How the NFL and American Politicians Politicized (and Helped Merchandise) Pro Football

In the '60s and '70s, Gridiron Fans Like Richard Nixon and Bobby Kennedy Embraced the Sport That Wanted Their Attention

In January 1942, as the United States committed itself fully to World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt decided that baseball, then the national pastime, should sustain civilian morale during the lengthy struggle ahead. He implored its commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, to make sure the games went on, despite worldwide armed conflict. And so they did. Professional baseball players, Roosevelt argued, “are a definite recreational asset.”

Roosevelt did not extend that consideration to professional football players, whose sport did not register politically. As a result, the NFL nearly shut its doors …

More In: Richard Nixon

Billy Graham’s Heaven-Sent Gift for Television

From Radio Sermons to LBJ's Funeral Oration, a Journalist Witnessed the Wonder of the Preacher's Media Mastery

“The BIBLE says … ”

I can remember that thundering voice coming out of our radio in the 1950s as the preacher wove points from Scripture into his sermon, urging …

Richard Nixon Considered Optimism His Patriotic Duty

The Naturally Gloomy President Thought It More American to Be 'Joyful’ and ‘Serene’

Richard Nixon saw himself as a true patriot, and he considered it his patriotic duty to strive to overcome his darker impulses and moods to exude an upbeat, optimistic outlook—an …

Historian Tim Naftali

The Former Director of the Nixon Presidential Library Is No Longer on Message

Historian Tim Naftali is the former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum and is the author of a forthcoming book on the Kennedy presidency. Before talking with …

Author and Journalist Jeffrey Frank

The Nixon Biographer’s Campaign Slogan: “Trust Me!”

Jeffrey Frank is the author, most recently, of Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage. Previously, he was an editor at The New Yorker and The Washington Post; …

But Did Ike Like You Back?

Author Jeffrey Frank Explains How Nixon Was Scarred by His Relationship with Eisenhower

Even a century after Richard Nixon’s birth, his life and political career are still almost always considered in light of his demons and dark side. But former New Yorker editor …