With the presidential election looming, Barack Obama has plenty on his plate, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgetting about sports. He says he still watches ESPN’s SportsCenter every morning when he wakes up, and if he’s elected for four more years, there’s no doubt he’ll hear more about things like the NCAA and the penalties it levies or the difficulty for families to attend professional sporting events due to high prices.
Barack Obama joined 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland with Andy Baskin to discuss the state of the Cleveland Cavaliers, wearing his Chicago White Sox jacket to the different stadiums, the price of professional sports these days and how the NCAA is operating.
Byron Scott and Kyrie Irving are here with the Cleveland Cavaliers. What do you think about those two guys?:
“Byron’s a fine coach and does a great job. Kyrie’s not just met expectations, he’s exceeded them. He showed what he can do last year. Despite occasional injuries, he’s just a solid player that doesn’t make a lot of rookie mistakes. Has a shot, good off the dribble, knows how to find the open man. It’s a lot of talent at the point guard position, you guys just need to round it out. … There’s no doubt that you guys are still a couple of pieces away from filling out the puzzle, but it’ll be fun to watch the team.”
On LeBron James and how he wanted him to go to Chicago a couple years back:
“What I said was that if LeBron was going to move, obviously the Bulls would love to have him. The fact is that Cleveland’s going to bounce back. You guys have a new manager for the Indians and I think [Terry] Francona’s going to do a great job. You have one of the best young point guards in the [NBA]. And, the nice thing about Cleveland is, you guys are a die-hard sports fan no matter what.”
You’re a die hard fan, too. I’m always impressed that you wear your White Sox jerseys to any stadium:
“You can’t trust somebody who wavers in terms of who they’re rooting for. I’ve got to admit, the White Sox broke my heart a little bit going down the stretch this year, but they were sort of overachieving in the middle of the season. But I didn’t think they’d lose 10 out of the last 12.”
The Browns are about to be sold for $1 billion. Do you think the price for sports is getting out of hand?:
“I’ve got to tell you that they can’t lose sight of who is paying all those big salaries and who is helping those owners make those profits. I think that most fans don’t begrudge teams doing well. It is important, though, to make sure that tickets, for example, stay affordable. I do get concerned when I look at some of the major league teams, across sports, that you’re starting to price out a lot of families. When someone, between parking and going to the ballgames, buying a couple hot dogs and a beer, when that ends up being a couple hundred dollar, or more, affair, that makes it tough.”
What do you think about the way the NCAA is conducting itself in terms of penalizing programs?:
“They made a smart move by moving to a playoff system in college football. Maybe after folks get used to it a couple years, maybe that ends up expanding to eight teams instead of four. But I think that was a good move. You do want to make sure that there’s some consistency in how they’re applying the rules. I think having more clarity about the student-athlete, how they’re operating, how the teams operate, what penalties are in place will always be helpful. In the end of the day, I think what college sports has to be about is making sure that young men and women are excelling, but also that they’re getting a good education.”