Thursday, October 12, 2006

Georgia Politics: Governor's Race and College Football

It seems that what has happened here in Georgia this past week is just one of those "southern things" (with apologies to Buckeye and Nittany Lion Fans) ...

Sonny Perdue is the current Governor of the state, and he is in an election battle with Democrat Mark Taylor. After the Unviersity of Georgia's football team was pounded into submission by the Vols from the University of Tennessee 51-37, the statewide newspaper (the Atlanta Journal Constitution) had a headline that read, "Vols Put 'Dogs in their place."

Well, the sitting Governor (a Bulldog fan) had enough. He wrote to the paper this missive:

Here's The Guv's letter to the editor that ran in the AJC:

"I finally figured out why your readers no longer have confidence in your opinion.

"Sunday's sports page headline is an indication of the way The Atlanta-Journal Constitution views Georgia. From the front page to the business page and now to the sports page, it is as if the AJC gleefully awaits lousy news about all things Georgia and pounces with their poison pens whenever bad things happen to the good people of our state.

"Other cities celebrate the successes and mourn the losses of local businesses, individuals and sports teams. The AJC takes the opposite position and - instead of boosterism - criticizes, investigates and ridicules all things Georgia.

"The AJC, not UGA, is the real loser. In its mean-spirited delight over misfortunes, it has squandered the precious First Amendment right to influence and thus be considered a trustworthy source of objectivity. No wonder more and more people are tuning you out and turning you off." Go here.

The attention this letter garnered after it was written and published in the Sunday paper is what should amaze you. Today is Thursday - day 4 after it was published - and it is still news. Monday and Tuesday two radio stations spent two HOURS each discussing this letter on sports by a Governor. Wednesday and today there are articles in the paper mentioning it. On October 10, 2006, the paper ran a transcript of the Governor's live appearance on a local sports talk show that discussed the letter.

Newspapers in Macon, Charleston and Biloxi have reported on it. So what you say? So, here is yet more proof of how college football is viewed in the South. Governor Perdue does not write to the Editor of the paper about high school gradution rates or college athlete graduation rates, but writes about a headline over a high school football game.