By Ian Rosoff
President Obama, a professed sport fan was hopefully figuring out how to fix the economy this weekend, but perhaps he tuned into HBO to watch the Pacquiao v. Bradley fight. And if he did, he witnessed a clear injustice. The fight was a travesty of judging even by boxing standards, and the decision made conspiracy theorists out of everyone and anyone who saw Pac Man knock Bradley’s head back and to the left.
With so much money on the line sports guy Bill Simmons suggested during his podcast that President Obama should come out against the boxing commission and vow to investigate the possibility of a fixed bout. Simmons may have been joking, but he did touch on one of the president’s advantages over Romney, Obama is the sports guy in this election.
Obama fills out an NCAA college basketball bracket every year, and ESPN always covers how people are doing against Obama’s picks. He’s an athlete and he often has photo ops shooting hoops.
Romney’s image stands in stark contrast to the President’s. Somehow everyone imagines that Mitt’s favorite sport is polo or yacht racing. At least Romney likes to watch NASCAR with his friends, there’s a sport that his base can connect to. The only problem is that those friends are the car’s owners.
Republicans have been fond of saying that President Obama is out of touch. This argument can be made convincingly, but not if it’s leveled by Romney, who appears to not follow mainstream sports, remember that republican debate when he said he’d be watching the national championship game that wasn’t on.
Of course it shouldn’t matter that Romney might not be the biggest sports fan in the world, but it makes the ‘Obama is out of touch’ argument that much harder, especially because Obama loves basketball, football, and baseball. These kinds of distinctions don’t matter at all in terms of who should be our next commander and chief, but they do end up mattering in the minds of voters who watch ESPN not CNN.
Psychology plays a crucial role in elections and somehow I think Bill Simmons is right, if Obama wanted to rap up the election today he’d simply have to call a press conference and announce that he was setting up a sports Czar who’s sole job was to clean up the sweet science of boxing, and after that the President could challenge Mitt to game of one on one.