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Presidential politics a potential landmine for players

Written by Dan Gigler on .

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While often quite vocal and open about the seemingly personal matter of religious faith, athletes seem much less inclined to make their politics public. Whatever the reason -- be it a lack of interest, avoiding the headaches of partisan rancor, or fear of to alienating fans who disagree with them -- athletes tend to clam up when it comes to politics.

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The Super Bowl champion Steelers with President Obama at the White House in 2009 (top) and former President Bush (above) in 2006. Regardless of party affiliation, 100% of voters agree that Jeff Reed looks like a boob in both pictures.
Willie Colon, Ramon Foster and Larry Foote are among the few players in the Steelers' locker room who have frequently Tweeted their political leanings this election season -- all three are staunch supporters of President Barack Obama -- and they offered their thoughts as to why other athletes are less inclined to share their politics, blue or red.

Willie Colon

"I think a lot of people can’t back their opinions and their feelings about certain issues. As an athlete, if you’re for abortion or not, or however you feel, it can turn pretty vicious. For me, I don’t give a s---. This country’s about freedom of speech and freedom of opinion. I respect everyone's opinion. People tell me to go to hell, you’re an idiot – but that’s my God given right. I think more athletes have to express that. If there’s a time to stand up and talk about anything, stand up for what you believe in. No matter if its right or wrong.

"I think if you’re going to put yourself out there – I wouldn’t get in debates over it. I just leave it there. If you get into a debate about it, you just open yourself up for a lot of [problems]. I just say this is where I am and leave it right there. People got to respect each others opinions. I don’t care if someone is totally for Romney and believe everything he says – that’s their God-given American right."

Ramon Foster

"I think the basis of Twitter is to get your individual thoughts out and the election is really big from a lot of aspects this year. Whether its social security, whether is taxes being raised, whether its oil and gas – whatever it is I think its very important that people see that we’re thinking the same about what they’re thinking in these times.

"I had a guy kill me because I said gas was $3.87 for regular and $4.17 for premium – I was like oh my goodness – and they got on me about it because they were like ‘you make millions of dollars.’ [ed: Foster’s 2012 base salary is $1.26 million] ... this election affects us in a certain way, the same way it affects other people ... we are in the highest tax bracket – but the majority of us believe it or not probably would still vote for a Democrat because we come from situations that – we’ve been in that situation before – from a lower class, where we needed those types of benefits.

"I feel like you should be able to express those types of opinions without somebody giving you hell about it. Some people will give me hell about me expressing my opinion about what I believe in – whether it was gas prices, or what party you go with. And like Willie said, its all opinion based.

"Freedom to vote, man. We have that freedom to express it, so why not. And it might get five other people to go vote this year."

Larry Foote

"People don’t like to ruffle other people’s feathers, that’s why. You know how emotional it is, and sometimes people want to stay away from that. People are involved in it emotionally, but that’s alright. It’s America. Free choice."

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