Washington — Venturing out of the White House for the first time since his headline-grabbing sports accident Friday, President Barack Obama was in the stands at Howard University Saturday for the men’s basketball game against Oregon State University, where his brother-in-law Craig Robinson is the head coach.
Arriving just minutes before the tipoff, the president sat directly behind the Oregon State bench in Howard’s mostly empty Burr Stadium, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, mother-in-law Marian Robinson and daughters Sasha and Malia.
The president had sustained a bloody lip while playing in a pickup basketball game Friday morning — a gash that needed a dozen stitches to close — but Obama’s injury was nearly imperceptible, according to the White House press pool report.
It happened during the fifth game Obama was playing with friends and family, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, nephew Avery Robinson and personal assistant Reggie Love — a former Duke University basketball player. During the game, opposing player Reynaldo Decerega, the director of programs at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, had the ball and Obama was defending him; Decerega turned into the president on his way to the basket and inadvertently elbowed him in the mouth.
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Because of the injury, Obama skipped a ceremony in which the first family receives the White House Christmas tree. As first lady Michelle Obama appeared, the president was photographed watching the ceremony from a window in the White House, holding what appeared to be an ice pack to his mouth.
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