This week the Indianapolis Colts and the NFL paused for an obligatory ode to the radical, leftist sports media that covers them by trashing the RFRA law passed in Indiana.
According to Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk article on Monday, the NFL said:
“Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard…We are continuing to analyze the implications of the law.”
Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted his support:
“The Colts have always embraced inclusiveness, tolerance, and a diverse fan base. We welcome ALL fans to Colts Nation. ONE FAMILY!”
That’s no longer enough for some activists journalists. Florio, unimpressed with the meager offerings of Irsay and the NFL, voiced his displeasure:
“While both the Colts and the NFL have made it clear that they oppose discrimination of any kind, neither the team nor the league have indicated whether and to what extent they’ll push back against the Indiana law. With the Scouting Combine an annual fixture in Indianapolis and the city handling the Super Bowl so well that it could return, the Colts and the league have leverage to force the kind of change that will honor the concepts articulated above.”
The sports media have become, effectively, a Rules for Radicals for billionaires. Florio essentially printed a to-do list of strategies that repeat tactics the media used against Arizona’s RFRA in 2014, encouraging the NFL to threaten Indianapolis-held events such as the Scouting Combine and eventually, future Super Bowls.
The league and team responses came out of nothing but fear.
The NFL didn’t sound the alarm of faux outrage in 1993 when the original Federal RFRA passed. Nor did it sound it when the other 19 states who have variations of this exact same law passed theirs. Why is it doing so now?
Fear. Of the media.
Fear of a leftist sports media exponentially larger and more influential than it was over 20 years ago, and unhinged in every possible way. The same kind of media-generated fear that made the NFL believe they had to pressure teams to find a spot for Michael Sam after the Rams cut him. The same fear that steered the league to use one of the most Draconian punishments in league history on a player for tweeting “Omg” after ESPN played Sam kissing his boyfriend on a loop for 39 hours.
Florio’s intent is not to honor league press releases obviously made to assuage the PC police in the sports media. Florio is warning the NFL that, soon, words aren’t going to cut it anymore. Here’s what you can do to get on the right side of this thing.
On another sports media front is ESPN, with its #BoycottIndiana clown school in full-effect. The network has been every bit as hacktastic as Pro Football Talk when spouting leftist vitriol about the RFRA masked as sports commentary. Especially since Connecticut has…wait for it…an even more expansive RFRA law than Indiana! As The Federalist’s Sean Davis pointed out in a March 30th article:
“Both the Indiana law and the federal law declare that the respective governments may not “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion[.]” Under the Indiana and federal religious liberty laws, government can burden religious exercise, but it cannot substantially burden it. That’s a key distinction.
Connecticut’s law, however, is far more restrictive of government action and far more protective of religious freedoms. How? Because the Connecticut RFRA law states that government shall not “burden a person’s exercise of religion[.]” Note that the word “substantially” is not included in Connecticut’s law.”
I note it, and I note that ESPN still calls the hate-filled state of Connecticut, where gays can’t get wedding cakes, home. Or something. How do they live with themselves?
Dylan Gwinn is the author of Bias in the Booth: An Insider Exposes How the Sports Media Distort the News, and a longtime sports talk radio host.