The Intersection: Sports and Politics

In the age of Trump, I find myself keeping more of an eye these days on the intersection of sports and politics. Here are a few recent items that caught my eye:

— Anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany leader Georg Pazderski told Bayern Munich captain Phillipp Lahm, who led Germany to a World Cup victory in ’14, to focus on football (ahem, I think he means “soccer”) after Lahm said he didn’t want to see “the wrong ones” gain more political power. Pazderski: “Philipp Lahm should look after his football and leave politics to others as much as possible.” Here’s the note in SBD Global and the full story from Reuters.

— OK, so this is not strictly politics, but somehow anything to do with Russia these days reeks of the Cold War and the atmosphere and suspicion that has always been a hallmark of relations between Russia and the U.S.

From SBD Global: After “a week of turmoil” for Olympic hockey, Russia “believes it is poised to be the big winner” at the 2018 Winter Games, according to the AP. The country has waited more than 25 years for an Olympic Gold Medal, and “its top league wants to fight” the NHL for int’l markets, so the absence of NHL players from the PyeongChang Games could be “a golden opportunity.”

I’ve got to think that when they made the decision to not attend the 2018 Games, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and his advisers took into consideration the fact that other countries would try to capitalize on the absence of the league. Still, I hadn’t seen any coverage about that until this story.

— Re: The joint bid by the U.S., Mexico and Canada for the 2026 World Cup, Fox’s Alexi Lalas said: “Don’t think for a moment that the political climate in the United States didn’t impact this. A joint Wolrd Cup that includes Mexico probably garners additional support and sends a message.” Read the AP story.

Most people I talk with in the Carolinas seem to think that the NC Legislature has taken all the steps needed to resolve the bathroom issue. Not so fast. From SBD: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Charlotte hosting the NBA’s All-Star Weekend after HB2 was repealed last week “is not a done deal yet.” Silver said that the league will “develop an anti-discrimination policy that will have to be signed onto by participating groups in Charlotte.” … Silver said just because HB2 was repealed, it “does not mean fundamental issues are resolved” as they pertain to protection for the LGBT community. Read the Charlotte Observer story.

— Finally, another note from SBD: In N.Y., Maggie Haberman notes Golden Boy Promotions co-Founder & President Oscar De La Hoya is “broadcasting an ad to promote a Cinco de Mayo weekend match” between boxers of Mexican descent, Canelo Álvarez and Julio César Chávez Jr. The spot, being shown on DirecTV and Dish Network, “shows both men barreling through a concrete wall.” De La Hoya said, “The idea of a wall was a direct hit to Donald Trump.” He added, “This is letting him know that not every Mexican is what he’s stated they are. Mexicans are hard workers.” The story from the NY Times.


Let me know what I missed.