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Mike Wise: Political Football
So, let's reach. Equipped with my own pollster, courtesy of George Mason University, I recently asked 45 players on the Redskins' 53-man active roster, injured reserve list and practice squad -- more than 70 percent of the locker room -- whom they would vote for: Obama or John McCain.
The results from what has to be among Virginia's highest-concentrated tax bracket -- where millionaires greatly outnumber players who make less than a quarter of a million dollars -- does not bode well for the Republican nominee.
Obama 29, McCain 8, Undecided 7.
Two players refused to disclose their preference, including LaRon Landry, who turned out to be the biggest political animal of all:
"Jim Zorn for president, baby," Landry said.
Politics and sports, of course, always commingle around election time. If it isn't LeBron James attending an Obama rally in Cleveland recently, it's Browns backup quarterback Brady Quinn introducing McCain at a rally in Strongsville, Ohio, after which Browns Coach Romeo Crennel had a message for his player: job first, kid; election second.
But nowhere has political football been played on a grander stage than Washington.
Zorn refused to disclose his own political leaning. But on the crazy chance he were a registered Republican, Zorn would fall in line behind the two greatest coaches in franchise history: George Allen, the late father of former Virginia Republican senator George Allen, who in 1971 supposedly ran a play at the request of President Nixon; and Joe Gibbs, who addressed the Republican National Convention last month. On and off the field, both men ran much harder to their right than Barry Goldwater.
Among current Redskins, Andre Carter has the deepest political roots. The defensive end's father, former Denver Broncos nose tackle Rubin Carter, was teammates with wide receiver Rick Upchurch, whose girlfriend at the time hosted a baby shower for Andre's mother.
The woman who put the party for Baby Andre together? Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"It's true," said Carter, who said he is still undecided on the election. "Her and my mom reunited several years ago. Just because she hosted my baby shower, though, doesn't make it any tougher for me."
Fred Smoot summed up this year's dilemma for many of his teammates when the veteran cornerback told the Associated Press, "We're coming from Democratic backgrounds, but we got Republican money right now."