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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Sen. John McCain favors unionization of boxers

(Credit: Watchdog)

Bob Ley's sitdown with John McCain debuted on the 9 a.m. SportsCenter this morning, but I keep forgetting to watch at that hour and thus did not see it.

ESPN did send excerpts, and if you click below you can read them. Sen. McCain discusses boxing, among other things. He and Ley spoke Sunday before a NASCAR race, presumably friendly territory for a Republican - even in New Hampshire.

Let's get this out of the way right now, WatchDog Nation: The blog will remain strictly apolitical during these emotional weeks in the Presidential campaign.

I learned my lesson in 2004, when the Giants press room was split down the middle between blue and red, and things got heated at times.

I'm pretty sure football writers are more conservative than their counterparts in most other sports, except NASCAR, which probably makes football press rooms look like a 1968 convention of Students for a Democratic Society.

But I digress.EXCERPTS FROM THE McCAIN-LEY INTERVIEW

Bob Ley: “You were a boxer. I know you love the sport. You had a role in several pieces of legislation. What is the state of the sport that you love so much?”

Sen. John McCain: “I don't think it's as good as it could be. I think pay per view has had unintended consequences as well as intended, and it has narrowed the viewing audience. You see this ultimate fighting filling in a bit of a vacuum there. I'm a proud conservative, I still think it is the sport that needs a union because these are the people with the shortest spans of participation. They need to have retirement benefits, and they need it as badly or worse than any professional sport.”

BL: “There was a point several years ago you were proposing legislation to ban wagering on college sports in Nevada. Why did that die and why do you think that still might be needed?”

JM: “I think one reason is Americans like to wager. But I also think that we have seen from time to time this temptation overcoming some young athletes. So we need to watch very carefully. But frankly, that legislation isn't going to pass, so let's do everything we can to make sure these young athletes are aware of the temptations that are out there.”

BL: “I'd like to talk to you about drug testing and baseball. We all remember the senate hearing you were chairing, and your conversation with Don Fehr. How important was Congress in moving baseball and other sports off the dime in that issue?”

JM: “Fortunately we have moved forward with meaningful reform. But you know, and everybody watching knows as well as I do, there's somebody in a lab right now that's trying to be one step ahead.”

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