Super Bowl LIV: Can’t avoid politics.

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( We are less than a week from the biggest sporting event of the year as San Francisco and Kansas City will play in Super Bowl LIV at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. While there is always a lot of pre-Super Bowl game breakdowns and evaluation of the teams by NFL television commentators and sportswriters as they try to analyze who will win the Lombardi Trophy and be forever recognized as NFL champions, there are multiple reasons why this Super Bowl has more political angles than most starting with the San Francisco 49ers.

#1: San Francisco 49ers back in the Super Bowl for the first time since you-know-who was the postseason quarterback

The 49ers handled the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game to earn their spot in this year’s Super Bowl. The best performance in that game was by 49ers running back Raheem Mostert, who ran for 220 yards, and had the most rushing yards in a playoff game in 49ers history. He broke the previous record held by then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick set the record when he rushed for 181 yards on 16 carries on Jan. 12, 2013, also against the Green Bay Packers. This 49ers team is in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2013, when Colin Kaepernick was early in his NFL career. He was not the the polarizing figure then that he is now. It is ironic that the season that Kaepernick has a high-profile “workout” for NFL teams that continue to avoid signing him that his former team ends up in the Super Bowl.

#2: NFL’s broadcasting Botham Jean PSA during the Super Bowl

Police brutality against people of color remains one of the most polarizing topics in America. The NFL will re-broadcast a PSA about the Botham Jean murder during the Super Bowl on February 2. Jean, a black man, was killed in his own apartment in 2018 by Amber Guyger, a white Dallas police officer. It was a case that got a lot of national attention for different reasons including how Jean’s brother hugged and forgave Guyger after she was sentenced. This PSA will make likely Super Bowl parties very tense due to strong feelings about the Botham Jean case, Guyger, Jean’s brother, and police brutality against black people. It is very interesting that the NFL, through these PSAs, “supposedly finds issue” with police brutality, while keeping Kaepernick unemployed.

#3: Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl are an example of Native American imagery

As long as sports teams continue to use Native American names and imagery for team nicknames, mascots, and logos, it will be a political and hotly contested issue. Native Americans have fought against professional and collegiate sports teams using Native American imagery for decades. It is no doubt racist when Kansas City fans start their “Tomahawk Chop” and “war chant” as they did during their AFC Championship victory in their home stadium. Journalist Vincent Schilling, who is Native American, has also spoken out on social media against the Kansas City franchise and its use of Native American imagery.

Of course, sports is politicized by nature of the presence of the American flag and the national anthem being played. This Super Bowl also features a multiple athletes like San Francisco’s Richard Sherman and superstar Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes who both have grabbed some headlines related to their opinions on police brutality in the past. Fox’s Super Bowl LIV television pre-game show will also include a pre-taped interview with Donald Trump. This year’s Super Bowl has more political tone to it than most sporting events.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines