Obama, Romney y la disputa en la arena deportiva

Obama jugando al básquet
En uno de sus escritos sobre sociología del deporte, el francés Pierre Bourdieu recordaba que, años atrás, en las Universidades de Estados Unidos algunos grandes atletas negros vivían en una especie de ghetto: los estudiantes políticamente identificados con las ideas de derecha no hablaban mucho con los negros y los partidarios de la izquierda no se relacionaban con deportistas. En el siglo XXI, Estados Unidos tiene un presidente negro como Barack Obama, amante del básquet y el golf, apoyado por parte de la industria del deporte, que afronta este martes el desafío de conseguir un nuevo mandato.



Candidatos y militantes

"Tengo un consejo para ustedes sobre el plan de juego Romney - Ryan: Patéenlo. No va a funcionar. No los hará ganar el partido", dijo recientemente Obama, candidato demócrata, sobre su rival en las urnas. "No necesitan ese entrenador. Esa es una temporada perdedora", agregó el presidente, que muchas veces ha introducido las metáforas deportivas en la campaña electoral para criticar directamente a Romney.

Como es común en el país del norte, muchos deportistas han comentado públicamente sus preferencias políticas. Michael Jordan, hoy dueño del equipo de la NBA Charlotte Bobcats, organizó una cena para recaudar fondos a favor de Obama. Sin embargo, la mayoría de los dueños de los equipos de la liga de básquet apoyaron con dinero al candidato republicano. Lo mismo sucede con muchos de los patrones de las ligas de béisbol, fútbol americano y hockey.

Obama y Romney en uno de sus debates
Muchos de los que hoy aportan dinero a los candidatos son los que en 2011 establecieron un lock out patronal mientras renegociaban con los jugadores los convenios colectivos y el reparto de las ganancias. Entre marzo y julio de 2011, los patrones del fútbol americano decidieron no iniciar la temporada por desacuerdos con los jugadores. Este año, los dueños de la NFL no acordaron los salarios de los árbitros, por lo que hoy los encuentros de la liga los dirigen colegiados inexpertos que con repetidos errores provocaron grandes polémicas y críticas públicas de técnicos y jugadores.

Entre julio y diciembre de 2011 se paralizó la NBA. En la temporada anterior, los equipos de la liga habían tenido un déficit de 800 millones de dólares. Los patrones buscaron un reparto más equitativo de las ganancias y una reducción del límite salarial por equipo. El mismo Jordan, hoy militante y aportante de Obama, como jugador defendía fuertemente los derechos de sus pares, pero en la negociación de 2011 fue uno de los propietarios más duros a la hora de acordar.

Modelos deportivos

Como bien ha escrito Bourdieu, el espacio de los deportes no es un universo cerrado en sí mismo. Como buen estado moderno, Estados Unidos ha alcanzado un alto desarrollo profesional y amateur del deporte, especialmente de actividades distintivas de la cultura del país como el fútbol americano, el beisbol, el básquet y el hockey sobre hielo.

Estos deportes populares se organizan bajo modelos cerrados, con un número limitado de equipos, sin ascensos ni descensos. Además, los participantes se rigen bajo presupuestos máximos, con salarios fuertemente regulados por las leyes de cada asociación. El draft de inicio de temporada privilegia a los peores equipos y los ingresos de televisión se reparten en forma equitativa. Esta es la lógica reguladora que organiza los deportes norteamericanos, lejos su sistema económico de libre mercado, contrario a cualquier regulación estatal.

Romney en los Juego Olímpicos de Londres
El objetivo de este modelo es propiciar una competición lo más equilibrada posible, sin grandes diferencias entre los equipos. Así, los encuentros se vuelven emocionantes, con definiciones sobre el final e incertidumbre en el resultado. El showtime norteamericano ve en esta lógica su ideal de negocio. 

En la campaña, Romney declaró que nadie que no posea una gran fortuna debe de aspirar a cargos públicos. En eso se parece a muchos de los deportistas que lo apoyan. El candidato forma parte de un selecto grupo de multimillonarios del mundo, con más de 250 millones de dólares de fortuna. Su mayor vínculo con el deporte se remonta a la presidencia del comité organizador de los Juegos Olímpicos de Invierno Salt Lake City 2002. Quiso valerse de los Juegos de Londres 2012 para promocionar su candidatura, aunque sus críticas a los organizadores le jugaron un mala pasada. La mejor relación con la práctica deportiva viene de sus aportantes a la campaña.

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