We’ve never been ones to shy away from a political take here at ATVS. We don’t try to force it or anything, but if sports and politics converge, we’re not afraid to speak our minds and get that hate mail (political people have absolutely zero chill).
So let’s dive right in. Ed Orgeron went on Fox News and complimented Donald Trump. And people proceeded to lose their minds.
From professors trying to score some political points…
I'm sure @SenJohnKennedy will be equally "appalled" by Coach O's praise of Trump. https://t.co/baC3LfJAFu— ROBERT MANN (@RTMannJr) August 11, 2020
To actual political activists…
LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron: "I love President Trump...I think he's doing a fantastic job." pic.twitter.com/C97Uhh2gPL— Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) August 11, 2020
To former players…
Coach O is a great man and I know he didn’t mean any harm by this but he is the definition of only know and care about football. He is blind to everything else. Fantastic job?? https://t.co/XHduJPOZW8— K’Lavon Chaisson (@S4CKGURU) August 11, 2020
If the LSU head coach says something, its going to have outsized influence on the state of Louisiana. But I would point to Professor Mann’s tweet for some insight on Orgeron: the coach praising a Republican president also helped fundraise for the Democratic governor.
Which is to say, I wouldn’t go looking to Ed Orgeron for a coherent political opinion. He likes the people on power who recognized that his football team was awesome. Maybe there’s more to that and he’s trying to signal some deeper held political beliefs, but I highly doubt it.
Which gets to the core point: Ed Orgeron can vote for whoever the heck he wants. Heck, he can donate to who he wants or even advocate for any political candidate. That’s his responsibility and right as a citizen.
That this might be construed as an issue or if anyone has a problem with it, well, that’s their own problem. Most people don’t spend their ever waking hour immersed in politics nor hold deeply unshakable opinions.
We, as a culture, could stand to chill out over who people vote for. I’m not going to lie, I think Trump is disgusting person and an abominable president. However, this does not mean I extend my contempt to every Trump voter. That’s insane, and a total lack of perspective. I need to get off my butt and convince people who voted for Trump, or didn’t vote at all, to vote against him this time. That’s my right and responsibility as a citizen.
This need we seem to have to turn all politics into some kind of death sport is unhealthy. If Orgeron likes Trump, well, I disagree with him, but I don’t have an inherent problem with it. Why would I? The concept that a southern college football coach is conservative is not exactly earth shattering.
Now, could there be an impact on recruiting? Possibly. But I trust Oregon’s actual relationship with the players more than the assumed relationship the rest of us think they have. The reason the Mike Gundy thing spun so quickly out of control is that Gundy already had a bad relationship with his players. The reason Gary Patterson made news for a truly absurd controversy is that he had already poisoned the well with his behavior.
At LSU, Ed Orgeron seems to genuinely care about his players as people. There is very real commitment we’ve seen between the players and the staff, and that’s what matters. If a player has a problem with Orgeron, I think they have the right and responsibility to go talk to Orgeron. But frankly, it’s none of our business.
Maybe one of those players can convince Orgeron that Trump isn’t doing a good job. Maybe they can talk about social justice. Maybe they will even change his mind. If they don’t, well… I guess that means one more vote for Trump. That’s how democracy works.
The important thing is that Ed Orgeron seems to have fostered an environment where his players can have that conversation with the staff. They don’t need to try and score points on social media or try and squeeze concessions out of him. LSU players don’t need to do that because a healthy, family environment already exists around this program.
If LSU players have a problem with anything Ed Orgeron said, that’s legitimate. But hopefully, we have the kind of program where players can talk to their coaches like people, and have their voices respected. And best yet, they can leave the rest of us out of it.
The glory of America is that people can have whatever political opinion they want. We can disagree, but we can do so without destroying one another. Ed Orgeron endorsed Trump on national TV, and the proper response is to shrug your shoulders and say, so what?