As Senators Manchin and Sinema have continued to oppose changing procedural rules to allow voting rights legislation to move forward, they’ve received pressure to change positions from Emily’s List and a group of sports figures that include Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

Laura Niemi, professor of psychology at Cornell University, studies how and why people make moral decisions and says the letter penned by sports leaders illustrates how the concept of fairness applies both to sports and politics.

Niemi says:

“It’s interesting how Nick Saban talks about respecting ‘the rules of the game’ and using a level playing field. He's suggesting impartiality is core to both sports and politics, and his remarks echo research on the psychology of morality, which shows that, to most people, prototypical fairness is impartiality.

“Saban’s message could find broad uptake – people readily understand the value of players not cheating in sports. The letter really highlights the connection between sports and democracy, and how they only work when rules related to fundamental impartiality are followed.”