Mike's Minute: Politics and sport often a dangerous mix

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Sep 2020, 10:26AM

Mike's Minute: Politics and sport often a dangerous mix

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Sep 2020, 10:26AM

It was only a matter of time.

Lewis Hamilton is now under investigation for wearing a t-shirt post yesterday's Grand Prix wanting the police arrested for shooting Breonna Taylor who was a victim in Kentucky.

It was always going here because the moment you start something like this, whatever you thought you started, spirals. It's a knee, it's a fist in the air, it's a slogan on a helmet, or a message on a t shirt. All of it well intentioned, but whether it achieves anything, like stopping people being shot, is another matter.

A couple of cops were shot in Los Angeles over the weekend, and I am assuming none of the t-shirts will be mentioning their names. I equally assume the phone number to raise the $50 million they want to try and put Kenosha back together from its burnings and lootings won't get the same sort of coverage.

But the line between politics and sport has always been tricky. But by constantly exploring it, you inevitably ask for trouble.

And making it even more precarious is the fact some of sports' leading names are running the programme. From LeBron James, to Lewis Hamilton, these people are a step up from Colin Kaepernick who, when he started all this in San Francisco, was a quarterback of note, but hardly Tom Brady or Brett Favre. In other words, he was a player not an icon, who have more power over the sport than the sport has over them.

But here's the rub, as worthy as the messages they carry may be, like all things in life, time and place plays a significant role. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you think it's important doesn’t mean everyone agrees. Just because there is a moment or venue, it doesn’t mean people want it,  need it, or more importantly, expect it or welcome it.

Which to a degree has always been the magic of sport. Not only are you enjoying rare talent but it's in a neutral venue. A place away from the world of politics, frustration, anger, and dispute.

It's a place where millions can come from disparate and diverse backgrounds but put their differences aside for a couple of halves, or a race, and all agree that what we are collectively doing is separate from the rest our existence views or outlooks.

The value of the escape that sport provides has, and is as, important as any movement or societal ill that it can draw our attention to.

So, Hamilton is remembered now for a protest and an investigation, not a win. If he was a professional protestor that would be fine, but Mercedes don't employ him to protest and never did.