ESPN butchers Barack Obama's name on air

A screen grab from the Dolphins being honoured at the White House on Tuesday. (ESPN)

A screen grab from the Dolphins being honoured at the White House on Tuesday. (ESPN)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:51 PM ET

It’s one thing to forget how to spell the names’ of some of the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Most people under the age of 40 don’t have the slightest clue who played for the last NFL team to finish a season – and playoffs – undefeated.

That said, it’s an entirely different thing to forget how to spell the U.S. president’s first name.

Members of the Miami Dolphins, whose undefeated 1972 season culminated in a Super Bowl victory in January, 1973, stood smiling behind Barack Obama on Tuesday, blinking in the TV lights and basking in the applause of the crowd and the praise of the First Sports Fan.

Unfortunately, when it came time for leader of the free world to say a few words, ESPN’s lower third butchered Obama's first name, dropping the “C” in Barack during one of its broadcasts.

Of course unbeknownst to everyone in attendance, the ceremony continued.



"In 1972, these guys were a juggernaut," the president said, ticking off their accomplishments: a perfect 17-0 record that included a misleadingly close 14-7 thrashing of the Washington Redskins in the title game, leading the league in offence and defence, and fielding seven future football Hall of Famers.

The White House offered no clear reason why it is honoring the team decades after its signature accomplishment. Championship teams are routinely invited to the White House nowadays, a testament to the American passion for sports, not to mention the public relations benefits of posing the president with successful athletes.

But the practice of welcoming Super Bowl victors to the White House didn't start until 1980, the president said, so it was time to make amends.

"I know this is a little unorthodox, four decades after the fact - but these guys never got their White House visit after winning Super Bowl VII," he said. "And let's face it, this is also just a fun thing to do."

Coach Don Shula said it was his first time at the White House - but not his first contact with a president. Nixon, who vacationed in Florida, would call him to suggest plays, Shula said.

"I would always listen to him" and once used one of his suggestions, he said.

Not every member of the team was pleased to be at the White House. At least three, Bob Kuechenberg, Manny Fernandez, and Jim Langer told the Florida Sun-Sentinel that they would pass on the visit because of differences with the president.

-With files from Mark Felsenthal, Reuters






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