Add President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton to those concerned about the NFL officiating, or lack thereof.
“NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs’ lockout is settled soon. -bo,” the President tweeted Tuesday.
That followed a controversial call in ESPN’s Monday Night Game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, and more broadly several weeks’ worth of questionable calls, noncalls and a general lack of command and control by substitute refs.
But the President’s concern was not confined to 140 characters. White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Airforce One Tuesday that the president watched the game Monday night and took issue with the call.
“I talked to him about the end of the Packers-Seahawks game and he said that what happened in that game is a perfect example of why both sides need to come together to resolve their differences so that the regular refs can get back on the field and we can start focusing on a game that so many of us love, rather than debating whether or not a game was won or lost because of a bad call,” said Carney.
He also pointed out that last week on a Cleveland radio station, the President had said that, as a fan, it was time to get the regulator refs back on the games.
In a CNN interview with Piers Morgan, Clinton spoke thoughtfully about what he saw as a blown call.
“No I did not think it was a touchdown,” the President said of the last play of the game, in which the Seattle receiver was ruled to have had simultaneous posession of a hail mary pass in the end zone–tie goes to the receiver. “I thought the defender hit the ground before there was joint posession. And, yes, it means we need to get the strike over and get more experienced people out there.”
Morgan joked afterward that Clinton had talked more seriously about the call than he had about nuclear proliferation.