Lance Berkman, the legendary former Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals player, recently had an opinion. He cared so much about it that he made a video about it.
He should not have done this.
Now he will forever be the man who had an opinion that the media and Twitter did not like.
He’s a baseball legend. He helped the Astros attain a level of success that they had never reached before or after. He helped the Cardinals win a World Series. He is also widely known as a great guy around baseball and a popular man amongst fans. He is a family man and the father of four daughters. He went to Rice University, a great baseball school and a great overall university.
But he is now known as the guy who had an opinion that many in the media and with Twitter accounts do not like. People are telling the Cardinals that they can’t have his scheduled bobblehead night because he had an opinion that they don’t like.
To put it another way, people with Twitter accounts don’t want a baseball team to give away a small trinket made in the likeness of a great player of baseball because said player of baseball has a contrary political opinion to their own.
So what’s the lesson here? Well, just like Erik Maliowski’s number 1 rule of Twitter the real lesson here is: don’t have opinions.
It’s 2015. You are only allowed to play your sport until we have no use for you and then you must shut up or become an activist for causes that Twitter deems appropriate.
For example, I’m not saying I agree with Curt Schilling or particularly like him, but he’s now known only as the guy who gets in trouble for voicing extreme right-wing opinions on Twitter and not the pitching legend that he is. On the contrary, look at former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. He’s known as a crusader and martyr for gay rights, even though he’s just as much of a blowhard as Schilling. Kluwe just happens to have opinions that the media agrees with. He even had the nerve to say that he was cut because of his opinions on gay rights. He conveniently overlooked that he was an old, overpaid punter.
Whether you agree with Berkman’s stance or not, shouldn’t we as a society be at a point where we allow someone to campaign for a cause we disagree with without demanding that they lose their job or their respect?
I can’t imagine how Twitter would have treated Jackie Robinson when he campaigned for Richard Nixon. He was maligned then, but I can’t imagine how he would be treated now. His entire legacy would be tainted and people would demand that he not be honored for his accomplishments on the field.
All I’m saying is everyone needs to calm down and let people have opinions. I promise you I don’t agree with the political, religious, social, economic, or entertainment opinions of most of my favorite athletes. But what’s cool about sports is that I don’t ever watch them to hear their opinions. I watch them because they feature athletes that are better than anyone else in the world at their sport and sports entertains me.
I don’t care if our next president can hit a baseball and I truly don’t care if my favorite baseball player doesn’t agree with my stance on the Iran Nuclear Deal.