Commentary by NJN Sports Editor Robert Carter

The intersection of the sports and political worlds has been the site of many a wreck.

This week, Barack Obama was involved in two of them.

I’m not sure if this is the change he had hoped for.

Let’s peruse the accident reports, shall we?

Barack’s brackets. The phrase kinda has a nice ring to it, but that’s about all.

The 44th President of the United States decided to do what half of America did last week — fill out an NCAA tournament bracket. It seems the new president is not immune to the diease we discussed in this space only last Wednesday. But Obama didn’t just post his picks on the wall of the White House break room. Instead, he filled in his brackets during an interview on ESPN, for all the world to see.

We’re all aware that Obama is a big-time hoops fan, and that is officially A Good Thing. And it would seem rather innocuous on its face.

But Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski didn’t think so. “Coach K” opined that perhaps perhaps the president should focus more on the economy and less on bracketology.

But I don’t think Krzyzewski was trying to be a Rush Limbaugh wannabe. The remarks may have had something to do with Obama’s pick to win it all: North Carolina. That’s like Nick Saban giving him a public chewing-out for picking Auburn.

(By the way, Obama was 11-for-16 on Wednesday’s games. Not so good. My alma mater, Western Kentucky, blew up his bracket.)

Gutter ball. We all remember Obama’s feeble attempt at bowling during a campaign stop last year. Suffice it to say that he is not the next Norm Duke or Walter Ray Williams, and he took a lot of grief about trying to look like a regular guy. (Makes me glad he didn’t try a few laps around Talladega.)

On Thursday night’s visit with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, Obama allowed as to how he had tried out the White House bowling lanes since taking office in January. He said he bowled a 129 — “It’s like the Special Olympics or something.”

Oops. Major fail on two counts.

First, making fun of an event that features special needs kids is never a god idea for anyone, period. And for the leader of the free world to do so is the height of insensitivity. That’s why he backtracked on the statement today, as he should.

Second, the Special Olympics were created by — wait for it — the Kennedy Family! Yes, those Kennedys, the scions of the liberal wing of Obama’s very own Democratic Party. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the patron of the first games in the 1960s.

For the love of Teddy’s hip flask, you just don’t want to tick off the Kennedys if you are a Democrat.

To his credit, Obama apologized for his faux pas first thing the next day. Needless to say, the conservatives have had a field day with this incident, blaming it on his not using a TelePrompTer. Of course, the GOP has had its own issues with sports — remember Gerald Ford’s errant golf shots?

So here’s a memo to all politicos: Enjoy sports with the rest of us, even if only to make yourselves look like “normal people.”

But keep your mouths shut.

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