Everything's legal in sports and politics.

Kansas City Strip 

Everything's legal in sports and politics.

Team players: Doug Laitner, a parent of two Lincoln Prep band members, was reportedly infuriated because his sons had to play at the Volker Park rally for Al Gore last Wednesday. The band's performance was "nothing more than a political endorsement" orchestrated by the Kansas City, Missouri, School District, Laitner says. We hope he was at least partially appeased the next day, when plenty of schoolkids got to bask in Barbara Bush's glow (in a news story, The Star's Rick Montgomery described her as "regal"). Those children must have ditched classes to go to the Midland Theatre, where people could get in by donating a children's book, thereby contributing to the ruse that Bar's Republican-sponsored appearance was a "family literacy event" -- in honor of that voracious reader George W. Bush.

We were more disturbed by news that Representative Steve Largent, an Oklahoma Republican and former wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, had campaigned with Kansas Congressional candidate Phill Kline at Arrowhead Stadium. Before a luncheon with ex-players at the Arrowhead Club, Largent and Kline toured the stadium and reportedly "visited Chiefs players at their practice facility." Democratic sports fans might have had reason to call an offensive foul (or at least be reminded of that momentary sickness in 1996, when George Brett was talking about getting his buddy Rush Limbaugh to buy the Royals -- how could liberal baseball lovers ever buy tickets, beer, and hot dogs from the radio right-winger?).

Not to worry, says Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore. "Our business is playing football, not supporting political candidates other than what individuals want to do." Largent is a member of the hall of fame, Moore says, so "we afford him every courtesy. He could come here and say hi and that would be fine. He didn't stop by practice. We don't open practice, and it would be stupid, given that our opponent this weekend was the Seattle Seahawks. It was not sponsored by the team or a team function."

Fulfilling her own team function is newly widowed Jean Carnahan, who took Missouri Democrats' handoff this week and agreed to fill the U.S. Senate seat should Mel Carnahan win the election. While her decision demonstrated courage and political savvy, it took the edge off for those disaffected voters who've told us they were looking forward to the odd thrill of voting for a dead guy.

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