Eventually, sanity prevailed, and the players decided to stop acting like social justice warriors in front of the cameras. A new policy was developed which allowed players to stay in the locker room during the National Anthem but did not allow them to disrespect this fine symbol of our county on the field. The penalties for disrespecting the National Anthem were never implemented because the enforcement of the policy was suspended by the NFL. Even though no fines were issued, very few players decided to kneel during the National Anthem in the 2018 football season.
With the controversial politicization of the NFL on hold, it would seem that college football players and coaches would get the message. Unfortunately, the LSU Football Coach, Ed Orgeron, disregarded the potential dangers of injecting politics into his program. He recently appeared at a fundraiser for Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. In fact, he introduced Edwards as “a man of great character, great integrity.”
The endorsement of Edwards, an incumbent Democrat Governor, has not been received well by many Louisiana Republicans. U.S. Senator John Kennedy called it “a horrible mistake,” while one of the Governor’s opponents, U.S. Congressman Ralph Abraham labeled the endorsement “very disturbing.”
With this endorsement, Orgeron has become the most high-profile cheerleader for a Governor with a very pathetic record of accomplishment. Orgeron will have to live with the political consequences of this decision as he may not have considered the problems, he has created for himself and his program.
In 2016, President Donald Trump carried Louisiana with 58% of the vote. Every Louisiana statewide elected official, except one, is a Republican. The Louisiana Legislature has a Republican majority and our six-member congressional delegation has only one Democrat.
Clearly, Louisiana is a conservative, Republican state. The current Democrat Governor was elected due to unusual circumstances, which is why he his victory has been called a fluke by many political observers.
While Governor Edwards has amassed over $10 million in his campaign war chest, he is vulnerable in this election and will have to answer for his increase in the size of state government, his support for tax increases and his anemic record of job creation. Sadly, Louisiana is one of only eight states in the nation to suffer a loss of population, at least partially due to the anti-business policies of this Governor.
Unfortunately, the LSU Football Coach is trying to help his friend, the Governor, cross the political goal line and win a second term. Another four years of Edwards as Governor will not be beneficial for the state or the LSU football program. As more businesses and people leave the state due to the policies of this Governor, more potential supporters of LSU football will leave as well.
An LSU football coach should not be endorsing political candidates in statewide elections. Orgeron’s decision was not in the best interest of the LSU football program. While Senator Kennedy noted that he was “offended” by the endorsement, many other Louisiana voters will see it as another example of the pervasive reach of politics in our state. It is very sad that in 2019, even LSU football is not immune to Louisiana politics.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]