Football is serious business in the South. College football more-so than the NFL, but with the Super Bowl taking place in Atlanta this year, a former candidate for governor giving a hat tip to a rival football team is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows.
The Setting: Stacey Abrams was speaking in Albany Monday. As reported by the AJC, it was the kickoff of a tour thanking her supporters and trying to keep her momentum alive for a future run for office, perhaps for the senate.
The Quote: “If you saw yesterday’s playoff game between the Rams and the Saints, there was a call that should have been made and folks are righteously indignant. There was a call that should have been made a long time ago in Georgia — you don’t get to be the referee and the player.”
The Background: For those of you who don’t follow football, there are two things to know here. First, in the play in question, there was a pass interference against the New Orleans Saints that the refs didn’t notice. Saints fans are, understandably, enraged.
But the second thing you need to know is that the Saints and the Falcons are bitter rivals. If you’re a Falcon fan, you want the Falcons to be in the Super Bowl in their hometown. If the Falcons can’t be in the Super Bowl, your next hope is that the Saints will not be coming to the Super Bowl on your home turf.
The Political Ramifications: There are no political ramifications to this very slight faux pas, but most seasoned politicians know to stay away from showing their support of the hometown team’s rival, even in such an obvious situation. It would be like a newly elected governor who went to the University of Georgia deciding to hold his inauguration at Georgia Tech.
In Abrams’ case, the point she was making was probably worth the raised eyebrows.