In case you've been living under a rock, 2012 is an election year. This means that we'll be inundated with local, state and national political advertisements during commercial breaks over the next few weeks. (Week 10, the first post-election Sunday, can't get here fast enough.) For the most part, athletes and sports figures follow Michael Jordan's "Republicans buy shoes, too" approach to politics, making their affiliations known by donating sums of money to candidates they support, but a new generation of athletes is taking a more active role in the political realm.
The most recent example of this is New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who the New York Daily News reports is appearing in a Web ad appealing to Latino votes on behalf of the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama.
"It's important for people to get hyped up for Election Day, 'cause just like gameday, what you do on that field or what you do on those ballots are going to determine the winners and losers, so get out there and vote," Cruz says in the ad.
"Being half Latino, it's been a long time since we've actually had a voice like this and had someone that really cares about the Latin community and we need to go out there and let our voices be heard."
Other examples of politically involved NFL players include Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who is an outspoken advocate for marriage equality in the state of Minnesota. Kluwe wrote and appeared in some ads on the issue, which will be on the ballot in November. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has been a longtime advocate of marriage equality. The state of Maryland will vote to approve a bill passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley.
On the other side of the aisle, Ravens center Matt Birk has spoken out against marriage equality, recording a video opposing the referendum. New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is the New York campaign chair for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and recently said he'd choose a Romney win in November over a winning season for the Jets. (Though to be fair, he'd probably prefer to have both.)
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