Wednesday, April 5, 2023

WaPo sports columnist skips Final Four due to gun control

WaPo sports columnist skips Final Four due to gun control

Chris Steppig

Once upon a time, sports was an escape from politics for me. While there was always drama and intrigue in the sporting world, it was very different from what we dealt with in state capitals or in Washington, DC. There was no need to discuss gun control when there were trades and locker-room squabbles to talk about.

Those days are long gone. Somewhere along the way, the athletes and journalists decided that sports needed politics in it for some idiotic reason.

Now, we’re stuck with it.

And it gets a little ridiculous, too, because a sports columnist for the Washington Post claims he’ll skip the Final Four because of the NCAA’s decision not to try and bully Texas into passing gun control.

On June 2, Washington Post columnist John Feinstein wrote a column advocating for the NCAA to move the 2023 Final Fours out of Dallas and Houston following the Uvalde massacre that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers unless Texas enacted “something resembling meaningful gun legislation.”

As he would later put it, “I knew two things for certain when I wrote the column: Texas wasn’t going to change its gun laws, and the NCAA was going to hide under a rock and do nothing. Sometimes you have to tilt at windmills.”

And so, Feinstein, the author of A Season on the Brink and Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four, penned a column on Friday saying that he would not be attending the Final Four and noting that he probably won’t be at the 2025 Men’s Final Four in San Antonio either.

Now, this is interesting to me. Why? Because attending the Final Four is kind of part of his job.

Basically, he’s decided to not do his job so that he can try and push gun control.

Feinstein is at least realistic enough to recognize his decision won’t amount to much, and he’s right about that, but I’m more annoyed that the Washington Post isn’t doing anything here.

See, the Post has a history here that I think is relevant. Last year, they suspended writer Dave Weigel because of a sexist joke, then fired a journalist who continued to take issue with it. They cited insubordination in her termination.

It seems to me that someone expressing their disapproval of how something was handled is far less objectionable than a journalist simply refusing to go where the story is and do his job because he doesn’t like the lack of gun control.

Now, can Feinstein actually do his job, though? I mean, he can watch the games on TV like everyone else, so writing up what’s going on isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.

The problem, though, is that watching the game is just one part of what a sports journalist does. They also talk to players and coaches, and that’s far more difficult when you’re in Washington and the games are being played in Texas.

And all because Texas won’t pass gun control.

Frankly, Texas isn’t going to miss him. I also don’t think the Washington Post should miss him all that much, and no, it’s not because we disagree on gun control. There are plenty of journalists who disagree with me on that and I haven’t even mentioned them getting fired for it.

No, this is because Feinstein can’t seem to be bothered to do his job, and if the Washington Post allows this to go on, don’t be surprised to see more journalists there refuse to do their jobs because of politics.

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