Alright, whelp, here we go.

“Stick to Sports” is dead. Whatever semblance of existence we could pretend it still had died this past weekend when Trump said a dumb thing and the sports world was more or less put in a position where a large response was inevitable. If you don’t want politics in your sports, it’s too late. It’s dead. Too bad. Welcome to 2017. Politics was already in your sports anyway. Just because it’s a bit more overt now doesn’t mean it wasn’t there before.

I’ll start by saying I understand where the “Stick to Sports” mentality comes from. Football and the rest of sports are entertainment. They are distraction. They take us away from our lives for a little while so we don’t have to think about stuff. I don’t always want to think about racial inequality, sometimes I just want to see sick touchdowns. The real world and its very real problems are depressing and complicated. The thing is, #sticktosports and the people who say that (not always in that specific way) are not really using it in this way.

In my experience over the years as a sports commentator, both from my own interactions and after talking with my peers (fellow writers and such), it’s very clear that nobody who has ever said something like “stick to sports” to me has said it because they actually just want to read about sports. It’s because they don’t agree with whatever opinion I’ve expressed. Nobody who has ever agreed with me has told me to stay in my lane. It is always people who have a different opinion, to the point where I am absolutely certain that if I instead shared their opinion I’d see the exact same situation play out, just with the people telling me to shut up reversed. For just that reason, Stick to Sports is, and always has been, bullshit. It’s a convenient excuse to try and shame someone you don’t agree with into stopping saying things you don’t like.

The other reason #sticktosports is and always has been bullshit is because sports do not exist in a vacuum. While the majority of my work here is puns, dumb jokes, or whatever, I’ve made a lot of comics that are very much politics. It confuses the hell out of me when someone gets mad and tells me off because I come down on a specific side. Have these people actually read the site at all? I’ve never been particularly shy about making comics and sharing opinions about politics related to the sport. There is no divorcing football from politics.
The Redskins name debate? That’s politics!
Everything with Michael Sam? That’s politics!
Everything with Kaep? Politics! Tebow? Politics!
My comics about Cam being called a thug or how he is viewed because he wears a towel? Politics!
Incognito and bullying! Politics!
Michael Vick! Politics!
Every time I’ve criticized the media or types of fans! You better believe that’s politics!
Almost every comic I’ve ever made criticizing the NFL and their bullshit. That’s politics!
There is plenty of stuff I’ve never touched on that is politics too! Every time the NFL “honors the troops” with flybys and camo gear and veterans on the sidelines? That’s politicizing!

I could link more but you get the point. It’s all politics! The politics were coming from inside the comic all along!

Every joke that could possibly offend someone is politics! I could make the entire comic 100% terrible puns and it would still have bits of politics. My opinions and politics are smeared all over this site and always have been. Even elite money jokes are kind of politics, because it’s commentary on the absurd nature of sports contracts, which is business, which is labor, which is politics. Are some comics/blogs more overt than others? Sure. But nothing is devoid of politics.

No, this does not mean all I will make now are inflammatory bait comics specifically designed to make people mad. The site has always been me making jokes that I personally find funny or comics that I personally feel strongly about. I learned early on I could never hope to please everyone and it would be a waste of time to try. So if you generally liked the humor before this comic, it’ll be the same. Same ratio of dumb jokes, bad puns, satire, and the dreaded thing known as opinions.

If you are wondering if I’ll say something about the protests, I likely will. I haven’t yet mostly because it’s a big heavy subject that doesn’t lend itself well to jokes that aren’t just incredibly mean spirited and problematic, and while the comic above may look differently, I’m generally not that mean. More fatalistic, really. I don’t matter, neither do you, we shall all be dust.

In case you are wondering my opinions on the protests, though, I side with the people who are kneeling and I am sad that so many people are focused on the way the protest is being carried out rather then the why of the protest. It seems like so many people have focused on why kneeling during the anthem is bad as a way to avoid talking about the reason the players are kneeling. This is about systematic racial inequality, not how to properly address the flag. The flag is an easy surface argument. The racial inequality issue is a lot heavier, a lot more complex, and has no easy answers. But that’s the conversation we need to be having, not how to protest “properly”, which completely misses the entire fucking point of a protest. If you feel that the players not standing are disrespecting the flag and the anthem, ask yourself why they are willing to do so, and maybe try to meet them halfway and at least listen to their arguments, so that you are at least having the correct conversation. I really respect this protest because it is peaceful, and it has gotten at least some people talking about the right thing, which is an issue that absolutely requires attention.

I also believe the NFL’s mega protest this weekend was a bunch of PR bullshit that was vague and uncommitted to any real ideal, only done because a reaction to Trump’s comments were necessary in some form. It was the “No More” of protests. The NFL looked like it cared, but it didn’t. Jerry fucking Jones took a knee for “unity” and mugged for the camera. if that doesn’t scream “this is a huge joke”, what does? Looking nice and not actually addressing the issue at hand is totally NFL comfort zone, baby.

I’m going to preemptively lock the comments on this one, for obvious reasons, but also because I am going to be camping all weekend and thus will not be able to moderate. In case you weren’t aware, I have the comment system set up so that I have to approve a comment from someone first, before they can post whenever. It’s a screen test to make sure someone isn’t spam. Once you prove you aren’t a bot, you can post comments however you like everywhere. Since I won’t be able to moderate anything, all those comments from new commenters (of which I assume there will be lots) will sit unapproved, which is likely to be misinterpreted as me “shutting down opposing views” or something. I’ll likely re-open the comments on Monday when everybody has cooled off a bit and I can approve things again. And when I do, I implore that you try and stay reasonable with whoever you are arguing with so that things don’t get really toxic again.

Enjoy week 4, and remember some things are bigger than sports, and it’s okay to have it talked about.

I want to keep them closed but I have faith you can be civil. Comments are open. Keep it civil, or I’ll just close it again and delete everything. If you just want to come in and be rude and say hurtful things, I’ll delete the comment because you were never here to be civil.