There’s no room at the left-stream inn for political and cultural dissent. That's what conservative Bernard Goldberg brought to HBO’s Real Sports before leaving the show earlier this year. The Awful Announcing blog made it public on Monday with a story explaining why the 14-time Emmy Award winner and author departed from Bryant Gumbel’s intolerant band of leftist groupthinkers.
“Goldberg’s run at Real Sports has been nothing short of legendary, but has seemingly dissolved in abrupt fashion with his known conservative politics becoming an increasing source of friction between him and the show’s other correspondents and overall editorial direction,” wrote Awful Announcing’s Ben Koo, adding that a “fruitful long-term” marriage between Real Sports and Goldberg “became an inevitable divorce."
Last September, Goldberg (in photo above) taped a Real Sports segment on transgender athletes that was not aired because of “growing backlash on his handling of the topic and the participants in the segment.” Koo said many thought this growing rift signaled the beginning of the end of Goldberg at Real Sports because his dissenting conservative politics were inconsistent with the show’s “progressive editorial direction.”
Koo also explained how Goldberg came under attack for the trans story from Dawn Ennis, an activist writer at the LBGT mouthpiece Outsports. She told him activists were upset with the story over his deadnaming of trans athletes. He told Ennis he didn’t give a damn about that, and said: “If you don’t get that, I’m not sure what kind of sports journalist you are.”
“The piece was too problematic for HBO, and the ideological gap between the show’s progressive editorial direction and Goldberg’s politics was now negative publicity to the show,” Koo wrote.
There were no Goldberg reports on the October or November Real Sports airings, but he did return for a December episode that was a “year-end roundtable” that went “heavy on segments about racism and activism in sports.”
Though he found himself as the lone dissenting voice, Koo said Goldberg made the case “that sports and sports fans would be better off without conversations of race and activism...and that movements like All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter should not be sidelined, silenced, or canceled.”
Along with acknowledging the free speech rights of athletes, Goldberg said he does not believe “racism is everywhere” and it’s not “systemic” or found “in the DNA of the U.S.” He does not “tune into games to get lectures about how racist America is.” He predicted that if athlete activism continues: “There are going to be more and more people tuning out.”
Meanwhile, Koo said all the other Real Sports reporters “applauded the rise of activism in sports.”
Tuning out hardly describes the fallout of woke sports’ growing unpopularity NewsBusters chronicled that last week – how major leagues have lost the vast majority of Republican viewers.
For his part, Goldberg further explained his perspective in a column:
Honest conversations are not possible. Both sides have their minds made up. As for name-calling: The word racist has lost its clout. Once it was a powerful putdown. No longer. It’s been used too many times to shut down conversation.