I know I’ve been AWOL. It’s been a very busy three weeks, so let me say something about that, even though the busy-ness has not been sports media related.
Three weeks ago, VOX published an article titled, “The Rise of American Authoritarianism,” explaining the role of authoritarianism in the rise of Donald Trump. That article has been very widely shared (over a half a million times) and has brought quite a bit of attention to the book that the article focused on.
As it happens, that book, Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics, was co-written by Marc Hetherington and yours truly. Consequently, there’ve been quite a few media requests, including one that took me to New York two weeks to tape a segment for Fareed Zakaria’s show on CNN. It’s also brought other writing projects and left much less time for other things, including blogging.
One issue I wish I had some time and energy to devote to is the President’s visit to Cuba and some of the interesting sports media conversations that have followed in the past couple of days.
I did want to flag one thing, though.
Tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National team played a historic exhibition game (won by Tampa, 4-1). As relations between the United States and Cuba thaw, cultural exchanges, including sports ones, will increase. And the prospect will increase for significant numbers of Cuba’s extraordinarily talented pool of baseball players will make their way to the United States to play professionally.
This thaw doesn’t sit well with everyone, of course. For many, Cuba is not merely a repressive, authoritarian regime. Instead, it is a demonic, totalitarian one which deserves no positive attention of any kind. That antipathy toward Cuba resulted in a strong backlash against ESPN sports center, which sent out the following tweet two nights ago:
After a deluge of criticism, Sports Center removed the tweet.
Apparently attempting a make-up call, Sports Center tweeted out tonight a photo of a rundown area right outside the stadium in Havana where the Rays and Cuba were playing. The accompanying caption read, “Meanwhile, next to the stadium in Havana…”
Sports Center apparently did so unaware that urban blight in close proximity to a sports stadium is not a phenomenon unique to Cuba.
Many on twitter were happy to provide a helpful reminder.
More soon, I hope.