Andrew Bogut and the Political Intolerance of the Left
Against my much better judgment, I logged on to Twitter this morning when I should have been writing. I couldn’t help but notice that ‘Bogut’ was trending, and in this age of political intolerance and cancel culture, I knew exactly what that meant.
For those not in the know, Andrew Bogut is arguably Australia’s most accomplished basketball export. He was the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, and went on to play 15 seasons in the world’s foremost league, averaging 9.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and winning a championship ring with the Golden State Warriors in 2015. He also represented Australia at the Olympics on three separate occasions.
But none of that mattered to Twitter’s left-leaning user base today.
Hundreds of users with too much time on their hands - perhaps owing to lockdown, perhaps not - flocked to Twitter to cry bloody murder at Andrew Bogut co-commentating, would you believe it... an Olympic basketball game between Australia and Nigeria?!
Users failed to fathom how Channel 7 - a major Australian free-to-air television network, would hire Bogut, given his unpopular-with-the-left views on COVID-19, lockdowns, and vaccinations.
But what do one’s political views or beliefs have to do with their ability to commentate a basketball game?
Are we saying that in order to maintain your livelihood, you need to conform to a very specific political narrative or else?
Humanity has been here before many times, and it doesn’t work out all that well - the Gulag archipelago, where 1.5 million Soviet dissenters perished, comes to mind.
There’s a word for enforcing strict obedience to authority, or a central idea, at the expense of personal freedoms to choose and express one’s views... Authoritarianism.
It would be one thing if Bogut used Channel 7’s platform to broadcast his own personal beliefs on complex matters to a large public, but he didn’t.
He simply used the opportunity to do what he was hired to do - demonstrate his high basketball IQ, and illuminate the nuances of the game game in a way that made for compelling listening for both a basketball-savvy and a general audience. Alongside another Australian basketball great, Andrew Gaze, the pair did just fine, and Australia ran away with an 84-67 victory at a tournament in which many punters expect them to finally score a medal.
It wasn’t all negative on the Twitterverse though, with one fan summing up the combo’s efforts behind the mic.
If we want to live in a truly progressive society - rather than just pay lip service to the idea, then we can’t just pick and choose which ideas we are tolerant of and which we aren’t. There’s nothing progressive about political intolerance. You might not like an idea, and that’s okay, but calling for people to be canceled because you don’t like their ideas is a very dangerous game, and one that you can unsuspectingly find yourself on the losing side of.
We can all benefit from learning to actively listen to and understand each other and work through our differences, rather than yell passed each other as has become par for the course over the past few years. The same holds true in our personal lives as much as it does in the political arena.
Thank you Channel 7 for making not just a perfect choice for the commentary box, but one that sends a signal to Australians that you should be and are permitted to have and express your own opinions about complex matters, and in doing so you are not precluded from earning a living, and won't be sent to the proverbial gulag of the day. At least, that's the great hope.