On last night’s The Daily Show, Trevor Noah recapped the highs and lows of Sunday night’s Golden Globes broadcast, and had a fair critique of Meryl Streep’s lauded acceptance speech, in which she advocated for inclusiveness and mutual respect in this divisive political and social climate. “I understand what Meryl Streep was trying to do,” said Noah, “and I don’t know if I could have done better, but here’s the thing I feel like we could all learn as people. You don’t have to make your point by shitting on someone else’s thing, because a lot of people love football and the arts.” The host was referring to this quote from Streep: “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”
If you’ve been hanging on Streep’s every word over the past 20 years, the icon’s disdain for professional athletics is something you might have come across. While accepting her Golden Globe for Angels in America in 2004, the actress expressed hope that we, as a nation, could focus on addressing the real problems of the world instead of things like “steroids in sports.” Then in 2011, she sat for an interview with OnEarth Magazine in which she talked about the importance of shopping for good quality food, and said establishing a budget for healthy eating could be done if you sacrificed, say, your cable bill: “Maybe you don’t need 20 channels of ESPN.” Streep’s anti-football and MMA comments on Sunday night were a brief moment of pettiness in a speech that was otherwise powerful, elegant, and important, and Noah reminded his audience not to lose sight of her greater point — even if you’re sure she is a person who says “sportsball” and that’s really annoying to you. “It was a speech about respect. It was a speech about empathy, and most importantly, it was a speech about responsibility.” So, out of mutual respect, maybe Meryl will still come to your Super Bowl potluck if you ask very nicely.