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I've been wondering whether Obama's candidacy might have an effect on athletes, not just African American athletes but their fellow players as well as coaches, at all levels of athletics.  I heard something today on ESPN that made me think something might be going on to dent the traditional, overwhelmingly Republican conservative world of U.S. athletics, particularly football.

And yes, this is partly a desperate attempt to put more Obama diaries up to crowd out the "P" stuff, but there may be something happening here, as Steven Stills once sang.

On ESPN today, during the College Gameday show, there was a story on Ohio State preparing for today's opening day.  The coach, Jim Tressel (sp?) talked about how he was trying to motivate his highly ranked team - and they cut to one of his black players saying "He got something from Obama".  Then back to the coach, who said he'd heard Obama say something that really hit him - and then they showed footage of Obama at a campaign event talking about "the urgency of now" a few months ago.  The coach said that really impressed him, and he used the phrase with his players, including many upperclassmen, to stress that they have to play hard NOW and not wait for the next chance.

This is one small example, of course, but I think it might be just one example of Obama's candidacy starting to have an effect, at least on African-American athletes to start, who in turn are probably hearing from their parents how important it is to support Obama.  Those young men in their turn might have an effect on their fellow players and more broadly on their fellow students.  To hear that a major college football coach was listening to Obama, and was impressed enough to make a point of what he said to his players, AND to have it show up on ESPN is just very interesting to me.

I would imagine that a lot of pro players, who are knee-jerk Republicans just because they don't want their taxes raised, are also sorely tempted to support Obama.  They may not be able to show it, but it may be a little bit of a culture-changing thing.  Not THE most important thing in the world, I realize, but if athletes could break up their reflexive allegiance with conservatism, maybe others can too.

Originally posted to geordie on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 04:49 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Actually several football players, retired and (10+ / 0-)

    active have formed a group for Obama and have been raising quite a bit of money and making appearances on his behalf.

    That's not a Maverick. That's a sidekick!

    by DWKING on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 04:53:14 PM PDT

  •  Tip'd and rec'd for more Obama ! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, dharmafarmer

    now I'll read the diary...

    Secret Agent fairy Princess twirling about performing acts of graceful espionage

    by ballerina X on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 04:56:58 PM PDT

  •  hoping they are all registered voters (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jj32, trashablanca, dharmafarmer

    registering all their friends,
    planning to get them to the polls in November
    and after college,  running for office themselves

    i have a dream,  i see more diversity in city, county, state and federal elected office for years to come...        i see men and women seeking office whose parents (my age and younger) could not envision for themselves.

    sports have run a parallel with MLK Jr.'s Dream and example
    governance must run a parallel with Obama's new example

  •  Thank you for the Obama diary..I'm tried of 'P' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, dharmafarmer
  •  the Fierce Urgency of Now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, dharmafarmer

    is, while not new to college coaching, not exactly only a few days old.

    I know you did not say it was, but I remember seeing a report on this some months ago. It may well have been Tressel featured in the report, or it may have been another coach, but I remember the words (paraphrased) "We're gonna have fun this year. ... Yeah, regular fun, but also something Dr. King talked about: F-U-N. The Fierce Urgency of Now."

    I heard that phrase on ESPN before I heard it from Obama, though I wasn't then even a particularly fervent supporter of Obama and thus might have missed where he said it earlier and thus inspired that coach.

    "Homeless veteran" should be an oxymoron.

    by iampunha on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 05:03:38 PM PDT

    •  But Tressel specifically talked about Obama (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trashablanca, dharmafarmer

      That's what struck me - Tressel said to the ESPN interviewer that he had heard this from Obama and it particularly struck him.  I also think he thought linking it to Obama might make it more effective with his players.

      Yes, I know the phrase itself is not new - but it was Tressel's citing of Obama that struck me.

    •  Obama has been talking about the "fierce urgency (0+ / 0-)

      of now" since his first days on the campaign trail----it was part of his stump speech in Iowa.  He always gave credit to its origination, but always used it about the need for change now---that we can't afford to wait.

  •  tennis, too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, dharmafarmer

    During CBS' opener for today's US Open coverage, CBS showed a clip of Obama from Thursday night and compared his historic nomination to Arthur Ashe's history win  of the US Open 40 years ago.

    In fact, James Blake is a big Obama supporter so there's another reason to hope he wins the tournament. Beside the fact that he's a great guy, of course. A long shot but if he gets hot, he can win it.

    •  That would be so great! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dharmafarmer

      I can still remember exactly where I was (in the car, on the way to a dog show - don't ask, long story - with my then-husband, listening on the radio) when Arthur Ashe won Wimbledon.  I would love to see JB take the Open.

  •  I think the more all of these players get (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca

    educated on the issues (if they bother paying attention) the more likely they would be to be democrats regardless of Obama. Sure, republicans will give them a tax cut, but I've got to imagine most of their old neighborhoods are languishing and a lot of their relatives they are not personally supporting could use a change in Washington

  •  Rec'd for putting Obama back on sight/site (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dharmafarmer

    and for avoiding another

    She Who Shall Not Be Named

    diary.

    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

    by trashablanca on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 05:25:09 PM PDT

  •  Leadership in any sphere... (0+ / 0-)

    ...affects the greater society. But how uncommon when it can be the POTUS and can reach so many.  I think an oft missed part of the '08 race ('cept by us) is the motivation many people have taken into their own lives. Obama reflects the potential in each of us to achieve in what we have chosen. EACH of us. I honestly know that I work harder thinking about an America on a more noble course. We all need to be reminded of the need to "pray with our feet," as I believe someone at the convention said.  

    I also loved how Senator Obama referenced the beauty of our land in the intro to his speech today. I'm sure The physical canvas of our North American continent is also a large part of how we as Americans have developed. It's in our jobs, our leisure, and sometimes our politics. It should be considered our sacred responsibility to take care of it. He gets it.

    Thanks for this diary.

    Do you see what happens Larry?

    by future humus on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 05:43:59 PM PDT

  •  Interesting. I listen to ESPN radio (0+ / 0-)

    frequently and have heard some of the hosts make some positive comments about Obama's leadership as well. I remember one say that he thought both Obama and Huckabee could coach in the NFL. And another say, that Obama is one hell of a motivator.

    No way. No how. No McCain -Hillary Clinton

    by jj32 on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 06:12:18 PM PDT

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