold a lot of economic and cultural power and deserve serious scrutiny.
What is revealing is Rubio’s anger over the NBA’s political speech. In a sense, this is part of a broader trend: Republicans have increased attacks on private companies and threatened legislative punishment for keeping them in line with cultural issues.
Republicans have legislated against Disney for opposing Florida’s “don’t say gay” law, and they have threatened companies that advocate against GOP voter suppression. This ugly trend hit the sports world when Republicans slammed knee-jerk athletes and threatened MLB for opposing Georgia’s voting law.
In that context, the very weak point of Rubio’s case against the NBA is striking. Republicans could at least cast knee-jerk athletes as traitors, and they could blast MLB’s move to the All-Star Game to cost Georgia revenues. Still, all Rubio can say is that the NBA is “politicizing” shooting.
This is transparent bullshit. are republicans as well The debate for public policy responses to the shootings. Some are absurd (fewer doors and more guns in schools), and others are inadequate (red flag laws), but Republicans Huh Calling for responses, because they know asking for nothing is not an option politically.
ToneGun rights advocates do themselves no favors by not addressing gun violence
Given this, it is ridiculous for him to claim that when Democrats ask for their response, it is “political.” Just as the NBA crowd cheered for calls for action to prevent more children from horrifying violent deaths, the cry of “politicizing tragedy” will not fool many voters.
More broadly, the intersection of the gun debate with the GOP attacks on the sports world could drive Republicans into dicey territory. what if the game world became More Outspoken in calls for gun-safety measures?
A main claim on the right is that gun-safety regulations represent the fever dreams of liberal elites who are out of touch with the real American heartland culture. Republicans are already running a number of ads about guns: They show female candidates lovingly handguns, male candidates boasting about their shooting ranges or wives’ shooting skills, and more.
The guns in these ads are primarily a cultural indicator. As one GOP strategist noted, by trumpeting the love of guns, Republicans signal solidarity with conservative voters in the gun-oriented “cultural Cold Civil War.”
But if gun safety becomes a reason in sports, it can scramble these narratives in unexpected ways. I chatted about this with Dave Zirin, a podcaster who has written several books about the intersection of politics and sport.
Zirin noted some intriguing complications. The attack on the NBA, which is more associated with African American athletes, draws on a decades-old tradition of attacking the speech of Black athletes, which Zirin called “an old script”.
It can work for Republicans in underground ways. But amid the mass slaughter of children, it is already hard to denigrate the cultural denigration against gun rules. If more athletes are exposed to such rules, it will become even more challenging to associate them with liberal coastal elitism.
Should this happen, Zirin told me, “it would put Republicans in a position to defend themselves indefinitely in front of an audience that may be more likely to listen to athletes than members of the Democratic Party.”
Note that it was a cultural moment when Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr exploded in frustration over the recent mass shootings and angrily called for action on the guns. It should be expected that this trend will continue.
Zirin said that if NFL players, NASCAR drivers and other athletes begin to speak out for gun rules “associated with White Americana,” it is “highly likely that the popular mood will change, even greatly. “
It’s not meant to predict that it will happen, but it can happen. And it’s unclear how Republicans will navigate the resulting cultural minefield.