U.S. President Barack Obama is also the nation's sports fan in chief. Obama said on ESPN Radio’s “The Herd” program Friday that he watches his favorite games on silent while grappling with the tough problems facing the country.
“Sportscenter, when I work out in the morning, gives me a pretty good sense of what’s going on," he said. "I can’t sit down and watch an entire game except maybe the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals or the World Series. I might be able, on one day, watch a whole game. There are times, I will admit, at night when I've got a really fat briefing book, where I might have the game on with the sound off.”
Obama spoke to host Colin Cowherd on everything from his healthcare initiative to his thoughts on college football’s new playoff system. He began his appearance by urging listeners to register for medical coverage on HealthCare.gov under the Affordable Care Act. He thanked athletes, such as LeBron James, who have aided the initiative to spread the word about key political issues.
“When you think about some of our greatest sports heroes -- Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Arthur Ashe -- they spoke out on issues that mattered at pretty critical times,” the president said. “There's times where there are important issues out there, and for athletes to recognize that they're citizens as well as entertainers and they've got a voice that's legitimate, I think is important. I think it's useful.”
Obama also shared his opinion on the NFL’s domestic violence problem, social media and his pick for the dominant team this season in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Here’s a look at what the president had to say to Cowherd during his appearance on “The Herd.”
On the NFL’s domestic violence problem: “There have been some blind spots that are not just rooted in professional football but dating back in college football. Certain behaviors have been tolerated historically that really should not have been tolerated. Hopefully this is a wake-up call and people think about this more systematically.”
On social media criticism of athletes and politicians: “Social media does have this ability to channel people’s rage and frustration and sometimes nastiness in ways that polarize society. The one difference is that, in politics, sometimes people forget, we’re actually all on the same team, and that’s the American team. It’s one thing in sports if you go into the Eagles stadium or the Raiders stadium and folks are hollering at you and throwing stuff at you and you’re the opposing team. Sometimes in politics I think we forget we’re not on different teams.”
On his favorite football team, the NFL’s Chicago Bears: “The Bears have not given me that much reason to want to watch a game.”
On whether the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Chicago Bulls will win the NBA’s Eastern Conference: “The Cavs are starting to jell. But I just like [Chicago's Tom] Thibodeau as a coach. The guy’s tough; they play hard. [Center Joakim] Noah’s a fighter. [Point guard Derrick] Rose, even if he isn’t playing at MVP levels, if he’s playing at an All-Star level, I think the Bulls can beat the Cavs this year … there’s something to be said for team chemistry.”
On expanding college football’s new playoff system: “It was the right thing to do, and I suspect it’ll be about eight teams and then that’ll be just about right. Then Baylor and TCU wouldn’t be as aggravated as they are.”