If the idea of the Olympics being hosted in a Communist country that is currently committing genocide against a segment of its own population has made you a little queasy, the solution is simple: You need to “compartmentalize.”
This was the advice given by J.A. Adande, the director of sports journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, on Friday’s episode of ESPN’s “Around the Horn.”
Adande described the act of ignoring China’s horrific human rights violations in order to better enjoy the Games as something all sports enthusiasts have gotten used to doing in recent years.
“I think it’s standard in sports right now — you have to have a cognitive dissonance. You need to compartmentalize,” Adande said. “We’ve never had a more enjoyable NFL Playoffs in this country and we’ve never had more people watching the playoffs, and yet it goes on amid the ongoing allegations against Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Football Team, and, you know, the continuous concussion concerns, and now, the concerns about diversity in the allegations and questions about competitive integrity even — all of that, and yet we’re still enjoying the games.”
.@jadande talks about reconciling watching the Beijing Winter Olympics amid China's human rights crisis pic.twitter.com/mqkOygjBXV
— Around The Horn (@AroundtheHorn) February 4, 2022
While lewd videos of cheerleaders and concussions may not rise to the level of torturing Uyghurs and harvesting their organs in the minds of most sane people, Adande doesn’t make the distinction. In fact, in his mind, the United States is just as bad for resisting attempts to make mail-in voting a permanent, federalized thing.
“And who are we to criticize China’s human rights records when we have ongoing attacks by the agents of the state against unarmed citizens and we’ve got assaults on the voting rights of our people of color in various states in this country?” Adande asks, without any hint of irony or shame. “So sports — I think it is possible and it’s necessary more than ever to just shut everything out if you are to enjoy the actual games themselves.”
The show’s host, Tony Reali, didn’t offer much pushback to the disturbing advice, telling Adande he “appreciates” his response, though he did wonder how “sports can conquer” the fact that China was chosen to host the games in the first place.
“Well, again, where can you choose that’s free?” Adande asked, pointing to the fact that Russia has recently hosted the Olympics.
“It’s very hard to find a country that isn’t problematic when it comes to human rights, including here,” Adande said.
The “expert” journalist then pointed to China’s selection of a young Uyghur girl to light the Olympic torch — a choice many regard as a vile display of propaganda — as evidence that important issues aren’t being totally ignored.
“I think we can bring attention to it,” he said.
The exchange followed a dire warning earlier this week from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said American athletes should not risk angering the Chinese government with protests because they are “ruthless.”
Clay Travis, founder of the sports media site Outkick, called Adande’s comments “Chinese propaganda talking points.”
“ESPN is so proud of them that they’re sharing the clip themselves with all their audience,” Travis told Fox News Digital. “It’s next-level stupidity, first of all, to compare Chinese genocide with American voting rights ID laws. But it’s also making me wonder, with all that Disney has connection-wise with China, are they trying to curry favor with China by spreading talking points propaganda to the American sporting fan? It just blows my mind.”
“If you’re a left-winger, which most ESPN employees are, the idea of comparing Chinese genocide to American controversial political issues seems like an equivalent position,” Travis continued, adding, “It is not.”
“There is no equivalent position in the United States to Chinese government-sponsored genocide,” Travis said. “It is insane that anyone could think to make that case.”
“And furthermore, it’s a sign of how little actual knowledge from the outside of left-wing politics exists in the ESPN infrastructure that no one i the entire organization thought, ‘Oh man, this is an awful analogy that we’re making here. This is an embarrassment to the network and it’s an insult to everyone in the American public for us to be spreading the exact propaganda that China wants to be spread,'” Travis said. “It’s an outrage.”
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