Colby Covington’s comments demonstrate rooted ignorance


    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 14: Colby Covington recovers from his knockdown loss to Kamaru Usman of Nigeria in their UFC welterweight championship bout during the UFC 245 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

    Colby Covington took a shot at professional athletes in a tweet that shines a light on his own shortcomings.

    Sports and politics will always be odd bedfellows. There is a link between the two that is frequently denied, but undeniable. That came to a head again this week as the NBA led the way for multiple sporting organizations by postponing games in a show of solidarity for the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI.

    That solidarity did not reach the mixed martial arts industry, however … especially not Colby Covington who took to Twitter to express his displeasure.

    His tweet reaffirmed what MMA fans have already seen from Covington, but further exemplified his ignorance to a sporting world that was watching this developing situation closely.

    Oh wow, you postponed your games?! Wanna prove you’re really about change? Quit your multi million dollar jobs and soft privileged lives playing a kids game, take a massive pay cut and perform the toughest job in America. Become cops!!!! @NBA @MLB @KingJames

    Using correct terminology this is a solidarity strike that began on Wednesday. News started percolating from the Milwaukee Bucks locker room that they were not going to take the court against the Orlando Magic for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series. Once it was clear that this game was not going to occur and why other teams began to follow suit. Not only did we see this within the NBA, but teams in MLS and MLB all decided to postpone their games. This movement has since spread to the NHL, WNB and tennis.

    This is a move by professional athletes to show their combined power to drive attention to matters of importance. Covington would not understand this because collective agreement between fighters is something that has failed within MMA multiple times, regardless of how many times experts show the benefits that come when athletes join. These athletes are flexing their power and influence to drive conversations around change, something mixed martial artists will never have until they take the same steps.

    Then, he takes aim at NBA legend Lebron James, who has used his place of influence to drive the development of I Promise School, an elementary school in Akron, OH for at-risk youth. WNBA players and staff consistently use their voices and funds to support major programs. This is especially powerful when looking at the paltry salaries these players make in comparison to their peers. The same can be said about players from other leagues that use their influence to drive for change, whether it be with their platforms or their profitability.

    Covington then throws in terms like “soft,” “privileged,” and “kids’ game.” Words that are frequently used to denigrate athletes of color that do not stay in line. This is eerily akin to President Donald Trump’s statement of calling kneeling NFL players “sons of [expletive]” in 2017. The idea that there are people of color making millions of dollars playing a sport immediately makes them undeserving in the eyes of many. Covington unsuccessfully attempts to apply that same old tactic here.

    Finally, his idea that policing is the toughest job in America is based on the narrative that police are under attack and their lives need protection. The status of civil unrest is due to the generations of systemic oppression that is felt in communities around the country, policing is just one arm of said oppression. Telling these individuals that they should “become cops” as if that is the only way their actions and voices matter is in many ways, proving their very point that there is an issue.

    Many have wondered if Covington really believes the words he says as he plays this over-the-top MAGA fighter. While that may or may not be true, he is yet another example of the growing alt-right narrative that is taking hold of mixed martial arts. Thankfully, athletes in other sports do not tow the company line, unlike many MMA fighters.

    Unlike MMA athletes, the NBA, WNBA, MLS, MLB, and others made the right choice to not “shut up and dribble.”

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