The NHL recently had what seemed like a sensible idea. It was a job fair that was scheduled to be held on Feb. 2 called “Pathway to Hockey Summit.”
“Participants must be 18 years of age or older, based in the U.S., and identify as female, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and/or a person with a disability. Veterans are also welcome and encouraged to attend,” the event description said.
The NHL, a majority white league, was trying to take small steps to diversify itself. It’s a noble cause and good business.
However the press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Bryan Griffin, didn’t think so, saying in a statement: “Discrimination of any sort is not welcome in the state of Florida, and we do not abide by the woke notion that discrimination should be overlooked if applied in a politically popular manner or against a politically unpopular demographic. We are fighting all discrimination in our schools and our workplaces, and we will fight it in publicly accessible places of meeting or activity.”
To DeSantis, diversification is discrimination.
The threat from DeSantis worked and the NHL backed down, later stating the event was open to anyone over the age of 18. This will go down as one of the great acts of cowardice in the recent history of sports.
An entire sports league was chumped by DeSantis and became another loser in the Woke Wars.
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DeSantis wasn’t done. Last month his administration blocked the introduction of a new Advanced Placement course for high school students that focuses on African American studies. Because if there’s one thing we don’t want students to do it’s learn about Black history, which is American history.
“AP African American Studies is not CRT. It’s not the 1619 Project,” historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. told TIME in August. “It is a mainstream, rigorously vetted, academic approach to a vibrant field of study, one half a century old in the American academy, and much older, of course, in historically Black colleges and universities.”
Other things DeSantis is banning includes the sky after the sun sets, coffee that doesn’t have cream and sugar, Oprah, the month of February, Darth Vader, iPhones in dark mode, black bears, the Enterprise’s communications officer, and the Harlem Globetrotters…and also just Harlem. Harlem is not allowed in Florida now.
DeSantis has decoded two important things. First, to him, the Woke Wars are worth fighting because he knows swaths of his base love seeing Black people, the LGBTQ community, and any group of people who aren’t right wing white men attacked. DeSantis is cruel and anti-Black but he’s not politically dumb.
Second, DeSantis also knows that sports is a front in the Woke Wars that can consistently and easily be exploited. He watched Donald Trump attack Colin Kaepernick and Fox host Laura Ingraham tell LeBron James to shut up and dribble.
DeSantis won’t stop with the NHL, Special Olympics or baseball. As he gears up for a presidential run, athletes from the NFL and NBA will get heavily targeted for the same reason he banned teaching of Black history or critical race theory.
Attacking Black people during the Woke Wars is good for right wing business.
And in Florida, under DeSantis, business is a boomin’.