We find coded language everywhere in our daily lives. In fact, in some ways it has clouded our ability to differentiate left from right, right from wrong and up from down. It’s a concept that has disillusioned many well-meaning people and quite frankly, emboldened many with ill intentions.
One place we see this coded language is online when writers are told to “stick to sports.” It rarely means what it says, but rather I don’t agree with what you say, so shove it.
Let me just say this: I get it. I really do. Twitter users with massive followings wield more social influence than I think the platform ever intended, and if that doesn’t make us uncomfortable, maybe it should. Sort of like how the sweatshirt the kid worse in the second season of Stranger Things crashed the website of the science museum it represented when it was made available again online, we’re endlessly — and mindlessly — swayed by people who are popular.
If Adam Schefter came out tomorrow and tweeted that McDonald’s was better than Burger King, that influence would be obvious. It might create a Twitter war between those two “brands” — Darren Rovell,,,,,hello — and maybe their respective stock prices would move more than usual. But it’s not likely that someone would tell him to “stick to sports.”
At least not with the same fervor as one might expect if he’d said something politically-charged.
But if he came out and said he voted Republican, that he was quitting his job if players didn’t stop kneeling or something of that sort, he’d for sure be told to “stick to sports.”
And again, I want to emphasize that I get it. Nobody follows Schefter under the guise of also finding out what his political leanings are. The same is true for Ken Rosenthal, Adrian Wojnarowski, Shams Charania and those of that ilk. Their fame and perceived value in sports society has been banked on their standing in the industry — not by anything they personally believe.
I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think “stick to sports” is quite as objectionable as most people do. It would be extremely off-putting if one of those people broke character and tweeted about their political preferences.
I think at the core, there is something there that has maybe just a sliver of merit. It’s sort of like saying “You’ve been given this platform for a reason, please continue using it that way.”
I don’t know how I feel about that totally. I’m not sure I ever will.
But I also think we’ve grown way, way too comfortable in our own skin behind keyboards. Some schmuck with 39 followers — 25 of which are Russian bots — telling someone to stick to sports is precious.
Who are you?
Who am I?
I guess what I’m saying is that if you have an expectation that someone sticks to sports and they don’t….that’s not their problem.
And frankly, you should just shut the hell up and unfollow them, or grin and bear it. It’s their Twitter feed. Deal with it. Do the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to keeping them on your feed? If not, unfollow/mute and kindly shut the hell up.
Now with that said, I also should note that for very specific reasons, I do stick to sports.
I’ve spent a lot of my time on Twitter being very insecure about where I belong. I’m a classically-trained journalist, so I’m not really a blogger. I don’t follow a baseball team on the road and I’m still new to this, so I can’t really call myself a beat guy. I sure as hell am not a player, or a close personal friend of those guys. I don’t allow myself those delusions.
In short, nobody takes me less seriously than I do. Or at least that was the case. A while back I just decided to purge my account of people I didn’t feel were pushing me forward. If I didn’t enjoy reading their tweets, I decided to move on. I’ve spent so much time trying to be the likable guy on Twitter that I started to hate who I was. I don’t need to make the same tired jokes over and over again.
If I want to start taking myself seriously, it starts there.
But for me, that also means sticking to sports. I don’t stick to sports because I’m afraid of how people will view my politics, my religion or anything like that — though that definitely was a driving force in my vulnerable 20s — but I do that simply because I know I don’t have a single thing to offer in those other walks.
I have political views, but they’re equal parts nature and nurture, and I push myself on what I believe every day. Not only do things I believe evolve, but I’m not well-read on world affairs, politics or anything like that. So I stay out of it. I don’t have anything to offer on 45, global currency or what’s happening in Israel.
If I did, would I still stick to sports? I don’t know for sure. But I do know this: nobody follows me for my views on religion, politics or anything else like that. It doesn’t mean those things aren’t important, I’m just (hopefully) wise enough to know where my views on those fit among the things I say/write for public consumption, you know?
If you care about what I believe, get to know me. Otherwise, it’ll be sports-sports-sports. My whole (online) life is about sports.
Unless I’m on Facebook or Instagram — then you’ll see new pictures of my daughter every day.