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A writer for the Sacramento Bee, Macros Breton, is taking the stunning and brave position of denouncing the 1980 U.S. hockey team whose victory against Soviet Russia ushered in a new age of American patriotism.
At the height of the Cold War, the United States team somehow managed to eke out a victory against the then-unstoppable Soviet team, bringing home the gold at the 1980 Winter Olympics. It was a hard-fought triumph that the writer himself says instilled in him a patriotic spirit that was under siege following the disaster of the Vietnam War, the resignation of Richard Nixon, and the failure to rescue American hostages in the U.S. Embassy in Iran.
This sense of patriotism was, to the writer’s mind, all well and good until the players who brought home the “Miracle on Ice” (as it was called) appeared at a Trump rally wearing red Make America Great Again hats. Their decisive victory against the Russians be damned—they made the sin of siding with the President, who according to Breton has done much to divide America. Never mind the media.
“When I saw the image of the team as old white men wearing red hats next to Trump, the spell was finally broken. The shelf life for this fantasy had run out for me,” writes Breton. “These guys didn’t represent a unifying force in America. They represent a certain way of thinking in America that has only hardened and become weaponized. And those of us who thought we were in the big tent of patriotism when we were cheering those guys were clearly mistaken.”
According to Breton, the miracle they performed on ice wasn’t a miracle at all but a “lucky win” that “spawned a myth”—one that “died” when they voiced their support for President Trump.
“It was a lucky win that spawned a myth that died when the red hats came out and the truth was revealed,” he writes.
It’s all very melodramatic.
It’s telling that the writer spends much of his time complaining about how conservatives mock LeBron James—discounting the reasons why he receives such criticism. Breton complains that LeBron is told to “shut up and dribble” by the Fox News crowd.
Never mind the fact that LeBron told his teammates and the Rockets manager to basically shut up and dribble when they dared to speak up on his primary benefactor, China, and its treatment of the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Breton also trashes Trump and his supporters for criticizing U.S. women’s soccer champion Megan Rapinoe for “speaking her mind about pay equity for female athletes.” Here’s a news flash: male and female athletes are paid based on endorsements and sponsorships. If the women’s soccer team can’t get those big Coca Cola and Adidas sponsors, then they don’t get to complain about how they don’t get paid as much as the men who do.
But why does Rapinoe get criticized, anyway? It’s certainly not for her call for pay equity. It’s her attitude—the same kind exhibited by LeBron James and Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, who for no reason other than to court controversy, mocked Donald Trump and Mike Pence. It’s tit for tat. They clearly have supporters in the media and acting like the President has this special power to bully these athletes when his voice is only about as loud as the media’s willing to broadcast it, just as it broadcasts theirs, means that any unfair playing field is entirely the fault of the media.
Breton complains that the “stick to sports” mantra only seems to apply to people who criticize the president and that it’s unfair that the “Miracle on Ice” players get to skate by without so much as a blink. Last I checked, they aren’t active athletes seeking sponsorships for their teams. They are, in the words of the author himself, “old white men.”
It’s as if LeBron and other anti-Trump athletes can do no wrong, but God forbid some “old white men” express their support for the president.