This week, the well-meaning folks at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, published a story entitled “The Right-Wing War Against Soccer.” It reviews some of the most recent anti-soccer rhetoric out conservative media folks like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others.
But to me, the alleged “right wing war against soccer” is immaterial. I have a far bigger problem with a partisan think tank like CAP putting soccer on its back and feeling a need to defend it as it would any other left-wing cause. Here’s why.
American soccer in this country is not a “left wing” thing. Soccer in this country is not a “right wing” thing. Soccer in this country is not a partisan thing.
While it was nice of CAP to defend the sport from the usual “hater” idiocy, we don’t need and most definitely shouldn’t want partisan political entities defending our sport from criticism. For better or worse over the years, American soccer fans have been more than adept at finding and reacting to criticism by the media.
Saying that soccer is a “left wing” pursuit in America is both a lazy and inaccurate statement to make. Look at two of the most ardent supporters of the sport in this country, Philip Anschutz and Henry Kissinger – they’re not exactly liberals now, are they?
Of course, there are topics in American soccer and its support that relate to politics. They should be discussed, robustly and fairly. It’s naive to think that sports and politics can ever be truly sequestered from each other. I am not saying that we should shove the conversation under the rug. But what I am saying is that American soccer cannot allow that conversation to be provoked by partisan organizations like CAP.
The last thing American soccer needs is to accept as true an identity that ties us to a partisan politics. It’s not only bad marketing, it’s just the wrong thing to do for our sport and our fans. American soccer needs to welcome folks of every political inclination, as long as they don’t practice racism or hate.
So to the folks at CAP, whom I support and whom I think do a lot of good work, please do not turn soccer into a cause of yours.
We do not need it and we do not want it.