Sports, Politics Don’t Mix


I was rooting for Tennys Sandgren (at left) in his match against South Korea’s Hyeon Chung (at right) in spite of his alleged alt-right political leanings. I imagine you’re surprised. I don’t usually cut alt-right sympathizers any slack.

But sports is about friendly rivalry, not politics.  And Sandgren has had such a tough career that I feel sorry for the guy.

I hope that as he matures and moves in more enlightened circles (he’s from Tennessee), his politics will change for the better.

Sandgren seems already to be having second thoughts. He has wiped his social media slate clean and denies that he is the far-right camp follower the media make him out to be.

He was the last American left In the Australian Open. The other remaining American standard bearer, Madison Keys, was earlier demolished by Angelique Kerber. And there were no Jamaicans or Canadians to root for.

Puzzlingly, Jamaicans don’t excel at international tennis the way they do at track. And Canada’s stars, including Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard, were ousted early in the tournament.

So I was disappointed when Sandgren got “whupped” by Chung despite some remarkable shots. Both of these underdog contestants deserve the highest praise for their effort in the tournament. And I wish Chung the best. I hope – and expect – he will have a bright future in professional tennis.

It’s a shame such an epic contest was marred by political squabbling. I believe sports and politics should be kept as separate as possible.

More on the political fallout

Sandgren’s match