Friday, April 19, 2024

A Nation Needed a Villain, and They Created It in LSU Basketball

The LSU women’s basketball team was not on the court for the national anthem before its Elite Eight showdown with Iowa Monday night. It was not a good look, and a nation led by a media who was promoting much of this not that long ago with the aftermath of Colin Kaepernick instantly turned on the Lady Tigers.

Here’s the thing: LSU was already positioned squarely inside the role of villain in this story, a wholly created narrative ripe for reaction and ratings.

A record number of people tuned in across America to watch ESPN on Monday night, a showdown between Iowa and LSU that saw the Hawkeyes punch their ticket to the Final Four with a 94-87 victory.

The fated meeting had been brewing since last year’s national title game, when LSU claimed the championship over Iowa, when star Angel Reese, in the waning moments of the game, made every headline after her behavior toward Hawkeye and college basketball sensation Caitlin Clark.

That move by Reese was not unlike much of what goes on in the sports world today. It wasn’t much unlike the trash talking Clark herself does. It is something that, personally as a fan and not as a writer, I don’t particularly care for, no matter what sport it is or which of the two sexes we’re talking about.

That is my ‘old man/get off the lawn’ moment of the day. This commentary is not about the morals, values, or prideful behavior of young college athletes. It is about the media and what storms they create in our society.

The Good vs Evil Binary Trap

I’ve explored the binary trap often in my work on the geopolitical stage, so for the scope of this article, I will skip the philosophical pleasantries.

Simply put, as anyone paying even a little bit of attention knows, the media needed a villain for this developing story. Dark vs Light creates intrigue and, by extension, viewership. It started mere days earlier, incidentally by Coach Kim Mulkey herself, when she offered a scathing reprimand of a Washington Post writer who was planning to run an unbecoming article on her.

The media, by and large, jumped on the opportunity to defend their own, of course.

Then came the LSU-UCLA Sweet Sixteen matchup, where LSU would continue to be cast in the villain’s role. Ben Bolch of the LA Times wrote the ultimate good gals vs bad gals column that kindled interest in the game. The Times would later edit the column, and Bolch would apologize:

LSU beat UCLA 78-69 on Saturday to advance in the Women’s NCAA tournament. Before the game, columnist Ben Bolch wrote that the Lady Tigers were “dirty debutantes” and called them “villains,” while calling the Bruins “milk and cookies.”

Mulkey said this after the Tigers’ victory over UCLA:

“It was good versus evil in that game today. Evil? Called us dirty debutantes? Take your phone out right now and Google dirty debutantes and tell me what it says. Dirty debutantes? Are you kidding me? I’m not going to let you talk about 18-to-21-year-old kids in that tone.”

All of this–all of it–was the context before faux outrage spread all over the internet concerning the LSU team’s absence during the national anthem before its game against Iowa. It was the fiery storm before even more gasoline was poured on it.

Here’s what Dylan Gwinn of released as a headline and introduction after the game:

LSU Walks Off the Floor Before National Anthem, Iowa Stands and Wins

LSU’s women’s basketball team walked off the floor before the national anthem was played  Monday night in their Elite Eight matchup against rival Iowa.

Iowa’s players stood respectfully for the anthem.

Gwinn, who stoked the good vs evil binary throughout the article, presented several posts from more gasoline throwers, and of course, if you look at the comments under the posts, people across the country were all too ready to run with it as well:

It was all over my Facebook feed, and I don’t have that many friends! Here is one popular article being spread. Even the Governor of Louisiana and the Louisiana Freedom Caucus joined the rallying cry against Mulkey and her team:

We like Governor Landry and the Louisiana Freedom Caucus. But it does appear there is more than meets the eye here, like when exactly the NCAA actually decided to do the national anthem. It seems that it occurred at a pretty inconvenient time, as it turns out, for LSU.

That–all of that just nutshelled–is where the story will end for many Americans. It is what has become an all-too-common reality in our society that, thankfully, millions of citizen journalists across the country are working hard to mitigate. It is how the Mandela Effect is even a thing.

The Mandela effect is a type of false memory that occurs when many different people incorrectly remember the same thing. It refers to a widespread false memory that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 1980s.

Memories are not always precise recordings of events. They can change with time, and a person may have different memories in different contexts. Memory is also highly suggestible, which means that other people’s opinions and memories may influence what a person remembers.

The Other Side of the Story

In the press conference following LSU’s loss to Iowa, Coach Mulkey was asked about the team’s absence during the national anthem. Mulkey said it was unintentional.

“Honestly I don’t even know when the anthem was played,” she explained. “We kind of have a routine where we are on the floor then they come off at the 12-minute mark. I don’t know. We come in and we do our pre-game stuff. I’m sorry. Listen, that’s nothing intentionally done.”

And that should have been the end of it. But the wildfire was already spreading before the Tiger team even had a chance to dry their eyes from the difficult defeat.

Fortunately, many people saw through the charade. Equally fortunately, there were many commentators responding to the sort of posts I presented above. Former LSU PA announcer Matt Dunn was one of them.

And here is what Dunn posted on Facebook and X this morning:

I would love to continue to post comments from both sides of this issue, but you get the point. The story goes so far beyond what it has been categorized as by a narrative-creating society that loves to hold fast to its tribalism no matter what discriminatory critical thinking may be called for. If you think teams need to be on the court for the national anthem, it is a case to take up with the NCAA and the television networks. Not the LSU basketball program.

This is what mass psychosis I and so many others are fighting to wake people up to through the digital battlefield. Despite the media’s and the great deceiver Satan’s efforts to make an issue out of nothing at all, millions of Americans are waking up to this sinister pattern–and incidentally we have stories like this to thank for that. Without the stories, the aftermath, discussion, and realizations would never occur. People would never stand up and fight for the truth, or at least more of it, and said truth about what the media has been doing to divide us for decades would never come to light.

The fact that at times I’m a bit of a grouch trapped in the life of a 46-year-old, who doesn’t like anything about the pomp and “swagger” of modern sports, does not change the fact that this same pomp and swagger was likely one unfair reason everyone latched on to LSU being a villain here in the first place. I despise the woke religion of this society as much as anyone, but the evidence here doesn’t point to an anthem protest. Rejection of youthful arrogance and woke culture, not to mention the fact that I and so many of our readers love the American flag, are not reasons to pile on the Tiger team in this case.

May everyone named directly or referenced indirectly ask forgiveness and do penance for their sins against America and God. I fight this information war in the spirit of justice and love for the innocent, but I have been reminded of the need for mercy and prayers for our enemies. I am a sinner in need of redemption as well, for my sins are many. In the words of Jesus Christ himself, Lord forgive us all, for we know not what we do.