Demonstrating that the New York Times’ political bias permeates every section of the newspaper, comes a glowing news story by Howard Megdal on the WNBA’s Seattle Storm donating ticket proceeds to the abortion provider Planned Parenthood: “Franchise In W.N.B.A. Is a Platform for Activism.” Yet while the Storm’s activism was “historic,” the Times is rather hostile toward signs of patriotism (much less overt conservatism) in athletics.
When the three women who make up Force 10 Hoops, the ownership group of the Seattle Storm, first purchased the team a decade ago, they did not see it as only a sports venture.
The co-owners — Lisa Brummel, Ginny Gilder and Dawn Trudeau — constitute one of only two all-female ownership groups in major American sports, and they understood the role that they could play in furthering the progressive causes they believed in.
“I definitely got involved in the ownership group because I saw that this was the intersection of three things that I love: sports, business and social justice,” said Gilder, a two-time United States Olympic rower whose efforts to fight for equality date to her protests as a Yale undergraduate in the 1970s.
Sports teams are typically cautious when they decide to endorse an organization or a cause. But the Storm, who hosted the W.N.B.A. All-Star Game that was won by the West, 130-121, on Saturday, showed their activist bent when they held a rally on Tuesday night for Planned Parenthood, raising $41,790 by donating ticket proceeds.
Far from questioning this intimate interplay of sports and liberal politics, Megdal seemed to think it a gusty call:
Teaming with Planned Parenthood, a frequent target of President Trump’s administration and the Republican-controlled Congress, is anything but a cautious choice.
And as Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, pointed out in an email, the Storm and the league speaking up for the organization reflected not only a historic moment, but also personal histories.
Megdal threw in some more (backfiring) liberal plans, like the minimum wage currently pricing unskilled workers out of the jobs market:
The Storm’s owners sought out a sweet spot of consensus, and the success of the event confirmed their read of their own fan base in a city known for its $15 minimum wage. The decision to take advocacy from implicit to explicit came directly from the days after the presidential election last fall.
The decision to hold the Planned Parenthood event grew from this desire to do more, but the owners did not want the players to feel pressured to join. So the idea was discussed at the team’s annual dinner.
No opposing commentary was presented to disturb the tranquil view of athletic (liberal) activism.
The Storm’s event was not too surprising, however, in a league where social activism has become common. The Liberty and the Minnesota Lynx spoke out about police relationships with minority communities last season. The league’s president, Lisa Borders, frequently weighs in on Twitter about political issues. And the league, in which many stars are gay, has supported the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community through events.
For the Times, supporting Planned Parenthood and criticizing cops equals “progress.”
The state of the Storm and the league, some argue, represents progress as well. Long before Brummel owned the Storm or held a senior executive role at Microsoft, she was selected by the Dallas Diamonds in the 1981 Women’s Professional Basketball League draft.
But after spending Tuesday night surrounded by “people who share my values and our values,” as Gilder said, the Storm’s owners do not sound ready to leave the fight.
But the paper is being hypocritical here, given its long aversion to athletes making conservative gestures, and for its lectures on the dangers of mixing sports and flag-waving patriotism.
Last year, Times journalists were bothered by an excess of American rah-rah partisanship in the Olympics coverage at other media outlets.
The Times loved it in 2015 when NBA players fought for gun control.
Meanwhile, religious figures beloved by conservatives like former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow got the nasty treatment. Columnist Harvey Araton actually criticized Tebow for spending time with a brain-damaged visitor after the Broncos’ playoff loss to the New England Patriots. This came six years after Araton hypocritically faulted the Duke women’s lacrosse team for supporting their fellow male lacrosse athletes falsely accused of rape.
Columnist Selena Roberts in 2003 awarded tennis star Jennifer Capriati a fault for requesting a song be played during her pre-match warm-up in support of the troops in Iraq (the war had just begun). The song included the chorus “Bombs over Baghdad.” Capriati’s explanation: “I wanted to support the troops.” Roberts sniffed: “Politics aside, her logic was questionable. How uplifting is a song illuminated by such abrasive lyrics? But Capriati made a wish, and it was granted. Star power has its privileges on the women’s tour, but it is often misspent on petty demands instead of tennis reform.”
So when an athlete wants to support American soldiers, it’s a “petty demand.” When an athlete wants to support abortion on demand, it’s a “historic moment.” Got it?
LifeNews Note: Clay Waters is the director of Times Watch, an MRC project tracking the New York Times.