Who says sports mascots are just for boosting community morale? On Thursday, the Washington Nationals baseball team featured its Teddy Roosevelt mascot in a video promoting Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Joining Roosevelt was Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Questions arose over whether it was appropriate for a team to support a government program. I believe this came from the opponents of Obamacare, but the fact is the program has been instituted and this was simply a public service announcement that can benefit people.
Washington Wire reports, “…Teddy is seen enrolling in an insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act and calling the HHS hot-line for information. Ms. Sebelius urges Americans to enroll…”
According to The Hill, there was no official partnership between the Obama administration and sports club. “The video was filmed in conjunction with HHS Night at the ballpark, when employees of the department were offered tickets at a discounted group rate.”
Granted, it may be a nuisance to be bombarded with a political advertisement during a sports event, but the Health and Human Services group was within their rights to promote the video given their annual outing with the Nationals' team. The promotional campaign was a deal between the Nationals and Health and Human Services, not the Obama administration.
Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges are available later this year, and the video wasn’t meant to acquire voters for a political campaign, but to increase awareness on an act that has already been implemented.
There is nothing new or necessarily harmful in the promotion of political events within social settings. With the launch of Obamacare in October, it’s expected to witness marketing support from partners, constituents, and advocates.
President Obama is planning to use celebrity figures like Amy Poehler, Kal Penn, and Oprah Winfrey to support his health care promotional campaigns.
As far as starring the Teddy Roosevelt Mascot, James Grimaldi at Washington Wire states:
“And while it may seem strange to enlist the help of a long-dead Republican president to promote Obamacare, President Roosevelt was a proponent of greater health coverage for Americans back in the day.”
Public service or political promotion, it seems that sometimes sports and politics do mix, and might even lend themselves to shared viewpoints.