Please don’t rush to defend the Nazi salute coach

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The sports world could use more Jaylen Browns

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Human rights are political

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If you’re confused about how “Human rights are political” is the headline of a sports story in a sports newsletter, then you missed a couple of items from this past week in MLB. On Monday, MLB’s Twitter account tweeted out video of Giants’ players and manager Gabe Kapler kneeling during the national anthem, and then responded to a fan who wanted to “keep politics out of baseball” by saying, “Supporting human rights is not political.”

You might think hey, that’s a social media person, not an individual with any real power outside of the trust given to them to handle MLB’s social media messaging, so it is not necessarily a reflection of anything, but then Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said something similar in response to the enormous Black Lives Matter billboard (in Red Sox font) outside of Fenway Park, stating that:

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The Braves’ half-hearted response to obvious racism is telling

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Changing sports teams’ racist names is a start

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Get Kenesaw Mountain Landis’ name off of the MVP trophy

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Ian Desmond, distractions, and the “white man’s game”

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Leagues speaking up about Black lives rings hollow

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New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees deserves to be derided for somehow still not understanding what the protests that saw Colin Kaepernick blacklisted from the National Football League were even about, but he’s far from alone in who we should be judging in this moment in time. The various sports leagues themselves have released statements that read like they knew everyone was expecting them to say something about the protests against police brutality of Black Americans, but wanted to make sure they said as little of substance as possible in the process.

This compulsory form of statement-releasing and posting is essentially a call of “Please Like Me” to a wide array of fans. These teams, leagues, and even some of the athletes within them want to be recognized as not explicitly racist or tone deaf, but they also don’t want to actually do anything besides collect on that acknowledgement. Take a look at the NFL’s statement, signed by commissioner Roger Goodell, for instance:

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The year in creating baseball coverage, featuring leftism

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On the Tomahawk Chop and the confusion of symbolism with action

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The Braves’ use of the Tomahawk Chop during games came under additional scrutiny this week, thanks to a Cardinals’ rookie pitcher. Ryan Helsley, said Cardinals’ rookie and member of the Cherokee Nation, spoke up after Game 1 of the Braves-Cardinals National League Division Series:

“I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general,” Helsley said. “Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual. They are a lot more than that. It’s not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. It’s not. It’s about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and how we’re perceived in that way, or used as mascots. The Redskins and stuff like that.”

The Braves, to their credit, listened to Helsley’s remarks, and did not distribute the customary foam tomahawks to each seat in the stadium prior to Game 5. They didn’t listen that much, though, and therefore don’t deserve that much credit, as the real promise here was just to not perform the chop — or the music that goes along with it that prompts everyone in attendance to start chopping — whenever Helsley was in the game:

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