SBD/Issue 15/Law & Politics

Athletes Voice Support For Upcoming Election, Urge Fans To Vote

James Among Athletes 
Urging People To Vote
Cavaliers F LeBron James Saturday at a rally in downtown Cleveland "asked the hundreds attending to make sure they weigh in on the upcoming presidential election," according to Janet Okoben of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Sources said that James Thursday "filed voter registration paperwork at the Summit County Board of Elections." James: "I think all of us want to see a change, and in order for us to see a change we have to get out and vote. We have to. We can't sit around and say we want a change and don't do anything about it." Okoben noted James was on stage at the rally "for only about 90 seconds and never mentioned that he's a new voter." He also "didn't utter" Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's name. Meanwhile, Browns LB Willie McGinest also appeared at the rally and told the crowd that "he had been a hypocrite to complain about the country's problems when he never voted." He said that Obama "inspired him to register and vote" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 10/5). In Portland, Freeman & Quick reported Trail Blazers C Greg Oden is "poised to use his national popularity and celebrity" to help the Obama campaign. Oden planned to take part in a series of commercials Saturday "in support of Obama and said he would do 'anything else they can come up with' in the coming weeks." Oden Friday "wore a shirt to the Wells Fargo Fan Fest that displayed a cartoon depiction of Obama dunking over" Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Oden said of voters in Indiana and Ohio, "Hopefully (Obama) can get those two because those are big states. Those are my states. I would feel like I let him down" (, 10/4).

PUBLIC OPINION: In Orlando, Mike Bianchi reported Magic Owner Rich DeVos has "incurred the wrath of gay city commissioner Patty Sheehan" and has angered a "vocal segment of the public by contributing $100,000 to an organization that is backing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage." Sheehan, who originally voted for the team's planned $400M arena, is "now having second thoughts about supporting the Magic or anything else DeVos is associated with." Sheehan in an e-mail wrote, "I wonder if Mr. DeVos will want to sacrifice gay people to the lions in his new arena" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/4).

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