The argument from Curtis here is extraordinarily muddled. He starts by citing a complaint that sportswriters won’t stop talking about politics. His last paragraph includes the phrase “but when you attempt to divorce sports from politics”. And in between he primarily cites examples of writers who are talking about sports and politics, but doing so in a way that he doesn’t like (and, to be clear, that I also find offputting and naive.)
But isn’t the exact point there that the cited examples AREN’T divorcing sports from politics? They’re making all sorts of political metaphors, and even Boswell writing, “hey, check out the World Series, so different from this year’s politics” is mixing sports and politics in its own way.
So I can’t really tell what his point is, and none of these are what I see in the phrase “adult emotional Disneyland” sportswriting. That’s where every great athlete is a gritty hero, and it’s the cheers of the fans spurring a team to find that extra little bit of effort to win the game.
And, by the way, I see the real reaction to that sort of sportswriting in coverage that’s based on statistical analysis, baseball pitch selection, football film breakdown, etc. Ben Lindbergh does a lot of that, sites such as Fangraphs do that, and a few writers at ESPN (Bill Barnwell, Dan Szymborski, Matt Bowen) do that. (That list obviously isn’t exhaustive.) For that matter, Adam Schefter breaking news from his sources, or Mel Kiper covering the draft ad nauseum, is still in the realm of fact-based coverage without hagiography. And maybe the politics of some of those writers are apparent if you follow them on Twitter, but it comes through rarely if ever if you read or see them providing information the sports that they cover. They avoid mixing sports and politics by … simply covering sports.