President Joe Biden seems to have told a football fib during a speech Friday at the U.S. Naval Academy, claiming he was accepted to the vaunted military institution back in 1965, but declined because future NFL Hall of Fame Roger Staubach blocked his path to playing for the Midshipmen.
Biden said he instead went to the University of Delaware, which is true. But he never played varsity football there, and there’s no evidence he ever declined a spot at Navy. The years don’t come close to matching up, either. It appears to be the latest example of Biden trying to fit in with a crowd of people he’s addressing by saying he’s been in their shoes.
“I was appointed to the Academy in 1965 by a senator who I was running against in 1972,” Biden said, as part of a story about Sen. J. Caleb Boggs, who he defeated to became a U.S. senator.
Joe Biden falsely claimed he “was appointed to the [Naval] Academy in 1965” while speaking to Naval Academy graduates today.
Biden graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965, making that impossible. pic.twitter.com/oSTmjeqSLb
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 27, 2022
“I didn’t come to the Academy because I wanted to be a football star,” Biden continued. “And you had a guy named Staubach and Bellino here. So I went to Delaware.”
Biden would’ve been 23 in 1965 and graduated from the University of Delaware that same year.
Biden was a pretty good wide receiver at Wilmington’s Archmere Academy, once catching three touchdown passes from quarterback Bill Peterman during their 1-6 junior year. During his 1960 senior year at Archmere, with a new coach, Biden scored 10 touchdowns in eight games and the team went undefeated.
“In almost any group I was the leader,” Biden later wrote in his autobiography. “I was the leading scorer on our undefeated and untied football team my senior year, and I didn’t lack for confidence on the field.”
Staubach and Joe Bellino, the only two Navy players to win the Heisman trophy, were gone before 1965. Staubach graduated in 1964, and went off to fight in Vietnam before coming home and having a storied career with the Dallas Cowboys. Bellino was a halfback who graduated in 1961, also fought in Vietnam, and had a brief career in the NFL.
In 2008, Biden took heat for telling what seemed to be a tall football tale about playing for the University of Delaware against Ohio University.