David Ortiz snapped a #selfie with President Obama last Tuesday while the Red Sox were being honored at the White House.
— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) April 1, 2014
And while on this surface this isn’t news, the details and motivations behind it are.
You see, David Ortiz, the lovable accented oaf who is as famous for his post-Marathon bombing sentiments as he is his clutch hitting, might have had other reasons for snapping the shot that went above “OMG it’s Barack freakin’ Obama.”
According to Sports Business Journal, Ortiz had recently inked an endorsement deal with Samsung, the perpetrators behind Ellen DeGeneres’ star-studded Oscar selfie, as their “social media inside” and that ‘when the Red Sox visit the White House this week to commemorate their World Series victory, “Big Papi” [would] be tweeting and sending photos on Samsung’s behalf.”
So when the tweet started going viral, with Samsung even publicly jumping in to help promote it, more than a few eyebrows were being raised. Especially when reports that a Red Sox player (possibly Jonny Gomes) shouted “cha-ching” after the photo was taken began finding their way online (Boston.com even claims, “When Ortiz spoke after the official ceremony, he also said ‘cha-ching’ when asked about the selfie while Gomes chimed in with a ‘re-tweet.'”).
Samsung then addressed the situation by saying, “When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans. We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device,” and Ortiz stuck to his tagline: “Bro, when’s the last time I’m going to have a picture with the most powerful man in the world?”
Now, if we cut away some fat with Occam’s razor, the most likely series of events involves Ortiz inking a deal with Samsung, Samsung telling Ortiz they want him to take selfies at the White House, and then Samsung at least mentioning that if Ortiz could get one with Obama that there would be an extra dollar or two under his pillow that night courtesy of the endorsement fairy.
And then he went and pulled it off; Big Papi comes through in the clutch again.
So now Jay Carney has to go on record saying, “Without getting into council’s discussions, I can tell you that as a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes, and we certainly object in this case,” and Obama is either a complicit sell-out or someone capable of being Punk’d by someone who still can’t figure out how a power-hitter like himself who was quite active during the baseball’s prime steroid era once failed a drug test in 2003.
Ellen DeGeneres may have broken the internet by exploiting the Hollywood elites’ sense of vanity, but this isn’t Bradley Cooper or JLaw, and this kind of thing shouldn’t be laughed off as “Papi being Papi.”
To paraphrase Ortiz himself, this is our fucking president, and he’s got bigger things to deal with than wondering if overpaid baseball players and cellphone companies are using him to hawk the newest camera phone.