SI Vault
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
June 25, 1984
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June 25, 1984


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Female voice: Al Davis is the owner...commissioner Pete Rozelle... Tom Flores.

Musberger announces that Reagan, "the nation's number one sporting fan," is standing by live in the White House.

Reagan: Coach Tom Flores?

Flores: Yes, Mr. President.

Reagan: Congratulations, that was a wonderful win tonight....

Reagan's subsequent conversation with Flores was marred by a couple of presidential nuclear weapons jokes in dubious taste. But then, Reagan's dial-a-champ routines have tended to be awkward. During his phone call last year to the World Series champion Baltimore Orioles, Reagan was passed around like a plate of liver, Bowie Kuhn to Joe Altobelli to Rick Dempsey. Two years ago, rather than wait up for a night game on the West Coast, the President called to congratulate Gaylord Perry before the latter's not-yet-certain 300th win. Other phone calls have been beset by technical problems.

In sharp contrast, the in-person visit with the Celtics in the Rose Garden brimmed with good humor, as when Boston guard Dennis Johnson asked Reagan, who looked crisp and cool in the 97-degree heat, "How do you stand out here and not sweat?" Afterward, Celtic general manager Red Auerbach gushed, "It's a thrill to have the President of the United States shake your hand." The mispronunciation of the names of some of Auerbach's old stars scarcely seemed to matter.


There's a story making the rounds about a college football coach who, faced with the possibility that his star player might be declared academically ineligible, pleaded with a math professor not to flunk the kid. "Tell you what, coach," said the professor. "I'll ask him a question in your presence. If he gets it right, I'll pass him."

The athlete was called in, and the prof asked, "What's two and two?"

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