As millions anticipate watching the 48th annual Super Bowl match between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, President Barack Obama got into the spirit in a way that invited comparison his previous attempts at bonhomie. In the hours before kick-off, the White House released a photograph of the chief executive throwing a football at a lighted stadium. The date of the photograph was not released. It appears to have been taken at a soccer stadium where appear the acronyms 'NATO' and 'OTAN' - the abbreviations for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in English and French.

Obama is seen inexpertly throwing a football, while remaining equipped with his ever-present Blackberry and dressed in suit trousers and necktie.

The photograph, transmitted on Obama's White House Twitter account, was accompanied with the sole comment: 'Game day.'

Comment on the photograph was swift. Among those on Twitter were:

Aaron @a_ryan88 wrote: Right on schedule, the White House releases a propaganda photo of Obama for the Super Bowl.

Jeff Yeah! @JeffOutLoud wrote: Oh FFS! Not everything has to be about him!

The photo recalled a previous publicity shot of the president, who played basketball in high school, in which he was seen firing a shotgun in a similarly non-expert pose.
Just two weeks ago, Obama cautioned against the playing of American football. This came after a flurry of reports of the incidence of brain injury, especially among professional football players. “I would not let my son play pro football.” He also showed concern over the violence of the national sport. “I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you, if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.” He then said that football was like smoking: “At this point, there’s a little bit of caveat emptor. These guys, they know what they’re doing. They know what they’re buying into. It is no longer a secret. It’s sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know.”



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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