What was once an adorable moment between one of baseball’s most iconic and lovable superstars and the president of the United States has now turned into full-blown “Selfie-gate.” During the Boston Red Sox’s recent visit to the White House to commemorate the team’s spirited 2013 World Series triumph, David Ortiz quickly hopped up to the podium to capture the moment in the form of a selfie with President Barack Obama, holding his custom-made No. 44 Red Sox jersey. Details have now emerged that Samsung has a newfound partnership with the Red Sox slugger and that Ortiz may have been doing a little promoting by using the new Galaxy Note 3 to take the picture.
The selfie was just one of a bevy of joyful moments during the Red Sox visit. The ceremony featured other lighthearted moments such as the military’s very own rendition of “Sweet Caroline,” by Neil Diamond that has been the unmistakeable anthem of the Red Sox for years which is heard throughout Fenway Park during every 8th inning, as well as the outrageous starred-and-striped suit jacket donned by outfielder Jonny Gomes.
Ortiz maintains his position that there was no wrongdoing with the selfie and that while he does have an endorsement deal with Samsung, he did not receive any compensations from the company for taking the picture. Doing so would not violate any rules, but it would definitely tarnish a very enjoyable moment for the fans.
“I got famous yesterday,” Ortiz told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “You don’t get a chance to get a photo with the president every day.”
Ironically enough, Obama made an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” recently. DeGeneres famously took a selfie at the Oscars featuring a large number of renown Hollywood actors, to which Obama cheerily deemed to be a “pretty cheap stunt.” DeGeneres was also sporting a Samsung when she took her photo.
One man who was not thrilled with Ortiz’s selfie was Dan Hill, president of Ervin Hill Strategy in Washington. According to Katie Zezima of The Washington Post, when discussing whether or not getting a president involved in a product placement situation is a bit of a faux-pa, he replied, “there’s still a certain reverence that goes with the office, and I just don’t think that’s a line I would advise a client to cross.”
In the grand scheme of things, the selfie incident is not a huge issue regardless of whether Ortiz got paid or not. Obama seemed to find it humorous and the griping surrounding what Ortiz did takes away from a wonderful ceremony during which Obama made sure to shed a lot of light on how the city of Boston rallied around their beloved Sox in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy. He also poked fun at Ortiz’s now infamous “f-bomb” which he dropped during a pre-game speech addressing a downtrodden fan base shortly after the bombings.
David Ortiz has never been a player to shy away from the spotlight, for both good and bad reasons. For every incident of him demolishing a dugout phone with a bat or charging the mound to beat up a pitcher, there have been so many more that have brought immeasurable amounts of joy to the hearts of Bostonians. Selfie-gate will go down as just another episode of Ortiz being the Big Papi that the fans have grown to love.
Commentary by Justin Hussong, Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox