Friday, September 30, 2016
Jack Nicklaus Disappoints
Newspapers traditionally make political endorsements. Famous athletes traditionally do not.
The sports world has long been a sanctuary from politics, an alternate reality of touchdowns and home-runs, three-pointers, putts and aces. Especially during the non-stop noise of the election season, it's soothing to watch a ballgame or turn on SportsCenter.
So I note with great disappointment that Jack Nicklaus has once again decided to show his Republican ass. In 2012, the Golden Bear publicly endorsed Mitt Romney and actually joined him on the campaign trail.
(Jack is misinformed. The U.S. Business Industry Council calls Portman a "dedicated outsourcer." Robbie has a long history of negotiating and supporting trade deals which encourage businesses to send jobs to cheap-labor countries, yet he opposed the auto industry rescue bill, which saved 160,000 Ohio manufacturing jobs. This is a stand-up guy?)
Nicklaus is a celebrated golfer whose public politicizing makes him something of an out-lier. Did the late, great Arnold Palmer ever endorse candidates for office? How about Jerry West? Billie Jean King? Jim Brown? Willie Mays? I don't think so. (Babe Ruth did verge into the political once, acknowledging that while his salary in 1930 was higher than that of the president, he deserved it because he "had a better year than Hoover.")
Like all of us, Jack is certainly entitled to his views and can do whatever he likes politically. He is, in that respect, similar to the currently-kneeling Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe. The gestures of Kaepernick, Rapinoe and others are honestly heartfelt, but they may be remembered as sports footnotes.
Jack Nicklaus is an icon, a legend. He didn't need to do this. After all, he's not taking a courageous position or making a moral stand. He's just tarnishing his public image (among many) with cheap political hackery. He would have been better off keeping his BS to himself and preserving the illusion of neutrality.