Politicians Shouldn’t Use Sporting Events for Cheap Publicity


This past week’s edition of ESPN’s Monday Night Football featured one of the most controversial calls in the program’s history, so naturally the presidential candidates decided to piggyback on the publicity.

The controversial Hail Mary pass by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson ended with what the replacement NFL officials called a game-winning touchdown but what most sane people believe to actually be an interception in the end zone by the Packers’ defensive back. The play blew up Twitter and if you walked around Boston or any city Tuesday, chances are you overheard someone talking about what happened Monday.

Because of the amount of people talking about the replacement referees’ decision last night and the subsequent fallout, governor Mitt Romney, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and President Barack Obama all decided to put their two cents into the conversation.

Romney was recently interviewed by CNN, in which he ended the conversation by discussing the NFL’s replacement referees, saying “I’d sure like to see some experienced referees come back out of the NFL playing fields.”

His running mate Ryan used the opportunity to take a cheap shot at Obama, telling Fox Nation  “[the call] reminds me of President Obama and the economy. If you can’t get it right, it’s time to get out. I half-think these refs work part-time for the Obama administration in the budget office.”

The republican candidates weren’t the only ones to weigh in however, with the current president taking to his Twitter account. Mr. President told his 20,000,000-some-odd followers his thoughts on the play, tweeting “NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs’ lockout is settled soon.”

While these quotes give journalists on morning talk shows and sports journalists especially some great material to use in their stories on the Monday Night Football debacle, it’s a cheap public relations stunt by all three men.

There’s an old expression that no publicity is bad publicity, but there’s also nothing better than free publicity. Obama, Ryan and Romney all knew that if they commented on this huge sports issue that not only would networks like ESPN, NBC Sports and NFL Network report their thoughts, so would CNN, The New York Times and all the other major news outlets.

This presidential race has not been a particularly friendly one, not many political races are but too many high-profile individuals like these three men are using this football event to get their names in the news.

These are nothing but cheap publicity stunts by candidates looking to get as much air-time as possible as election time creeps closer and closer.