Media now demanding that ballplayers who criticize Charlotte rioters be cut by their teams

Headshot image of Dan Calabrese
Published by: Dan Calabrese on Friday September 23rd, 2016

Meet terrible USA Today sportswriter Bob Nightengale, who thinks free speech is only for people like him.

Let me introduce you to Bob Nightengale. He is an enemy of the U.S. Constitution. He is an enemy of the truth. He is an enemy of free speech. He is an enemy of what's good. He is an enemy of you.

Tough stuff, I know, but absolutely justified. Why? Because this is a man who depends on the First Amendment in order to have a job, yet wants to see another man's job taken away from him because he exercised the exact same rights in the exact same way. Bob Nightengale is the worst kind of journalist: The kind who not only thinks the right to free speech is exclusively for people like him, but who also considers it his business to call out others and demand their downfall because they also exercise that exact same right.

Bob Nightengale is a clown. Unfortunately, this clown for some reason gets to write a sports column for USA Today, and today he abused that privilege by demanding that the Seattle Mariners release catcher Steve Clevenger. Why? What did Clevenger do? Did he play terrible baseball? Because if he did, you might argue it's within the legitimate perview of a sportswriter to opine that he should be released. And I would agree.

But no: This is all about politics, and specifically about Clevenger's expressions on Twitter about just how evil the actions of the Charlotte rioters have been. This is undeniably true, as Rob demonstrated yesterday here, here and here. The only thing Steve Clevenger did was say what most decent people think about the violent behavior of these people.

And for that, horrible sportswriter Bob Nightengale demands his head:

Why is Clevenger still wearing a major-league uniform?

Why is he still employed by the Mariners?

Why haven’t they already released him?

There is no reason that Clevenger should be able to wake up Friday morning and be gainfully employed by Major League Baseball.

He took care of that Thursday with his series of tweets in response to the civil disturbance in Charlotte, N.C., managing to offend the human race, and embarrass the game of baseball, particularly the Mariners’ organization.

If the Mariners don’t release him Friday, MLB should suspend him all of spring training in 2017 and at least the first month of the regular season.

And what exactly did Steve Clevenger say to inspire this bombast from horrible sportswriter Bob Nightengale?


“Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer. Haha (stuff) cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the Anthem!"

And again: “BLM (Black Lives Matter) is pathetic once again. Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals.’’

Now let's take a serious look at both tweets. The first, whether you like it or not, is a truthful and factual account of what has been happening in Charlotte. If it bothers Bob Nightengale or you that the races of the people involved were mentioned, then maybe they should remember something: The media made this a racial story when they led with the white-racist-cops-shoot-unarmed-black-man narrative before they knew if that was true or not (which it wasn't). You can't call other people racist for bringing up the races of the participants when you did the exact same thing, and in fact, the only reason this is a story about race is that they media chose to make it one.

As for the second tweet, the first two statements are Clevenger's opinions about people in the public arena. They are far from fringe opinions. Many people agree with both. I'm one of them. As for the statement about people being locked behind bars like animals, this may bother Bob Nightengale, but that's what being put in jail is, and that's what happens to people who commit violent crimes.

(I must have missed Nightengale's column demanding that Colin Kaepernick be released for slandering police officers as racist brutalizers. Maybe someone could send me a link to it. I'm sure he wrote one.)

So Nightengale is horribly wrong on the merits. But worse than that, where the hell does a journalist who depends on the First Amendment get off demanding that anyone else lose his job for exercising his exact same rights? Or do you only get to keep your job if you express yourself in ways that Bob Nightengale agrees with?

USA Today: You should fire Bob Nightengale today. He is a terrible columnist. There is no reason he should wake up tomorrow morning gainfully employed by any media outlet.

Why? Because I don't like what he said. What, you say? That's now how free speech works? I know. But it's apparently how Bob Nightengale thinks it works.

Get Dan's three-part series of Christian spiritual thrillers! And follow all of Dan's work by liking his page on Facebook.