The leaders of America's most dominant sport are under fire this week after the replacement referees' controversial call on the final play of the Seahawks-Packers game Monday night.
President Obama joined the NFL fans calling for an end to the lock out preventing experienced NFL referees from officiating recent games:
NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon. -bo— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 25, 2012
In a subsequent tweet, Obama's campaign Twitter feed added that he had already spoken out about the ref lockout last week:
President Obama last week: "Is it just me or do we have to get our regular refs back?" OFA.BO/bWqfT4— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 25, 2012
White House spokesman Jay Carney elaborated on the president's stance:
He said that what happened in that game is a perfect example of why both sides need to come together, resolve their differences so that the regular refs can get back on the field and we can start focusing on a game that so many of us love rather than debating whether of not a game is won or lost because of a bad call.
Romney's running mate and ardent Packers fan, Paul Ryan, seized the opportunity to compare President Obama to the officiating crisis.
"It's time to get the real refs," Ryan said at a campaign event in Cincinnati. "And do you know what, it reminds me of President Obama and the economy. If you can't get it right, it's time to get out."
"Unlike the Seattle Seahawks last night, we want to deserve this victory. We want to earn this victory," Ryan added.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, no stranger to union disputes, called the Packers' loss "painful" via Twitter:
Being pro-taxpayer doesn't make me anti-union. Besides, private sector unions are often our partners in economic development.— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) September 25, 2012
As the New Yorker's Amy Davidson points out, it's no surprise that politicians are eager to weigh in on the National Football League's battle with their own employees.
The replacement ref controversy is already political, writes Davidson:
The blaring absurdity of Monday’s game meant that this wouldn’t just be a discussion about football (or even about lingerie and football). Green Bay, the bystander hurt in an attempt to break a union, is based in a state, Wisconsin, where unions have been a central part of the electoral dialogue for a couple of years, and which gave us Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate. That may explain why Ryan rushed out on Tuesday to try to turn the scab refs into generic metaphors for anyone doing a bad job who had to be replaced ... He and Romney would be “the real refs”—while ignoring how the scab refs got their jobs in the first place. But the ref story isn’t just a political simile—it is already political.