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Motor sport writers keep their politics to themselves

Written by Norris McDonald

One of the nice things about motor sport is that the people who write about it, or talk about it on radio or TV, stick to the subject.

I know that when it comes to politics, they – like most people – have more than a passing interest but they’re smart enough to separate that interest from the task at hand, which these days means reporting on NASCAR, Formula One and IMSA with a little dab of IndyCar tossed in.

I bring this up because a number of sports columnists on the continent, including a couple in Canada, have taken it upon themselves to lament statements made in recent days by retired hockey player Bobby Orr and golfer Jack Nicklaus that people in the United States should consider voting for the current president in the election on Tuesday.

The American writers I can understand, because what happens in that election will have a direct effect on them. It’s the Canadian commentators that baffle me because, regardless of who wins, it will have next-to-nothing to do with us.

Interestingly, several of the Canadians wrote about being “disappointed” with Orr and Nicklaus. “Disappointed,” of course, is code for “you’re an idiot.”  Funny, I thought the whole point of living in a democratic society was the freedom to have your own opinion. Apparently not.

I’m old enough to remember being able to sit down with friends over beer to talk about things like this. Everybody would have a good laugh when I’d tell stories about how my farmer grandfather, a Grit, would drape his Tory farmer neighbour’s mailbox in black crepe paper after the Conservatives lost yet another election. These days, though, you can’t say or do anything without the other side landing on you like a ton of bricks.

Michael Moore, the film maker, said the other day that the current president will likely be re-elected because when pollsters ask people their preference, the people lie because they don’t want to be ostracized. That they say one thing and then go into the polling booth and do another.

We’ll see. Whatever, I hope that what happens doesn’t unleash another round of political sports columns.