Sports, Coronavirus, Protests and Fireworks, and How They are All Connected
By Bob Branco
July 7, 2020
Recently, I had a healthy debate on the telephone with a friend of mine about everything that’s been going on in this country while lots of fireworks were crackling all around me. This year, fireworks seemed to be at an all-time high, and I told my friend why I believe this is true.
As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, there are millions of people across the country doing nothing. They can’t go to work, school, a gym, a movie, many restaurants, a sporting event, and lots of other activities that play a role in our every-day lives. Although most people have no problem obeying the rules and regulations designed to protect all of us from the Coronavirus, I’m sure it’s frustrating. People have too much time on their hands, and many need to release their aggression. Add to all of that the fact that lots of people are getting stimulus money, and are able to purchase fireworks where they are legally sold. Then there’s the senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The reaction to this crime was over the top. There have been protests, riots, arson, vandalism, attempts at a socialist takeover, and a very strong reaction to what is perceived to be increased racism in America.
What do the increase in fireworks displays and the passionate reaction to the death of George Floyd have in common? In my opinion, much of this has to do with the Coronavirus. I am not suggesting that there wouldn’t be a strong reaction to George Floyd’s death if there wasn’t a pandemic. Just consider the Rodney King incident in 1992. People will react out of emotion no matter what the circumstances are. However, I think you would all agree that the pandemic and the subsequent lock downs have caused a lot of anger and aggression in society which magnify everything. In 2020, fireworks displays have increased nearly 400 percent compared to years past, and the fall-out from George Floyd’s death is historical.
As for sports, a gentleman who appeared on my sports podcast last week put it best. America needs sports, if for no other reason, as a positive distraction from everything negative that’s going on right now. This is not to say that we will have sports this year. The professional sports leagues have a lot to do in order to protect their players, coaches, managers and other staff members from the virus. However, the feasibility of sports and the need for sports are two different discussions. I think we should make that clear, because a lot of people remind me that sports may not come back whenever I point out that America needs sports. Again, these are two entirely different discussions.
Here is my conclusion. If we never had a pandemic, had our sports, and if the murder of George Floyd still took place, there would still be riots, protests and fireworks, but not to the extent that we are seeing right now.
America needs a positive distraction as soon as possible.