The Nashville Predators have leaped into politics for a second time this year with an endorsement of left-wing Democrat David Briley, in Nashville’s upcoming special mayoral election.
However, with the endorsement, the popular NHL team sparked criticism from fans who think the team should stick with sports and stay out of politics, the Tennessean reported.
Predators President and CEO Sean Henry made the team’s endorsement known in a May 16 video posted to Briley’s campaign Twitter feed.
The video features Henry standing next to team mascot “Gnash” and urging residents to get out and vote.
“I want to urge everyone to get out and vote,” Henry says in the shot video. “I also want to let Smashville know that we’re supporting Mayor David Brilely, and we hope that you join us for that as well,” prompting nods from Gnash. “But regardless of who you vote for, get out and vote. Make your voice heard. Go Preds.”
Thanks to our friends @Gnash00 and @PREDSident and everyone over at the @PredsNHL for supporting Mayor Briley in the upcoming election! We invite all of #Smashville to join #TeamBriley on May 24. Polls are open now so make sure you get out and vote! pic.twitter.com/xv66yN727m
— Briley for Mayor (@brileyformayor) May 16, 2018
Henry took criticism for using the team to endorse Briley, a candidate who considers himself a “progressive.”
“I’ve honestly never seen this before, and I think it’s bad for our country to be politicizing every aspect of our lives, including teams endorsing a political candidate,” Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage said on Thursday.
Henry’s support comes on the heels of the team’s angling to negotiate a new stadium lease to keep their home at the city-owned Bridgestone Arena.
This is Henry’s second foray into local politics and for using the Predators as a platform. Henry and the team came out in support of an effort to pass four new taxes on the city to pay for a $5.4 billion mass transit plan. Despite Henry’s outspoken support of the plan, voters defeated the taxes with a whopping 64 to 36 percent vote on Election Day.
For his part, Henry insisted that using his team to push politics was a good thing and that he has no intention of quitting his new political habit.
“I’m glad we don’t just stick to sports,” Henry said. “I’m glad that we can leverage the attention that people have for our logo, to take things that we think are important moving forward.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.