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By Eric Charbonnet @ECHARB10

It’s pretty readily accepted that you shouldn’t discuss hotbed issues, especially with strangers or people you don’t know particularly well.

Religion and politics are the two team captains for hotbed issues and unless someone is prepared to discuss those matters in a mature and respectful manner ,they shouldn’t be discussed at all.

The thing about divisive issues though, is that they can cause problems within close-knit communities just the same.

That is why this election in particular is turning out to be so divisive: There are so many hotbed issues being added to the usual conversation. Whereas in years past the political discussion involved everything from healthcare to birth certificates or whether or not a particular candidate was going to be able to salvage the financially sinking ship that is the US deficit, this year’s discussion takes that one step further and incorporates numerous scandals, misguided racial views and oh so much more.

The candidates are just so polarizing. It’s been a long amount of time since I heard two people hold a civil conversation strictly about the political acumen of each candidate and what they plan to bring to the table instead of the flagrant and ridiculous.

That is why talking about the two and their many unsavory qualities is such an issue for some people. It’s not just about the politics, and that’s why we’re seeing these social fissures across all walks of life, whether it be the rich, poor or the life of an NFL superstar.

It is important to not overlook what is happening in NFL locker rooms in regards to this election and the discussions being had about it.

Though the NFL isn’t truly representative of the whole population, that’s a given, but it is a microcosm of both the black and white male vote.

It is estimated that the NFL is almost 70 percent black and 25+ percent white.

In a poll done for a Bleacher Report article called “Donald Trump Is Tearing The NFL Apart” written by Mike Freeman, it was revealed that the players polled had less than surprising results.

Twenty of twenty-two black players plan to vote for Clinton, all twenty-one white players polled intend to vote for  Trump.

This fairly accurately represents the data found in the same article but done in a poll for CNN of Likely Voters where the majority of white men said they would be voting for Trump and nearly all of the black men polled advocated for Clinton.

The polarizing nature of this election has seemingly created camps within NFL locker rooms. Mike Freeman goes on to reveal that “Interviews by Bleacher Report Magazine with dozens of NFL players about Trump over the past four months reveal that scenes of a divided America sparked by the candidate have been replicated inside at least a half-dozen locker rooms of its most popular sport. Some players cite low-level confrontations. Others say friendships have ended.”

It’s somewhat relieving to know that the same discussion we are all having is also being had in the locker rooms of our favorite sports teams. What doesn’t bode well is the amount of trouble these conversations have created in their wake.

Football is the ultimate unity sport, in my opinion. Eleven players on each side locked in an hour-long struggle, fighting for every inch, sweating and bleeding in unison, it’s really almost poetic.

This gauntlet, one in which iron sharpens iron and a man’s mettle is tested, can create some of the most steadfast bonds in life. That’s why what is happening is so disturbing.

Though while another person’s beliefs shouldn’t render you able or unable to cooperate with someone (so long as they’re not being abusive or oppressive) it can make it very difficult.

What is important is to remember that someone can support a candidate because of their party or specific ideals and not have to agree with them morally or even on the whole and even though those specific ideals might not be on the same page as yours, we all have to do better to overlook these conflicting things or if we can’t do that, to at least not let them get to us.

Its a scary concept that what is unfolding in locker rooms might play out across the nation on a global scale. If friendships and loyalties are being tried in a camaraderie-based business, imagine what’s happening to those around water coolers where playing well with others isn’t necessary and without the physical release aspect that football allows.

That’s a whole lot of passive-aggressively pissed off people ready to have nothing to do with one another.

One player interviewed in Freeman’s article hit the nail on the head and said what the problem is, better than most could.

“We can’t have conversations anymore. We are too sensitive. It’s OK to disagree about things,” said the player, who wished to remain anonymous. I’ll go one step further and say it’s not only ok to disagree, but it’s ok to disagree and still maintain the brotherhood and fellowship that not only makes the game of football the best sport out there, but more importantly what makes this country so great.

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