Iowa Football

Regarding voting, many Iowa football players don't stay on sideline

These millennials are voters

Iowa's Parker Hesse, trying to make a tackle against Purdue last Saturday, is a proud voter. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa's Parker Hesse, trying to make a tackle against Purdue last Saturday, is a proud voter. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

 

IOWA CITY — If Iowa Hawkeye football fans want something to feel good about during their team’s two-game losing streak, you’ve come to the right place.

In a sample size of Hawkeye players I polled Tuesday morning, 83.3 percent said they were going to vote in the midterm election.

That’s 5 out of 6, which probably means my poll has a large margin of error, but I don’t care. I fully admit I was prepared for less of a positive response from the players for two reasons.

One, the time demands placed on them and the tunnel vision they have for their sport wouldn’t seem to lend itself to them being informed about candidates or having the spare time to vote.

Two, millennials in general haven’t been the most-enthused voting demographic. An NBC News/GenForward survey released last week reported just 31 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 would definitely vote Tuesday. Forty-two percent ranged from “uncertain” to “definitely will not vote.”

Iowa defensive lineman Chauncey Golston wasn’t in that group, saying he would vote because “You get to do your little bit to make this world a better place.”

Defensive tackle Sam Brincks said casting a ballot wasn’t a hassle, since the UI’s Petersen Hall near the Iowa Field House was a voting site, “so it’s pretty close.”

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“I think for the most part, we’ve been conditioned to live a disciplined life,” Brincks said. “Being proactive in the community and doing things like (voting) is something that we see as normal. It’s kind of our duty as a citizen of the U.S.”

Wide receiver Nick Easley made it sound like he wouldn’t dream of denying himself the chance to vote.

“My parents always raised me to be educated and vote,” he said, “learn who promotes values that you have and you care for. It’s been kind of ingrained in me since I was a little kid.

“It is hard to find time, but it’s kind of our duty in a way.”

“Certainly we encourage that,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said, “and I think in this day of public discourse and all that, it’s great to have opinions, but it’s more important I think to take some ownership. It’s one of our liberties that we take for granted probably too often.”

Hawkeye defensive end Parker Hesse seemed happy to proclaim himself a voter.

“I think a lot of people my age don’t feel it’s quite as important,” Hesse said. “Maybe they feel older people are more established, more in control of our country. They don’t really grasp that their vote does count.

“I think it’s extremely important. People have died, people have sacrificed, people put their lives aside still to this day for our right to vote, each and every person.

“If you want to have an opinion of what’s going on and how it affects you, you’re kind of responsible to do your part in letting your voice be heard.”

As college athletes said those good and wise things, the Division I college basketball season began Tuesday. Ninety-six women’s and 147 men’s games were scheduled on this day. Election Day.

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The season lasts from early November to early April and it couldn’t start one day later? What percentage of those players from the 243 teams that were on the road cast early votes? What percentage of fans going to those games skipped voting because of the time-commitment they were giving to basketball?

When told college basketball tipped off Tuesday, Brincks said “I didn’t even know that.”

‘Tis far nobler to be aware it’s Election Day than Basketball Day, and to be part of the former instead of the latter.

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

 

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