A good portion of the country is outraged at an athlete, and a team right now.
They are up in arms that Megan Rampinoe knelt for the National Anthem.
They are angry that she said negative things against the president.
You only need to take about 10 seconds online to see the backlash.
Everyone is absolutely entitled to their opinions, but the question is, why aren’t we more outraged about other things? Why aren’t we outraged when athletes commit crimes, when they do things to truly harm people.
There is a little irony of people calling her disrespectful, while throwing in truly disrespectful terms about her and her teammates.
People are screaming this isn’t how an athlete should act.
But, over the weekend there was another sporting event.
Major League Baseball held it’s all-star game.
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman took the mound to close out the game.
Fans cheered, no one was outraged. There are no memes, or angry posts about Chapman.
Why are the two related?
Well, the outrage about Rampinoe comes from a few years ago.
All the images of her kneeling before a team USA game are from 2016. The following year USA Soccer put in a policy where players must stand for the anthem, and she has ever since.
That same year is when Chapman was suspended by Major League baseball for violating the league’s domestic abuse policy.
Chapman’s girlfriend at the time told police Chapman choked her and she hid in the bushes while he fired gunshots into the garage wall.
That same season Chapman was closing games for the Chicago Cubs as fans went crazy on their way to a World Series title.
There was no outrage. No memes or posts talking about how bad of a person Chapman was.
One weekend. Two sporting events. Two athletes. One causes outrage, the other elicits cheers.
How did we get to this place as a society?
Whether people agree with protesting during the National Anthem or not, when did we get to a place where doing that makes you one of the most hated women in America. Choking your girlfriend, and firing off your gun as she hid, that makes you a baseball hero?
It’s not like Chapman is the first, or last, athlete that we ignored truly terrible things they did.
A year ago Ray Lewis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The biggest honor in all of his sport was bestowed upon Lewis as people cheered and honored his career. Now he is on ESPN, getting national attention weekly during football season.
It was in 2000 when a fight broke out between Lewis and his group of friends and another group of people resulting in two people being stabbed to death. Lewis was indicted on murder charges, which were later dismissed in exchange for testimony against his friends, while Lewis pled guilty to obstruction of justice.
Whatever happened that night, Lewis was there, he pled guilty to obstructing justice, and two people wound up dead.
But, the career for Ray Lewis continued. He won a Super Bowl, he became a Hall of Famer. Almost instantly people moved on.
For Lewis, many can forgive, and forget.
Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been in the NFL since that same year of 2016. He hasn’t knelt in a game in three years, and yet people still are angry, they still dislike him because of his decision.
Let’s say even just with women’s soccer and team USA.
One World Cup ago Hope Solo was the goalie as the U.S. won the Gold Medal.
People celebrated. They cheered. There was little outrage from the masses, no anger with the team.
Team USA made America proud and Solo earned the Golden Glove Trophy as the best goalkeeper.
Then, after the Olympics that year Solo had her contract with the National Team terminated and was suspended for sixth months for misconduct.
Solo had been arrested a couple years earlier on assault charges against her half-sister and nephew, charges were later dropped, and had been suspended by U.S. soccer in the past after reports were she was ‘acting belligerently’ toward police when her husband was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
None of this stopped people from cheering on Team USA. None of it caused people to be outraged.
It’s clear many people disagree with Megan Rampinoe.
What’s not clear is why as a society that angers us, but so many other things don’t?
In every major sport we have athletes who have committed crimes.
In every major sport we have athletes who have sworn or said ridiculous, bad things.
So why the outrage over Megan Rampinoe?
Why the outrage over Kaepernick before her?
I fully understand if people don’t like the way they protest. If people think it’s disrespectful and are angered by it.
But, where is the same outrage over athletes who commit crimes?
Why do we care more about a player doing something some may deem disrespectful, but something that’s not illegal, over something that is illegal?
As kids we often learned actions speak louder than words.
So, why are we more outraged by people whose actions off the field haven’t been things that got them in trouble, rather than athletes whose actions off the field put others at risk?
As Aerosmith once wrote, ‘There’s somethin’ wrong with the world today, I don’t know what it is.’
The fact that people were more upset over the weekend by an athlete that knelt for team USA a few years ago, than they were by the athlete who a few years ago was accused of choking his girlfriend, shows there really is something wrong with the world today.