The whole “keep politics out of sports” routine is getting trickier by the day, particularly when teams themselves are leaping wholesale into the political arena. The latest: the Miami Dolphins, who took to Twitter Monday in advance of Tuesday’s midterm elections to advocate against a gambling-related amendment to Florida’s constitution:
This gets a little thick here, so ride with us. Amendment 3 is designed to give voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in the State of Florida.” In other words, casino gambling would be allowed only by direct citizen initiatives, not via the Florida state Legislature or via a future ballot initiative. Realistically, this makes the creation or expansion of gambling businesses a far more difficult proposition.
Arguments for and against Florida’s gambling amendment
“For decades, approval of casino gambling was strictly left for Florida voters to decide,” Voters in Charge, a ballot measure committee, said in support of the amendment. “Only in the last few years have Tallahassee politicians decided they can legalize casinos without voter approval. Amendment 3 restores the system of requiring approval of casino gambling by Florida voters.” Voters in Charge has received significant contributions from Disney Worldwide Services Inc. and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, both of which gave in excess of $20 million apiece to the effort.
“Amendment 3 purports to put citizens in charge of any expansion of gambling,” the Tallahassee Democrat wrote in an editorial, “but it’s mainly a sop to Disney, which opposes all casino gambling, and the Seminole Tribe, which doesn’t want any competition for its gambling operations.”
What does this have to do with the Miami Dolphins?
But that’s all local politics. What does this have to do with the NFL? The Dolphins’ position is clear: legalized gambling is here in some parts of the country, and if it’s going to come to Florida, it will be much easier without Amendment 3 on the books. And since gambling is going to be a substantial boon to the NFL and every sports league, the Dolphins don’t want to miss out.
The question, of course, is whether a professional sports team ought to be involving itself in politics. We’ve seen it plenty of times lately, with the Atlanta Braves co-hosting an event for Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, the Nashville Predators endorsing a Democratic mayor, and prominent figures with the New York Yankees and Arizona Cardinals endorsing President Trump’s then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Whether fans approve of these political endorsements and advocacies is up in the air, but it’s certain that in these hyperpoliticized times, teams’ involvement in politics is likely only to grow.
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