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THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

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Sports and Presidents

When sports become a political football
By Mike Carlson
Published on January 4, 2021

Bill Belichick at the White-House New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, sans hoodie, speaks during the team’s visit to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl LI victory on the South Lawn, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. White House Photo by Shealah Craigh

Sports seem to play an ever-increasing role in American life. Perhaps, in the same way that the 24/7 news cycle seems to have helped divide the country by encouraging people to identify themselves by their party allegiance, the similar onslaught of sports coverage has intensified the sense of what being a sports fan means. The two lines overlap when sports become, pardon the expression, a political football, for whatever reason. President Donald J Trump has played his part when it seemed convenient, most notably weighing in to increase the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick’s protests and subsequent ostracism by the NFL. So assuming that Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States in January, what changes might we expect in the relationship between sports and our government?

In a five page feature sports guru Mike Carlson looks at the history of the presidential First Pitch, winning teams’ White House visits, the sporting stories of Trump and Biden and how their politics affect sports.

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