Over the holidays we’ll be re-visiting Sportsnet staff writers’ favourite pieces from 2017. Today: Jeff Blair explains why a piece called Alex Ovechkin reminds us of the inconvenient truths in sport tops his list.
We were in a culture war long before United States President Donald Trump decided to lurch into the whole Colin Kaepernick/national anthem debate, but it was at that point that my friend Jeff Marek took to Twitter to suggest it was time to pick sides.
This is a tricky situation for sports fans, who for the most part don’t seem interested in political litmus tests for their favourite athlete – in some instances, no doubt, out of fear.
But Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has gone where few of his peers have ventured, using social media to profess support for Russian President-cum-dictator Vladimir Putin. It wasn’t a shock; the Ovechkin family has long been part of the Russian sports apparatus.
But it did make choosing sides a little more complicated, in a year in which sports and politics became inseparable.