“This country has never been so divided,” is a phrase I’ve said or thought 5 million times in my life but, honestly, I mean it this time. We fucking hate each other! (yes, I’m going to swear in this one) We hate each other so much that sports being an independent unifying force is gone. That’s way gone, that’s out the window, out of the park, gone. Sports and politics are one and the same now, Donald Trump has ensured that is the case. The “stick to sports” era is over and you have to pick. It’s black and white now, man. You’re either on the side of the anthem protesters, you think that’s fine, or you’re on the side of those who think you have to stand up for the anthem no matter what’s going on.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, god bless them, tried to stay in the middle. I really think they tried to. Read the words of head coach Mike Sullivan and captain Sidney Crosby. “Politics aside,” said Sullivan, “we respect the office of the President,” said Crosby. They didn’t want anything to do with this shit. They just wanted to go to the White House one afternoon and eat bacon wrapped shrimp or whatever the hell rich people eat, I assume diamond encrusted dragon meat. But, I’m sorry boys. You can’t be in the middle anymore. Trump made that clear at his rally in Alabama the other night and 400 times on Twitter after that. There is no grey area anymore and when the Pens accepted Trump’s invitation they endorsed his position on the anthem in sports, even if they didn’t mean to. If you’re going to stand up there and allow this fucking guy to take a picture with your team and your shiny trophy, to use your accomplishments as positive PR for him, especially when players from other leagues won’t, you’re endorsing him and his stance on this shit.
What I’m asking of the Penguins is to give us some clarification. You have endorsed Trump this time around, but you don’t have to be married to that position. You can say “after thinking about it, we decided not to go,” or you can double down and say “fuck yeah, we’re with Trump on this.” Because there is no standing still here. There’s two trains moving in the opposite direction and you can’t tie yourself to both. Make a call.