For a long time now, LeBron James has tried to stay out of the spotlight when it comes to politics. Although James has been shining bright in the media ever since entering the league, he has been rather dull when it comes to his affiliations with politics and other support groups (much like Tiger Woods has been). James and other celebrities are afraid that they will lose fans and money by endorsing a particular side or view that differs from that of their fans. Michael Jordan’s famous words “Republicans buy sneakers too,” shows that athletes do think about politics in advertising and when they speak publicly.
Some believe that an athlete or someone who has a large influence over many people like an athlete, should not speak out on public topics. Leigh Steinberg believes that athletes are role models and have to step up and show people what they believe. But when should athletes speak up?
Last week the Los Angeles Times reported that LeBron James donated $20,000 to the campaign of Illinois Senator, Barack Obama, joining his “shy” buddy Tiger Woods’ donations to Obama’s team. With LeBron James and Tiger Woods on your side, what can’t you do?
The presidential race is about to heat up as many celebrities are choosing sides publicly. LeBron might not have wanted anyone to talk about his donation, but he is certainly not the first athlete to endorse a presidential candidate. Troy Aikman was a HUGE Bush supporter.
Darren did a post in March titled Publicly Endorsing Political Candidates, which tells a little more about athletes sponsoring candidates and speaking out publicly. It tells Greg Oden’s views and shows what Steinberg set up for athletes and Obama. Jason Belzer recommends the website Ballers4Barack.com, which is specifically dedicated to basketball players who endorse Obama.