The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Yankees choose virtue signalling over history
The decision of the Philadelphia Flyers organization to immolate Kate Smith from their history over the weekend shouldn’t surprise anybody who’s noticed the slow creep of the culture wars into the domain of sports. Earlier this year after the Mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, the Canterbury Crusaders rugby team mulled over changing their name to not offend New Zealand’s Muslim population.
In Canada, McGill University just recently changed the name of their sports teams, the Redmen, due to student pressure over its misuse in the past regarding Indigenous iconography (despite the fact the name originally referred to the Red school colours and Gaelic Red Hair). At least in the McGill case, students initiated a challenge and voted on the issue, although I’m sure the alumni would also have enjoyed a say.
The Canterbury Crusaders have not changed their name, and their statement might simply be a low stakes signal of solidarity. It’s unclear how a name for a Rugby team referencing a conflagration fought over 900 years ago can mend the damage wrought by a mass murderer in the present, but this is an era where gestures mean more than substance. Rather than risk any negative attention, as there were no calls for the team to change their name, the Crusader’s organization simply pulled out ahead of the offence generating machine.
Over the past few days the Flyers decided to not only stop playing Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” but they have also draped her statue in black and removed it from the front of the Flyer’s home arena. It’s not just the Flyers, the New York Yankees first pledged to stop playing Smith’s rousing rendition of that patriotic tune. Why must Kate Smith be unpersoned now?
The Flyers play that version before home playoff games and compiled a tremendous 101-31-5 record when it’s showed. It commemorates the time Smith opened the 1973-74 season by belting the song at Philadelphia’s home opener in person, the season they went on the win their first of back-to-back Stanley Cups, the only two championships in Flyer’s history. But now, because of a song recorded in the 1931 titled “Why Darkies were Born” with racist lyrics, Smith is no longer welcome. Did anyone complain about the lyrics or about Smith’s association with the Flyer’s or the Yankees? Were there mass public boycotts expected, or just a few agitated activists?
Perhaps most troubling in this episode is the preemptive erasure of the past in order to mollify expected outrage. The New York Yankees’ press release says it plainly: “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.” In order to guard against potential offence, we remove nuance and simply err on the side of wiping out history to protect modern sensibilities.
What’s worse, the offending song is not as cut and dry in terms of its racist tone. Many have noted that the song itself is a satire of racist views. The song was recorded in 1931 by Smith, but also by Black performer Paul Robeson. Robeson was college educated, spoke Swahili, and became an important political activist for civil rights and social justice causes. This activity eventually landed him on Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist blacklist. Why would he sing the lyrics of a racist song against Black people, given his pedigree? The song also was featured in the famous Marx Brothers’ movie Duck Soup, again in a satirical manner. Upon even cursory examination, Smith’s singing of the song may not have the racial overtones the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Flyers believe it to have. But we do not live in an era where careful consideration of potentially offensive situations is possible.
One can understand the motives of these organizations. Hockey in particular lacks the visual diversity that so many clamour for in today’s cultural products. In a world where racial quotas are now more popular than they were when Woodrow Wilson severely banned immigration from all parts of the world except Western Europe, it’s still Progressives making everything about race. Except today it’s not quotas keeping out non-Whites (or even bad Whites for that matter), but the opposite, where the Progressive penchant is to reserve spots across the cultural landscape for people of diverse backgrounds. But ice hockey has always been a white sport, predominantly played by whites.
The game emerged in Canada and was segregated immediately. In the East Coast, black players were not allowed to play with their white counterparts. They started the first black professional sports league in North America, the Coloured Hockey League. These players were true innovators of the game, creating the slap shot and the butterfly style of goaltending while both tactics were outlawed in the proper white game. Professional big-time hockey did not integrate until Willie O’Ree, blind in one eye, played for the Boston Bruins in 1958. It was not until the 1970’s, when Kate Smith was revving up fans in Philadelphia, that another black player made it to the NHL
It’s also understandable that Philadelphia would be sensitive over the lyrics. One of their longtime players and team leader, recently traded Wayne Simmonds, was involved in a public and ugly racist incident. During a preseason game in 2011 in London, Ontario, Simmonds was taking a penalty shot when a fan threw a banana on the ice, a crude reference to Simmonds’ black skin. Sadly, the one idiot fan reflected poorly on a sport known for its white makeup. But as with everything in today’s outrage culture, where there is truth in the racism of the game’s history, the censorious take it too far. Just as with Smith’s singing of an arguably satirical portrayal of racist America, it’s a black and white situation. There is no room for nuance, no time to ponder if removal of the past will ameliorate the tensions of the present. We simply just ban first and ask questions never.
A three-month-old puppy in California got stuck in a used tire. The poor little girl needed help from animal services in Riverside, California, but the animal service officers needed reinforcements from the nearby fire station.
The puppy’s neck had swelling, making the rescue attempt more difficult.
WCVB reports that “members of Riverside County Fire. Firefighters from Riverside County Fire Station No. 69 in Rancho Mirage took turns using a Sawzall to safely cut a piece in the wheel to provide enough space for an easier rescue. After a few moments, out came the Australian cattle dog.”
A staffer for the Democrat presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, was videoed appearing to advocate for street violence in a video recorded by Project Veritas.
The Post Millennial‘s Andy Ngo has also revealed that Jurek was arrested last week in Iowa and charged with drunk driving and possession of drug paraphernalia.
In the video, Sander’s Field organizer, Kyle Jurek, says that he wants to “throw down” (meaning to fight In hipster) with “the billionaire class, the f**king media, pundits … walk into MSNBC studios, drag those motherf**kers out by their hair and light them on fire in the street.”
The staffer went on to say in another video that “f**king Milwaukee will burn” if Sander’s didn’t receive the nomination or if the competition were to go to the second round. “I’ll start in Milwaukee … and when the police push back on that other cities will just [explosion sound], Jurek added.
When the investigative journalist asked whether Trump supporters could be “ed-educated” Jurek began to compare Republicans to Nazi supporters: “In Nazi Germany, after the fall of the Nazi party, there was a s**t-ton of the populace that was f**king nazi-fied. Germany had to spend billions of dollars re-educating their f**king people to not be Nazis … we’re probably going to have to do the same f**king thing.”
Other Bernie staffers have called Jurek a “top-tier organizer,” however, the campaign has since attempted to erase all online connections with the man.
Seattle has a prolific homeless offenders problem—one made worse by a light on crime approach championed by progressive activists in elected office. The consequences have been dire: Innocent residents and visitors being physically assaulted by criminals with lengthy rap sheets, while the homeless, many dealing with addiction or mental health problems, remain on the streets.
The latest incident to bring attention to Seattle’s progressive leadership problem stems from a leaked video showing a topless dancer giving lap dances at a publicly-funded conference on homelessness last week. How anyone thought this was appropriate tells you how out of touch this city and county can be. However, before that, there was another incident that received much less attention.
Right before Thanksgiving, a homeless man with a lengthy criminal record randomly assaulted a defence attorney outside the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle. The suspect is Frank Hypolite and he has been arrested on the same block five other times.
As a consequence, presiding judge James Rogers issued an emergency declaration to close the entrance where these assaults keep occurring. After negotiations with the Seattle Police Department, the entrance was reopened this week. The police chief promised increased patrols. But this won’t make a dent in the problem.
Seattle doesn’t have a policing problem in this regard—even with dangerously low staffing numbers. The problem? Criminals don’t serve jail time.
Seattle’s activist city attorney, Pete Holmes, and the county’s prosecutor, Dan Satterberg, refuse to prosecute many crimes allegedly committed by the homeless. They say it lacks compassion to throw someone in jail if they’re dealing with untreated mental illness or addiction.
While there aren’t many voices asking to “criminalize the homeless”—the typical refrain from left-wing activists—there needs to be some consequences for violent behaviour. By releasing homeless criminals back onto the streets, not only are they failing to help get their issues treated, they’re also creating sitting ducks out of passers-by and visitors.
One prolific offender, Francisco Calderon, has an astounding 75 convictions for a variety of crimes, including a recent assault on a toddler. Calderon, who is dealing with mental illness according to his sister, threw a cup of coffee in the child’s face. However, a judge earned public condemnation from Holmes after daring to put Calderon in jail for punching a man in Seattle. This is compassion? Tell that to Calderon’s victims.
Then there is the public defecation. Businesses have recently cried out for help from the city as homeless use sidewalks and business entryways as toilets.
“I’m tired of the defecation, the urination, drug use, accosting customers,” hotel general manager Jeff Gouge of The Arctic Circle Seattle told KOMO-TV. Last week, security footage caught a homeless man defecating outside the window of the hotel restaurant.
“We had someone, just an hour ago, on the other side of the entrance urinate right on the side of the building,” Gouge told the station. “It’s happening too much.”
The problems go beyond the intersection of homelessness and mental illness. It’s also a drug problem.
King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg will not prosecute drug addicts or users caught with up to a gram of a controlled substance, though cops say it’s much more than that. As a result, not only have we seen an increase in overdose deaths, drug dealers roam free.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Satterberg declared he will vigorously prosecute drug dealers. Except it’s hard to prosecute drug dealers who are smart enough to evolve with the policy. Cops have repeatedly told me that dealers will carry fewer products. After they sell out of heroin or meth, they’ll go back to wherever they keep their stash, restock on the product, and go back to dealing. It’s a policy that was adopted in nearby Snohomish County. But after months of the policy failing, their prosecutor, Adam Cornell, announced he’s nixing it. And a new Sheriff was elected, primarily on a message of being tougher on crimes.
What’s worse, in all this, cops have lost any leverage they might have over a drug user they catch. Knowing they won’t be prosecuted, Seattle cops can’t leverage jail time to get information out of the user, to find out who is selling them their product. As a consequence, drug deals are done in the open, ironically impacting the area directly surrounding the King County Courthouse the most, and more users are staying addicted.
But we’re told, over and over again, that this is compassionate. That it’s the social-justice way of dealing with crime. Which, as it turns out, means not dealing with crime at all. Who exactly wins with this approach?
Jason Rantz (@jasonrantz) is a Seattle-based talk show host on KTTH 770 AM.
A since-deleted Facebook post by Jersey City official Joan Terrell has sparked controversy. The rant was widely considered anti-Semitic and many are claiming that Terrell was attempting to justify the recent Jersey City shooting. Terrell refuses to apologize for her language.
The post refers to the recent shooting that took place on December 10, 2019, in Jersey City, New Jersey. The incident took place at a kosher grocery store. Six people were killed in the shooting, including two Jewish bystanders.
At one point in her comments, Terrell referred to the shooters saying, “What is the message they were sending? Are we brave enough to explore the answer to their message?”
Steven Fulop, the Mayor of Jersey City, was not happy about Terrell’s comments, going as far as to say that the city official should resign. He tweeted “My opinion is she should resign. That type of language has no place in our schools and no place amongst elected officials.”
Governor Phil Murphy concurred, tweeting: “We will not let anti-Semitism and hate go unchallenged in our communities. In light of Ms. Terrell-Paige’s comments, I urge her to immediately resign from the Jersey City Board of Education.”
Many others responded to the comment calling Terrell anti-Semitic.
A video captured by Americans Against Anti-Semitism was also posted. The video took place shortly after the Jersey shootings. In the video, more anti-Semitic language can be heard throughout.
The Post Millennial has reached out to Joan Terrell asking for a comment on the situation. She has not responded, but she was reached by Politico, who asked if she regretted the post.
“No, I don’t,” she said, while revealing that she had not taken down the Facebook post herself.