The McBournie Minute: We don’t actually care about the National Anthem

This column was originally published on Sept. 26, 2016, and because of the comments of the president, it’s very relevant almost a year to the day. I am heartened to see the protests against police brutality on minorities rising to such a prominent level in the American debate. Now let’s remember how silly it is that people get upset when people take a knee to a song about a fort being bombarded.

Another week of the NFL is coming to a close, which means we have another round of reports and hot takes on the National Anthem, and who did and didn’t kneel in protest. On one side are supporters, who argue that 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick is right to use his stage to speak out against the injustice of police officers shooting unarmed black people, on the other are the people who say to not stand for the National Anthem is an insult against the troops/all cops everywhere/America/insert broad apolitical group used for political gain here.

Kaepernick’s protests have inspired others to join him, even in other sports. They have also brought down a lot of heat from talking heads on TV and police unions alike. Which lead to the Seattle Seahawks doing a “protest” so careful not to offend either side it had no purpose. The issue is far from resolved, and it seems like every week another controversial shooting makes headlines.

But whatever happens, Kaepernick has exposed one thing about America: no one really cares about the National Anthem. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: We don’t actually care about the National Anthem

ESPN removes Robert Lee from calling UVA game

Historians agree that Robert E. Lee could not call a game to save his life.

ESPN is known for making terrible decisions, from apology tours for rapist athletes, to hyping a guy who is mediocre at two sports because he’s a Christian, to talking about ball inflation for a year because they don’t want to cover hockey. But like all great innovators, ESPN has found a way to top itself.

It was announced late last night, under the cover of darkness, that announcer Robert Lee would be removed from calling the University of Virginia football team’s home opener. The supposed reasoning behind it is that Lee’s name is too similar to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, whose statue white supremacists neo-Nazis the KKK a group of free speech enthusiasts (who happened to all be angry white dudes but are surely fine people) held a deadly rally for in Charlottesville earlier this month. Robert E. Lee, of course, fought a war over free speech.

Broadcaster Robert Lee, however, isn’t the same person. As far as we know, they are in no way related, either. Finally, both the white supremacists and the people they want murdered en masse can agree on an issue.

You Missed It: Silent war edition

Warmongers everywhere.

This is the worst time of year for sports. Football is over. Baseball isn’t here yet. It’s the dog days of the hockey season. And basketball sucks. Sure, there’s March Madness to look forward to, but that’s just about brackets, not about the sport. Regardless, it’s basketball, which is just barely above racing in terms of sports I care about. If you were busy asking the FBI to go to bat for you this week, odds are you missed it.

Phones can start wars
Kids are always texting and tweeting on the cellphones, right? No one thinks that it’s a bigger problem than Pope Francis. During an address to some students, His Holiness advised the kids to put their phones down at the dinner table and have a real, face-to-face conversation with adults, or else it’s “the start of war if there is no dialogue.” However, the students were too busy plotting their war against adults via text message.

New level of s*&^$y performance
A band made headlines this week after reports surfaced that a failed enema stunt on stage got them banned from a venue in Houston. According to the bar owner, Sonic Rabbit Hole performed on stage, and then one band member gave another member an enema, and the bag burst. And that, Mr. President, is why we need to support the arts.

Joke’s on him
Speaking of disgusting enemas, some guy got dropped from his book deal, as well as a speaking gig at an ultra-conservative conference, and was forced to resign from his job because he argued for child molestation. Moving on.

Drinking: The real national pastime

As with most things in life, watching sports is better with alcohol. It turns out that here in America, if you’re watching a game, you’re probably drunk.

According to a recent poll of Americans who drink, almost no one watches sports without a buzz. Leading the way are football and baseball, with 84% and 78% saying they associate those sports with alcohol, respectively. These are followed by car racing, hockey, horse racing, basketball and boxing. The soberest sports out there, with less than half the respondents associating them with booze, are golf, soccer, beach volleyball and tennis. So basically, the sports people don’t watch anyway.

Now you have actual data to convince the bartender to turn off the Premier League.

The McBournie Minute: We don’t actually care about the National Anthem

Another week of the NFL is coming to a close, which means we have another round of reports and hot takes on the National Anthem, and who did and didn’t kneel in protest. On one side are supporters, who argue that 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick is right to use his stage to speak out against the injustice of police officers shooting unarmed black people, on the other are the people who say to not stand for the National Anthem is an insult against the troops/all cops everywhere/America/insert broad apolitical group used for political gain here.

Kaepernick’s protests have inspired others to join him, even in other sports. They have also brought down a lot of heat from talking heads on TV and police unions alike. Which lead to the Seattle Seahawks doing a “protest” so careful not to offend either side it had no purpose. The issue is far from resolved, and it seems like every week another controversial shooting makes headlines.

But whatever happens, Kaepernick has exposed one thing about America: no one really cares about the National Anthem. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: We don’t actually care about the National Anthem

You Missed It: Technical difficulties edition

Home of the land, and the land of the free. If you don't like it, leave.
Home of the land, and the land of the free. If you don’t like it, leave.

Can anyone tell me why we play the National Anthem before sporting events? It’s tradition at this point, but what was the thinking behind it, and when did it start? I bet some time around the beginning of the Cold War, MLB execs thought it would be good for marketing purposes, and every other sport followed. It’s not like we even apply it across the board. The PGA doesn’t play it at all. The NFL charges the military for it. Youth leagues don’t play it. They don’t even open sessions of Congress with it. We all just agree to sit through a minute or so of someone singing about a war we forgot, and we get mad if people don’t stand up or remove their hats while the song is played. If you were busy taking a knee this week, odds are you missed it.

Apple jacks jack
This week, Apple rolled out its latest line of new stuff, which included a new version of a watch no one is buying, and a new version of a smartphone, except without the audio jack everyone uses. Because Steve Jobs didn’t do the presentation, the bad idea was heavily criticized by tech bloggers and consumers alike. In an act of revenge Apple put another new U2 album in the iTunes libraries of every single critic.

Johnson, like rest of America, doesn’t know about Syria
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential nominee and personification of every news article comment section rant, took his message to MSNBC this week, sitting down for a live interview on his ideas. When asked what he would do about Aleppo, asked, “What is Aleppo?” His response question not only cost him credibility points, it cost him $1,600 because he lost his wager on the Daily Double.

Tebow sent to baseball purgatory
The New York Mets signed failed NFL quarterback Tim Tebow to a contract with its minor league system. Because God can troll harder and better than anyone.

Gimme an ‘E!’ Gimme an ‘R!’

Human stacking is a time-honored sport with a rich history extending as far back as Genghis Khan through the slave trade and continues today in U.S. prisons.
Human stacking is a time-honored sporting tradition with a rich history extending as far back as Genghis Khan through the slave trade and continues today in U.S. prisons.

Americans may not agree on much right now, but there’s one thing we all agree on: that cheer-leading is not a sport. (Well, not all of us. Cheerleaders and people really worried about President George W. Bush’s college legacy disagree.)

But, maybe it’s time we rethought that position. (And that’s how this became a SeriouslyGuys TED Talk.)

While cheerleaders sustain less sports injuries than most other high school sports — 17 of 22 sports had higher rates of injury — cheerleaders are injured more severely than nearly all of them. Only gymnastics more devastatingly cripples its athletes than high school cheer-leading, so you could say that cheerleaders be, be aggressive when it comes to hurting themselves.

So, if you can sustain a sports injury doing it, it’s a sport. Except for crossfit. Those are owies from stupid pull-ups.

Congratulations, high school cheerleaders for getting the recognition as athletes that you deserve! And, get well soon.

Baseball needs more farts

Baseball: The favorite sport of old people and fans of endless amounts of statistics. It’s a slow, monotonous game, which could be part of why no one watches it anymore. But the Miami Marlins may have figured out how to turn it around: play fart noises.

Earlier this week, the Marlins played fart noises during the Washington Nationals’ battling practice before a game. It proved to be such a distraction for the Nats that the brought in their own speakers in an attempt to drown out the farts. The Marlins have denied any wrongdoing, but most people see it as retaliation for the Nationals’ playing soft rock slow jams during their opponents’ batting practice before home games all season long.

How great would it be if there were random fart noises played during the games? Each team could get a certain amount of farts to play during a game, and use them at key moments to throw the other team off.

The McBournie Minute: How to fix the Winter Olympics

The Olympics are over, finally. Which means we don’t have to sit through ice dancing while waiting for men’s slopestyle snowboarding. Of course, it also means there’s no more men’s slopestyle snowboarding, but that’s not the point. We can get back to watching our normal shows instead of yawning through half of the sports that NBC deemed important enough to show us, all while making sure to profile an athlete who just so happened to have a commercial featuring him or her during the following commercial break.

We’re not going to remember anything really meaningful about the Sochi Olympics, nothing positive, anyway. We’ll remember the disastrous state of the hotels as athletes and media arrived, how dogs that roamed the city suddenly disappeared, Bob Costas’ eye infection, and perhaps we’ll think back fondly to that nightmarish opening ceremony, capped off with one ring not opening correctly. OK, we’ll also remember all those annoying P&G, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and United Airlines.

So, how do we prevent this from happening again in four years? Continue reading The McBournie Minute: How to fix the Winter Olympics

Japan’s Olympics are already getting weird

Before it was even announced that the 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo, the games had already gotten, well, Japanese.

Yasuo Hazaki, a media studies professor, wants to see hide-and-seek included as an Olympic sport. He even leads a committee promoting the sport in Japan, and he’s got 1,000 members with him. Let that sink in. Now, let’s hear Hazaki’s argument.

When you watch sport now, it’s all about world-beating techniques and skills – fantastic dribbling, running or shooting skills in football, for example. … Hide-and-seek is a sport that anybody can play, from children as young as 4 years old to someone who is in their 80s.

And there’s nothing eyebrow raising about an old man playing hide-and-seek with little kids.