As the presidential race continues to heat up, I sure hope we don’t hear politicians try to use their sports knowledge to get votes. What ultimately often happens is they show their lack of sports knowledge and make themselves look like complete morons. I don’t have a problem with President Barack Obama being a basketball fan or talking about the Chicago Bears. It’s completely acceptable for Mitt Romney to discuss his love for the Red Sox or whoever his favorite team might be as long as all the facts are straight.
Just this past summer, after the Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo helped lead their Boston Celtics to a win in a game of the Eastern Conference finals over the Miami Heat, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino tried to show of his knowledge of the Celtics but showed his lack of knowledge.
“There’s a lot of heart in this team, let me just tell you,” Menino said. “K.J. is great but Hondo is really the inspiration. Hondo drives that team.”
That’s a nice compliment by the Mayor but you have to get the names right. Last time I checked, Kevin Garnett’s initials are “KG” not “KJ” and it’s one thing to mispeak and get the point guard’s name wrong once, but twice? It also showed lack of pride in his team to get two of the stars’ names wrong in one statement.
Come on Mr. Mayor, it’s not like these guys just arrived in Boston, they’ve ben here for a while now.
That wasn’t the first goof up by the mayor either. Just before the New England Patriots went head-to-head with the Denver Broncos in the playoffs last winter, Menino decided to weigh in on receiver West Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowski. His mistake was calling them “Grabowski” and “Weckler.”
Also when talking Patriots, Menino referred to the time when Jason Varitek “split the uprights” to lift the Patriots to their first Super Bowl win. That’s pretty interesting because Adam Vinatieri was the kicker who made that winning field goal. Varitek was a Red Sox catcher.
Apparently there’s something about Boston sports that politicians can’t their facts straight. John Kerry who ran for president in 2004 once recalled his days of watching the Red Sox and said his favorite Red Sox player was Eddie Yost. Perhaps Kerry was talking about his fantasy baseball team called the Red Sox where he had Yost on his team because the real Eddie Yost never played for the Red Sox. Kerry also said his favorite Red Sox player at that time was Manny Ortiz, mistaking David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.
The biggest problem with that is you’re not going to forget your favorite player’s name if you’re a true fan.
Kerry made at least one other big blunder. When campaigning in Wisconsin, he made it clear he was a big fan of “Lambert Field” but he was actually referring to the Green Bay Packers’ legendary stadium “Lambeau Field.” Mr. Kerry, with all do respect, you can’t call yourself a football fan if you don’t even know the name of one of the most famous and historical stadiums in all of sports.
Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom used to tell you if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all? Well I would say if you can’t say something wise, don’t say anything at all. That’s a lesson many politicians have yet to learn.
Also in last year’s NFL playoffs, Vice President Joe Biden was in San Francisco right before the San Francisco 49ers were about to host the New York Giants when the vice president predicted to the crowd the Giants were going to the Super Bowl.
After beeing booed, he realized he said the wrong team, likely confused by the fact that San Francisco has a baseball team also called the Giants. Yeah, Biden should definitely have checked his facts on that one.
We all know why politicians try to talk sports. They want to be known as “a man of the people.” They want to talk about what’s on everybody’s mind.
That’s all fine but if they’re going to do that, they should do a little research and make sure they get their facts right.
After all, if the leaders of this nation are pretending to know more than they do about sports, what else do they not know much about and yet pretend to be experts in that field?
If someone running for president was visiting Dallas and admitted to knowing nothing about sports, I’d have far more respect for that individual than I would the one who came in to talk about the glory days of watching Joe Montan play for the Dallas Cowboys.
That may be where you’d lose my vote.