Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama are invading your NFL experience.
On Thursday, the Chicago Bears turned their practice into something like the McLaughlin group. On Monday, both Obama and McCain will appear on Monday Night Football to be interviewed by our nation's most obnoxious sportscaster, Chris Berman.
The MNF appearances seem unexceptional: It's the night before Election Day, and the candidates want free airtime. The open debate by the Bears, though, was something that professional sports players usually refuse to do. Players keep their political opinions buttoned up for lots of reasons: Financial, emotional, for the sake of team unity, stuff like that.
But the biggest consideration is the financial risk. As basketball legend Michael Jordan said -- and as all athletes know -- "Republicans buy sneakers, too."
And yet, the Bears came out with it Thursday, especially Lovie Smith. He admitted he was voting for Obama, gave his reasons why, and that was that. Fellow Bears on both sides of the aisle joined him -- and revealed their primary concern to be their taxes. Go figure.
If this bothers you as an NFL fan, get over it. Accept that, a lot of times, sports are political. Every time a stadium is approved for public funding -- bam, politics.
And this election is a huge deal -- big enough to break the NFL players usual wall of silence. To ignore that, or pretend it doesn't exist, is at best naive. So soak it in. You can handle it for a weekend.