Tue Oct 14 10:50am EDT
As impossible as it is to maintain a "no politics" policy on a college basketball blog -- college sports are nothing if not raw exercises in politics -- I think we do a pretty good job 'round these parts. But sometimes it is literally impossible, and the closer we get to Election Day on November 4, it will only be more so.
Today's brief foray into politics brings us Dean Smith's endorsement of Barack Obama, which was posted on Obama's web site yesterday. It reads:
There is a point in every contest when sitting on the sidelines is not an option. Coach Smith and Linnea Smith are urging North Carolinians to get involved at this crucial moment. If you believe America needs to set a new course, then the time to join us is now. Get involved with Barack Obama's Campaign for Change by knocking on doors and talking to your neighbors about how Barack Obama and Joe Biden will bring the change we need.
"Sidelines." Get it? Like basketball sidelines. Oh, those clever endorsement copywriters.
The question was never whether Dean Smith's endorsement would show up for Obama -- Smith has a long history of progressive politics, and has for many years supported causes in North Carolina along those party lines. The question is whether or not Smith's endorsement will mean anything in North Carolina. There are few figures more popular in N.C. than the Dean, and the state is currently in a (somewhat surprising) dead heat between Obama and John McCain. Could Smith's endorsement tip the scales? Or, more likely, will it have nothing to do with the final outcome, whatever that outcome might be?
Of course, now it's Coach K's turn. He's as conservative as Smith is liberal and is, like John McCain, a former military man, so you get one guess as to who he'll vote for. And so the endorsement battle wages on. Only the gritty political leanings of Tyler Hansbrough could tip the scales now.