Demonstrators are undermining their causes with excessive kookiness | David Whitley

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun
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If an animal rights protester chained themself to Tom Brady’s leg at halftime, would Bucs fans be more or less likely to give up red meat?

That sounds like a preposterous question, but we live in an increasingly bizarro world. To wit:

At last week’s British Grand Prix, a group of “Just Stop Oil” demonstrators sat on the track shortly after the start of the race. An accident slowed the pack of cars before it got to the protesters, otherwise they might have turned into Formula 1 roadkill.

That would have been unfortunate, but I’ve got to be honest. It wouldn’t have bothered me if a car had gently run over a couple of activists’ toes. Something needs to jolt a little sense into their overheated heads.

Protests at sports events has long been a way of life, but the demonstrations have usually been on the sidelines. Now they’re increasingly intruding on events.

In the past few weeks, NBA games, a Premier League match and the French Open have been interrupted by kooks gluing or tying themselves to floors, goalposts and nets.

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It’s an offshoot of a larger trend that’s seen demonstrators glue themselves to works of art in museums. Protesters say the public displays bring attention to their causes and pressure global leaders to eliminate fossil fuel and replace Big Macs with tofu burgers.

I don’t know about you, but when I see a climate-change activist plop down in front of a pack of race cars, my reaction isn’t, “I really should switch to LED light bulbs.” It’s, “What a bunch of yahoos.”

If anything, it makes me want to buy a coal-fired 2009 Dodge Ram 2500 and drive around town on underinflated tires.

Just Stop Oil?

How about just stop acting so kooky. People might be more sympathetic to your cause….

Stud of the Week: Italian cyclist Daniel Oss. He broke his neck when he crashed into a spectator during the Tour de France. But he got back on his bike and finished that day’s race.

Dud of the Week: Tennis diva Serena Williams. She skipped Wimbledon’s Centenary Celebration because, after losing her first-round match, organizers wouldn’t let her keep using the five courtesy cars she was supposed to turn in.

Five courtesy cars? Williams obviously didn’t use one to attend the “Just Stop Oil” rally at the British Grand Prix.

Dud II: Chicago Bears wideout David Moore. It’s not so much that he was arrested on drug and weapons charges. It was that he was arrested after falling asleep in a Taco Bell drive-thru line. It’s hard enough getting a Chalupa Supreme without the drive-thru being clogged up by a zonked-out NFL receiver…

Portland’s Damian Lillard signed a two-year, $122 million contract extension last week. That works out to approximately $744,000 per game. That may seem exorbitant, but it doesn’t include the use of any Wimbledon courtesy cars….

College Football Chaos Update: Washington and Oregon have threatened to glue themselves to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren if they are not invited to join that conference….

Just Stop Oil Update: The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that greenhouse gas emissions would decrease 17% if Skip Bayless contracted laryngitis for a week….

Aaron Rodgers said he’d cut off his man bun if Charles Barkley beat him at the American Century Celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe over the weekend. Rodgers finished ninth and Sir Charles finished 74th, so Barkley donated $25,000 to a charity of Rodgers’ choice. Hopefully, Barkley will donate another $25,000 to start a “Just Stop Man Buns” movement….

A Gallup Poll released last week found that only 16% of Americans have “a great deal/quite a lot” of trust in newspapers and 11% have such faith in TV news. Both are down 5% from last year.

I can’t help feeling partially responsible, and I again apologize for writing the Jaguars would go 14-3 under new coach Urban Meyer….

Portland Redux: At $744,000 per game, Damian Lillard will make as much in one game as the average LIV golfer makes for playing like Charles Barkley every tournament….

A moment of silence for James Caan, who passed away last week at age 82. He was a real-life football benchwarmer at Michigan State, then he made America weep as Brian Piccolo in “Brian’s Song.” RIP, Sonny Corleone…

This Just In: After being offered $744,00 per game and unlimited use of university vehicles, Serena Williams has signed with Texas A&M….

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. If it has further damaged your trust in media, please don’t sit in front of the next newspaper delivery truck you see coming down the street.

— David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at dwhitley@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidEWhitley

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