Gary Shelton: Does Jimbo Fisher really want to dabble in politics?

fisher, jimbo - rick scott

As game plans go, this one was tougher than Wake Forest.

Riskier, too.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who evidently has a little time on his hands, has decided to dabble in politics. Fisher recently joined Gov. Rick Scott in a plea for tax cuts at the Capitol Plaza in Tallahassee.

On the surface, it sounds as if Fisher was merely a fancy prop in a benign campaign. Give most of us a choice between paying lower taxes or higher, and we’re going to pick lower every time. Who could really blame Fisher? Who would even notice?

Heck, Fisher has bigger controversies. For one thing, he’s still jousting at journalists over the Jameis Winston allegations, as if the newspapers should not have reported the accusations. Now this.

Once a football coach starts to play the political game, it often begs more questions than it answers. Does this mean that Fisher is now pro-Scott? Is he a Republican? Is an FSU fan being encouraged to vote the same way? Are FSU’s fans are being nudged to lean Republican, and if so, does that push a Florida Gator supporter toward the Democrats?

What does Fisher think of “climate control”? Of the FDLE controversy? Of Fisher’s private email use?

Is this really the team that Fisher wants to play on?

Or would he rather worry about staying ahead of the Gators?

And is all of this worth it so he can save $11 a year on his $500,000 salary, which wouldn’t even buy a cap?

There has always been an an attraction for politicians to lean on football figures. Once, Bear Bryant was encouraged to voice his opinion on the governor’s race. Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier supported a ban on the Confederate flag from the South Carolina  state capitol. Jack Kemp went from the huddle to the presidential race, and so on.

You can understand the attraction from Scott’s perspective. He’s adding on a perpetual photo-op and one of the most iconic celebrities in the state.

Fisher? He ought to punt.

Gary Shelton

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori.


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