With topics of social justice in mind, 2020 continues to be an interesting year for professional sports teams, as the intersectionality of the sports world and America’s political sphere persists. Players and organizations continue to voice their sentiments about racial injustice issues, as the public has seen over the past few weeks, starting with the Milwaukee Bucks and several other athletes and organizations after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI.
In light of these events, multiple professional sports team owners are offering their stadiums as polling locations for the upcoming presidential election.
The franchises participating in this effort span through the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. Organizations in Philadelphia are no different.
Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, recently held a media press conference with various outlets, including CBS Sports and MSNBC, relating to the allegations of converting Lincoln Financial Field into a polling place.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a time when we all realized the importance of voting,” Lurie said. “And voting has ramifications, everybody, as we know, and maybe it’s taken some of us too long, myself included, to realize that.”
Lurie made certain that his message was clear — voting is a crucial part of being a part of a democracy and the Philadelphia Eagles want to help.
“We have a very important election coming up on November 3,” Lurie continued. “And one of the things we’ve offered to do is to open up Lincoln Financial Field to be a polling place, if needed.”
The Philadelphia Eagles also tweeted a short video of Lurie to release his statement to the public by quoting Lurie in the caption, “This has been going on for far, far too long and it’s our history.”
This press release was met with a variety of comments, both against his decision and supporting the move. However, Lurie and other franchise owners are continuing to help in any way they can.
Lurie also addressed that all of the Eagle offices will be closed on Election Day and that the organization has encouraged staff members to serve as volunteers in pre-polling in order to help “maximize people’s ease of voting.”
The Philadelphia 76ers ownership group, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, as well as the owner and operator of the Wells Fargo Center, also offered to have the arena serve as a polling place.
The owners of local professional sports teams met with city officials to discuss whether or not their venues could be converted into polling locations. Ultimately, Philadelphia’s Office of City Commissioners declined their offer, but they are happy to know those locations are available if needed.
“The Eagles and Sixers have reached out, though we have already identified more convenient locations for the voters of those divisions around the Linc and Wells Fargo Center,” Nick Custodio, Chair of Philadelphia City Commission, said in a statement with the Philadelphia Inquirer. “But it is great to know they are available if needed.”
Wells Fargo Center will not be used as a polling center for the 2020 election but will be used for other purposes as the city sees fit. Those other purposes might include local elections if deemed necessary by city officials.
After weeks of civil unrest in America and the sports world, Philadelphia sports teams are showing their support for the city and making a statement that they will use their large platforms for.