Women's Watch: All this being offended by everything is a bit offensive

  • Megan Rapinoe, here celebrating a goal with Lindsey Horan in Tuesday's World Cup win over Thailand, has taken some flak because she didn't sing the national anthem with her teammates before the game.

    Megan Rapinoe, here celebrating a goal with Lindsey Horan in Tuesday's World Cup win over Thailand, has taken some flak because she didn't sing the national anthem with her teammates before the game. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/14/2019 7:09 PM

So, what's your list?

You know, your list of what you're personally offended by. Your list of what you are ready to make a big stink about at a moment's notice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

I'm not sure when this happened, when every subject, action and comment in the public dialogue became a potential powder keg, but it seems there is always an occasion, always a reason, for someone to be publicly offended by something.

Often, we see this play out in politics. Now sports, which many consider an entertaining break from the noise of everyday life, is fair game.

This week, people took to social media to denounce U.S. women's national soccer team star Megan Rapinoe for not joining her teammates in singing the national anthem before Tuesday's World Cup game against Thailand.

She said not singing was her way to oppose "any sort of inequality or bad sentiments the (Trump) administration might have toward people who don't look exactly like him."

Rapinoe took flak a couple years ago when she knelt during the anthem in support of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest of racial inequality and police brutality.

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Of course, others took to social media this week to announce they were offended people would be offended by Rapinoe's actions.

And therein lies the point.

There is no pleasing everyone. Everyone seems ready to be offended, by the same things, by opposite things, by anything.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Maybe sporting events should be cause-free, issue-free zones, so everyone can do what they are there to do -- enjoy the event. Just the event. Just the sport.

Sports teams often represent a city or an entire country.

If the goal of owners, organizers and players is to get as many people in the stands as possible, why would they want to risk alienating possibly half their potential audience.

For all the people who agree with Rapinoe because they despise the President, there are many people who support Trump and would be offended by her comments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

For all the people who support the police and believe kneeling during the national anthem as a protest is disrespectful, there are those who are fully behind Kaepernick.

Maybe we get rid of every potential powder keg when it comes to sports.

Maybe we don't play the anthem before games. That way, no one can be offended by what someone is doing during the national anthem, and similarly, no one can be offended that the anthem is being played in the first place.

Maybe we don't have Pride games anymore since someone could be offended. Or we don't have breast cancer awareness games in case that offends someone who would rather see a testicular cancer game instead.

Maybe "Military Night" should be eliminated because some people are offended by the use of military force. Which might, of course, offend people in the military.

Yep. The list could go on. And, of course, it's ridiculous.

As a civilized nation, we should be able to agree to disagree with grace, class and dignity. Unfortunately, that no longer seems possible. Especially in the age of social media where negative tenor is easily heightened and spread.

Honestly, all of this noise takes the joy and pleasure and entertainment out of sports. When I was looking for articles to read about the national team's win over Thailand, I was inundated with articles about the Rapinoe controversy. Twitter blew up about it.

It seemed like the controversy, rather than the game itself, was the bigger story.

Sigh ...

Making sports just about sports would be hard to execute, regulate and mandate.

But it sounds so refreshing, right?

Protesting and pushing causes is fine. Maybe athletes, owners and fans could do that on their own time.

That way, all of us who love sports can stop wasting so much energy being offended, or waiting to be offended, in our place of refuge.

Twitter: @babcockmcgraw

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