Did you see that ESPN.com article last weekend about sports and politics? It includes a table that shows the donations of athletes and execs from every sport.
Did you see that ESPN.com article last weekend about sports and politics?
The piece, by Paula Lavigne, is called “Pro sports figures more invested in this presidential campaign“:
In the presidential playoffs, pro sports figures have thrown down more cash on Republican John McCain, a former Navy boxer, than on Democrat Barack Obama, a younger pickup hoops player.
But it’s a narrow spread compared to past elections in which Democratic candidates had few fans among sports pros.
Professional athletes and executives have given $445,334 to the two nominees — 55.8 percent to McCain and 44.2 percent to Obama, according to ESPN analysis of figures from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group. That includes donations during the current election cycle up to August.
Professional sports figures have given twice as much money to all presidential candidates combined during this election than they have to candidates in each of the past two races. And almost two months of fundraising remain for the two nominees.
Some of the comments from pro athletes are very thoughtful, from every major sport.
For example, this, from basketball:
Marvin Williams, a forward with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, is studying for his degree in African-American studies during his offseason. He donated $1,000 to Obama’s campaign last year.
“To see Obama become the first African-American president, that’s huge. I never thought in my lifetime I’d have seen something like that,” he said. “We have a chance to make history.”
From football, this:
Broncos tight end Nate Jackson wanted to attend as well, but he was in Arizona — McCain territory — preparing for the next day’s preseason game against the Cardinals. Jackson, fresh off the field from a recent morning practice at Broncos training camp, said he’s been an Obama supporter ever since he met the candidate at a fundraiser last year. Foreign policy concerns this football player.
“We shouldn’t be shunning the rest of the world community. It’s important not to isolate yourself from the world,” said Jackson, who gave $500 to Obama’s campaign in March. Then, standing outside the locker room while catching his breath, he closely quoted former President John F. Kennedy’s edict, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
And from baseball:
[Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek] Lee, of the Cubs, said foreign countries would respect America more if it were to elect an African-American.
“Around the world, they think we’re kind of an elitist country. We kind of just go around and think we’re entitled to everything,” he said. “If they saw a black president, it might change that perception.”
Lee gave President George W. Bush credit for helping athletes by lowering their taxes and acknowledged that probably wouldn’t happen in an Obama administration, “but it doesn’t matter.” Supporting Obama is the right thing to do, he said.
He said those who make more money should pay more taxes: “It helps our economy.”
In a sidebar to the article, there’s a search-able, sortable table that let’s you see all the data, including the donations of all the athletes and all the execs from every sport. Cool.
I doubt the data is 100% accurate, because it doesn’t show the recent well publicized contributions of LeBron James and Tiger Woods.
It also doesn’t appear to show the contributions of retired athletes.
Other sources, like SportsAgentBlog.com (“Athletes vs. Owners”) and Politico (“Sports owners fund McCain, shun Obama“) have previously covered some of this ground, and their pieces, although lacking all the numbers, might be just as insightful if not moreso.
Still, there are some fun possibilities with Lavigne’s piece, because you get a chance to look at the data.
For example, Lavigne writes this about Red Sox pitcher Curt Shilling, who donated to the McCain campaign:
“I can’t imagine a finer person now in position to become our next president,” Schilling wrote. “He won’t pander and you probably won’t agree with everything he says, but I think he’s a man that can be trusted to get this country back on its feet domestically, and abroad. I am proud to call him a friend.”
But the data says that Theo Epstein, the General Manager of the Red Sox, who is essentially Schilling’s boss, donated $1,000 to Barack Obama’s campaign. Does Theo sit there thinking of ways to trade Schilling?
N.B.A. commissioner David Stern and his wife donated a total of $9,200 to the Obama campaign, yet Phoenix Suns owner Gerry Colangelo donated $2,600 to McCain. Do they still talk?
Lavigne also wrote a very good accompanying study of the responses by each presidential candidate’s campaign, to questions about sports-related topics.