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Athletes and the Primaries


AP photo.

The previous item discussed how some Democratic presidential operatives were supporting the Redskins. But whom, you ask, are the Redskins supporting? Unclear. Mr. Snyder gave $10k to the National Republican Congressional Committee in October. Mark Brunell gave $1,000 to Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) in April. Couldn't find any Presidential preferences.

But that got me to thinking, and it turns out that plenty of athlete-and-ownership types have been throwing around support, in the form of large checks, largely directed toward Obama. (A trend that, it turns out, has already been extensively researched by some other sports blog.)

In fact, virtually every last marginal Presidential candidate has received some athletic support, which the campaign finance types will interpret to mean that they're out for something. Autographs, maybe. Or nice tickets. Or steroids. The rest of this monumental entry is based on what I've found so far, using CQ's MoneyLine database. Some of the lesser-known execs listed below may have moved on since they contributed, but they're listed based on their employer at the time of the contribution.

The results show that, first and foremost, Obamamania is alive and well in pro sports. Obama has cleaned up among NBA stars, cashing the maximum $2,300 from Grant Hill, Stephon Marbury, Josh Childress and Abe Pollin, plus $2,000 from Rockets guard Mike James and $1,000 from Hawks forward Marvin Williams. He also did well among NFL players, getting max contributions from Eagles cornerback Will James and Cowboys safety Roy Williams and smaller donations from Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones, former Steelers linebacker Rian Wallace and former Broncos fullback Kyle Johnson.


Guy on left is Black President. Guy on right wants a black president. (AP photo)

And Obama's support extended to the collegiate level in the form of small contributions from Southern Illinois men's coach Chris Lowery and Princeton coach (and former G-town assistant) Sydney Johnson. Also the media: ESPN analyst Desmond Howard and ESPN columnist Scoop Jackson. Also baseball: Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee.

The other big sporting beneficiary among the Dems has been Hillary Clinton, who seemed especially popular among league and team execs. She received a max contribution from David Stern and Eagles team president Joe Banner, and smaller contributions from WNBA President Donna Orender, Syracuse AD Daryl Gross and executives with the NBA, Major League Baseball and the NFL Players Association. Plus smaller sums from Alonzo Mourning and Jazz center Jarron Collins. Go figure.

If you look at ownership contributions, Rudy Giuliani shoots up the list. He excelled among the NASCAR crowd, getting max donations from NASCAR Chairman Brian France, President Mike Helton, spokesman Jim Hunter, two-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and driver Casey Mears, plus a trunkload of others. Rudy also received big bucks from several Yankees execs, including the Boss; from Angels owner Arte Moreno, Nets exec Kiki Van De Weghe, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger and former Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez.

Mitt Romney (a former Olympics boss) also had his share of max contributions from prominent names. He got the full $2,300 from Eagles Coach Andy Reid, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Bret Hedican, Buffalo Bills defensive end Ryan Denney, Ravens tight end Todd Heap and golf commentator Johnny Miller, plus smaller amounts from former outfield Dale Murphy, Detroit Lions guard Edwin Mulitalo and tennis's Jim Courier.

But virtually every candidate has some sort of sporting connection. John Edwards got $1,000 from Martina Navratilova. Christopher Dodd got $2,300 from Bud Selig and Rutgers women's coach C. Vivian Stringer. Bill Richardson got $1,000 from New Mexico football coach Rocky Long. Joe Biden got $2,000 from Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. Tommy Thompson got $2,300 from Saints running back Aaron Stecker. Ron Paul got $2,300 from Saints safety Steve Gleason. Fred Thompson got $2,300 from Peyton Manning. Sam Brownback got $250 from Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster. John McCain got $2,300 from Ted Leonsis and $2,300 from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

A few sports execs were double- or triple-dipping. NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who sort of looks like me, gave to Obama and Hillary Clinton. Leonsis gave the max to Hillary, McCain and Obama, while his wife did likewise for Hillary, Giuliani and Obama. Patriots owner Robert Kraft helped out McCain and Romney. ESPN President George W. Bodenheimer gave to McCain and Dodd.

The full list of what I found is after the jump; if you know of any others, send 'em along and I'll update as needed.

Barack Obama

Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin - $2,300
Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis - $2,300
Leonsis's wife Lynn - $2,300
Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill - $2,300
New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury - $2,300
Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Childress - $2,300
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver - $2,300
Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams - $2,300
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Will James - $2,300
Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee - $2,300
DePaul assistant volleyball coach Olivia Nyenhuis - $2,300
Houston Rockets guard Mike James - $2,000
Atlanta Hawks forward Marvin Williams - $1,000
NBA exec Kerry Tatlock - $1,000
NBA exec Emilio Collins - $1,000
NFL exec Cedric Jones - $1,000
Former NBA ref Ken Hudson - $500
Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones - $500
Former NFL wide receiver Desmond Howard - $500
ESPN columnist Scoop Jackson - $500
Former Steelers linebacker Rian Wallace - $500
Former Broncos fullback Kyle Johnson - $500
Princeton men's basketball coach Sydney Johnson - $500
Southern Illinois men's basketball coach Chris Lowery - $250
NBA official James Capers - $250
Tennis pro Paul Goldstein - $250

Hillary Clinton

NBA Commissioner David Stern - $2,300
Philadelphia Eagles team president Joe Banner - $2,300
Capitals owner Ted Leonsis - $2,300
Leonsis's wife Lynn - $2,300
Eagles administrative assistant Krista Von Kramer - $2,300
Bob Bowman, president and CEO of MLB's Advanced Media stuff - $2,300
Columbia University AD M. Dianne Murphy - $2,250
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver - $2,000
Former Fairfield women's coach Dianne Nolan - $2,000
NBA Vice President of Community Relations Joshua Wachs - $1,300
WNBA President Donna Orender - $1,000
Alonzo Mourning - $1,000
Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino - $1,000
NFL Players Association exec Charles Ross - $1,000
NBA exec Kathleen Behrens - $1,000
NBA Retail exec Linda Choong - $500
Utah Jazz center Jarron Collins - $500
Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross - $500

John Edwards

Martina Navratilova - $1,000

Christopher Dodd

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig - $2,300
Rutgers women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer - $2,300
ESPN President George W. Bodenheimer - $1,500
Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino - $1,000
MLB President Robert DuPuy - $500

Joseph Biden

Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner - $2,000

Bill Richardson

Golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. - $2,275
New Mexico football coach Rocky Long - $1,000
New Mexico AD Paul Krebs - $1,000

Mitt Romney

Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid - $2,300
Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Bret Hedican - $2,300
Buffalo Bills defensive end Ryan Denney - $2,300
Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap - $2,300
NBC Sports analyst Johnny Miller - $2,300
NBDL owner Brandt Anderson of the Utah Flash - $2,100
Former MLB outfield Dale Murphy - $2,100
NBA Senior Veep Scott O'Neil - $1,000
Detroit Lions guard Edwin Mulitalo - $601
Former tennis pro Jim Courier - $250
Orange Bowl Committee COO Michael Saks - $250

Rudy Giuliani

N.J. Nets exec Kiki Vandeweghe - $2,300
NASCAR Chairman Brian France - $2,300
NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson - $2,300
NASCAR driver Casey Mears - $2,300
NASCAR President Mike Helton - $2,300
NASCAR Spokesman Jim Hunter - $2,300
Los Angeles Angels Owner Arte Moreno - $2,300
N.Y. Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner - $2,300
N.Y. Yankees GM Brian Cashman - $2,300
N.Y. Yankees President Randy Levin - $2,300
Oklahoma State AD Mike Holder - $2,300
Anaheim Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger - $2,000
Former Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez - $1,000
NFL communications exec Joe Browne - $1,000
[Plus many other Yankees and NASCAR contributions]

John McCain

Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis - $2,300
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones - $2,300
MLB exec Joe Garagiola Jr. - $2,300
ESPN President George W. Bodenheimer - $1,000

Fred Thompson

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning - $2,300

Ron Paul

New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason -

Tommy Thompson

Saints running back Aaron Stecker - $2,300

Sam Brownback

Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster - $250

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 9, 2008; 12:21 PM ET
Categories:  MLB , NBA , NFL , Redskins  
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Comments

There's a Mark Lerner in BAL who donated the max to Clinton's campaign.

Posted by: smperk | January 9, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Robert Trent Jones couldn't pony up the extra $25? Did he stop for a Happy Meal on his way to donating the money?

Posted by: sjf | January 9, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if he's contributed, but Curt Schilling has openly endorsed John McCain on 38pitches.

Posted by: Kim | January 9, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Joe Bugel is only registered to vote for the next American Idol.

Posted by: ScottVanPeltStyle.com | January 9, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Here's my question: why does this matter?

I vote for a candidate based on the issues, not the people who support him. Hell, Ted Leonsis dontated to both Clinton and Obama.

I just ask why this matters

Posted by: swgolde | January 9, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I think it matters in the sense that people, rightly or wrongly, look up to athletes and sports people as roles models and sometimes as heroes. And to see that Peyton Manning gave the max to Fred Thompson (TN connection I suppose) makes me less inclined to root for the Colts in the same way that finding out Tony Dungy is an anti-gay bigot makes me not want to support the Colts.

I thought Tom Brady was a big GOP backer. I am surprised he hasn't popped up on the list.

Posted by: Glenn | January 9, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Where's the love for Kucinich?

Posted by: S | January 9, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

JTIII with $1000 to Obama.

Posted by: NickSixers | January 10, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Ngata gave $600 to Romney, AND he sacked Tom Brady.

Posted by: Ravens Fan | January 15, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

wow what a shock the WNBA president gave to Hillary :)

Posted by: jim sausman | January 16, 2008 1:47 AM | Report abuse

No love for Ron Paul. I know they're not athletes in the same sense but I think Kane from WWE endorsed him. Maybe he didn't donate.

The truly interesting things is that some of these millionaires and billionaires gave less than the max to their candidate of choice. When a super rich person gives $500 instead of the max, what was the reason? I think we need more in depth reporting.

Posted by: Nick | January 16, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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