ESPN Analyst: NWSL Owner Anti-Gay for Preventing Anthem Protest

September 8th, 2016 10:23 PM

Apparently we’ve arrived at the point in social media history, where not sending a congratulatory tweet about the legalization of gay marriage means you are anti-gay.

On Thursday’s edition of ESPN’s Around the Horn, Kate Fagan went full-froth, denouncing the owner of the Washington Spirit, a team in the National Women’s Soccer League, for playing the National Anthem with the teams still in their respective locker rooms. Thus preventing Megan Rapinoe from following through on her pledge to kneel during the anthem.

However, Fagan didn’t stop at merely attacking the Spirit’s owner for his stand on the Anthem:

Tony: We will move on, the national anthem being played before the game last night. This was done on purpose by the Spirit so Rapinoe or any other player couldn't protest. The Spirit statement that followed said it was an extraordinary step to prevent the country and fans from being disrespected and from focus taken away from the game. The statement didn’t mince words, using a form of the word hijack to describe what Rapinoe’s protest has been, twice. Rapinoe, not mincing either, after the game, bleeping unbelievable. Kate, what do you make of what the Washington Spirit did last night? 

Kate: I make that what the Spirit, and what Bill Lynch, the owner, did, who by the way was the only NWSL owner who did not put out a tweet or any sort of celebratory statement when marriage equality was passed. So, you get a sense of who is running that franchise. 

Tony: Hold on a second, Kate. Rapinoe brought that up as well. Doesn't that sound like kind of like a grudge match between Rapinoe and this owner but has nothing to do with this particular issue? 

Kate: No it sound like now how often politics and sports, or maybe always have been, are dove-tailing together. And how you can't really extract one from the other in this case, and that is evidence of a certain political stance in the same way this kneeling issue with the National Anthem is certainly becoming divided along political lines. And as we’re doing that we’re also talking past one another because we have the American flag, which is a symbol, and for everybody it’s a symbol of certain things. Some for some people, as certainly Bill Lynch, a veteran, has said it means something to him. And Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe certainly have said they agree with some of that, but they also have these other issues of oppression. And so we are at this place now where we are not even listening to each other, and we’re not even willing to engage in the conversation. We’ve simply all dug in our heels. And, in this case, actually gone to a place of censorship, not allowing an athlete the freedom of expression. 

Her diatribe is so crazy that even the host had to interject. What does not sending a celebratory tweet about gay marriage have to do with not wanting the Anthem disrespected? She implies that every person that support the Anthem, is also against gay marriage. I thought we weren’t supposed to be stereotyping or generalizing anymore.

Nor is it censorship to change the timing of the Anthem. If Megan Rapinoe has the right to protest the Anthem, and she does, then the owner of the soccer team also has every right to prevent demonstrations during the Anthem. If he feels those demonstrations are disrespectful.

Moreover, this isn’t about two sides of a debate not listening to each other. The owner of the Washington Spirit, whose full statement on why he decided to change the timing of the Anthem can be read here, clearly listened to Megan Rapinoe’s side. He listened to her side, then he rejected her side. He thinks it’s bad and lacking merit. Which is why he preempted her clown show protest.

Now, if only all the NFL owners would do the same…