In defense of brilliant idiot athletes

1 October 2021

2:44 PM

1 October 2021

2:44 PM

I don’t care what LeBron James thinks or says. That’s why, unlike the many conservatives who have turned their backs on sports in recent days, I can still enjoy watching him dominate on the court.

LeBron, no matter how much his gaggle of managers and agents and hangers-on try to frame him as some type of renaissance man, is strictly a basketball genius. He’s been pictured quixotically staring at books, putting on his best ‘intellectual face,’ but I have no doubt that he’d struggle with anything beyond middle-grade young adult fiction. And that’s fine — it’s more than enough to simply be one of the greatest athletes of all time. Too many of you expect too much from our great, hulking superstars.

I, on the other hand, want my athletes to be brilliant idiots, and thankfully, even in this era of the well-rounded sports star, that is often the case. If it were up to me, only superstars with sub-90 IQs would populate our professional leagues. What a pleasure it would be to watch near-cavemen with elite hand-eye coordination and an overabundance of fast-twitch muscle-fibers and a rudimentary understanding of the English language perform brilliant feats of athleticism.

I want my athletes to sound as stupid as possible, which is to say that I want them to sound like themselves. I want to watch in awe as they break records and crack up as they stumble through post-game interviews spewing all manner of idiocy. This is my frame of reference when I watch sports, a mindset that allows me to still enjoy what’s happening on the field or the court. These guys, for the most part, are idiot savants, and it is you, conservative sports bro, who is at fault for expecting anything more.

Here’s what you can do if you want to watch the games without worrying about the supposed politics of players whose only true ideology is the desire to bang as many Instagram skanks as possible: understand that you are watching brilliant morons. If you must mute the TV, then mute it. Play Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the USA’ on loop if you have to. And if you get mad when someone kneels during the national anthem or says something un-American, exhale and repeat the mantra: this guy is a brilliant moron.

Long before players were dutifully regurgitating ‘social justice’ talking points, you intuitively understood that athletes weren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer. All I’m asking is that you remember this most important tenet of fandom. You can still be a fan of sports, and your team, even if the players disappoint you with their politics.

Some of you, I know, really enjoy rooting for specific guys and love wearing the jersey of your favorite sportsballer hero. So here’s how you can go about finding your new favorite: choose the stupidest guy on your team. Or, if you’re one of those fantasy junkies who only likes guys who put up gaudy numbers, choose the stupidest best player on your team. Thankfully, more often than not, the best player will also be the dumbest, since elite athletic success demands a mindless obsession with one’s craft that relegates intellectual pursuits to the backburner.

But if you’re having trouble choosing a new favorite, let me help you out. The obvious choice, of course, is Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski, a man whose playmaking abilities are matched only by his unquenchable desire to party and make a fool of himself. Is Gronk stupid or is here merely playing the part of lovable doofus? Who cares? All that matters is that Gronk is your prototypical dumb jock, a throwback to the pre-CTE days of yore when players gleefully courted brain damage without complaint. I can all but guarantee you that he’ll never say anything political.

If basketball is your game, I recommend following James Harden, a man who was born to perform two tasks at a world-class level: score the basketball and frequent strip clubs. If James doesn’t break the scoring record, he’ll surely break the record for most lap dances received by a professional athlete. He plays with a stylish aloofness that when juxtaposed with his superior skills conjures up a viewing experience unlike any other in sports. Is he smart? Is he dumb? Does he care? Last season he donned what appeared to be a pro-police mask, but just as he was becoming a conservabro favorite, he said he simply thought the mask looked cool and wasn’t aware of its messaging. His new fans were let down that he wasn’t a conservative. They should have been thrilled.

And if the dying and decaying America’s Pastime is your sport of choice, your new favorite player is none other than the once-in-a-generation talent Shohei Ohtani. The Ruthian figure hits 500-foot home runs and throws 100 mph fastballs, but better than all that is the fact that he’s Japanese and barely speaks English. You have no idea what he’s saying, conservative sports fan, so it’s impossible for him to disappoint with his politics. He can be your grand slamming blank slate! Picture Ohtani wearing a cowboy hat and boots when he’s off the field, a Japanese Clint Eastwood. Or maybe he’s learning English by reading the collected works of the great Thomas Sowell.

Or maybe, just maybe, stop giving a shit about what any of these guys say, or think, or pretend to think, and enjoy the games you’re already watching.

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