To me, the downfall of ESPN started with Terell Owens. For some reason they saw ratings and easy stories by commenting on the day to day drama that easily followed TO. Suddenly Sportscenter wasn't web gems and touchdowns, but contract negotiations and arguments between teammates. The next thing you knew A-Rod, Tim Tebow, and Lebron's lunch decisions were more important than the unknown rookie who hit a homerun to win an important game that night.
In a way, I get it. It's a lot easier to produce and digest shallow story lines than actually have an expert break down a cover two defense. Life is all about moderation though, and we have gone so far the other way it hurts my brain. Every time I hear a story similar to the Colin Kaepernick situation I immediately think "well no sports show watching or listening for me for the next couple weeks."
So thank you Wrestling. Every time I hear these stories I get appreciative that the Wrestling world is really not affected by this disease. You need a stronger character to have the discipline and training to be able to compete at a high level, and our sport is a true merit-based competition. We don't have to argue about 157's like the way football fans may bicker about quarterbacks. We know in March we will see that get settled the right way. It sure allows me to actually enjoy my time when I can relax and watch sports.
I'm not trying to say sports and politics naturally intertwine from time to time. Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, the Texas Western Basketball team, and others changed this country for the better through sports far exceeding what any protest could do. Proving yourself through competition is a great societal equalizer for the next generation.
The Wrestling population, however, seems light years ahead of the rest of the sports. Before I thought about writing this, thinking about the population of this year's NCAA semi-finalists' races never crossed my mind. Score another one for wrestling, because when I watch I can leave the politics to the politics writers.