I Disagree, Vin Scully

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Scully misconstrues why black athletes are protesting and then imports his sensibility–without empathy–into a conclusion shared publicly.


Vin Scully has turned off his microphone, his long and illustrious baseball broadcasting has come to an end. But that doesn’t mean Scully is out of the spotlight, unwilling to share his thoughts about sports and related matters.

At a public event last weekend, Scully was asked his opinion about NFL protests. Here’s what he said.

Scully has the right to express an opinion. We all do. But we also know that some opinions carry more weight than others. It’s not just because of the opinion being expressed; it’s because of the person voicing that opinion.

It doesn’t bother me that Scully’s voice carries weight. What bothers me is this: his opinion misses the point fundamentally. Scully misconstrues why black athletes are protesting and then he imports his sensibility–without empathy–into a conclusion shared publicly.

It’s clear from the audience response — applause — that many people feel the very same way. They’re mad at African American players and upset at the NFL for tolerating Anthem protests. “I’ll never watch another NFL game” might even gain hashtag status.

But facts lurk on the other side of Scully’s opinion.

Black athletes represent the lifeblood of the NFL. Black men are at risk in this country. Put the two together, and you have Anthem protests. NFL athletes are using a public platform–just as did Scully–to express an opinion about a matter that has great meaning to them.

At the core of this matter–it has always been at the core–is America’s racial divide. It’s not so much that the divide is greater today. What’s abundantly clear is America’s unwillingness to address the racial divide.

The first step is to admit that we have a problem. The next step is to clarify why. The third step is to propose remedies (what might be done). The final steps involve identifying solutions and taking action. But there are no second and following steps if we don’t take the first.

And we don’t.

Baltimore Ravens players, including former player Ray Lewis, second from right, kneel down during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Scully’s public proclamation makes it more difficult for America to do what’s right. He points his finger in the wrong direction and, then, rests his case.

Applause follows.

But the reality is clear: “Not watching the NFL ever again,” declared to make a social point, is nonsensical. If the NFL went away tomorrow, would social issues go away, too? Of course not.

Protests are messy by design. They’re intrusive, interfering, and untimely in relationship to business as usual. But that’s the point. The purpose is to get public attention, to grab us by the shoulders and SCREAM, SEE!

Sadly, Scully doesn’t see. He’s older, white, and a member of the socio-economic elite.

But so am I.

I don’t share Scully’s public status. I have a different opinion.

There a lot of things I question about the NFL, things I wish would change. The “Anthem” matter isn’t one of them. I’m thankful that Roger Goodell is holding his ground in the face of presidential and corporate dismay, owner angstpublic outrage, and the threat to his contract extension.

“No leadership!” they say about Goodell. “Great leadership!” I say.

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About Frank Fear

I’m a Columnist at The Sports Column. My specialty is sports commentary with emphasis on sports reform. I also serve as TSC’s Chief Operating Officer and Managing Editor. In that role I coordinate the daily flow of submissions from across the country and around the world, including overseeing editing and posting articles. I’m especially interested in enabling the development of young, aspiring writers. I can relate to them. I began covering sports in high school for my local newspaper. In college I served as sports editor of the campus newspaper and worked in the Sports Information Director’s Office at St. John Fisher College. After finishing grad degrees at West Virginia and Iowa State I had a 35-year academic career at Michigan State. Now retired, it’s time to write again about sports. I strongly support TSC’s philosophy–democratizing voice by giving everybody a chance to write.



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Comments (I Disagree, Vin Scully)

    Deborah Benoit wrote (11/17/17 - 2:14:30PM)

    Bravo and well said! It is a shame that more people who have the public’s ear do not have true understanding of the situation as you do Mr. Fear. Thank you.