Arrow-right Camera

Something’s not right

This election season, Washington Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot has a predicament faced by many NFL players: a Democrat’s background and a Republican’s income.

“They turn Republican. I see it all the time,” Smoot said. “It all goes back to changing your economic value.”

Smoot, who came from a background of modest means in Mississippi, has decided to choose his roots over his pocketbook. He is supporting John Kerry for president.

“When you go into a higher tax bracket, all of a sudden you don’t want to vote for this candidate because he’s going to raise taxes,” Smoot said. “I thought about it. I’m not going to solely vote for this candidate just because he’s going to save me a couple of dollars and it not turn out to be the best thing for me or my country.”

Could Redskins be red state?

Smoot’s sentiments present him with a dilemma: For Kerry to win, the Redskins have to lose on Sunday – at least according to a statistical correlation that’s been accurate for seven decades.

Since the Redskins became the Redskins in 1933, the result of the team’s final home game before the presidential election has correctly predicted the White House winner. If the Redskins win, the incumbent party wins. If they lose, the incumbent party is ousted.

“It’s kind of amazing,” Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. “You wouldn’t think something like that would line up that many times.”

Gibbs said the statistic doesn’t mean anything, but he can pretend that it does – because he’s solidly in the Bush camp.

His political leanings are known, but Gibbs can’t take sides. He said he never considered running for office himself.

“I’ve invited enough nightmares into my life,” the coach said with a laugh.

Serving up a backlash

Martina Navratilova is angry that a candidate running for a county office in New Jersey used a photo of the tennis star that she says suggested an endorsement.

Joe Renna met Navratilova at a street fair last month, and she agreed to pose for a picture with him. He then sent the photo to a weekly newspaper in Cranford, N.J., under the headline “Rubbing tennis elbows.” The caption said Renna plans “to meet thousands of people across the county over the next few weeks.”

“It was implying that I knew who he was, that he was running for an office,” Navratilova told The (Newark) Star-Ledger.

Renna said Navratilova was mad because he is a Republican, but she said she doesn’t care about Renna’s party affiliation. Navratilova was so annoyed she tracked down Renna’s Democratic opposition to lend her support – and pose for pictures.

Not without president, er, precedent

Steve Vanderpool of did some research, noting the four times that teams winning the World Series came from the same state as that year’s presidential election winner.

1972: Richard Nixon (Calif.), Oakland Athletics; 1932 and 1936: Franklin Roosevelt (N.Y.), Yankees; 1920: Warren Harding (Ohio), Cleveland Indians.