We are at a crucial time in American history. Members of the black community from every part of the diverse African American community have pledged their support for Obama, both vocally and financially. Actors, singers, businessmen and rappers have all pledged their support through T-Shirts, statements and, fundraisers and songs. However there is one high profile part of the African American community that has been relatively silent. There have been a small percentage of athletes, both black and white who have endorsed or publicly supported Barack Obama (or John McCain).
The black athlete has been stripped of his political voice since Muhammed Ali. With endorsements playing a crucial role in athletes’ income, most black athletes have been tentative to take political stances. Athletes are the most visible African Americans who have the financial power to make a significant monetary contribution to Obama, and hold the media access to support his campaign.
Charles Barkley, a longtime Republican, recently changed his tune, and has publicly supported Barack Obama. However, many high profile African American athletes (both active and retired) have been extremely quiet in the face of this historical election. Still there are several high profile athletes who have not publicly or privately supported any candidate. Of the Dream Team that traveled to Bejing, Lebron James has donated to Obama’s and Chris Paul and Amare Stoudamire have publically supported him. No current NFL All Star other than Reggie Bush has endorsed Obama in any form or fashion. It would well worth the fine if T.O. took off his Jersey to reveal an Obama T-Shirt after a touchdown. At a time when every sector of the black community has taken time to make sacrifices for an Obama Presidency, black athletes, part of the most wealthy sectors of the black community, have been quiet.
Kudos to Athletes such as Tiger Woods, Lebron James and Reggie Bush who have supported Barack Obama. But where is Dwayne Wade, Terrell Owens, Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Reggie Wayne, Ladanian Tomlison, Carmelo Anthony, Alan Iverson, Dwight Howard and the rest of the NFL and NBA. They have enough money for $100,000 chains and earings and enormous houses and fleets of cars, but don’t have any money to support Oba,a. These athletes can mouth off about practice, their coaches, refs and the media but can’t take time to publicly support Obama.
Though White Basketball players are a minority in the NBA, Bill Walton and his son Luke have publicly supported Obama as did Championship coach, Phil Jackson. Do NBA and NFL players not support Obama. Are they unaware of his positions and don’t want to seem like they’re voting for him because they’re black? It would seem like this era would be ideal for black athletes to return to the political stage. I’m not saying black athletes should support Obama because he is black. But as country stars, rock stars, Rednecks and conservative pundits have pledged their support for Obama, don’t you think our athletes would come to the same decision and support him to?
Here Are Some Athletes Who Have Pledged Support for Obama
Lakers Forward Luke Walton (who charmingly listed his employer as “Dr. Buss”)
ESPN Analyst Bill Walton
Former Hawks All-Star Steve Smith
Pistons President Joe Dumars
ESPN Analyst Stephen A. Smith
Magic Johnson (Originally a Clinton supporter)
New Suns Coach Terry Porter
Former NBA Center Alonzo Mourning
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson
Former Knicks Guard Allan Houston
Former Rams running back Marshall Faulk
Awesome talker Emmitt Smith
Phoenix Suns Forward Grant Hill
New York Knicks Guard Stephon Marbury
Atlanta Hawks Forward Josh Childress
New Orleans Saints Running Back, Reggie Bush
Cleveland Cavaliers ForwardLebron James
Former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis
New Orleans Hornet Chris Paul
Portland Trailblazer Cent Greg Oden