On Wednesday, longtime sports broadcaster Brent Musburger announced that he will (finally) be retiring. The 77-year-old was with CBS from the late 1960’s until 1990. Upon his firing from the network he took up with ABC Sports and ESPN, for whom he has worked ever since.
You want to know how I know that? It’s a combination of general knowledge of the sports media landscape and a quick Google search. It was all very easy.
That’s why it’s unacceptable that Musburger seems to be completely unaware of former coworker Keith Olbermann’s crossover into serious political coverage.
During a phone interview with The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, Musburger asked his own unsolicited questions about about Patrick’s former SportsCenter partner and his political views:
“When did Keith Olbermann become this progressive that’s out there leading the banner, I think I was looking for Musburger on Google last night and … and I ended up hitting the O button and I looked at Olbermann and he’s calling for the President to resign. What’s going on with my guy? I mean come on. He’s a baseball guy. I want to know how many games the Cubs are going to win next year and he’s out there calling for Mr. Trump to resign. When did this happen?”
A 30-second scan of his Wikipedia page could tell you that Olbermann, though still best known for his time at ESPN, has also been a straight news and political analyst and commentator for years now; beginning in 1997 when he left the Worldwide Leader to move to MSNBC.
In fact he currently hosts The Resistance with Keith Olbermann, a political webshow for GQ which, as I’m sure you noticed, HAS HIS NAME IN IT. His actual job is to talk about politics.
Nevertheless, Musburger rambled on about how Olbermann should stop trying to use his remarkable intelligence to passionately inform the public about the government and instead tell us whether he thinks David Price will bounce back from his rough first season with the Boston Red Sox.
“He should get off that soapbox of his and get back to where we enjoy him,” Musburger advised. “I love to listen to him talk about baseball.”
Well Brent, no one gives a shit about what you love or who you want to hear talk about it. How about that?
If there is one phrase that has been informally forbidden from being exchanged between members of sports media, its “stick to sports,” or any variation of that sentiment. It’s the ultimate tool of the internet troll that disagrees politically, or is merely seeking a way to feel superior.
The reason its so infuriating is because there’s no real rebuttal to it. When someone tells you to stick to sports, the only thing you can say is “no.” And while that may seem easy enough, there’s just something about being told that you’re disqualified from participating in a conversation because of your occupation that feels inherently violating.
When people say “stick to sports” or “no one cares about your opinions on Trump, tell me about the Super Bowl” what that translates to is “talk sports to me, sports puppet, otherwise just shut the fuck up.”
The notion that a sports writer, blogger, announcer, commentator, reporter etc. can or should only publicly converse about sports is petty, childish and unreasonable.
But lamenting the fact that a political commentator shares his political views? That just makes you a joke.
You can watch the interview below: