ESPN’s Sage Steele revealed something a few days ago we’ve long known about our country even before a Donald Trump presidency was ever a reality: We only care about problems when they’re directly at our front door.
As millions of people were worried sick about how they would get in or out of the country since last weekend, Steele was concerned with how and when she would get to Houston to cover the Super Bowl for her job.
Her Instagram post — which is still up — has sparked massive backlash.
So THIS is why thousands of us dragged luggage nearly 2 miles to get to LAX, but still missed our flights. Fortunately, a 7 hour wait for the next flight to Houston won’t affect me that much, but my heart sank for the elderly and parents with small children who did their best to walk all that way but had no chance of making their flights. I love witnessing people exercise their right to protest! But it saddened me to see the joy on their faces knowing that they were successful in disrupting so many people’s travel plans. Yes, immigrants were affected by this as well. Brilliant. ????????
And the Oscar goes to… Sage Steele for Best Performing Actress. Now maybe a part of Steele genuinely felt for her fellow travelers as they endured the same ordeal she did. But it’s hard to accept that belief at face value when you have to sift through her obvious frustration and the fact her post began with how she was unbothered by the situation.
I’m sure as she began writing the post she realized how it would come across, then quickly shifted gears and decided to push the narrative that a host of other individuals were inconvenienced as well, hoping that the veiled reference to the elderly and kids would invoke sympathy and get people to agree with her.
Now Steele is no stranger to criticism as she’s publicly gone on the record as being a perpetuator of the “All Lives Matter” countermovement.She has had public verbal bouts with Miko Grimes, wife of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes and even lambasted Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans when he chose to kneel during the national anthem.
But now the shoe is on the other foot and Steele is under attack for expressing an otherwise unpopular view. Look, timing is everything in life and we’re living in a social media age where people capitalize on opportunities to publicly villainize others. It’s now a profession. Social media trolls have now become a part of everyday Internet culture.
Steele’s not wrong for complaining about the flight delays because if we’re being totally objective if we were in Steele’s same predicament we would probably complain too. But there are two problems we have operating here. First the timing of her post was wrong. If you’re not willing to come down off your high horse and do something about an issue, then don’t comment on it. Second her personal agenda which consisted of her travel plans, work responsibilities, etc. usurped the agenda of the collective which was to stand for something they believed in.
Everyone wants to be a social justice warrior but from a distance. We only really care about issues when they directly affect us or someone we know. If it doesn’t affect us then we’re totally content with fighting the good fight from the sidelines. The immigration bill doesn’t personally affect Steele, but as a result of the protests because of the immigration bill now Steele is directly affected so it heightens her level of frustration when she made this post.
A picture is worth a thousand words and Steele gave us more than enough words to digest. She mentioned that she loves seeing people exercising their right to protest, but…stop…here goes that but word again. The word but implies there’s a caveat that’s about to follow and in this instance the caveat here is Steele is for protesting, so long as it’s not at the expense of others, but more importantly her.
I’m not sure if Steele is aware, but generally whether consciously or subconsciously, or maybe even both, the purpose of a protest is to cause some level of inconvenience as a means to garner attention to an otherwise voiceless or oppressed group of people.
The image she unsuccessfully tried to paint in our head of the elderly and kids walking with their luggage, pales in comparison to the image of Steele as being elitist, out of touch with reality and insensitive and selfish.
We’ve seen this same rhetoric from Steele before when she publicly went after Evans from the Buccaneers because he chose to kneel during the performing of the national anthem. She went as far as to implore Evans to look up the word democracy, as she felt he had a distorted view on it.
But Evans kneeling was an exercise of democracy, some would argue one of the most tangible ways one could exercise democracy.
It appears Steele has a distorted view of democracy, but then again she shouldn’t be vilified because we all have a different view of what we want “our America” to look like.
And that’s fine because the difference in opinions is what makes us America. But until we start caring about the neighbor down the street just as much as we care about ourselves, we will always find ourselves at odds with one another.
I’ve argued before Trump alone isn’t the biggest threat to our democracy. Neither is Steele.
We all are.
Marcus Lamar is a Washington D.C.-based sports journalist. You can check out his podcast “Marc My Words” on Soundcloud, YouTube and coming to iTunes soon. Follow him on Twitter @iam_marcuslamar.