CLIVE SMITH: Keep politics out of sport

COMMENT: The reality is that historic venues can’t live in the past

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American Football is awash with controversy at the moment. It’s all to do with some players kneeling or not appearing on the pitch when the national anthem is played. They are protesting at police brutality against African-Americans.

I can’t see what disrespecting your country’s flag and anthem has got to do with the police.

Buffalo Bills players 'take a knee' during the national anthem before the first half of an NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.                                Picture: AP Photo/John Bazemore

Buffalo Bills players 'take a knee' during the national anthem before the first half of an NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Picture: AP Photo/John Bazemore

Sport shouldn’t be politicised. We turn to sport to escape the realities of life.

When you’re watching your team’s striker nutmeg a defender and sweetly finish in the bottom left corner, you’re not thinking about how the price of a Freddo is going to be affected by Brexit or nuclear Armageddon caused by North Korea.

Sadly, these things have a way of filtering over to the UK.

How long will it be before an armed crack dealer gets taken out by the police in London, it becomes an issue and some of the England football team jump on the bandwagon and decide that kneeling during the national anthem will somehow help their noble social cause?

If I owned or managed a team and my players did this they would be fired or sent to train with the reserves until their contracts ran out.

I think it is disgraceful. What does it accomplish other than dividing a country even further?

There is a time and a place for protest. Your place of work isn’t it.

Would protesting about the sexual crimes committed by Catholic priests be appropriate during the Star-Spangled Banner?

If I turned up at work every day and stood outside the office waving a placard around shouting about animal cruelty in cosmetics I’m sure it wouldn’t be long before I got my P45.

If you want to do it, crack on but do it in your own time.

Even then though people have little time for being lectured to by spoiled millionaire celebrities who lead the pampered lives most of us can only dream of.

Although some of our own politicians are no better and would rather sing the Red Flag than our national anthem.

These are the people who want to run the country while at the same time showing such contempt for the anthem. It really is quite abysmal.

POLITICIANS NEED THICK SKINS NOT SAFE SPACES

As the Labour Party conference got under way the designated ‘safe space’ in which delegates were encouraged to ‘buddy-up’ and practice ‘mindfulness’ was the main news on the first day.

It sounds like the sort of thing you’d see on signs around a hippy commune, doesn’t it?

Politics nowadays seems to be more about feelings than actually doing something that may benefit the voter.

Politicians need a thick skin, especially in today’s world of social media.

If you set yourself up on the road to Number 10 you know what you’re getting yourself into.

You have to answer the tough questions and stick to your convictions, not run off to a safe space and have a little cry when things get too much.

LOOKING FOR A JOB WITH REAL BITE?

If anyone is looking to get into becoming a shaman the job centre in Kutai Kartanegara, Indonesia, has always got jobs going.

The latest incumbent, Shaman Suprianto, took a dip in the local river and began chanting in the hope his ‘powers’ would control the river’s crocodiles.

As you might expect, things didn’t quite go according to plan. Suprianto was dinner.

He’s the second one to go this way in the past couple of months.

Apparently, the health and safety inductions for new beginners have become a nightmare now and all shamans have to sign a ‘crocodile chant permit’ before they can work.

At least poor old Suprianto’s wife has his ‘Darwin Award’ to look up to on the mantelpiece.