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OPINION

Sports Illustrated, the Porn Apologists?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Sports Illustrated has certainly not earned itself a reputation as defenders of women’s dignity, but in one of their latest articles, they’ve positioned themselves as overt porn apologists and defenders. The article was headlined: “Royals GM Dayton Moore Makes Bizarre and Troubling Choice to Host Anti-Porn Activists.”

This defensive article is not too surprising since Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition is nothing more than the peddling of hypersexualized, objectifying nude or nearly nude images of women—it's their most financially profitable issue of the year.  

But with this article, Sports Illustrated is criticizing the smart decision by Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore to educate his team on the detrimental impacts of pornography consumption.

The author, Charles P. Pierce, spares no words bashing Moore's religiosity and religiosity more generally. Because ad hominem attacks are usually helpful in making a well-researched, logical argument.

"Is there an epidemic of porn within MLB that has escaped my notice?" writer Pierce asks sarcastically. 

It's unclear which rock he's been living under, but he may not have noticed there is an epidemic of porn in our broader population. It is not inconceivable that this epidemic has affected athletes, too. According to Porn Hub’s own data, the world watched 4.6 billion hours of pornography in 2016, with the United States leading the pack, accounting for 40 percent of the site’s traffic.

Evidently, highlighting the harms of pornography struck a nerve with Mr. Pierce. But, ironically, in his next breath he notes:

"However, baseball does have a problem with domestic violence and sexual harassment, as do all sports, and we are in a moment in which all the old excuses and explanations don’t apply any more."

This would be a superb time for him, and others in his camp, to explore the very real connection between pornography consumption and sexual violence.

The fact is, what is "bizarre" is to think that people who consume racist, violent, incest-themed and teen-themed porn can do so and remain unaffected. It's "bizarre" to suggest that a meaningful discussion about the harms of pornography is completely out of left field.

Mainstream pornography today is violent, degrading, and hateful. In our #MeToo culture, replete with sexual harassment and assault, it's time we stop treating this awful material with kid gloves and expose it for what it really is.

The truth is, pornography does harm relationships; the brain; physical, emotional, and psychological health; and society. The Kansas City GM is well within his rights to conduct business as he sees fit and shed light on this problem.

We applaud Moore for this countercultural, bold, and principled decision. His team is better off for it, and they're better role models for it, too.

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