Let's ignore everything we know about Kid Rock for a moment. We will get back to that but for now let's think about the NHL's decision to hire him to sing at the All-Star Game next weekend, and only that decision.
Kid Rock opened the taxpayer-funded Little Caesars Arena in Detroit four months ago. It pissed off a lot of people and there were protests. As far as ways to christen an arena built with money that came from a lot of black residents—who make up a large portion of the city's population—you could not have done much worse than choosing a guy who has a history of bathing himself in the Confederate flag.
This was a widely reported story that happened in the city of an Original Six team, so it's not as though it was a secret. This is the same team that had to put out fires when white supremacists—who also wrap themselves in a Confederate flag—used the Red Wings logo during that rally in Charlottesville. Again, another massive story.
So whatever you think of Kid Rock, you have to wonder how the NHL could be this stupid. Sure, we all know the NHL doesn't care about its fans and we have cited countless examples of the indifference but this is taking it to a new level. Usually, the NHL accidentally gets its dick caught in a zipper; with this, it's like they lined it up after sharpening the teeth.
Even if you think Kid Rock is wonderful and you're one of those people that has the ability to separate the art from the artist, how are you unable to foresee the fan reaction? How is there not one person on the 15th floor of the NHL offices who points out that this will come across as tone deaf as anything the league has ever done, and they're doing it so Kid fucking Rock plays for seven forgettable minutes at an equally forgettable event from which fans have been pushed from in recent years anyway?
Kid Rock isn't a get on any level. There's no logic behind this. There is only downside. He's not bringing new fans to the table. If anything, his presence will turn off new ones or prevent the ones you already have from watching the game. There can't be a sane person who looks at everything involving Kid Rock over just the past four months and says, "Yeah, but all the blowback will be worth it."
I wonder about all that because the real offensive act isn't Kid Rock taking the stage at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay (although maybe he rambles about transgender bathrooms again) while most of the crowd is taking a leak; it's the decision itself, whether the NHL put weeks of thought into it or none at all. It's that someone believed this was a good idea or that no one thought it was a bad one.
I'm so white that I have to check "translucent" on all government forms so all I can do is read and listen to people of color about what a decision like this says to them. It sends a clear message that "the NHL doesn’t care about you." It says they dismissed you for something as insignificant as a washed-up 1990s star, and I can only imagine the short- and long-term effects it will have on a community that already feels ignored or doesn't have much interest in the NHL in the first place.
I know everyone is sick and tired of reading sports things with "Donald Trump" in the copy and I assure you that I wish I didn't have to type them, but that's the reality of today. Kid Rock supporting Trump and screaming "Fuck Colin Kaepernick" at concerts is a massive turnoff for most people. There are literally thousands of performers with the same nonexistent cache of Kid Rock with none of his divisive rhetoric that could have been hired for less money. This should have been the easiest decision ever for the Declaration of Principles league.
Kid Rock could be the most popular musical act in the world today and this would still be an insanely dumb move, so trying to measure the dumbness when Kid Rock in 2018 is about as universally appealing as hearing about Trump's dick all day is impossible.
Even if you're someone who says, "Ugh, let's keep politics out of sports! I don't want to hear this!" this is a guy that talked for months about running for Senate (whether it was a bit or not) and went to the White House to shake hands with Trump and created pro-Trump T-shirts to sell on his personal website. This is the NHL getting involved in politics, even if it doesn't come across that way to you.
Kid Rock's most ardent supporters must admit having him at the NHL All-Star Game makes no sense. You can scream about snowflakes and shit all you want, but come on. Objectively, this is stupid. No sports league should attempt to die on a hill of Bawitdaba CD singles fished out of a 99 cent bin at Walmart.