Defending Your Sponsorship: The Outlawing of ‘Paid Patriotism’

Todd C. Koesters
Matthew T. Brown
and Mark S. Nagel

The intersection of sports and politics is not new. Championship winning teams in the United States have been taking pictures with the President at the White House since Calvin Coolidge hosted the Washington Senators following their World Series championship win in 1924 (Neumann, 2016). Famous athletes have voiced their support for presidential candidates, and presidential candidates have discussed the importance of reaching particular voting demographics like the “NASCAR dad” or the “soccer mom” (Drehs, 2004). Politicians have thrown out first pitches, flipped coins before games, and even commanded the Navy band to play the University of Michigan fight song (Leslie, 2008). However, this intersection of sports and politics hasn’t always been amicable. Congressional investigations and/or hearings have been held or called over the use of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball (MLB), the prevalence of head injuries/concussions in the National Football League (NFL), the handling of abuse allegations directed at a former Penn State assistant football coach, and whether or not the United States Postal Service is entitled to a sponsorship refund following Lance Armstrong’s doping admission (Ezell, 2013; Newman, 2005; Red; 2012; Thompson, 2015).