Being a Good Sport Is Hard

Posted March 25, 2012 at 11:58pm

Beware of politicians talking sports because they have a lot of feelings and not all of them pleasant.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced on the Senate floor last week that he would pursue a hearing on the professional sports scandal du jour: the New Orleans Saints bounty program.

That got Louisiana Sen. David Vitter (R) good and steamed.

Durbin was responding to news that the NFL had suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and general manager Mickey Loomis for their part in a program that rewarded defensive players with money for taking out opponents.

“A spirit of aggressiveness and competitiveness is an integral part of many sporting contests, but bribing players to intentionally hurt their opponents cannot be tolerated,” Durbin said on the floor. “We have to put an end to this.”

Vitter, possibly thinking that the scandal might prevent the team from signing uber-quarterback Drew Brees, didn’t take kindly to that.

“Most Americans think the government is already too involved in their everyday lives, from the doctor’s office to small businesses,” Vitter spat back. “[Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [Nev.] and Dick Durbin should focus on important matters, like expediting the permit for a full Keystone XL pipeline.

“Besides, I also don’t recall Sen. Durbin calling for an investigation of his home-state [Chicago] Bears when they were selling drugs.”

And that’s what we call a burn.

On the other side of the Capitol, Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) was also loudly vocalizing his utter disdain for a certain team of Blue Devils.

“I have said very publicly that if Duke was playing against the Taliban,” the Associated Press quotes him saying, “then I’d have to pull for the Taliban.”

And that’s what we call hyperbole.

“I know that the ACC keeps expanding,” Miller explains to HOH, “but I still think it’s unlikely that the Taliban will show up on [North] Carolina’s or Duke’s schedule anytime soon.”

OK, fair.