A new site called RespectTheGreatGame.com was recently launched to protest an MLB.com-affiliated blog that is kept up by MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann.
The premise of the site is centered on a petition which visitors are asked to sign:
We the undersigned question why the official web site of America’s pastime is working with Hate Speech merchant Keith Olbermann.
As a highly visible “news” anchor on MSNBC he regularly delivers outlandish accusations about elected officials and common citizens to advance his baseless theories that focus on hatred, violence and racial fear.
In the past year he has delivered racist, sexist and violent commentary without apology. As an exercise of our First Amendment privileges we simply ask Major League Baseball to think about its business relationships and the image that it wishes to portray to fans of the great American game of baseball.
The site creator isn’t the only person concerned with Olbermann’s official association with MLB.
S.E. Cupp of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS recently objected to Olbermann’s role on the MLB website while noting that another high profile political commentator, Rush Limbaugh, was recently banned by the NFL from joining a group attempting to buy the St. Louis Rams.
The irony of Cupp’s point is that Olbermann was one of the very few in the media to actually stand up for Limbaugh’s right to obtain ownership of an NFL franchise.
In the case of Olbermann’s MLB blog, the comparison of the MSNBC commentator and Limbaugh isn’t applicable. Olbermann has a long-established sports media career while Limbaugh, many moons ago, served as a non-baseball operations employee for the Kansas City Royals for a short time.
That’s not to say that Limbaugh couldn’t have a role as a “celebrity” blogger on the MLB website, but any comparison between him and Olbermann in the context of baseball or sports media isn’t relevant.
What bothers me about these sorts of protests, from both sides of the political spectrum, is the thinking that because someone has a political opinion opposite of you, they somehow shouldn’t be allowed to associate with American traditions.
While I’m not partial to Olbermann’s politics, and more specifically his oft-hyperbolic delivery of those views, I can honestly say that I’d rather watch a ballgame with him than Limbaugh. Olbermann knows the game, period.
Now if I needed some advice on a marinade for an Omaha Steak, cigars or the latest Gulfstream model release, then I’d call Limbaugh.
While both men can be blowhards, to deny their apolitical expertise is silly.
Anyone who seeks out Olbermann’s small blog on the MLB.com website is most likely already a sophisticated purveyor of media and baseball. To suggest that his baseball observations would somehow prejudice a MLB.com reader’s politics is absurd.