Yet another Nashville Predators foray into progressive politics has some saying the team’s president and CEO should spend time in the penalty box.
The National Hockey League team’s President/CEO Sean Henry endorsed liberal mayoral candidate David Briley. The former vice mayor assumed office in March when disgraced Mayor Megan Barry resigned.
The special election is May 24.
The political move made national headlines.
“I’ve honestly never seen this before, and I think it’s bad for our country to be politicizing every aspect of our lives, including teams endorsing a political candidate,” Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage said on his website, as quoted by Brietbart.
NewsChannel 5’s Steve Layman said in a broadcast column, “Sports and politics don’t mix.” He cited the fallout over the National Football League players who knelt during the national anthem.
That leaves the question: Why would a sports team endorse a candidate?
Could money be a factor?
The Tennessean reported that the Preds are working with Briley to secure a new lease on Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville attorney Daniel Horwitz told the newspaper the team’s endorsement does not violate state law against using public buildings to support a candidate unless giving equal presentation to all sides.
Henry first made political waves earlier this year when he endorsed the Barry-Briley transit plan which flopped in the May 1 referendum by a vote of 64 percent against and only 34 percent in favor.
Travis also said on his website that the Preds recently brought Phil Bredesen into the rink before a playoff game and sang his praises. The former Democratic governor is running for retiring U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s seat.
The Predators’ Henry said he is proud of politicizing the taxpayer-subsidized
“I’m glad we don’t just stick to sports,” Henry said, according to Breitbart. “I’m glad that we can leverage the attention that people have for our logo, to take things that we think are important moving forward.”
Will blurring the lines between politics and sports hurt or help the Preds? The Tennessee Star’s Steve Gill published a column on May 3 calling the Preds one of the losers in the transit fight.
“Stick to hockey, particularly when you are blowing 3-0 leads,” Gill wrote. “Picking the wrong side of political issues while losing key games and fans may start throwing in the towel rather than catfish.”
More analysis of the issue is available here.