10 Questions with Jay Mariotti
3. Sports Influence on Obama
Posted On 05.17, 2013
RCS: In a column titled "The Audacity of Sports," you took the opposite perspective. Instead of addressing what influence this presidency will have on sports, you addressed what influence sports will have on this presidency. "Sports," you wrote, "is precisely the diversion this president needs to keep himself sane." What is about the greatness of sports in this country that has – and will continue to have – a profound influence on our great leaders?
Mariotti: Escapism. Theater. Sports may have its warts, and always will, but I'm still astounded after 25 years of doing this how it keeps me intrigued every day with compelling stuff. I assume Mr. Obama -- White Sox fan, ESPN watcher -- loves getting away from it all like a lot of fortysomething Americans who sink themselves into sports events and debates. Isn't debate the essence of sports? Why can't the president have fun with it, too? We've had Snoop Dogg and Mark Cuban on Around The Horn. You know, I'm just saying, if he feels like getting away for an hour one afternoon ... the D.C. studio is about 10 blocks from his new home.
Why wouldn't the "greatness" you mention appeal to the most powerful man in the political world? Why wouldn't he quietly root for the Tampa Rays and their dinky payroll against the behemoth Yankees? Why wouldn't he marvel at Tim Tebow and the way he uses sports to help a bigger cause? Jordan, Ali, Tiger -- they ascended in their worlds amid enormous expectations. Obama faces the same superstar syndrome.