When Sports and Politics Collide

January 7, 2015 | 

Regular readers of this site obviously come here for the political talk of Elk Grove. Although we don't regularly cover sports, we are nonetheless sports fans.

For readers who don't know me, I am a proud Detroit-born and raised, University of Michigan-Dearborn [1980 BBA] alum. As such, the last few days have been very interesting for me as a fan of Michigan and Detroit professional sports.

Although I am Maize and Blue guy, it was great to see the Michigan State University Spartans stage their come-from-behind rally against Baylor on New Year's Day. Sorry my native-Texas friend Jack - I respect you and you're a great guy, [and the Kentucky bourbon was great] but it was great to see the underdog Spartans come back on one of those g.d. Texas teams. 

I was in such a good mood on New Years Day, this Michigan Alum even rooted for the much-hated Ohio State University [note the dropped goofy "the" prefix on OSU] to beat the equally despised Jamis Winston and Florida State Seminoles. Loyalty to the Big 10 [or is it 16?] trumps hatred for the hillbillies of Ohio. Beside, OSU's win finally booted those SEC hicks out of this limited playoff scenario. Makes you wonder about the BSC ratings of the last few years and the so-called strength of the SEC. 

In between, 49'ers former head coach, 14-year NFL-veteran and Michigan Alum Jim Harbaugh returned home and accepted the head coaching job of the Wolverines. Could the Harbaugh-Urban Meyers [head coach of Ohio State University] be a reincarnation of the Bo Schembechler-Woody Hayes Ten Year War? After all, all four coaches were born in Ohio, which really is the cradle of Football. How about a Harbaugh-Meyers 10-year war, or even four year war, with the same results favoring Michigan once again.  

All of this brings us to the Sunday afternoon, and I'll say it, the ultimately rigged game between my pathetic, but beloved Detroit Lions and the Dallas team. We all know the call was blown. We all know a Dallas player ran on to the field from the sidelines sans helmet. One flag was thrown and inexplicably withdrawn, and another one that wasn't even thrown against a helmet-less Dez Bryant!        
As a Detroit professional sports fan I have enjoyed championships from the Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings. As for the Lions, they have something like 1-11playoff record in my lifetime.

My sons, who have thankfully, or in the case of the Lions regretfully, adopted Detroit professional teams, with the exception of the Pistons given their loyalty to the Sacramento Kings, have enjoyed Detroit Championships with the Red Wings and two trips to the World Series for the Tigers. One of my kids even bravely wore Tigers gear to the Oakland Coliseum when the Tigers eliminated the A's from the 2013 playoffs.

So when the flag was withdrawn on the now infamous play, and my heart sank, but I knew what was headed the Lions way. During all of this, what struck me as I watched the conspiracy unfold was seeing the camera pan to the owners box and see some big guy in Denver Broncos orange sweater hug the head Cowboy himself, Jerry Jones.

I said to my kids, "That looks like Chis Christie." 

They clung to the belief the Lions could stage a comeback, but alas, I knew better. Anyone recall the Kings - Lakers playoff or former NBA official Tim Donaghy. I'll go to the coroner's slab convinced the fix was in.

Sure as shit, it was. What was the Governor of New Jersey, home of Dallas-rival New York Giants and the New York Jets, doing in the private box of Cowboy owner Jerry Jones?

It wasn't long before the reasons became apparent. Seems a company that Jones has a minority interest in landed a juicy contract with the Port Authority. 

What was Christie thinking? It is mind boggling even in the age of jaded and cynical voters. In politics you can cheat on your wife like Bill Clinton, you can get wrapped-up in crony capitalism like the never-ending flow of corrupt pols, pathologically stretch the truth with voters like Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis does on a regular basis, but you cannot cheat on your team! That is one of the last sacred cows.

I guess you could say Christie punted away any, fading as they may have been, Presidential aspirations.    

So it goes. Sports and politics collided between the Governor of New Jersey and Jerry Jones in Texas. Only in America!

Go Packers!

One last note regarding the Ohio State-Oregon championship game. With all regards to my colleague, OSU Alum and former Elk Grove Citizen editor Jeff Forward - Quack Quack!  

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Jeff Forward said...

Thanks, Dan! Yeah, an exciting time to be a Buckeye, eh? I'm sure Michigan will improve to 6-6 in 2015 under their new coach and will probably only lose to OSU by 10 points. But the future is bright for the team up north. (TTUN in Ohio lingo). Hope life is good in EG - great to see the site still rocking. As some in the community know, I'm now holding down the fort at a community twice-weekly in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Go Bucks!!!

Anonymous said...

What can your "native-Texas friend Jack" say but, "Cry me a river, build a bridge and GET OVER IT!"

Maybe while you're sipping that Kentucky bourbon Sunday during the GB/Cowboys win...again, it will ease the pain.

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