- - Monday, April 29, 2019

Here we go again … with a twist.

Another athlete has made national headlines for his political views, for stances that drew attention from the White House. But this time, President Trump is singing the player’s praises instead of calling him an SOB.

“Congratulations to Nick Bosa on being picked number two in the NFL Draft,” POTUS tweeted Saturday after the San Francisco 49ers selected the Ohio State defensive end. “You will be a great player for years to come, maybe one of the best. Big Talent! San Francisco will embrace you but most importantly, always stay true to yourself. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”

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Ha! You thought sports and politics don’t mix!

Actually, this is good. Anything that causes us to look inward and ask difficult questions — like who we really are and what we really believe — is welcome. Maybe some of us will pull our heads from wherever and open our eyes.

Bosa is a big supporter of the commander in chief, previously tweeting that Trump and Ronald Reagan are GOATS (you know: Greatest of All Time). Nothing wrong with that. Like everyone else, he’s entitled to back the politicians of his choice.

If Bosa wants the world to know who he’s with, so be it.

Bosa also previously tweeted his displeasure with Colin Kaepernick, calling the former 49ers quarterback “a clown;” Marvel’s “Black Panther,” which he said is the company’s worst movie; and Beyoncé, dismissing her music as “complete trash.”

Again, perfectly reasonable to expect art and politics to be criticized by some and not by others.

The fact is, Bosa’s thinking probably aligns with a large percentage of NFL owners and a substantial number of NFL fans. He might be in the minority among his fellow laborers, but certainly at least a few like-minded players exist in locker rooms across the league.

Freedom of expression, right?

I mean, every player shouldn’t lose that privilege just because Kaepernick wasn’t allowed to express his mind and remain employed.

We’ve seen sports figures take stands against bullying, domestic violence, cancer, world hunger, animal cruelty and a list of other causes. Many even offer lip service on matters such as systemic racism.

But this is where the subject goes from rights, to what’s right, with no room for deliberation on the latter. This is where “everyone is entitled to their opinion” must be shouted down, unequivocally, the exact opposite of saying there are “very fine people on both sides.”

Let’s overlook for a moment that Bosa seems to have issue with black pop culture. The problem isn’t his preference in music and movies.

It’s his past inclination to like tweets filled with homophobia and white supremacist leanings.

Of course, no one at NFL headquarters can publicly support a hate-based ideology that breeds fear and inspires violence. (The same is true of anyone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, though there’s a history of winks, nods and dog whistles).

There can’t be even the slightest hint of approval — not from Bosa, commissioner Roger Goodell, or anyone else in the league — regarding a philosophy that turns blacks, Jews, Muslims and homosexuals into enemy targets.

If that’s what Bosa believes in, by no means should he “stay true” to himself.

That’s like suggesting pedophiles, rapists and mass murders should stick with their primal instincts, too, embracing impulses that have fueled recent attacks on houses of worship and who-knows-how-many sex crimes.

The message from the NFL and all righteous people should be clear, stressed loudly and repeatedly:

No, you’re not entitled to the opinion that certain individuals deserve to be slaughtered for no reason beside their religion, skin color or sexuality. No, that point-of-view isn’t welcome, not in this league or anywhere in the civilized world. No, this isn’t a subject for debate because your points are invalid and unworthy of consideration.

As a first-round draft pick, Bosa has a tremendous platform to espouse his views. He’ll probably tone down now that he’s in the league, just like he scrubbed his social media accounts before the draft in a futile attempt to avoid controversy.

“It’s kind of what (draft) prospects do a lot of the time,” Bosa told 49ers reporters during his introductory news conference. “My agent took control of my social media when it comes to that and deleted whatever he thought would rub people the wrong way.”

Not liking certain music or certain movies — or even a certain posture during the national anthem — is nothing to get worked up over. But not liking certain groups of people, as a whole, because you’ve demonized and “other-rized” them? That should rub everyone the same way.

It’s not right.

Now, remind me again how sports and politics don’t mix.

⦁ Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.

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