US sport – from NFL to basketball and Olympic skiing – is caught up in actions of a president unafraid, and determined, to change the rulesSports and politics have always existed at a very public intersection in the United States, but you would be hard-pressed to recall a time when the illusory firewall keeping them apart was more nakedly exposed.Over the past year Trump has co-opted American sports as not merely a proxy battle in the culture wars that reflect a country’s deep divides but the primary theatre. It is fair to say there was no more influential sports figure this year than the president, whose bellicose rhetoric and crisp volume counterpunching have had far-reaching effects on the industry (ask Papa John’s) and compelled sports people, in a sharp break from the “Republicans buy sneakers, too” indifference of a previous generation, to speak on social issues with a frequency and ardour not seen since the high water mark of athlete activism of the 1960s, when champions such as Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul‑Jabbar risked their livelihoods to stand on the frontline of the civil rights movement. Continue reading…



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