For the foreseeable future, Mike Sam and Tim Tebow find themselves interconnected. Although they play the same sport, and even played in the same college football conference, the two worldviews they symbolize couldn’t be more different.
Sam is now out and proud as the country’s first openly homosexual player in its most popular sport. He has become the rallying cry for the progressives and their new tolerance, which essentially is a zero tolerance policy for the old one. Either get with the program or you will be made to care, as ESPN’s exhaustive and heavy-handed promotion of his story this week indicates. Frankly, it’s been hard to tell the difference between sports talk radio and MSNBC the past 7 days. Both basically condescended and sneered at traditional American morality all the same. Suddenly the progressives seem mighty interested in football, when for the past two years they’ve been trying to kill it as too dangerous.
Meanwhile, Tebow is not currently playing, but preparing instead for his new gig on ESPN’s SEC Network this fall. Nevertheless, as the champion of throwback America, his shadow still looms large over this cultural clash. My email inbox and social media interactions are overflowing with angry traditionalists, who see a complete and total double-standard at work here. In their minds, the same mainstream media who seemed to openly be rooting against Tebow, still the only Heisman Trophy winning quarterback to start and win a NFL playoff game since Vinny Testaverde, are the same ones already nominating Sam for the Hall of Fame before he’s even drafted.
Both Tebow and Sam have now become proxies for the two different Americas attempting to fly the same flag. These two Americas represent conflicting value systems, each struggling mightily to peacefully co-exist in a pluralistic age.
Caught between these dueling civilizations is Corporate America, which seems to offend somebody no matter what it does. Cater to the progressives and traditional Americana rises up, as we saw in the recent Duck Dynasty flap. But if Corporate America sides with old school Americana, it risks the charge of the politically correct brigade and its allies in the media.
Into this abyss steps the National Football League.
Steve Deace's nationally-syndicated radio show airs coast-to-coast each weeknight from 9-Midnight eastern, including many of the Salem Radio Network's top conservative talk stations in markets like New York City, Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Minneapolis. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and National Review among others. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Town Hall.com, Deace is also a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the new book Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again, which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.