Swann's problem is this. Once he announces formally, ABC Sports will drop his lucrative contract as a football commentator during the 2005 season. How lucrative? I am told it's in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few months work, but who knows. Bottom line, forget the money -- it's also great publicity for a would-be candidate running statewide. Of course, the more visible Swann becomes as a candidate during this pre-election season the greater the pressure on ABC to admit the obvious. So Swann has a narrow political (and legal) path to trod. He wants everyone to think of him as a candidate, to promise him support, and give him lots of money -- but he doesn't want to give ABC (or opponents contacting ABC) any excuse to drop him from national broadcasting this autumn.
If Swann makes all the right moves on his timetable, don't expect a formal announcement of candidacy until next January.
What about Ed Rendell's contract to give insights on Sundays about the NFL for FOX? Rendell is on the air -- and he must campiagn too. What is good for the goose is good for the gander too, or in this case the swan. (honk, honk, honk)
I don't think ABC needs to drop Lynn Swann from the football broadcasting gig in the fall of 2005, even if Swann tosses his hat, formally, into the race for the GOP nomination for PA Gov spot. Nor should ABC do so.
At the most, perhaps ABC would put a memo together to ask him and the counterparts on the air to stick to football. And, if things made viewers blink twice, keep Swann out of the games in Phili and Pittsburgh. That would help calm fears, perhaps.
So, if I'm the boss of ABC Sports, Lynn, you'd not be benched for being a candidate.