The Alabama defense saw its fair share of fumbles during the 2017-18 season but it appears we can add one more after the team’s visit to President Donald Trump’s White House.
Trump welcomed the national champion Crimson Tide to the White House in April and went through the usual festivities. He received a special Alabama jersey bearing his name, he gave a speech exalting the Tide’s efforts and he made sure to note he won the state of Alabama in the 2016 election, even though not everyone on the team was a fan of his. He was also given a football to sign, and that’s where this story takes a turn.
The case of Trump’s missing football
According to a story from Politico, former White House staffer and Alabama grad Cliff Sims had Trump sign a special Alabama football during the Tide’s visit apparently as a gift for Alabama governor Kay Ivey. The football is now missing.
Trump having a football to sign was reportedly news to his staff, as Sims dropped into the Oval Office and said he needed the ball signed for Ivey. Trump complied. No one knows where the ball went next. Sims reportedly said he had the ball gifted to the Alabama state house, while others told Politico that they had seen the ball in Sims’ office. The confusion eventually reached the office of White House chief of staff John Kelly. From Politico:
…the ball eventually ended up on John Kelly’s desk, and the frustrated chief of staff summoned Sims into his office to ask him what the heck was going on with his unexpected presence in the Oval Office, and a signed football floating around the White House. Sims declined to comment.
Sims, whose title was special assistant to the president and director of White House message strategy, has now left the administration, but the question of the football’s location remains. Ivey’s office did not respond to to a request for comment from Politico and the piece of memorabilia could reportedly still just be somewhere in the White House.
Who at the White House is being blamed for the missing football?
While Sims was the staffer who had the ball go missing on his watch, Politico notes the whole episode was another example of how Kelly has struggled to maintain order. It’s quite unlikely a missing football could lead to actual consequences for anyone, but anecdotes like this can be emblematic of an embattled administration.
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