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.