Former liberal-leaning ESPN host Jemele Hill, who currently works for The Atlantic, has thoughts about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s apparent political beliefs.
More specifically, she thinks the fact that he’s a conservative who dared to “like” posts from well-known conservative political commentators is “stupid.”
Let me back up a little bit. Rudolph, who the Steelers picked in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft out of Oklahoma State, is set to make his first career start Sunday after longtime Pittsburgh starter Ben Roethlisberger hurt his elbow and was ruled out for the year.
Eager to capitalize on Rudolph’s boosted name recognition, a pro-Colin Kaerpnick account called “@RzstProgramming” decided to go digging through Rudolph’s social media history.
Apparently unable to find any “offensive” posts, the account instead took issue with the fact that Rudolph had previously “liked” some posts from conservative commentators like Tomi Lahren and Ben Shapiro.
One of Lahren’s posts took a shot at Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who started the trend of football players kneeling for the national anthem, and another called Hill an “ESPN princess.”
Anyway, @RzstProgramming revealed the results of the investigation into Rudolph’s “likes” in a Twitter thread, which you can read by clicking here if you really feel the need.
The “story” got picked up by a website called Black Sports Online and was tweeted out by BSO CEO Robert Littal with the caption, “Steelers Mason Rudolph Supports Anti-Colin Kaepernick & Jemele Hill Posts; Rudolph is Big Fan of Tomi Lahren, MAGA & Trump.”
Hill retweeted Littal’s post, adding, “We all have the right to be stupid.”
We all have the right to be stupid. https://t.co/ssZZLCLzNY
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 20, 2019
I almost hate that this is a story in the first place, but since Hill and others on social media have been criticizing Rudolph, I do think it’s important to point out how dumb it all is.
Rudolph does not appear to be particularly outspoken about his political beliefs — sure, he liked some conservative content on Twitter and Instagram, but that’s about it.
Moreover, none of this is actually “news” in the timeliness sense of the word. Rather, @RzstProgramming waited until Rudolph had a bit of national name recognition before attempting to drag his name through the mud for the sin of … wait for it … apparently being a conservative.
It’s similar — though not the same — to what we saw last December when media outlets waited until the day that then-Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy to resurface some insensitive tweets he had posted years ago.
Unlike Murray, Rudolph hadn’t actually done or said anything that normal people might construe as “offensive.”
Still, at least in some corners, being a conservative is enough of a sin to warrant being “canceled.”
Unfortunately, this kind of thing is all too common in a culture where bad actors seek to stir up controversy over the tiniest things, and where outrage mobs on social media gleefully gobble it up.
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