Barack Obama on ESPN; Talks Ray Rice, College Playoffs, Bulls vs Cavs, and More

By Jim Liao, Epoch Times
December 16, 2014 10:19 am Last Updated: December 16, 2014 11:56 am

President Barack Obama is known to be a big fan of sports, and is also known to not shy away from the media.

So it isn’t surprising that he two merged the two together and made an appearance on ESPN’s The Herd — hosted by Colin Cowherd, on Friday.

Below we’ve included a transcript of a portion of the interview.

On the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy…

Colin Cowherd: You know, sports is an interesting socioeconomic pool. We’re giving young people incredible amounts of fame and money. And there are times where they are just 21 years old — I couldn’t handle it, they can’t handle it. Now we have new conduct policies. President: what is the balance between tough punishment, good citizens as sport stars, and an understanding of their life?

Barack Obama: Well, you’re right. If I was 21, 22, and suddenly I got a multi-million dollar contract, I’m sure I would have not only made more mistakes then I’d made, but they’d be a lot more publicized, and I recognize that. On the other hand, just like any other job, when you have the privilege of playing in a sports league and people looking up to you, you’ve got responsibilities — to the fans, and to your employers. And, you’ve got to be treated the way other people are treated when you do make mistakes, and some of those mistakes are very serious — where you’re breaking the law. So, the one thing I’m glad about is where I see leagues establish clear policies and guidelines ahead of time. I think the most prominent example obviously was the Ray Rice situation. I’m so glad that we got more awareness about domestic violence. Obviously, the situation that happened in the Rice family was unfortunate, but it did lift up awareness that this is a real problem that we’ve got to root out, and men have to change their attitudes and their behavior and it has to start young. But, the way it was handled also indicates that the NFL was behind the curb as a lot of institutions have been behind the curb in sending a clear message., and you don’t want to be winging it when something like this happens. You want to have clear policies in place. The fact that policies have now been established I think will be helpful in sending a message that there’s no place for that kind of behavior in society.

On the Bulls, Cavs, and first College football playoffs…

Colin Cowherd: Bulls or Cavs? Bulls or Cavs — who do you like in the east?

Barack Obama: I tell you, the Cavs are starting to gel, but I just Thibadeaou as a coach. The guy’s tough, they play hard, Noah’s a fighter. If Rose – even if he doesn’t come back to MVP levels, if he comes back to an all-star level, I think the Bulls can beat the Cavs – this year. You know, you remember what happened to Miami when Lebron went down the first time. There’s something to be said about team chemistry. You look at San Antonio and how they performed – part of that is just Popovich, Duncan, Parker, Ginobili. They know each other, and the system, and they trust it, and people are selfless, and it takes time to develop that kind of chemistry.

Who are you picking for the first National championship?

Colin Cowherd: Hard to go against Alabama. I trust Nick, but I’ll tell ya, I think there’s gap now. I think the Pac 12’s gotten better – no huddle offense. I think it’s a wild, wild shoot-out. For the record, I know you can’t follow all of it, but you wanted this playoff, we have this playoff, and our numbers are up thirty percent. It has elevated and energized the sport. I’ll go Bama’, how about you?

Barack Obama: It was the right thing to do. And I suspect it’ll be about eight teams, and that’ll be about right. I’m just saying then Baylor and TCU wouldn’t be as aggravated as they are.