President Trump met with Alabama players and coaches as part of the Crimson Tide’s visit to the White House in April. Turns out, there’s a lingering mystery involving a football that Trump signed during the event.
On Tuesday, it was reported that a football Trump signed after meeting coach Nick Saban and others in the Oval Office mysteriously floated around the White House following the Crimson Tide’s departure from Washington, per Politico’s Annie Karni and Matthew Nussbaum. According to the report, the day of Alabama’s visit, then-White House staffer Cliff Sims dropped off the then-unsigned football with another staffer during Sims’ unannounced visit to the Oval Office. Sims explained that the item, when signed by Trump, was for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey at the request of the university.
Later, the ball somehow ended up on the desk of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who reportedly became frustrated and brought Sims into his office to seek answers about the football and Sims’ unannounced Oval Office visit. Sims, who reportedly accepted a position as an adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, supposedly told co-workers he had received permission from the White House counsel’s office to have the football signed but never handled it again after dropping it off. Other staffers reportedly said they saw the item in Sims’ office after the Crimson Tide departed from Washington.
The Alabama governor’s office didn’t respond to a request from Karni and Nussbaum to clarify whether the football had been received. It’s reported that it’s possible the football “may still be floating around somewhere in the White House.”
Of course, this is a trivial issue. But it’s an interesting, if not a little bizarre, behind-the-scenes look at a small slice of Alabama’s visit that day.
Here’s hoping the signed football has found its proper home.