Eschewing the first rule of political aspirations (i.e., never talk about one’s political aspirations), Jets kicker Jay Feely discloses in his Sporting News Today profile that item No. 1 on his bucket list is to be elected president of the United States.
And it’s likely not a joke. Feely’s Twitter bio mentions that he has political aspirations.
Feely made some waves last week
with an appearance on Sean Hannity’s television show, which was
followed by a little back-and-forth with Deadspin on the question of
whether the veteran special-teamer thinks our current president is or
isn’t a Socialist muslim.
We’re inclined to go easy on Feely, in part because we like the fact
that he’s different from the traditional be-seen-and-not-heard kicker,
and in part because his SNT profile also confirms his membership in PFT Planet.
But the fact remains that no one who declares that he or she wants
to be elected president is ever elected to be anything more than dog
“Calling your shot” is a concept that simply doesn’t fit with
politics; those who want to hold a high office rarely if ever say so —
until they formally launch a campaign for said office.
We’re not sure why that is. Perhaps the thinking is that voters
gravitate toward candidates who use phrases like, “I want to serve my
fellow man” and not, “I’m only doing this for self-satisfaction.”
Consider this 2008 quote from Jim Nantz of CBS,
regarding his own rumored political aspirations: “I don’t want to
mislead anyone right now, because I have the greatest job in the
world. I get reminded of that by strangers in airports all the time. .
. . So it’s going to take an awful lot for me to trade that in. . . .
The only tug I feel is that I really admire the people who do serve,
who try to make things better for all people. I do wish at times that
I could do more. We try our best with all the philanthropic things
we’re connected with. But great leadership — and I’ve been exposed to
great leadership — is something I admire. I’m not prepared to declare
my candidacy quite yet. . . . Is it something I would rule out? It’s
not something I’d rule out. Something on my mind? Deep in the back of
my mind for later on. And I’m not talking about running for president
of the United States. I’m just talking about something at the local
level, sampling it, and seeing if this is something where I can make a
In other words, Nantz wants to be president. But he knows not to say that he wants to be president.
Here’s another reason not to talk about political aspirations. It
likely becomes even more impossible to navigate the complex,
shark-infested political waters at any level — federal, state, local
— with the politician’s ultimate goal tattooed on his or her forehead.
That speaks to the more subtle point. To become a successful
politician, Feely will need to win the respect of other politicians,
specifically of those other politicians who “get it.” The problem is
that most politicians who “get it” will immediately conclude that an
aspiring politician who tells the free world that he wants to be its
leader doesn’t “get it.”
In Feely’s defense, he likely began talking about his political
aspirations at a young age, long before he was in a position to learn
the Fight Club nuances of the pursuit of high office. And so
he’s now in a position of having to unring a bell that he has continued
to keep ringing.
Still, his best approach moving forward would be to stop talking
about wanting to be president, and to start walking the long, twisted
road toward getting there.
Not with periodic appearances on television shows, but by picking
the right community in the right state where he’ll be most likely to
win a position in the legislature.