With Ari Fleischer on the college football playoffs, the band never has to wait long for their next outburst of negative feedback. They have a publicist consultant who specializes in generating negative advertising. Almost the opposite of what should be desired.
Fleischer’s appearance as moderator of Tuesday’s Saudi-backed LIV Golf press conference was just the last moment to turn a blind eye to a man who never failed while working for CFP. He also regularly appears as a political commentator on Fox News, creating some discomfort for the college’s athletics organization, which is trying to remain apolitical. And then he has almost everything he touched on as a college football propagandist.
Fleischer was part of a doomed PR effort to save the Bowl Championship series and prevent a playoff – that should have been enough to stop him from taking on any role in the next iteration of the sport, but he didn’t. Fleischer remained on board as a CFP consultant, proving to be magically flexible on the issue of the sport’s post-season.
(It seems really hard to be fired from Old Boys Club, which runs college football.)
Whatever the impact of the former White House spokesman under George W. Bush during the first seven years of the playoffs seemed insignificant. It was only after the failed implementation of plans to expand the playoffs from 4 to 12 teams last year, when a leak in June caught several unprepared conference commissioners, that someone remembered that CFP had a media consultant. The catastrophe surrounding this enlargement plan was enough to derail enlargement in the foreseeable future.
The CFP is controversial in nature – four teams, subjectively selected by a selection committee of 130, get a chance to win the national championship. The playoffs make things worse for themselves with a weekly TV show announcing its charts as the last third of the season unfolds, with his work ridiculed every Tuesday night. The list of victims is long and loud every season.
Why add to the accumulated criticism by creating an internal problem for yourself with a consultant like Fleischer? Why is there this person in the room with the most influential people in college football when making big decisions?
CFP CEO Bill Hancock confirmed Sports Illustrated On Tuesday, that Fleischer is still a consultant to the group. Hancock noted that Fleischer consulted with a number of other organizations outside the CFP and was not required to inform him of every concert he undertook. Neither Hancock nor several other CFP leaders seemed to have any idea of this particular work by Fleischer.
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Taking money from the Saudi government has dealt a severe blow to a number of the world’s most famous golfers, from top winners Phil Mickelson to Dustin Johnson to Graham McDowell to Sergio Garcia to Martin Kimer and others. They are ready to accept criticism of linking the weapon to a brutally repressive regime in exchange for huge salary days, and at a press conference on Tuesday, Fleischer did his best to pretend there was no controversy.
When LIV golfer Talor Guch was struck by the question of Saudi Arabia “washing the sport” of its indecent global image of human rights abuses, he replied: “I don’t think this statement is fair.” Then he tried to get out of this political sand trap, describing himself as essentially just a dumb golfer. “I’m not that smart,” Guch said. “I’m trying to hit a golf ball in a small hole. Golf is hard enough. I’m trying to worry about golf and I’m excited about this week’s game. “
Fleischer has apparently done his job to cover up the poor multimillionaires who are being asked questions about something other than hitting a golf ball in a small hole. An Associated Press reporter, Rob Harris, was reportedly cut off and escorted by a news conference after trying to ask a follow-up question about reconciling Saudi Arabia’s attempts to wash the sport to buy a good experience by buying golfers. He was later released.
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Everything is an enterprise for good mood. Just good people trying to “develop the game” of golf.
Like golfers, Fleischer seems to have a price at which he can give up his beliefs. According to Kevin Van Valkenberg of ESPN, Fleischer was asked at the LIV press conference, “how did he compare his current relationship with LIV Golf to past tweets claiming that Saudi Arabia is spending billions to ensure that Mohammed bin Salman is not ousted (n), and that was it not an example of this. Fleischer said the tweet was “a long time ago”. “
And many dollars ago, one might assume.
The combination of Ari Fleischer and the sport did not seem to bring much, except for embarrassment, wrong steps and slaps on the forehead. Why the college football playoff wants to keep paying this nincompoop to help him form a strategy is as puzzling as his reluctance to expand the playoffs.
More games are better. Less Ari is also better. Ari is not the best.
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