By Robert Laurie
Earlier today, Dan gave you his take on the Trump/Philadelphia Eagles situation. Now it’s my turn. Before we start, I want to tell our regular readers that this is not one of those times where we go toe to toe in a political grudge match. The boss can rest assured that we’re not bickering behind the scenes. The only difference is that I think Trump played this pretty well in a PR sense, and, well, you can read Dan’s thoughts here.
Maybe the bigger difference is: Dan doesn’t understand why Trump cancelled the Eagles’ White House appearance. …And I don’t understand why it existed in the first place.
Leagues like the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB are private corporations. Yes, they enjoy some weird – and in my opinion very dubious – anti-trust protections, but at the end of the day they’re no different from a car company. They employ people, produce a product, and hope people will buy what they’re selling. No more, no less.
So, why does the White House feel the need to entertain their “top product” with a visit?
I like capitalism as much as the next guy who thinks Bernie is a moron. I like to see companies produce a winning item. That’s good for the companies in question, good for consumers, and good for fans of that particular item. However, Coke has trounced Pepsi for the last few years – and we don’t feel a need to see Coke shake the President’s hand. Depending on which sales data you use, the Honda Civic was the best-selling car of 2017, but we aren’t inviting the CEO to the White House for a congratulatory photo-op.
The simple fact is, Pro-sports is a business. The D.C. political machine has literally no reason to honor its internal affairs.
My favorite team in sports history is the Detroit Red Wings. Their last championship season was 2007-2008, and yes, in October of ’08 (as pictured above) they did the photo-op with President Bush. Did that matter to me as either a political conservative or as a hockey fan? Not in the least. Dan loves – possibly to an unhealthy degree – the Detroit Tigers? Does he care if they go to the White House after winning the World Series? You’ll have to ask him, but I suspect not.
The simple fact of the matter is; this isn’t the supposedly all-amateur “play-for-your-country” Olympics. The Olympic promise has been tarnished over the years, but at least the intent is still there, to honor our best and brightest in that arena makes – at least some -sense.
Pro-sports? Sorry, but no. We’d be better stopping this practice altogether.