In an era where decisions are sometimes under a microscope and are critically, even over analyzed at times, there’s no better time to choose your words wisely. The president is no exception; it’s probably more applicable to the person that holds that position more than any other. The current sitting president is no stranger to voicing his opinions and letting it be known how he feels about literally anything. When the sports world is swayed in one way or another, there’s usually one or a few people looked to as those responsible for that push. With many big events coming up, the U.S. Commander in Chief may have a lot on his plate.
The Olympics and the World Cup are the two largest worldwide sports events. In 2010, FIFA estimated a viewership of 3.2 billion for the World Cup. The 2012 London Olympics had an estimated viewership of 3.6 billion. The United States put its name in for the runnings to host both, the 2026 World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games. But the latest travel restrictions have the governing bodies rethinking the United States’ ability to host such events. With many athletes hailing from the nations on the U.S. travel limitations list, there seems to be less confidence in being able to promote said events as global, unifying games with such agenda being pushed. Though the World Cup would be well after even a second term of the incumbent, there’s a possibility it would be co-hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico. If a wall just happened to be separating two of the three countries it probably wouldn’t show much unity. Losing the World Cup and Olympic Games would be a huge blow to potential business. People come from all around the world to stay, watch, and enjoy which ever country plays host. But there’s a chance we lose it all. Bigotry is bad business.
Athletes, executives and team owners have also voiced their support and concern when it comes to the current man in charge. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has taken jabs at the president on his own favorite platform, Twitter. Things like, “But isn’t it better for all of us that he is tweeting rather than trying to govern?” and “It’s a waste of time to turn Pinocchio into a real President.” Two-time MVP Stephen Curry even threatened to drop one of his biggest sponsors if he believed their values no longer aligned, Under Armour. UA CEO said the man in office was a “real asset” to the country, Curry responded saying, “I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et.”
White House visits by championship teams are a tradition but athletes sometimes choose to decline the invitation. Matt Birk skipped the Baltimore Ravens 2013 visit because of Obama’s support of Planned Parenthood. Earlier this year Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta didn’t visit Obama and the White House. The New England Patriots are the first team to officially win a championship during the newest presidency and players have already decided to not visit the White House. Safety Devin McCourty said he wouldn’t feel “accepted.” Teammate, tight end Martellus Bennett, stated he didn’t support, “the guy that’s in the House.” Four other Patriots players have also made their decision not to go. Quarterback Tom Brady didn’t go in 2015 when Obama was in the house. Both Arrieta and Brady had excuses relating to scheduling conflicts, some believe to avoid controversy. Now it seems the tone is changing and players would rather voice their displeasure with the guy in the House. Leagues, teams and the White House will be looking for ways to avoid awkward situations in which the stories about visits will start to be centered around who isn’t going instead of who is.
There’s no telling what the sports world has in store due to the decisions being made at the top. Something in the world happens and many are genuinely interested to hear what athletes, execs and owners have to say, then a story is made out of what they say. It’s a cycle that never ceases to end. For these next few years, we’ll definitely be getting plenty of storylines relating to the current situation in Washington. Although I may not enjoy every moment of what’s to come, there’s no doubt in my mind that at the very least, I will be thoroughly entertained. That’s what professional sports are about at it’s core, entertainment, but not the White House.
Photo Credits: NPR