According to the American right, football is essentially a left-wing entertainment

According to the American right, football is essentially a left-wing entertainment

Los Angeles FC fans during the match against Seattle Sounders.Image by AFP

Saudi Arabia's embrace of global soccer is met with resistance in the US Major League Soccer (MLS). At the start of the tournament last weekend, DC United supporters protested against their club's management for allowing them to pay for their training camp in the Gulf state in petrodollars. Defense explains the nature of soccer in America, where it is not the number one popular sport, but rather a gathering place for immigrants and progressive Americans.

“We don't want our club to work with these types of people,” said a spokesman for one of the five supporters' groups holding a silent protest on Saturday. At DC United's first home game in Washington, the drums and flags were left at home, there was no chant and banners were seen. Say no to sportswashing. It will be quiet for the next three games. “We want to prevent this from happening again.”

The peaceful soccer fans said they showed solidarity with LGBTI groups in the stands — not just in Washington, but many American clubs have their own supporters' associations. They may be punished for their orientation in Saudi Arabia. It made remote training camp difficult to stomach.

Content is a top priority for supporters of MLS clubs. Trance and rainbow flags are regularly seen in stadiums. Fans are called enthusiasts. A homophobic chant at Los Angeles FC was suppressed within a season by social control by supporters' groups, backed by club management.

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In America, a study shows that soccer fans are mostly progressive The Wall Street Journal. The pool of Democratic supporters is twice as large as the Republican share. Football forms a left-wing bubble in the American sports landscape, one of the few places where both conservatives and progressives still feel at home.

Studies of the political preferences of sports fans generally reveal only minor differences. Popular American football attracts roughly equal numbers of left-wing and right-wing viewers, baseball and ice hockey have a slight majority of conservative fans, and most basketball fans are progressive.

But just because the two sides share a stance doesn't mean sports in America are fraternal. Since the turn of the century, supporters' desire to keep sport and politics separate has been increasingly ignored.

After the 9/11 attacks, nationalism increased around flag displays and sporting events. The Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, joined by American football player Colin Kaepernick and other athletes who refused to stand during the US national anthem against racism, forced the leagues to take a stand. In some matches it was easier than others.

The women of the WNBA basketball tournament in particular have been at the forefront of the fight against racism and police brutality. Before Kaepernick took a knee in 2016, basketball players were wearing T-shirts with messages for social equality. After the killing of George Floyd in 2020, star player Renee Montgomery took a sabbatical to focus on social work. NBA men draw attention with short-lived strike

The words 'Black Lives Matter' appeared on the parquet floor at both matches. It rubbed some conservative viewers the wrong way — with outraged sports fans taking to social media to vow never to watch again.

Other leagues also rallied behind BLM protests. The NFL said it should have asked more of the kneeling players. There was kneeling in ice hockey and baseball, though critics say league baseball took too long to ask MLB's bosses themselves. “We've always tried to be apolitical,” said Rob Manfred, the league president in 2021.

Anyone expecting to escape the sport in this election year will be disappointed. Especially in the fall, ads from President Joe Biden and challenger Donald Trump will fill commercial slots. In the age of streaming, sports are a rare reason for many Americans to watch live television. Interruptions in sports are a good time for politicians to reach a wider audience.

LeBron James

Athletes from the most progressive leagues, such as star basketball players LeBron James and Stephen Curry, publicly endorsed Biden in 2020. Trump can rely on old friends from the world of sports – he has invested in boxing, wrestling, cycling and in the past an American football team. But the former president was especially popular among club owners of major leagues such as the NFL, MLB (baseball), NBA (basketball) and NHL (ice hockey).

Between 2015 and 2020, of the $47 million club owners donated to politicians in their personal capacities, about $34 million went to Republicans, including Trump. This emerged from the research of the statistical platform four years ago Five thirty eight. 10 million went to Democrats and the rest to independent candidates. Even behind the scenes of the progressive NBA, significant donations were made to Trump's campaign.

The owners, often older, white billionaires, are often in direct opposition to their clubs' supporters with their conservative preferences. For example, Charles Johnson, owner of the left-wing San Francisco baseball club (Giants), is the largest Republican donor among sports magnates. James Dolan of the New York Knicks basketball club also gives generously.

Football is not included in the course. Many supporters dislike donations to conservative politicians. “I'm not going to the White House,” star player Megan Rapinoe said of then-President Trump's possible invitation to the 2019 World Cup. The women's national team has become a target of the US right-wing — its recent exit from the World Cup in New Zealand and Australia met with glee. At the same time, the team became very popular among left-wing Americans.

MLS is not as polarizing as the women's national team, although soccer on the right is sometimes dismissed as left-wing entertainment. “It's coming from foreign soil, and that's why progressives love it,” conservative political commentator Ann Coulter wrote in a column on her website during the 2014 World Cup. “Real Americans hate football.”

Nevertheless, the sport is attracting a growing audience in America, not just hipsters who want something different from American football or baseball. This represents a potential shift in the American people, political and sociology professor Peter Beynard wrote in an essay. Atlantic. “Certain groups, the young, the immigrant and the politically progressive, are more open to things that are popular in other countries,” he explained to soccer fans. 'We don't have to own everything.'

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