Obama, McCain on what to change in sports

November 3, 2008 7:40:20 PM PST
Democrat Barack Obama told ESPN's "Monday Night Football" it's time for college football to pick a champion with a playoff system while Republican John McCain would put an end to performance-enhancing substances. On the eve of the election, the two presidential candidates were interviewed via satellite by ESPN's Chris Berman. The taped interviews aired during halftime of game between the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Both candidates were asked to name one thing they would change in sports.

"I think it is about time that we had playoffs in college football. I'm fed up with these computer rankings and this and that and the other," Obama said. "Get eight teams - the top eight teams right at the end. You got a playoff. Decide on a National Champion."

College football uses a Bowl Championship Series system, commonly known as BCS, that is based on computer rankings.

McCain said he would "take significant action to prevent the spread and use of performance-enhancing substances. I think it's a game we're going to be in for a long time. What I mean by that is there is somebody in a laboratory right now trying to develop some type of substance that can't be detected and we've got to stay ahead of it. It's not good for the athletes. It's not good for the sports. It's very bad for those who don't do it, and I think it can attack the very integrity of all sports going all the way down to high school."

Asked what was the best piece of advice he had received from the sports world, Obama said his high school basketball coach, when the young Obama rebelled against him, said, "'Look, this is not about you, this is about the team.' It took me awhile to understand ...

but that's how I've approached the work I've done in politics since. If you stay focused outside yourself, you end up doing a better job."

In answer to the same question, McCain said he drew a lesson from a high school coach who also was a literature teacher.

"The guy was my inspiration then and is my inspiration to this day," McCain said. "The lesson he taught me was you always have to do the honorable thing, even if no one knows, because you'll know."

Not lost on the candidates, who have spent millions of dollars on campaign advertising, is the ratings for "Monday Night Football." ESPN said this year's Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys telecast on Sept. 15 attracted cable's largest audience ever - 13 million homes and 18.6 million viewers.

Obama had another sports encounter Monday when he recognized a familiar face while stopping by a local campaign office in Charlotte, N.C.

"It's M.L. Carr!" Obama exclaimed, clearly excited to spot the former Boston Celtics' star.

"The next president, the next president," said Carr, who lives in Boston but said he was in Charlotte for a visit and heard about Obama's stop.

---
On the Net:

McCain: http://www.johnmccain.com
Obama: http://www.barackobama.com


Load Comments