Monday, August 17, 2009

The Republican/NFL Connection

An interesting piece today from notes the Grand Old Party's connection with football "that dates back at least to President Richard Nixon famously drafting a trick play for the Washington Redskins under coach George Allen."

Former Bengals coach Sam Wyche is being recruited by Republicans to replace South Carolina Congressman Gresham Barrett in the state's 3rd District.

The piece notes Seahawks Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Steve Largent and former University of Oklahoma quarterback J.C. Watts, both Okies, both Republicans, who were elected during the "Republican Revolution' of 1994, as well as the recent courtings of long-time Carolina Panther Mike Minter, Raven Peter Boulware, and coach and analyst Lou Holtz. The GOP football list doesn't end there. Tom Osborne was a one-time Congressman. Lynn Swann ran unsuccessfully in 2006 for PA governor against Ed Rendell. Probably the most noted NFL GOPer was 1965 AFL MVP QB/Senator/former VP candidate Jack Kemp.

This cycle, the "one former National Football League star already up and former Bills and Steelers tight end Jay Riemersma, who is in the midst of a competitive primary campaign for the seat of retiring Michigan congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.)."

Boulware, who insists his political career is over, puts things in perspective: “You don’t realize all the little things that are necessary to get elected to public office until you get into the process. As an athlete, I was a Pro-Bowler. People were used to coming up to me for my autograph. To be a good public servant, you have to be very humble. I had to go in neighborhoods and knock on peoples’ doors. I had to ask for people’s votes. That’s a lot different from the high life in the NFL.”

The article also looks at political connections in baseball, and left-leaning NBAers including recently elected mayors David Bing and Kevin Johnson. See the full story here.

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