Are you still fans of Matt Hasselbeck and Mack Strong after they visited President Bush last week in Bellevue? Or have their political leanings turned you against them?
The Seahawks quarterback and fullback gave the 43rd president a No. 43 jersey with his name on it at a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for Rep. Dave Reichert at the Hyatt.
At the time, Hasselbeck called it a thrill and said it was a win-win, this opportunity to meet the president and get out of a team meeting.
But as soon as he saw the picture of the two players with Bush, Gary Wright, the team's vice president of administration, said he was concerned about negative reaction.
Maybe in really red Republican states, it would not have been a big deal. But Washington is a blue state, and deep, deep Democratic blue in King County. So objections were raised, and Hasselbeck heard them and read them. He got nasty voice mails, e-mails and text messages.
"I had no idea," Hasselbeck said.
One guy told him: "I hate you, I'll never wear your jersey, I'll never like the Seahawks again."
"Huh?" Hasselbeck thought. "Seriously?"
"Politics can be very mean and dirty," he said. "The things politicians say about each other, and what activists say, I had a brief glimpse of that for a couple of days.
"If I ever had any questions about whether I wanted to run for office, I now know the answer -- I don't."
As a quarterback, he's used to getting booed. "But this was a whole new level," he said. "I was very surprised how mean (they were)."
As evidence were these responses to Angelo Bruscas' blog posting on seattlepi.com:
"How dare Hasselbeck declare Bush an honorary Seahawk," wrote one. "Who is Matt speaking for? Bush is no Seahawk. He is the worst president of my lifetime, and I'm almost 60. Shame on you, Matt."
"To learn that two of the most popular Seahawks are strong (Bush) supporters ruins the season for me and my family," wrote another.
And Timothy P. wrote: "Just goes to show you that being a great athlete doesn't make you smart."
You've gotta love all that liberal tolerance. They prefer terrorist to Republicans.