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Column: Obama's Victory Could Bring Changes In Sporting World

This story was written by Joe O'Connell, The New Hampshire


It has been just three days since the most historic presidential election ever in our country. In just over two months, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

While the Anderson Coopers and Bill O'Reillys inform us about the political implications of Obama's victory, there are those who have been trying to figure out what this could mean for sports in America.

One of the most popular connections between Obama and sports came across the news wire on Wednesday morning, when it was reported that Japanese officials was concerned with what Obama's victory could do to their campaign for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The four finalists being considered for the host city are Tokyo, Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro. For a time, it looked as though Tokyo was the top choice, but now that the leader of the greatest country in world comes from Chicago, things may be a little harder for our friends in the Pacific.

"I wonder how IOC members will react when Mr. Obama appears in a presentation for Chicago," Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda told Japanese media Wednesday.

Obama would be a big help in acquiring federal funds for the city, which is in need of an Olympic Stadium in order to make the final push. But along with Obama, the likes of Michael Jordan and Oprah are pushing for Chicago. That's a lot of power and a lot of money. The Japanese should be worried.

Moreover, U.S. baseball officials believe that if Obama can improve the country's perception internationally, that could increase the chance of getting both baseball and softball back into the Olympic games before the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The Beijing Olympics marked the last time baseball and softball will be played as an Olympic sport unless it is reinstated.

Another connection between Obama and sports is what his proposed federal income tax increase would do to athletes excessive salaries, specifically baseball players. Currently, the rate is 35 percent. Under Obama's plan, the percentage would increase to 39.5 percent, the same as it was under President Bill Clinton.

The proposal would increase the income tax for families making more than $250,000 a year, so as to help decrease finances of families making less than $200,000 a year. What's the impact for baseball players? The average salary for a player is $400,000. The hope for agents, such as Scott Boras who will negotiate the contracts of eight nine-figure free agents this winter, is to get contracts finalized before a Jan.1 deadline. If contracts are signed before that date, then they would be taxed under the current regulations.

Unfortunately for these ballplayers, the odds of signing by Jan. 1 are slim to none. So for someone like Julio Lugo, who will be making around $9 million next season, about $400,000 will be taken out in the taxes. But it's Julio Lugo, so who cares.

Of course, one could argue that it was, in fact, a sports team that helped Obama win the election. Since 1944, the Washington Redskins are 17-1 in predicting who will win the presidential election. When the team loses their last game before the election, the party that occupies the White House changes. If the Redskins win, the party that is in the White House keeps the keys. Hopefully Obama called Redskins head coach Jim Zorn to thank him after his team was embarrassed 23-6 on Monday Night Football at the hands of the Roethlisberger-less Steelers.

Plus, any guy who says he wants to see the college football Division I FBS champion decided by a playoff is a true fan who knows the important topics in the sporting world.

In the grand scheme of things, these are not as important as Obama's plans to fx the economy or what he will do with foreign relations. But it is interesting to see how this historic moment can affect pretty much anyone.

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