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Auburn on receiving end of White House invite

Obama Saban

After winning the national title following the 2009 season, the Alabama football team got to do what all the really cool athletes get to do these days — take a trip to the White House and be on the receiving end of a back-slapping photo-op with the President.

One year later, it’s their in-state rival’s turn to be so honored.

According to, the Auburn Tigers will visit the White House and meet with President Obama later this month.  The official announcement is expected to come later today.

“On Friday, April 29, at 10:00 a.m. ET, President Obama will welcome Auburn University’s football team to the White House to honor the team’s 2010 BCS National Championship,” a White House staffer told the paper via email Thursday.

In addition to the meet & greet with the leader of the free world, head coach Gene Chizik and his players will take part in a youth football clinic on the White House lawn.

What will be perhaps most interesting to see — aside from Finebaum callers comparing the decibel level of the President’s “War Eagle!” to his “Roll Tide!” — is whether players such as Cam Newton and Nick Fairley will be able attend.  The first round of the NFL draft is the night of April 28; Newton is expected to go within the first five picks, if not No. 1 overall, while Fairley will likely be selected at some point during the top 10 picks.

While the NFL’s labor “issue” does not allow clubs to have contact with its players during the lockout — charitable causes notwithstanding — PFT’s grand poobah Mike Florio informs us that draft picks are permitted to go to the team facility for a post-draft press conference.  For players taken in the first round, especially as high up in the draft Newton and Fairley are expected to be taken, those pressers normally would take place the day after the selections were made; in this case, that’s the same day of the White House ceremony, although we can’t imagine an NFL club would be unwilling to tweak their plans in order to allow Newton and Fairley to join their ex-teammates for what will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Then again, we couldn’t imagine owners and players being dumb enough to tag-team the golden goose and beat it half to death, but yet here we are today.

Anyway, and for those interested in this kind of stuff, it cost Alabama in the neighborhood of $85,000 for their D.C. junket last year; Auburn’s total will likely come in somewhere north of that figure.

With that, let the whining about wasted money — and the President having more important things on his plate than meeting with a bunch of football players and coaches — commence in three… two… one…

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2 Responses to “Auburn on receiving end of White House invite”
  1. pjduffey says: Apr 21, 2011 4:08 PM

    1. If I were a team owner, I would have my new players (Newton/Fairley included) go to the event, wear a team tie, and mention how excited they are to play for my team when they are approached by the press

    2. I haven’t kept up w/ the draft stuff this year, but I think you would have to be crazy to not take Fairley if you have even a semblance of a need for a D Tackle (or really any spot on the D line). I’ve watch him for a while and he absolutely embarrassed the Duck’s O-line (like 3-4 tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, and at least one sack) in the MNC game.
    Anyway, the point is I don’t see how you could take a risky pick like Cam (like a Tebow sans leadership qualities) before Fairley unless you were completely stacked at D Line.

    3. Who cares about Obama meeting with them? Being a dignitary is part of the presidential job description and the entire meeting will probably take less than half an hour–a few handshakes, a few photos, then out.

    4. Now, if I were Obama’s handlers I would be concerned; specifically about two things:
    a. getting questions about that new anti-trust lawsuit the Utah AG just filed; and
    b. getting questions about Cam’s issues

  2. Deb says: Apr 21, 2011 5:03 PM

    If I were an incoming rookie, I’d sure as heck go to the White House before I’d go to a press conference for a team that’s locking me out!

    Besides, the NFL teams involved can easily postpone Newton and Fairley’s press conferences for a couple of days. It’s not like they or the NFL press corps are doing anything else these days. Reporters would probably be thrilled to have something to talk about a couple of days after all the other rookie pressers.

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