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Volume 24 No. 156

Sports in Society

For President Obama, the athletics realm “clearly is comfortable territory, even when he is asked about sensitive, sometimes racially charged topics,” according to Ben Wolfgang of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Obama last year “joined the growing chorus of critics” who said Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder should “consider a name change for the team.” In April, he “chastised" Clippers owner Donald Sterling for "‘ignorant’ and ‘racist’ statements caught on an audio recording, and the president called on the NBA to act quickly.” In “wading into the wide world of sports controversies,” Obama is to some degree “following the blueprint laid out by his predecessor, President George W. Bush, who addressed steroid use in baseball” during his ‘04 State of the Union address. Univ. of Houston Political Science Professor Brandon Rottinghaus said, “It makes the president look like the kind of person who is in touch with what the people are interested in. It also makes the president look like a relevant public figure.” Wolfgang writes an interest in sports can be a “double-edged sword for a president” as Obama has “taken grief for the frequency of his golf outings and was criticized in March for finding time to fill out his March Madness bracket on television at the height of the crisis in Ukraine.” However, the President has “taken a more proactive approach” on concussions and football and has “injected himself into the debate, as evidenced by the White House summit” in which he admitted to suffering concussions while playing football as a child (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/10).

HOUSE PARTY: In Hartford, Dom Amore notes the Univ. of Connecticut men’s and women’s national champion basketball teams visited the White House yesterday, and in his East Room remarks, Obama “sprinkled in humor to honor the Huskies' achievements.” Obama: "It is just a remarkable thing what these two programs have accomplished. The women were a perfect 40-0 and won their games by an average of 34 points. There was not a lot of suspense. Now, I did not pick the men's team to win. But neither did anybody else, unless they went to UConn. Tell the truth” (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/10).