Politicking The White House Visit

Mark Wilson

This coming Wednesday President Barack Obama will host the entire Ravens organization as part of a tradition for Super Bowl winning teams. I will examine the good and the bad of the upcoming visit.

Let's get political. I, personally, agree with the tradition the NFL and all other major sports leagues retain whereby the championship winning team is invited to The White House following their championship winning run. I think in a country where politics are becoming increasingly complicated and overwhelmingly serious, visits like these remind the American people that Barack Obama is a sports fan too: that he appreciates good football.

It is also beneficial for the players, considering many of them likely have little to no idea of what goes on inside 1600 Pennsylvania. They get a true history lesson by walking the same halls legends FDR, Kennedy, and Lincoln once did. In a comforting way, the visit restores faith in all of us football fans. Seeing Obama develop and strengthen relationships with John Harbaugh and Ray Rice strengthens our relationship with Obama in a superficial way.

However, I do believe there is something to be said for the visit's negative portrayal of both the NFL and the politicians. With so much on their agenda, should Barack Obama's administration really be taking the time to host our beloved Ravens for a day? (Remember that he will or has done the same for all other champions this year). Shouldn't he be focusing attention on his recent IRS and Benghazi scandals? Or seeking ways to reform the controversial health care system that costs our country trillions of dollars?

One cannot help but wonder how inane Obama's conversations with some of these guys must be. Rolando McClain has no interest in discussing the economy, and I doubt Barack Obama wants to counsel him on his legal issues either. A large part of his job requires Obama to hold "small-talk" with visitors, so he will surely find ways to entertain all our guys with his witty remarks. Maybe he will mention something to John about Jim Harbaugh's jealousy of the whole thing, or maybe John will text Jim a picture of him posing with Barack with the caption "wish you were here".

Extreme politicists and journalists will argue these players shouldn't be wasting the presidents time. They will say that football and politics exist in two entirely different worlds. Let's not forget when the Ravens visited George Bush in 2001 and he said following that visit:

Our allies need to take a look at the Baltimore Ravens. They'll realize good defense wins. A good defense is one that adjusts to the times. A good defense is modern. A good defense is clear. If Sec. Rumsfeld gets tired of his job, Sec. Marvin Lewis sounds pretty good.

Bush used the team to set the tone for his upcoming trip to Europe, where he would attempt to convince allied forces there to increase military support and backing for the U.S. But was he exploiting Baltimore's team in saying this, could he have been mocking our football players?

I'm obviously playing the devil's advocate here but I do think that when the Ravens go meet Barack Obama on Wednesday it will be a successful meeting for not only them but for all of us, football fans or not. There are so many parallels between the NFL and The White House, and I think Obama and the Ravens have a lot to learn from each other. Most importantly, though, it will educate our team on the high-pressure, intense work environment Obama lives in, and how his job is just as, if not harder, than an NFL players' is. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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