FAB 4. Objecting To Hill’s Viewpoint On Glazer
ESPN’s Jemele Hill wrote a column this week for The Undefeated titled “Bucs owner Ed Glazer’s fundraiser for Trump is blatant hypocrisy.” I’ll readily admit that I’m not a huge fan of some of Hill’s viewpoints, or ESPN as a network these days outside of live game coverage these days, and normally wouldn’t be addressing this issue. But the headline is about Bucs owner Ed Glazer, and the basic premise of Hill’s argument is wrong, so it deserves to be discussed.
Hill has publicly clashed with President Donald Trump on Twitter, so it’s important for you to understand where her ideology stems from. I’m not condemning her views on Trump, her liberal politics or anything else, as she has the right to believe what she wants to believe and say whatever she wants to say – as long as it’s factual. When it’s not, her argument deserves to be challenged.
Hill is making an issue over the fact that Glazer is hosting a private campaign fundraiser for Trump at his home in Beverly Hills, California. She reports that attendees paid between $35,000 and $250,000 to attend with the goal of raising $5 million for his re-election campaign. Hill accurately reports that Glazer gave Trump $98,000 in campaign donations in 2016 and another $250,000 for his inauguration.
Hill writes: “For the record, I don’t have an issue with Glazer supporting Trump, financially or otherwise. It’s his house. It’s his money. It’s his financial network. But let’s call this what it is – blatant, unadulterated hypocrisy.”
The first four sentences were accurate, the last one about hypocrisy? Not so much.
What Glazer did was private. He held a private fundraiser in his own home. It wasn’t done in public. I’d guess that no one in attendance at the invitation-only event was offended by the content of the fundraiser because they were all there for the same reason – to support Trump.
Hill, who supports players’ rights to kneel down during the National Anthem to draw attention to social injustice issues, writes: “The political motives of players always are under scrutiny. The owners? Almost never. We have two sets of rules here, one for owners and one for players. Players who speak up about important societal issues or engage in the politics are often told to just concentrate on sports, as if they aren’t allowed an identity beyond the sport they play.”
Who of importance says that players should just concentrate on sports – Laura Ingraham? Don’t watch Fox News.
Trump? Don’t vote for him.
Sorry, but I just don’t see Lebron James, Chris Long (he was recently named NFLPA Community MVP) or Colin Kaepernick (he was GQ’s 2017 Citizen of the Year) losing much celebrity or Twitter followers over their political or social views.
People can follow them and support their causes or unfollow them and protest their viewpoints if they want to. America is a free country.
In reality, there has been quite a fair amount of anti-owner sentiment and criticism lately on Hill’s own ESPN, on SI.com, on ProFootballTalk.com and other media platforms that cover the NFL. There have been plenty of columns and news coverage about Kaepernick and possible collusion charges by NFL owners and suggestions of blackballing him by the league owners for political reasons. That may or may not have happened, and the NFL is investigating it, as it should. Has Hill not heard of those stories, which are critical in nature?
There have been plenty of writers and pundits that have objected to the views and statements made by NFL owners Jerry Jones, Bob McNair and others – and noted and criticized the conservative political views of those owners in the process. Hill’s own piece basically scrutinizes Glazer’s fundraiser for Trump by calling it hypocritical, but the problem is that it misses the mark by not meeting that definition.
It’s not blatant hypocrisy, and because of that, Hill’s premise is blatantly wrong.
The difference between the kneel down protests during the National Anthem and what Glazer did was that one was in a private home, and the other was in a stadium, which is the owners’ private workplace (despite games being televised, remember that NFL games are privately broadcasted: “This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL’s consent is prohibited.”), in which First Amendment rights of freedom of speech are not protected.
That’s a fact.
Before you say that stadiums are built with taxpayer money from the public, can anyone just walk into a stadium without purchasing a ticket? No, NFL stadiums are not public parks.
NFL players, especially Glazers’ Buccaneers, can take whatever political stance they want off the field and away from the workplace or on social media as long as those stances aren’t blatantly offensive or violate the law, which is a common ethics clause that everyday folks like teachers have to follow. In fact, Hill herself was suspended by ESPN for calling Trump a white supremacist and for suggesting that her followers boycott the Dallas Cowboys’ advertisers ESPN said in a statement that Hill was suspended for “a second violation of our social media guidelines.”
That’s a fact.
Here is another fact. There were no repercussions in Tampa Bay for wide receiver Mike Evans, who knelt down twice protest Trump over the past two years, nor for DeSean Jackson, who knelt down once. Jackson remains on the team and is one of the highest paid players in Tampa Bay at $11 million per year, and the Glazers recently made Evans one of the highest paid wide receivers in NFL history with a five-year $82.5 million contract extension.
Evans is guaranteed to make $42 million with the Buccaneers and said he plans to use that money to help people and fund some of the social causes he believes in, which is great. Although we don’t always agree on everything, I’m a big fan of Evans – the person and the player. I think he’s a great guy with a great heart.
Ed signed off on that $42 million, by the way.
If that isn’t allowing the diversity of viewpoints I don’t know what is.
And speaking of diversity, I’m happy to remind Hill or any others that the Glazers – including Ed – are the only NFL owners to hire three African-American head coaches (some franchises haven’t even hired one), which is the most in league history, and draft two African-American quarterbacks in the first round to lead their team over the last decade (some franchises haven’t even drafted one), which is also the highest in the league.