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If Sports Figures Were In Politics

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OCCASIONALLY AN ATHLETE will make a daring jump into the American government. Notables include Bill Bradley (D-NJ, F-NY) and Gerald Ford (U of M center, US of A president). Sports icons like Mike Ditka and Richard Petty and have contemplated getting into politics.

On the flipside, Congress will intervene in sports, like the Congressional hearings regarding steroids. But for the most part, the two entities are separate.

Yet while each of these worlds are polar opposites, these two groups have very uncannily similar characters. So, if more sports figures went into politics, they’d give certain political figures a suitable stunt double.

Lost? Then let’s jump right into the examples to see what I mean.

IF former Cincinnati Reds player/manager Pete Rose was in politics, he’d be President George W. Bush.

Rose finally admitted what everyone already knew — he bet on baseball, but it was too late and now people think less of him. Bush admitted what most people knew — his government was responsible for the slow response to the flooding in New Orleans, but it was too late and now people think less of him.

IF San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds was in politics, he’d be Vice President Dick Cheney.

Bonds is very unapproachable by the media, comes off as very cold. Got little sympathy after his knee injury. Likewise, Cheney comes off as very cold in the media, and gets little sympathy for his heart condition. But you’ll have that for a 41-year old muscly ballplayer or a 64-year old politician.

IF New York Knicks’ coach Larry Brown was in politics, he’d be Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean.

Dean is the head of a defeated party trying to regain control of Congress. Brown is the head of an overpaid, overrated Knicks team trying to regain playoff glory.

IF Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receiver Terrell Owens was in politics, he’d be Bush strategist Karl Rove.

Owens used the media to make his contract dispute of national media interest. Karl Rove used the media for his own agenda. People overreacted to Owens for being selfish. People overreacted to Rove for being hypocritical. Meanwhile, the Eagles kept playing games. And the Republican Party continued … whatever it is politicians do.

IF New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman was in politics, he’d be White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

Cashman has to make owner George (Steinbrenner) look good. McClellan also has to make George (W. Bush) look good. Or else, George is getting upset!

IF former NHL superstar/current Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky was in politics, he’d be former President Bill Clinton.

Now that “The Great One” is removed from the ice, he can be a face for the league and promote hockey, a win-win situation. Now that President Clinton is removed from the presidency, he can be an ambassador for the country and promote important issues, another win-win.

(It may be beaten to death before hanging chad jokes were cool, but in their prime they led their respective leagues in scoring.)

IF former XFL commissioner Vince McMahon was in politics, he’d be California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Failed experiments in trying something new on a large scale. Vince knows wrestling, Arnold knows Kindergarten Cop.

IF former New York Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer was in politics, he’d be former North Carolina senator John Edwards.

Palmer was Kerry Collins’ crutch in ’03. Edwards was John Kerry’s crutch in ’04. But while they looked good on TV (Palmer moonlighting as The Bachelor and Edwards announcing his run for presidency on The Daily Show), they quickly faded into oblivion after those appearances. Palmer was cut from the Giants, and Edwards is now a law professor.

IF Cleveland Cavaliers phenom LeBron James was in politics, he’d be Democratic Illionois senator Barack Obama.

Before James was in the NBA, he was slated to be the next Michael Jordan. Before Obama was a senator, he was slated to be the first black U.S. President. Not sure if that would make Carmelo Anthony the Alan Keyes.

IF ESPN’s Cold Pizza personality Skip Bayless was in politics, he’d be Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly.

Bayless gets, deservedly so, hate mail for taking unpopular angles like “no kickers in the NFL” and “so what if college football players don’t go to class?” O’Reilly gets hate mail for taking unpopular angles like “Let’s have Ann Coulter on the show again” and “I’m right.”

IF seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong was in politics, he’d be filmmaker Michael Moore.

(Admitted in advance, this one’s a stretch.)

Every year people give accolades and attention to Armstrong for what he does, then we never hear from him again. Same with Moore: he makes a film, everyone talks about it and how revealing it is, the hype goes away, return to Step 1.

And every time we see them, they fade from the limelight much richer than before.

IF NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas was in politics, he’d be former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw.

Albeit from the obvious NBC parallel, Costas was a very trusted and well-recognized play-by-play announcer, the voice of the game. Likewise, Brokaw was a very trusted and well-recognized news anchor, the face of the news organization. And both are somewhat removed from their famed professions, although they’ll likely resurface.

IF Fox NFL Sunday analyst Terry Bradshaw was in politics, he’d be CNN political analyst James Carville.

Born and educated in Louisiana. Bald. Ugly. No longer relevant. Still on TV for some reason.

IF radio host Jim Rome was in politics, he’d be radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Even though both their shows are on the Premiere Radio Network, Romey has his “clones” and Rush has his “dittoheads.” They both use lexicons aimed towards regular listeners. And they both pretty much bombed on ESPN.

And on that note, I … am … OUT.

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About Suss

  • Aww, you passed on the obvious Bill Clinton/O.J. Simpson comparison.


  • MT

    If Dave Nalle was in politics he’d be Bill Bennett.

  • RogerMDillion

    “If New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman was in politics”

    I don’t remember seeing Cashman lie to the media on a repeated basis.

    If Dave Nalle was in politics he’d be Al Barger.

  • Assuming of course Dave Nalle was in sports.

  • MT

    If Dave was in politics he’d be Mike Tyson.

  • If Dave was in politics, he’d be a banana.

    … I think I read the question wrong.

  • Silas Kain

    Ari Fleischer = Mike Piazza

    Bill Frist = John Rocker

    I would have said Roger Clemens for John Edwards – a pretty Southern boy who got far on looks and lack of character.

  • At least Clemens had substance. 300 wins and 4000 strikeouts.

    Palmer was born in Canada, but he was a Gator for some time. Although was there anyone else as Southern who used TV that much and fell to the ground?

    Tim Couch wasn’t camera friendly. Jason Sehorn was too big city. Brett Favre turned out to be good.

  • RJ

    Dan Quayle = Joey Harrington?

    Al Gore = A field goal post?

    Paul Begala = Eddie Gaedel?