CNN personality Van Jones is prone to making provocative statements.
A prime example came on election night in November when he said Donald Trump’s victory was a “whitelash”.
Now Jones is pushing for something that will make hardcore sports fans cringe en masse.
Van Jones believes it’s the responsibility of professional athletes to be more vocal about politics because they have a big platform.
Monday on “The Rich Eisen Show,” CNN commentator Van Jones said that professional athletes should use their platforms in the political world.
“Do you think athletes should be more vocal than they are?” host Rich Eisen asked.
Jones responded, “Of course. On both sides, on all issues.”
“Democracy is not about the politicians, democracy is about the people,” he explained. “It doesn’t matter who you are. Just because you can throw a football well doesn’t mean you stop being a citizen, doesn’t mean you stop being a human being, doesn’t mean you stop being a parent. All of us are supposed to speak out.”
The candid camera exposé Project Veritas caught Jones calling the Trump-Russia story “a big nothing-burger,” but that didn’t stop him from pushing the narrative on his show.
So when Van Jones calls for athletes “on both sides” to be more outspoken, it’s hard to believe he’s being genuine.
Jones would have no problem with athletes espousing progressive beliefs, but would probably take exception with vocal conservatives. Much ado was made when football player Matt Birk didn’t meet with President Obama because of his pro-life stance.
Meanwhile athletes who’ve refused to meet with Donald Trump are heralded as brave, and speaking truth to power.
Jones’s call to the athletes runs counter to what sports viewers actually want.
ESPN has seen a decline in viewership for a host of reasons, one being their tilt toward progressive politics, which was essentially confirmed by ombudsman Jim Brady.
However, co-host Jemele Hill denied the charge:
“The other part of it is that we’re journalists, and people have to understand, these uncomfortable political conversations… the athletes are dragging us here. I didn’t ask Colin Kaepernick to kneel. He did it on his own. So, was I supposed to act like he didn’t?”
So political commentators like Van Jones are inciting athletes, and sports commentators like Jemele Hill coyly claim they’re just reporting the news.
Nobody is saying athletes can’t voice political opinions, and nobody is saying it shouldn’t be covered when they do.
But the agenda is clear, and the filter is biased. For example, ESPN gave Caitlyn Jenner the courage award in sports, and ESPN’s women’s sports page posted a poem written by cop-killing and escaped convict Assata Shakur, who’s lived in exile in Cuba for decades.
That vividly shows a progressive bent to the coverage.
Athletes are free to make statements about politics, but it shouldn’t be an expectation. Professional sports stars have spent incalculable hours training and practicing to reach their status.
That doesn’t make them policy experts or students of history and governance. They shouldn’t be expected to take a stand on issues just to placate someone else’s progressive agenda.