Politicians should stay away from athletes’ endorsements


November is football season; November is election season.

Rarely do the two seasons mingle with each other, since a conversation about 50-yard field goals doesn’t easily transition into a conversation about the tax rate of the top 1 percent of Americans. But this election season has been broken down and analyzed among every voter demographic.

With all of these groups being observed, it is difficult to find a new field in which to poll. Luckily, one demographic hasn’t been picked apart: football players, coaches and owners.

The 2008 presidential election has already had a dramatic effect on  Miami Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga. While he has not officially endorsed a presidential candidate, Huizenga said he will try to sell his major share of the team if Sen. Barack Obama wins, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Huizenga sold 50 percent of his share of the team earlier this year, according to the Sun-Sentinel, and he said he will eventually sell another 45 percent in the future. He said, however, that he will try to sell that share more quickly if Obama wins the election. His reasoning is that he believes Obama would double the capital-gains tax. If the team is sold before Obama’s tax plans are implemented, Huizenga would get more for the team, he said.

There are members of the league — owners and players — who have openly endorsed John McCain, but their reasons have been more vague. McCain found support in battleground state Ohio from Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn and offensive lineman Joe Thomas. Hall-of-Famers John Elway and Troy Aikman also jumped behind McCain, but these endorsements seem to be more of a battleground-state popularity contest among stars, which is a good way to swoon voters.

Obama has executed a similar strategy, winning the endorsements of Lebron James and Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson, also sports icons in Ohio.

It’s ironic that the owner, Huizenga, who has not endorsed a candidate, is the person with the most incentive to do so. Candidates are sending athletes with no interest in politics out into the fan base to sway voters, when the owners have real reason to support one candidate over the other.

This proves the irrelevance of celebrity and athlete endorsements: People who are popular aren’t always right. Politics and football should keep their distance from one another. Seeing the Super Bowl winners shaking hands with the president is often enough mixing of these American institutions.

Hopefully, you have a stronger motive to vote for someone than to do so because Brady Quinn said so. But whatever your reason, go vote; election season and football season will be over before you know it.

Owen Kennedy is a senior in business management. Please send comments to sports@spub.ksu.edu.