Pro Sports Team Owners Overwhelmingly Support Republicans With Wallets

About 86 percent of the donations by owners during the 2019-20 election cycle have gone to Republican candidates

Donald Trump with U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. and NY Jets owner Woody Johnson
President Donald Trump with U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. and NY Jets owner Woody Johnson.

Though the majority of them are not outspoken about their political leanings, most owners in North American pro sports clearly vote Republican with their wallets.

Following a review of the federal political contributions of 183 team owners during the 2019-20 election cycle, USA Today found that 86 percent of the donations from owners went to Republican candidates or causes.

The publication’s review found owners from the 161 teams in MLB, MLS, the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and the WNBA gave at least $14.6 million to federal candidates, with approximately $12.6 million of that going to support Republicans and about $1.35 million heading to Democratic candidates and causes.

In regard to the presidential nominees from both parties, owners have given more than $3.7 million to political action committees directly aligned with President Donald Trump and donated only $334,000 to his opponent Joe Biden.

As sociologist Harry Edwards told USA Today, the pattern of donations is evidence of the “ideological disconnect” that exists between owners, who are predominantly white, and pro athletes in the U.S., who are mostly people of color.

“These owners standing up and saying ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and even taking a knee, doesn’t mean that they get it,” Edwards said. “What shows what they get is where they put their money.”

Of the 183 owners in North American pro sports included in the review, 55 haven’t given any money to federal candidates during this election cycle, so far.

Prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals, LeBron James was asked to comment about the financial data showing pro sports owners overwhelmingly donate to Republican causes.

“I’m not going to give my energy to that because it’s not surprising. My mom has always told me, control what you can control, and I can’t control that,” he said. “What I can control is what I’m doing on my side and trying to have people gather around me and gather around my initiatives and doing what we’re doing to try to effect change, not only in our communities but outside of our communities with the youth, and let them understand how important their voice is and their vote is to our society.

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