President Obama Calls For An Eight-Team CFB Playoff On The Herd
Our President is a huge sports fan. Every time he's put on the spot to talk about the NBA for NFL, we're shocked at how much he knows. It's weirdly humanizing for a guy who controls a massive army of flying robots that can act with impunity.
Today he join Colin Cowherd to promote Healthcare.gov's latest enrollment period, which begins December 15, and to comment on the openly political stances players like LeBron and the St. Louis Rams have taken in response to the Eric Garner and Michael Brown decisions.
Cowherd: you recruited lebron and kobe to sell your message. a lot of fans complain to me, Mr. president, they don't want politics involved with sports, but increasingly young stars want a socially active voice. you are a sports fan buried in politics all day. how do you feel about the line being blurred when you watch a game?
Obama: i spend most of my time watching espn in the morning. i get so much politics, i don't, you know, want to be inundated with a bunch of chatter about politics during the day. on the other hand, there's times when they are important issues out there. for athletes to recognize they're citizens as well as entertainers, and they have got a voice that is legitimate i think is important. i think it's useful.
Obama on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's botching of the Ray Rice situation:
Obama: roger goodell received a lot of criticism on that ruling because he was viewed as living in an echo chamber of "too many men." it's very difficult, even if you run the white house, maybe especially so, when you hire certain people you align with but you don't want to be living in an echo chamber. you want to get it right. is it difficult for goodell,
Cowherd: is it difficult for you, Mr. president, sometimes you need to be told you're wrong to get it right?
Obama: absolutely. we have to be very conscious about making sure that we've got diverse folks in the meetings and decisions that we're making. that means making sure that we are promoting women, making sure we are promoting folks who have diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds because you make better decisions when you've got different viewpoints.
you also have to send a message to your team that you welcome disagreement. that is basic management. what is true in the nfl is that -- this is not unique to the nfl, but it may be a little more pronounced in the nfl is that there has been a little bit of an old boys network in terms of how it operates. there have been blind spots that are rooted -- not just in professional football -- but dating back into college football. certain behaviors have been tolerated historically that really should not have been tolerated. hopefully this is a call and people will start thinking about this a little more systematically.
Obama on Ray Rice:
Obama: sports is an interesting socioeconomic pool. we are giving young people incredible amount of fame and money. there are times they are 21 years old. i couldn't handle it. they can't handle it. now we have new conduct policies. what is the balance between tough punishment, being good citizens and understanding of their life?
if i was 21, 22, and suddenly i got a multimillion dollar contract, i'm sure i would have made not only more mistakes, but they would be more publicized, and i recognize that. on the other hand, just like any other job, when you have the privilege of playing in a sports league and people looking up to you, you have responsibilities to the fans and to your employers. you have to be treated the way other people are treated when you do make mistakes. some of those mistakes are ones that are very serious, like where you are breaking a law. so the one thing i'm glad about is where i see leagues establish clear politics and guidelines ahead of time. you know, i think the most prominent example obviously was the ray rice situation.
i am so glad that we got more awareness about domestic violence. obviously the situation that happened in the rice family was unfortunate but it did lift up awareness that this is a real problem that we have to root out, and then have to change people's attitudes and their behavior and it has to start young. but the way it was handled also indicates that the nfl was behind the curve as a lot of institutions have been behind the curve in sending a clear message. you want to have clear policies in place. the fact that policies have now been established i think will be helpful in sending a message that there is no place for that kind of behavior in society. whether it's in sports or anyplace else.
Obama on the College Football Playoff:
Obama: It was the right thing to do and I suspect It'll end up being eight teams and that'll be just about right.
Cowherd: Now you're getting greedy...
Obama: No I'm just saying then Baylor and TCU wouldn't be as aggravated as they are.
Obama on the Eastern Conference:
Cowherd: bulls or cavs? who do you like in the east?
Obama: the cavs are starting to gel but i just like thibodeau as a coach. he's tough. they play hard. He's known as a fighter. if rose doesn't come back to m.v.p. levels -- if he's playing at an all-star level, i think the bulls can beat the cavs this year. you remember what happened with miami when lebron went there the first time? there is something to be said for team chemistry. you look at san antonio and how they have performed -- part of that is just popovich, duncan, parker, ginobili. they know each other and the system and they trust it. [They] are selfless, and it takes time to develop that kind of chemistry.
Watch the full interview, below.
Photo via Getty
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