Until recently, the professional athlete and professional sports ownership have kept low key on their political belief. However in the past decade, many have come out to support what they feel is politically right, whether or not it would hurt their professional image or team image.
Fans are what keeps the sports world intact. Fans help pay the high salaries of the star players. Fans buy the merchandise, no matter the design, it's a shield of honor to display their favorite team insignia.
But what happens when your favorite player or favorite team enters the political arena and you find yourself in disagreement with them? Do you cast aside your political opposition for the love of the player/team? Or maybe you agree with them wholeheartedly, would you buy more merchandise in support?
What if your favorite player/team gets involved in moral difference? Would you protest the player to be traded, burn their jersey in the fireplace? Would you turn your back on the team and find a new favorite?
Over the past decade, fan favorites like former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, and Robert Sarver of the Phoenix Suns have moved into the political arena. Their moves have split their fans and leaving some scratching their heads wondering what to do?
Curt Schilling helped campaign for President George W Bush in 2004. Since then, Mr. Schilling has kept campaigning around Massachusetts. He's a favorite at FOX News and the Massachusetts's Republican Party even considered having the Schilling run for the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. How many have turned on Mr. Schilling in the last six years?
Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney bucked his long time Republican political belief and campaigned for then Senator Barrack Obama, after which President Obama selected Mr. Rooney to be the new Ambassador to Ireland. Many fans felt Mr. Rooney should have kept his political beliefs to himself. How many fans left Steelers Nation over Mr. Rooney's political fallout?
On May 5Th, 2010, the Phoenix Suns received some national attention but not for being in the playoffs. The Phoenix Suns were pulling a political and marketing ploy in the wake of the controversial Arizona Immigration Law. It was Cinco de Mayo and the Suns decided to wear a special jersey for the day, one that read "Los Suns."
Phoenix Suns managing partner Robert Sarver gave the reasoning for the special jersey as "Our players and organization felt that wearing our 'Los Suns' jerseys on Cinco de Mayo was a way for our team and our organization to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the State of Arizona, and our nation. We are proud that 400 players from 36 countries compete in the NBA."
FOX & Friends host Brian Kilmeade suggested that Phoenix Suns ownership forced their players to be used "as billboards" to protest the Arizona immigrant law. Mr. Sarver quickly responded to the accusation by saying "We left it up to the players and they unanimously vote to wear them." Star player Steve Nash backed up Mr. Sarver's words as well as the rest of the locker room.
The Phoenix Suns ownership has been verbally against the new Arizona Immigration law as well as some of current and former players. But Mr. Sarver is not the only managing partner of a pro team to voice his opinion the state against the law. The Arizona Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick has gone on record stating he is personally against the law, however the team itself does take a political stand. Yet with that, people having been traveling across the country, protesting at whatever venue the D'Backs are playing.
The D'Backs were in Chicago to play the White Sox a few days after the Immigration Law was signed, and protesters were waiting for them. Why? Because they are called the "Arizona" Diamondbacks.
And while we are at it; Arizona Tea is made in New York and Arizona Jeans are made in the Philippines! So please stop protesting them just because of the name.
Pittsburgh Steelers fans are well aware that there will be some sort of protest outside Heinz Field during the 2010 season in response to the rape accusations of their star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger off field actions. Steelers Nation has been split on the response of Steelers ownership to keep Roethliseberger as well. Some called for the team trade the star player during the NFL Draft, some thank the Steelers for keeping him and giving him a second chance, ala Michael Vick in Philadelphia.
However, Pennsylvania is now considering their own version of the Arizona Immigration Law, will people protest all the pro sports teams from Pennsylvania as well? Or is it the name recognition game, since none of those teams use "Pennsylvania" in their name?
Should people then protest the "Pennsylvania Water Company" instead? Stop paying your water bill in protest to the law if it's passed?
How about residents in any state that decided to pass a similar law? Should people from Ohio stop routing for the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Ohio Bearcats.
How about people start protesting Outback Steakhouse for false advertisement, since the restaurant chain has nothing other than it's name in dealing with Australia. It is originally from Tampa, Florida!
Nowadays people will protest anything and everything, from celebrities with a political view to sports apparel companies, soldier funerals, farmville requests, and pro sports franchises. But if you are gonna protest something, make sure you have the facts straight first.
Sidenote: Cinco de Mayo was not created by the Corona Beer Company. Cinco de Mayo is a holiday to commemorate Mexico's defeat of the French Army at the Battle of Pueblo in 1862. The Mexican state of Pueblo celebrates this piece of history and those along the U.S./Mexican border. Commercialism in the United States of beer and Mexican food promotion have given it a different meaning to those outside Hispanic decent. Kinda like "Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day" themes