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Sept 9-18, 2012 Headlines: Olympians honored & a rejection, EA ads, ‘n’ same-sex dust up

Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo (R). photo by Roberto Coquis

Mike Rizzo on Nats Political interests

Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo (R) and Super Sports Lawyer Richard Brand. Photo by Roberto Coquis

Sports ‘n’ Politics Fri, Sept 14 2012

At the Biznow event at Nationals Park, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo reiterated that Stephen Strasburg’s shut down has always been the plan. In an effort to execute this move properly, they brought in Gio Gonzalez and resigned John Lannan. In response to Roberto Coquis’s question about being in Washington, DC and in a Presidential Electio, Rizzo stated that  he has not seen any “political talk in the clubhouse, players are focused on the game…The most political it gets is Bears vs. Redskins.”

US Olympians honored in White House ceremony

Washington Post    Fri, Sept 14 2012

White House ceremony for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams. Nikki Kahn:The Washington Post

Declaring himself the “Fan-in Chief,” President Obama hailed the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes Friday as a portrait of what sets America apart: Men and women of all races, faiths and backgrounds who push themselves to extend the boundaries of achievement. “What you guys did was inspire us. You made us proud,” Obama told more than 450 athletes honored in ceremonies on the South Lawn of the White House.

Arnold Palmer notes lack of bipartisanship at his Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony

Washington Post (blog)   Wed, Sept 12 2012

Golf great Arnold Palmer

Not even pro golfer Arnold Palmer could let the lack of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill go unnoticed Wednesday. Palmer, in town to pick up his Congressional Gold Medal during a well-attended ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, said he was proud to accept the award, “because I’m particularly proud of anything that the House and the Senate agree on.”…Palmer turned 83 on Monday, and is just the sixth athlete to ever earn the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that lawmakers can bestow on individuals. The other award-winning sports stars are baseball great Roberto Clemente, Olympic track star Jesse Owens, baseball barrier-buster Jackie Robinson, boxer Joe Lewis and golfer Byron Nelson.

Obama Places Virtual Ads in Madden NFL 13

BET   Tues, Sept 18 2012

In an effort to reach the youth vote in swing states, the Obama campaign dives into the video game world. In key battleground states, the Obama campaign will begin running ads in several Electronic Arts (EA) video games today to try to garner the youth vote. The campaign also hopes it will spur early voting among the gaming demographic.

Beside console games, Obama is running “get out the vote” virtual ads in casual Web games on EA’s and in mobile games like Battleship, Scrabble and Tetris. Obama has tried this before. Back in 2008 his team tapped EA to run virtual signage ads looking to encourage early voting in states like Florida and North Carolina in 18 games, including Burnout Paradise and Need for Speed. According to Dave Madden, EA’s svp of global media solutions, the strategy paid off for team Obama. Based on surveys conducted by EA during the 2008 ad effort, gamers were 120 percent more likely to feel positively about the candidate and 50 percent more likely to consider voting for him after seeing the in-game ads.

Muhammad Ali to receive Liberty Medal on Thursday

Bellingham Herald   Wed, Sept 12 2012

Muhammad Ali, receives the Liberty Medal from his daughter Laila Ali with his wife Lonnie Ali at the National Constitution Center, Sept. 13, 2012, in Philadelphia. MATT ROURKE — AP Photo

PHILADELPHIA — Boxing great Muhammad Ali was honored Thursday with the Liberty Medal for his longtime role outside the ring as a fighter for humanitarian causes, civil rights and religious freedom. Hundreds of people gathered on the lawn of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to watch the three-time heavyweight title holder receive an honor that his wife, Lonnie Ali, called “overwhelming.” “It is especially humbling for Muhammad, who has said on many occasions, ‘All I did was to stand up for what I believe,'” Lonnie Ali said…”Ali embodies the spirit of the Liberty Medal by embracing the ideals of the Constitution – freedom, self-governance, equality and empowerment – and helping to spread them across the globe,”

Even President Obama makes crack at Miami Dolphins

Sun-Sentinel   Wed, Sept 12 2012

The Dolphins have had an unsteady relationship with presidents starting with Richard Nixon suggesting a slant pass be run for Paul Warfield in Super Bowl VI. It was run. It fell incomplete. Then there was George Bush inviting Nick Saban for a visit one night he was in town. Saban declined because it was training camp. Didn’t the President know importance of rookie skits? Now President Obama has got a small but honest jab in on the Dolphins. He was a guest of DJ Laz of the Latin romance station 106.7-FM. Laz began the interview by saying he was wearing a Dolphins uniform. “You’ve got to start with that Dolphins thing?’’ said Obama, who is a Bears fan. “Did you see that HBO special Hard Knocks? That’s a pretty good show. As I recall, you guys didn’t win any… in the preseason.”

Olympic Champ Tyler Clary — Declines White House Invite … I’d Rather Race Cars   Wed, Sept 12 2012

Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary — the guy who smashed Ryan Lochte’s backstroke record — turned down an invite to chill with President Obama at the White House … all so he can race stock cars instead…. POTUS and the First Lady invited all the 2012 Olympic athletes to the White House for a special get together on September 14th…But sources tell TMZ … the swimmer has dreams of being a pro race car driver after his swimming career ends … he’s opting to be in Fontana, CA instead to test drive cars for a few days and then hit up the MAVTV 500 IndyCar event on September 15.

Congress to help NFL with doping standoff

The Hill (blog)   Wed, Sept 12 2012

A prominent House committee will work to resolve the National Football League’s (NFL) stalemate with players over doping tests, top lawmakers said Wednesday. 

The news follows a visit by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to Capitol Hill, where he met with lawmakers on doping, traumatic brain injuries and other issues facing professional football.  

Blood testing for human growth hormone has divided players and the NFL, which can’t agree on what constitutes a positive test or what experts should decide.

Proposal for downtown LA NFL stadium advances to City Council

Los Angeles Times   Fri, Sept 14 2012

A $1.2-billion plan for bringing an NFL stadium to Los Angeles passed a major test Thursday, even as anti-poverty activists pressed powerful developer Anschutz Entertainment Group to make millions of dollars in additional concessions. After 10 and a half hours of review, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa‘s appointees on the Planning Commission signed off on a set of agreements for the 72,000-seat stadium, concluding the project’s economic benefits outweigh the “significant and unavoidable” impacts it will have on traffic, air quality, noise and light glare.

Shaq brings full court press to Hill

Politico   Fri, Sept 14 2012

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal launched a campaign Friday on Capitol Hill — though not for office, much to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s relief. “Thank you for coming out, and I accept your nomination for Congress,” O’Neil joked to a packed room of about 100 congressional staffers and politicians.“Uh, he’s not running in my district,” Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat, replied to the 7’1” retired superstar. O’Neal and Cleaver have teamed up with the nonprofit Century Council to help curb binge drinking at historically black colleges and universities.

Md. governor to hold fundraiser with Ravens player

The News Journal   Wed, Sept 19 2012

ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Martin O’Malley is teaming up with a Baltimore Ravens linebacker to raise money to support same-sex marriage. The governor announced in an email today that he will be attending a fundraiser next month with Brendon Ayanbadejo to support same-sex marriage in Maryland. O’Malley, a Democrat, and the linebacker are scheduled to attend a Monday Night Football party in Baltimore on Oct. 8 to raise money to support the November ballot question.

Md. Del. Burns Tackles Ravens’ Ayanbadejo on Gay Marriage

Afro American   Wed, Sept 12 2012

Maryland Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr. (D) has once again caused a nationwide stir on the subject of same-sex marriage, this time after criticizing a National Football League (NFL) player for publicly advocating for gay marriage. The dustup was touched off when Burns, 72, sent a letter to Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti Aug. 29 urging him to muzzle linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a supporter of same-sex marriage who late last year made a video for Marylanders for Marriage Equality. Burns, who is the pastor of Rising Sun First Baptist Church in Baltimore, said that “many” of his constituents and football fans “are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens…would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other.”…In the video, Ayanbadejo said he believes that the legalization of same-sex marriage is “the right thing to do.” “I believe we should be doing everything we can to make Maryland families stronger, which is why I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples who want to make a lifetime commitment to each other,” he said. In a statement, Ravens’ President Dick Cass said, “We support Brendon’s right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

Mayor Johnson, Ed Secretary Duncan meet in Sacramento

Sacramento Bee (blog)   Wed, Sept 12 2012

But will they play hoops? Mayor Kevin Johnson is hosting a California Mayors Education Summit in town today, with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as the featured guest. Johnson and Duncan will be joined by more than 40 mayors and school district superintendents from around the state at the event in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria. Duncan – who played basketball at Harvard and later professionally in Australia – is kicking off his national “Education Drives America” bus tour with the stop here.

Edmonton city council rejects Oilers bid for more taxpayer dollars for arena

Globe and Mail   Wed, Sept 12 2012

A new downtown arena for the Edmonton Oilers hit the ditch Wednesday as city councillors rejected a bid by the NHL team for more money from taxpayers. Mayor Stephen Mandel would not say how much was asked for, or what is was for, but said the ball is now in the court of the team’s owner, pharmacy billionaire Daryl Katz.

Mayor Fischer, Lou. Business man hold meeting about NBA team in Louisville

WHAS 11   Fri, Sept 14 2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The rumblings about a possible NBA team for Louisville is growing louder once again. 

On Friday, Mayor Greg Fischer took part in a meeting of community leaders to talk about that possibility. 

According to the mayor’s office the meeting was convened at the invitation of Louisville businessman Junior Bridgeman to talk about the level of interest and the conditions necessary to attract a team.

Mayor Dyer explores stadium options with Orlando City president

WFTV Orlando   Tues, Sept 11 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. — In an effort to further explore stadium options in the Central Florida area, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando City President Phil Rawlins will be touring facilities around Kansas City, Kansas…including Livestrong Sporting Park, Sporting Kansas City’s multi-purpose stadium. The trip will cultivate with Dyer and Rawlins attending a Major League Soccer match between Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo on Friday night.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock gets national audience with segment on ESPN

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, was on ESPN about when he was the Broncos’ mascot in 1986. (Manuel Martinez:Viva Colorado)


Denver Post (blog)    Tues, Sept 18 2012

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was center stage on national television…appearing on a humorous segment by ESPN correspondent and Colorado resident Rick Reilly about Hancock’s teen-aged stint as the Denver Broncos’ mascot. The three-minute piece features hilarious archival footage of Hancock as “Huddles,” the diminutive and now extinct mascot for the Denver Broncos in the mid-1980s. Reilly goes to the 16th Street Mall with a photograph of Hancock and a photograph of the mascot, asking people on the street if they recognized either one.

President Obama does the ‘Gator Chomp’ at a Florida sports bar

Yahoo! Sports (blog)   Sun, Sept 9 2012

President Barack Obama has been catering to football fans, and the latest was during Sunday’s trip to Florida when he actually did the Gator Chomp with fans. Obama had attended a campaign rally in Osceola County and stopped by Gators Dockside Grill and Bar in the Dr. Phillips area of southwest Orange County to grab a beer. It was an impromptu stop.

President Barack Obama Does The Gator Chomp [Photo]

FanSided (blog)   Sun, Sept 9 2012

…Everyone in Gainesville, Florida knows the ‘Gator Chomp.’ The Chomp originated in 1981 and is performed by fans of the Florida Gators to show their support. While President Obama was out enjoying some food and taking in some sports, he cheesed for the camera and did a Gator Chomp of his own.

Michelle Obama tries to ‘Gator Chomp’ her way into the University of Florida’s into the University of Florida’s heart

Yahoo! Sports (blog)   Tues, Sept 18 2012

The Obama family sure likes to fire up those Florida fans when they visit Gainesville and surrounding cities. And they know the best way to do it — the Gator Chomp…Monday, Michelle Obama did the Gator Chomp while speaking on the University of Florida campus. As you can imagine, it received quite the reception. The Obama’s are big sports fans, but they also know how important the state of Florida is to the upcoming election. Earning a little goodwill while doing the official, um, chomp of the state of Florida is a good way to drum up some support. Unfortunately, the rest of the SEC — and Florida State, Miami, USF, FIU and FAU fans — might not be so keen on the demonstration.

A year after winning WNBA championship, Lynx take trip to the White House

Star Tribune   Tues, Sept 18 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Lynx are finally making their anticipated trip to the White House. It’s been nearly a year since the Lynx won the WNBA championship, but with three players in the Summer Olympics and President Obama’s busy schedule, the trip couldn’t be scheduled until now. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve says it will be an honor to represent the WNBA at the White House Tuesday. Reeve tells Minnesota Public Radio News ( that it’s a special day in honor of a special season.

June 26, 2012 Headlines: The BCS is Dead, From White Sox to Heats, ‘n’ DNC drops NASCAR

BCS Presidential Oversight Committee approves four-team college football playoff

St. Petersburg Times Tue, 26 Jun 2012 17:35 PM PDT

On Tuesday, the Presidential Oversight Committee made up of university presidents – including Florida president Bernie Machen – who oversee the Bowl Championship Series, voted to create a new four-team, seeded post-season playoff to determine the national champion in college football. The new format will begin with the 2014-2015 season.

“We recognize that the BCS has been controversial in some years, but we also believe it has turned college football from a regional sport into a wonderfully popular national sport, much to the benefit of our alumni, student-athletes and fans,” the twelve members of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee said in a joint statement.  “We now seek to build an even better college football season by creating a four-team playoff to crown the national champion, while protecting the regular season and the bowl experience. We’re delighted to support this format and congratulate the group of conference commissioners who have done so much for college football and who worked so hard to make this happen.”

Obama Won’t Forsake Favorite Sports Teams to Woo Voters

New York Times Tue, 26 Jun 2012 10:59 AM PDT

He may be in a tough race for re-election but there is one thing that President Barack Obama will not do to court voters – fake allegiance to a sports team for political gain. Obama was gently booed by some supporters at a campaign rally in Boston on Monday night after he dared to mention the that Kevin Youkilis, a popular Boston Red Sox baseball player, had been traded earlier in the day to the president’s beloved Chicago White Sox. The White House said Obama showed political courage in talking about the matter.

Other Obama Dissing Red Sox Fans Headlines

President Barack Obama (Haraz N. Ghanbari:AP)

Obama doesn’t like your favorite baseball team (unless it’s the White Sox)

White House vows no ‘Youk-turn’ over baseball boos

Much a-Youuu about nothing? Obama zinger gets buzz

Chicago White Sox fan Obama draws boos

Obama’s Baseball Taunt Gets Boos From Donors, Or Were They ‘Yoooooks’?

Washington Whimsy – Obama Baseball Joke Gets Youk’d?

Video: Obama booed in Boston 

Obama Hails The “Miami Heats”

ABC News Tue, 26 Jun 2012 19:42 PM PDT

Unfazed by a partisan spat sparked by his comment on former Red Sox player Kevin Youkilis, President Obama tonight again opined on a professional sports team, publicly praising the NBA champion Miami Heat at a campaign fundraiser in the city. The only problem this time was that Obama mispronounced the name of the team – referring to it as the “Miami Heats” in an apparent slip of the tongue.

7 pols’ baseball errors

Politico Tue, 26 Jun 2012

Martha Coakley The Massachusetts Attorney General, while running against Scott Brown for a Senate seat in 2010, referred to former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling as “another Yankee fan.” (Photo- AP Photo 

Former presidents who share Obama’s interest in sports

amNewYork Tue, 26 Jun 2012 17:16 PM PDT

George W. Bush
 Obama’s predecessor is also a baseball fan, epitomized by his part-ownership of the Texas Rangers from 1989 to 1998. The Rangers made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history during that time.

Richard Nixon
 Audio tapes reveal that Nixon attempted to negotiate with NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle to relax the league’s blackout restrictions, and televise playoff games in the city in which they were played.

Bill Clinton
 thought about trying to qualify for the Senior PGA Tour after his presidency, and led the failed bid to bring the 2022 FIFA World Cup to the United States.

Democratic National Convention organizers drop Charlotte speedway from itinerary

Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, Andrew Barry and his family give the command for, “Gentlemen, start your engines” at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20, 2011 in Homestead, Florida. (Chris Graythen – GETTY IMAGES)


Washington Post Tue, 26 Jun 2012 10:15 AM ET


Are Democrats giving up on the NASCAR vote? Organizers of the Democratic National Convention announced Tuesday they are moving the CarolinaFest 2012 kickoff event on Labor Day from the Charlotte Motor Speedway to Uptown Charlotte, in the center of the city.

Fernandez cautions athletes about provocations

The Associated Press via Yahoo! Canada Sports Tue, 26 Jun 2012 20:37 PM PDT

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — President Cristina Fernandez cautioned Argentine athletes traveling to the London Olympics about doing anything provocative in Britain, which is engaged in a renewed dispute with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. As Fernandez was giving some athletes a sendoff Tuesday, she also defended a TV ad that ran two months ago on state-run television linking the London Olympics to the Falklands dispute. The International Olympic Committee immediately denounced the ad and warned Argentina about using the games as a political platform.

Surprise us, Aquino urges Olympians

Philippine Daily Inquirer Tue, 26 Jun 2012 07:03 AM PDT

PRESIDENT Aquino reminded the small Philippine contingent to the London Olympics of the Filipinos ability to surprise the sporting world as he exhorted them to end the country’s gold-medal drought in the quadrennial meet. “I know the world may not be expecting us to take home multiple gold medals. But I believe in the capacity of the Filipino to surprise,” said the President…“I believe in the capacity of the Filipino to be excellent in anything they do —to be world-class.”