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Far-right backs 49ers in Super Bowl, citing alleged Taylor Swift-NFL alliance for Biden reelection

A football player embraces a woman on the field
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift walk together after his team won the AFC Championship NFL football game last month. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)
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Good morning. It’s Thursday, Feb. 8. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

The unlikely new fans of the 49ers

With the high-powered Super Bowl LVIII matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers set for Sunday, another battle is stirring off the field, causing “Bad Blood.”

An unexpected group is flooding social media with support for the 49ers, with many , hoping they take down ...

The Kansas City...Sorry.

*checks notes*

Taylor Swift?

The newfound affection for San Francisco, a city often portrayed as a hellhole on conservative platforms, is actually a protest of the pop star, who is the sweetheart of Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Now, right-wing commentators are labeling the 49ers “America’s Team” (Sorry, Dallas), The Times’ Julia Wick reported.

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Here’s what you need to know about the one-sided beef.

Taylor Swift and the Great War with the far right

Unfounded right-wing theories have widely alleged that Swift and the NFL are forming a nefarious alliance to hinder Donald Trump’s 2024 election chances with an endorsement for President Biden in November.

Conservative-leaning channels, including Fox News, have spent the past few months telling their audience that Swift is a Trojan horse for the Democratic Party and a psychological operations asset for the Pentagon.

Fox News anchor Jesse Watters suggested last month that Swift might be “a front for a covert political agenda” and claimed that the Pentagon’s psychological operations unit floated the idea of using Swift as an asset four years ago.

Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh rebutted Watters’ claim using one of Swift’s song titles: “As for this conspiracy theory, we are going to shake it off.”

Conservatives continue to thrust Kelce, All-Pro tight end and Swift’s boyfriend, into this beef for appearance in Pfizer commercials promoting the COVID-19 vaccines.

There is no evidence suggesting that Swift ensured her boyfriend’s team a spot in the Super Bowl or that she intends to endorse Biden after he wins a “rigged” game, as some theories suggest. What we do know is that Swift did endorse Biden in 2020.

New ‘Fans’ joining the 49ers bandwagon

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A growing who’s who of right-wing commentators —considered agitators by some— who have previously expressed great disdain for San Francisco now, surprisingly, share an affinity for the 49ers.

On Sunday, conservative sports pundit Clay Travis appeared on Fox News, declaring he would be “proudly supporting the San Francisco 49ers, America’s team, on Sunday against Kansas City, Patrick Mahomes, Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.”

Right-wing commentator and journalist Nick Sortor may have initiated the unlikely MAGA-SF love-fest on social media. He posted on the platform X after the Chiefs’ AFC Championship victory last Saturday.

“I haven’t given a crap about the NFL since all their ‘Black Lives Matter’ BS,” Sortor tweeted. “But I’m now a 49ers fan specifically to see Taylor Swift and that Pfizer guy go down.”

Democratic politicians respond

San Francisco and Democratic politicians are surprised by the recent endorsement of the Niners by pundits from the right, with some criticizing the connection between Swift and GOP conspiracy theories.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco who is campaigning for Biden, labeled the right’s criticism of Swift as “sad and pathetic” during an MSNBC interview.

Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco), who will attend the Super Bowl with his father , found it strange that those who usually hate San Francisco are now backing its beloved team.

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“They hate Taylor Swift even more, I guess,” he said.

On the other hand, some Bay Area politicians are less receptive to the support, like state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).

The former chair of the California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus — known for his efforts to legalize psychedelics, allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. and build more housing — embodies the opposite of far-right beliefs. So ending up rooting for the same side is a bit baffling.

“We don’t need their support. We don’t want their support. San Francisco will be just fine without them,” Wiener said of the newest 49ers fans. “Conspiracy theorists are very, very bad energy. We don’t need that negative energy.”

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And finally ... from our archives

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On Feb. 8, 1960, construction began on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — one of Los Angeles’ most popular tourist attractions. The Times published a virtual tour of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a database of the stars and organizations enshrined on the sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

Have a great day, from the Essential California team

Anthony De Leon, reporting fellow
Kevinisha Walker, multiplatform editor
Stephanie Chavez, deputy metro editor

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