Sports

Where do the sports protests end? Well, we can start with the name of a horse.

Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt (68) and cornerback Jeremy Lane (20) stand near defensive end Michael Bennett (72) as Bennett sits on the bench during the national anthem before the team’s preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday.
Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt (68) and cornerback Jeremy Lane (20) stand near defensive end Michael Bennett (72) as Bennett sits on the bench during the national anthem before the team’s preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday. AP

OK, so this is going a little too far.

I’ve been an advocate for Colin Kaepernick and his protests during the national anthem last year, arguing that it’s wrong that he hasn’t been signed by an NFL team because of it.

However, some of these protests are getting ridiculous.

For example, a horse – yes, a living horse – is in the news.

According to a Sporting News report, Southern California mascot Traveler has become the target of some political activists who are connecting it to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Southern Cal’s furry mascot just so happens to have the same name – but with a different spelling – as Lee’s famous horse, Traveller.

According to the Los Angeles Times, students rallied last week against the deadly “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, and by way of that coupled Traveler with Traveller.

Really?

When the L.A. Times reached out to Southern Cal, it responded with a referral to the mascot’s bio page, which says:

“USC’s mascot horse is a symbol of ancient Troy. Its rider, with costume and sword, is a symbol of a Trojan warrior,” the bio reads in part, Sports News reported. “The name Traveler, spelled with one ‘l,’ is a common name among horses. . . . USC’s Traveler is and has always been a proud symbol of Troy. There is no truth to any other claims or rumors about its name.”

I think this one is quite a reach.

It appears now everyone is looking for reasons to protest rather than standing up for – or against – something that they personally experience and therefore feel obliged to act upon.

The Kaepernick situation – in which he protested against what he believed to be racially-charged police violence – isn’t going away. Nor should it.

Other players, including Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch and Seattle’s Michael Bennett, have joined the movement of not standing during the national anthem this preseason. There also have been white players who have stood with their protesting teammates recently to show their support.

Major League Baseball umpires got into the act over the weekend, having worn white wristbands while protesting the fact that Detroit’s Ian Kinsler was not suspended after going on a verbal tirade against veteran umpire Angel Hernandez. On Sunday, the umps aborted the protest as their union’s governing board will reportedly get a meeting with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Perhaps we should harken back to an old adage: “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, then would you too?”

Seems the answer is yes, as copycat protesting appears to be on the rise. And why not? Some parties – for example, the umpires – appear to be getting what they want.

But – yes, there’s a but – this needs to slow down. We can’t protest every little thing that happens in sports. If we did, the games would all get lost in the shuffle, and in many ways that’s already happening.

I’ve received much feedback when I’ve written about controversial topics – none more so than Kaepernick – where readers tell me to stick to sports, and I’d love to.

However, sports and social issues seem to be intertwining more nowadays than I ever remember. In some ways that’s a good thing. In others, it’s not.

Violence and prejudice are one thing. But the name of a horse?

Stop.

On tap

The second week of high school football kicks off Friday with the following area matchups: Aynor at Andrew Jackson; Providence Day (N.C.) at Carolina Forest; Carvers Bay at Georgetown; Conway at Wando; North Myrtle Beach at Loris; Charlotte Christian vs. Myrtle Beach at North Myrtle Beach High; North Brunswick (N.C.) at Socastee; and Waccamaw at St. James. … The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are off Monday before beginning at six-game homestand. They host the Down East Wood Ducks from Tuesday through Thursday (all 7:05 p.m.) and taken on the Carolina Mudcats on Friday (7:05 p.m.), Saturday (7:05 p.m.) and Sunday (3:05 p.m.). … The Coastal Carolina women’s soccer team has a pair of matches this week as they play at N.C. State at 7 p.m. Thursday and host Charleston Southern at 6 p.m. Sunday. … The CCU men’s soccer team kicks off the season with a 1 p.m. Friday contest at George Mason. … Coastal’s volleyball team begins the season in the TCU tournament, where it will take on UTSA at noon Friday and TCU at 6 p.m. Saturday. … The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Darlington for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at 6 p.m. Sunday (NBCSN). … The PGA Tour heads to Old Westbury, New York for The Northern Trust from Thursday through Sunday. … In tennis, the men begin play in the ATP Winston-Salem Open on Monday. The women start play in the WTA Connecticut Open on Monday.

David Wetzel: 843-626-0295, @MYBSports

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