Presidents Day And Sports Decisions They Made


    Sometimes the decisions impacted more than the sports world

    It is President’s Day. The chief executive of the United States has an impact on just about every facet of American life. That includes the world of sports. A president from 12 decades ago is an important figure in football. Theodore Roosevelt threatened to ban football unless rules were implemented to make the game safer after a reported 40 players died from injuries suffered on the field over a two-year period in 1904 and 1905. Roosevelt brought the presidents of Harvard, Yale and Princeton into the Oval Office and told them “fix the game” or else.

    In 1905, those three along with others repaired the game. Franklin Roosevelt decided baseball was too important for the country’s morale during World War II and kept the game going. Dwight Eisenhower tried to put a thaw in the Cold War in the 1950s by sending Americans to compete in the Soviet Union in sports events. John Kennedy signed the 1961 Sports Broadcast Act which created the modern National Football League. Lyndon Johnson signed the NFL-AFL merger legislation that allowed football to grow and create the Super Bowl in 1966. Richard Nixon used ping-pong matches to open the door to China in the 1970s. Jimmy Carter ordered a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics in retaliation to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Ronald Reagan’s 1984 cable TV act and 1986 tax reform measures poured money into sports. Bill Clinton was asked in 1995 to mediate the Major League Baseball Players strike and George W. Bush included an anti-steroids statement in the State of the Union Address in 2004. Barack Obama failed to land the 2016 Summer Olympics for Chicago.  Donald Trump supported a bid to land the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Joe Biden signed off on a political boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Sports decisions are just part of the job of being President.

    Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States