by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“Are you now, or have you ever been, a supporter of Donald J. Trump?” It would be ominous if witnesses in congressional hearings had to endure this type of McCarthyite interrogation. But what do you call it when sportswriters demand that a professional athlete answer the same question?
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, for example, calls himself a “good friend” of the new president. Consequently, the football star faced journalists’ demands to “publicly disavow Trump’s actions,” as one USA Today columnist wrote. Brady, not wanting to detract from his team’s Super Bowl preparations, responded by claiming his “right to stay out of it.” But several commenters made clear that the court of public opinion honors neither the right to privacy nor one against self-incrimination. Not in the Age of Trump. …
… A major theme of Trump’s campaign was opposition to political correctness. That stance appealed to many, who feared a campus affliction was becoming a national one, foretelling a future where Anytown, USA, might as well be Berkeley, California. When quarterbacks and comedians are sternly admonished that you’re for Trump unless you make it unmistakably clear that you’re against him, the central Trumpist axiom about the danger of political correctness is affirmed, not refuted.