Since the NFL often seems like a fantasy-land, a reality show that plays out on our televisions on Sundays in the fall, we don’t often think about it in the most basic term: It’s a workplace.
That’s why the Miami Dolphins’ push for all of its players – their employees – to register to vote seems odd.
The Associated Press reported that at minicamp practice on Thursday, Martin Luther King III and Bill Wachtel, co-founder of the community action group Drum Major Institute, had a session with the team. After that session, Wachtel told AP 90 percent of the Dolphins are now registered to vote. According to the AP, the signup effort “was supported by the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, an alliance created by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to improve race relations.” The AP story said the Dolphins would be the first team to have every player registered to vote.
This headline seems great on the surface – “Dolphins set goal of having every player registered to vote” – but it opens up a few questions. While it’s highly unlikely that Ross is explicitly steering any of his players to vote one way or another (for the record, Ross has consistently given to Republican causes), what if one of his players doesn’t wish to vote for whatever reason? It’s not a job requirement, yet would players feel pressure if the team has “set goal of having every player registered to vote” and he declines? It’s not a position an employee – especially one in a profession with a really high turnover rate with mostly non-guaranteed contracts – should be put in.
Politics and sports generally turns into a fairly toxic mix. Ask Colin Kaepernick. “Stick to sports” has been a widely-used term on social media for those in the sports world. Maybe Ross should heed that advice too.
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