There’s an increasing trend of people in power, mostly white men, using cancel culture as a rallying cry to garner support for whatever their cause may be. Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard said he didn’t want to be “canceled” because he “failed” the organization, and banned NWSL coach Paul Riley offered up “woke, cancel culture” as the reason he’ll never coach pro women’s soccer again. Blaming the current political climate for the appalling treatment of your players/employees, or for bringing in washed-up QBs and ESPN talking heads as the franchise saviors, takes away from your conduct.
And using keywords to divert blame or explain away heinous behavior is the point.
Tell us why you’re being canceled, Chris Ballard
First, here’s Ballard dropping a trigger word as the reason Indy fans want him gone.
“When you fail in this world, you get canceled and everybody wants your head. And rightfully so, in some cases. But if you’re able to go through it and learn from it, you can reach your greatest heights.”
Go through what? Your third washed-up starting QB in as many years? It shouldn’t have taken bumbling seasons by Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and Ryan to know that they’re no longer starting NFL quarterbacks. Rivers is retired, Wentz is on his way to the XFL, and Matty Ice is delaying the inevitable.
However, my guess is Ballard was really referring to the hiring of former ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday as interim head coach for the final eight weeks of the season. The former offensive lineman won his first game, and then went O-fer the rest of the way. Now, he’s a candidate for the permanent job despite a bevy of more qualified, largely Black candidates.
Even though the move was Jim Irsay’s brainchild, an NFL owner can’t get fired (or even canceled as hard as Daniel Snyder might try), so the onus ultimately lands at Ballard’s feet. The Colts bringing in Saturday was a terrible look for the league considering the pending lawsuit it’s facing for its alleged hiring practices, and defending dumb decisions with a battle cry about being canceled is Donald Trump’s media strategy for pretty much everything.
Obviously, blaming Irsay for the hire would put Ballard’s job in jeopardy, so he did the next worst thing, which was rail against cancel culture as the reason for his problems.
Paul Riley’s clueless argument
There’s a massive difference between what Ballard said/did and what got Riley banned for life. The behavior of the former women’s soccer coach was the picture of a person abusing their power to manipulate and control an employee for sex. Riley’s actions were not only cancelable offenses, but should’ve landed him in court.
Well, he is going to court, but it’s to fight the ruling handed down by the league.
“We have a lot of plans ahead to fight a lot of things,” Riley told a regional North Carolina NBC affiliate after receiving the lifetime banishment. “Absolutely never had any intention of coaching in NWSL again. The political, woke, cancel culture of the league says it all.”
Yes, Riley’s actions definitely offended people who categorize themselves as woke, and absolutely got himself canceled. Yet, there’s a difference between your favorite comedian catching shit for crossing the line of what’s politically correct, and this jackass’ borderline criminal behavior.
Using “I’m being canceled for not being woke enough” as a blanket defense for being an irredeemable piece of shit has given repugnant people a way to drum up sympathy and support. We’ve reached a point where promoting diversity and equality is looked upon negatively because it’s “woke.” And being canceled is a rite of passage to the right wing as they’ll gladly cape for bigots whose profile was raised as a result of being too “real” for decent society and their last job.
So while Ballard is not barreling toward hell like Riley, he’s thrown himself in with a group of people who aren’t so much anti-cancel culture or anti-woke as they are anti-accountability and anti-equality.