SBJ/20090126/Opinion

Guide nation, not sports

It was fun to hear candidate Barack Obama joke during the campaign that, if elected president, he would “throw his weight around” in an effort to turn the Bowl Championship Series into a true playoff system. And it is gratifying to have another chief executive who takes both his sports and his fitness seriously.

But we were pleased, nonetheless, to hear no mention of sports in President Obama’s inaugural speech. It was a serious message, appropriate for serious times, and it dealt with issues that have much more significance than which teams get to play in which college football games.

We’d like to offer two other things that we think the president and Congress should steer well clear of: the search for a new head of the NFL Players Association, and the question of whether cable and satellite operators should be forced to carry channels that they don’t want. There are systems in place to take care of those issues. NFL players are perfectly capable of deciding who they want to lead their union, while free market give and take can handle the question of which operators carry which networks.

Obama’s potential as a game-changer for sports will rest in his ability to guide the nation through the harsh economic climate. The  sports industry will look to Washington to pursue policies that keep fans spending and credit flowing.

Here’s hoping that our government keeps its eye on the ball, and its hands off sports.

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