Despite Tom Brady’s mid-game meltdown, this week’s edition of ESPN Monday Night Football was relatively drama-free.
That is due, in part, to ESPN’s decision to err on the side of caution and not invite the presidential candidates for an on-air interview. Monday night’s matchup featured the Tampa Bay Bucs defeating the New York Giants is a close game.
ESPN last interviewed presidential hopeful the night before the 2012 election day, according to Awful Announcing. That year, Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney to claim his second term as President of the United States.
In 2016, Jim Gray interviewed candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for the Monday Night Football radio broadcast. ESPN passed on having Trump and Clinton appear during halftime of the game.
ESPN No Longer Interviewing Presidential Candidates
Previously, longtime ESPN personality Chris Berman would handle the responsibilities of interviewing candidates. The interviews were mostly light-hearted and even humorous at times. Berman would ask open-ended questions and allow each candidate reasonable time to make their case as to why they should be president.
Both Romney and Obama show well in the interviews, with each touting sports as a way to bring people together.
“No matter where you go in the country, you end up meeting people who are doing incredible thing for the communities,” Obama says. “Watching the resiliency of the American people has been remarkable. The other thing I know is that one of the big unifiers in this country is sports and football in particular.”
Berman also kept the conversation light with Romney, asking him if he could change one thing about sports, what would it be.
“It has to be the specter of performance-enhancing drugs of all kinds,” Romney proclaims. “That’s the biggest concern in sports. We have to continue to battle that to make sure we have the technology to keep up with people trying to skirt around the law. We have to change the culture that says using performance enhancing drugs is acceptable when it certainly is not.”
While many want to hear what the candidates have to say, ESPN decided to stick to sports and not become a political platform.