Ari Fleischer’s Bad Publicity Tour Continues With LIV Golf

With Ari Fleischer on the college football playoff payroll, the band never have to wait long for their next round of negative feedback. They have a publicist consultant who specializes in generating negative publicity. Pretty much the opposite of what you would want.

Fleischer’s appearance as a moderator at the Saudi-backed LIV Golf press conference on Tuesday was just the latest emotional moment from a guy who never failed to fail working for the PSC. He has also made regular appearances as a political commentator on Fox News, which has created some unease for a college athletics organization trying to remain apolitical. And then there’s pretty much everything he’s touched in his role as a college football propagandist.

Fleischer was part of the public relations effort dedicated to saving the Bowl championship series and avoiding the playoffs – that should have been enough to free him from any role in the next iteration of the sport, but no. Fleischer remained on board as a consultant for the CFP, proving to be magically malleable on the sport’s playoff issue.

(It seems really hard to get kicked out of the Old Boys Club which runs college football.)

Fleischer has been associated with college football since the BCS era.

Whatever impact the former White House press secretary under George W. Bush had in the first seven years of the playoffs seemed negligible. It wasn’t until the botched rollout of plans to expand the playoffs from four to 12 teams last year, when the June leak sadly caught several conference commissioners off guard, that everyone remembered that the CFP had a media consultant. The mess surrounding this expansion plan was enough to derail the expansion for the foreseeable future.

The CFP is inherently quite controversial – four teams chosen subjectively by a selection committee out of 130 have a chance of winning the national championship. The playoffs make matters worse with a weekly TV show releasing his standings in the final third of the season, with his work being teased every Tuesday night. The list of injured parties is long and vocal each season.

Why add to the accumulated criticism by creating an internal problem for yourself with a consultant like Fleischer? Why have this guy in the room with the most powerful people in college football when they make the big decisions?

CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock confirmed Sports Illustrated Tuesday that Fleischer is still a consultant for the group. Hancock noted that Fleischer consults with a number of other entities outside of the PCP and is not required to inform it of every gig he takes. Neither Hancock nor several other CFP leaders seemed to have any idea of ​​this particular Fleischer job.

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Taking the Saudi government’s money has resulted in major backlash for a number of the world’s most prominent golfers, from big winners Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer and beyond. They are willing to accept criticism for tying guns to a brutally repressive regime in return for massive salaries, and on Tuesday at the Fleischer-led press conference they did their best to pretend no controversy existed .

When LIV golfer Talor Gooch was asked about Saudi Arabia ‘washing the sport’ of its unseemly global image of human rights abuses, he replied: ‘I don’t think this statement is correct”. Then he sought to get out of this political sand trap by portraying himself as, essentially, just a stupid golfer. “I’m not that smart,” Gooch said. “I’m trying to hit a golf ball into a small hole. Golf is hard enough already. I’m trying to worry about golf and I’m excited for this week.

Fleischer apparently did his part to provide cover for poor multi-millionaires who were asked about anything other than hitting a golf ball in a small hole. Rob Harris, an Associated Press reporter, was reportedly interrupted and escorted out of the press conference after he tried to ask a follow-up question about reconciling Saudi attempts to wash down sports to buy favorable impressions by buying golfers . He was then allowed to return.

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It’s a wellness business. Just good people trying to “grow the game” of golf.

Like golfers, Fleischer seems to have a price at which he can give up his beliefs. By ESPN’s Kevin Van ValkenbergFleischer was asked during LIV’s press conference, “how he reconciled his current relationship with LIV Golf with his past tweets claiming that Saudi Arabia was spending billions to ensure that Mohammed bin Salman was not spilled(n), and wasn’t that an example of that. Fleisher said that tweet was “a really long time ago.”

And there are several dollars, one would assume.

The mix of Ari Fleischer and sports seemed to produce very little other than embarrassments, missteps and slaps. Why the college football playoffs want to keep paying this nincompoop to help form a strategy is as mystifying as the reluctance to expand the playoffs.

More games is better. Less Ari is also better. No Ari is the best.

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