If you happened to watch the Washington-Washington State basketball game on Saturday, you may have spotted Governor Chris (don’t call me Christine) Gregoire in attendance at Hec Ed, or through your television set on FSN. Gregoire came out to support the schools in an obligatory PR move; she may be a UW grad, but her partiality lies not with either school at this point, but with the voters and their votes.
Gregoire is the anti-sports fan. She let the Sonics walk out the door, and she comes across as someone more concerned with…well, something, I’m sure, although she’s ran up a huge budget deficit and continues to cut state jobs, so who knows if there is a silver lining here. Without getting too deeply into politics, we can basically sum it up by saying that sports fans statewide have no reason to appreciate what Gregoire does.
Which is why it was unfortunate to see her at the game on Saturday. A raincloud looming over what was otherwise a great game with a great end result. At one point during the game, Gregoire sat down with FSN geriatrics Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini and recited talking points that she may as well have had written on her arm. Clearly, she knew nothing about either basketball program and had been briefed on the subject matter minutes earlier. I almost felt embarrassed for her.
After the game, the raincloud finally broke. Gregoire was confronted by reporters and asked about possible state funding for decaying Husky Stadium. A bad time for the question, no doubt. Here we are on a day when the basketball team is celebrating their first outright title in 56 years, and someone has the nerve to try and overshadow that with this inopportune interrogation. Instead of refusing to comment on the matter as she should have done, Gregoire thundered down upon Hec Ed with her bad news. In essence, she stated that there was little chance of the state helping out with the University of Washington and its otherwise decrepit football venue. Huh? You just spent all day politicking yourself in a place you’d rather not be, and then you undo it all with this stupid comment? Why even show up? You’re the Alex Rodriguez of publicity stunts.
As a sports fan, I felt insulted by Gregoire’s presence at the game, and apparent knowledge and caring of college basketball when first pressed by the FSN analysts. We all know she doesn’t give a rat’s ass, so why pretend? She let the Sonics walk, and I can’t say I’ve ever seen or heard of her attending a Mariners or Seahawks game. Like the rest of her constituents in Olympia, she doesn’t care about sports, and that’s fine. That’s her prerogative, and it’s an indictment on we, the people, who keep electing her to office.
But to be disingenous about it is a whole ‘nother matter. If you don’t like sports, then don’t associate yourself with it for public relations purposes. We don’t want to see you at functions that we enjoy, and we’d prefer it if you just stayed away. Keep running up the state budget, keep acting like you don’t know where the money has gone, keep taking jobs from hard-working people, and keep your ass away from our sports teams.