In an event that could become significantly more entertaining with the rise of Twitter over the last four years, both presidential campaigns have reached out to ESPN about having their candidates appear on Monday Night Football on the eve of the 2012 election November 4th.
That's according to John Ourand of Sports Business Daily, who got the details straight from ESPN’s senior vice president and director of news, Vince Doria.
“We’ve been approached and are strongly considering doing it again,” Doria told Ourand. “If we do those, we will try to treat the candidates in a fair manner and try to find some questions that have a sports connection but have a substance to them.”
In 2008, John McCain and Barack Obama both were interviewed separately by Chris Berman in segments that ran during halftime of the Steelers-Redskins game that took place the night prior to the election. Each candidate also joined "Mike and Mike" on ESPN Radio at around the same time, and the campaigns have again made that request as well, according to the report.
We realize that not everyone wants politics in their sports, but six minutes' worth of halftime interviews isn't the end of the world, and every year there are sports topics that creep into the world of politics. These candidates spend 99.9 percent of their time discussing foreign policy, healthcare and the economy, so a break to speak about peripheral issues couldn't hurt on the eve of the election. It also offers them an avenue to reach potential voters who might not be following the process until the eleventh hour. Remember: MNF is the most-watched show on cable television, so this isn't small potatoes.
Doria hinted that safety issues in football could be something that comes up, which would obviously make a lot of sense. And had this taken place a few weeks earlier, it wouldn't have been shocking to see the referee lockout come up.
We do have another work stoppage affecting the sports world right now, but something tells me the NHL lockout won't make ESPN's cut.
Still, it's not likely that any earth-shattering, game-changing questions are going to be asked in this enviornment, especially considering it'll be Chris Berman doing the interviews again. Berman's assignment will likely bring plenty groans, but it'll be interesting to see just how much he tones down his schtick in these interviews.
Do you think ESPN has a responsibility to give Mitt Romney and Barack Obama some screen time during its broadcast? Or, on the other hand, do you feel as though it should instead have a responsibility to keep the election far away from football?