Instant joke: After Saturday night, what will Gov. Sarah Palin, Michael Irvin with a broken neck, Eric Lindros and Santa Claus have in common?
... They will have each been booed in Philadelphia.
No doubt most sports fans could care less that the Flyers' Ayn Rand-adoring owner Ed Snider (right in picture), has invited the "most popular hockey mom in North America" (his words) to drop the puck on Saturday. It's a cheap political stunt and it makes little sense.
After all, David Brooks just called Palin a "fatal cancer" in the Republican Party. The Flyers don't want to be associated with cancer -- they fired a coach for having it!
Philly is the Democrats' turf and sports fans there take a certain pride in booing people. Why subject a candidate to that? Republicans tend to fare better in Western Pennsylvania. By that logic, then, it would make more sense to have Gov. Palin make an appearance at a home game of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Flyers' hated rivals. Ironically enough, the Penguins part-owner, Ron Burkle, is a big-time Democratic donor, so that's probably not happening.
On some level, this is funny and fairly nonsensical. On another level, it is a classic case of "the right-wing edge of the fundamentalist movement that uses sports to mask a political agenda of creationism, bigotry, environmental catastrophe and deregulation." (Dave Zirin, The Nation, Oct. 7.)
Snider absolutely adores Ayn Rand, who was a great author only to people who never read any other authors. He even helped found the Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism, whose Wiki notes that (unlike Palin) it is pro-choice and firmly for the separation of church and state.
Professional sports teams are always going to invite politicians to appear at games. People will always claim they're against mixing politics and sports in general, even though they don't say a peep if they support the politician in question.
It is Snider's hockey team and it is his prerogative to invite whoever he chooses. It bears repeating, though, that the beauty of sport is that you can connect with other people as fans without caring or knowing how or if they voted in the last election. Shame on the Ed Snider for spitting on a sacred truth of sports for the sake of his political agenda. People support the Flyers because they're a successful team, not because of the owner's politics.