Thursday, March 6, 2014

Politically incorrect observations

It's no big secret the good people of the state of Arizona have what might loosely be called an immigration problem. In other words, undocumented people (illegal aliens) from south of the border have been coming across in droves. What to do about it? Beats me. That's up to the politicians -- sometimes VERY loosely referred to as our best and brightest minds.

But in the meantime, the NBA team that resides in Phoenix isn't exactly helping the problem by wearing uniforms that have "Los Suns" emblazoned on them. Nor is El Heat in Miami. Or Los Spurs in San Antonio. And what's up with El Toros in Chicago once in a while? Do they even realize how far away they are from the Rio Grande?

Which brings me to the point. If they're serious about wanting to alleviate the illegal immigration problem that is plaguing them, then why -- tell me WHY -- are they directing their advertising to that very same demographic?

The winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia concluded a couple weeks ago. Only the most politically cynical would doubt they were a rousing success. The venues constructed by the Russian hosts were spectacular and they went off without a hitch. Yet harkon back....

Remember all the OMG pseudo-panic that the alleged "black widows" generated? Surely, suicide bombers would be running amok at the Games blowing up everything. Turns out, it was much ado about nothing.

Also remember the outrage in the "West" when Russia passed a pre-Olympic law stating pro-gay demonstrations would not be allowed at the Games. Though also clearly stating gay athletes would be welcomed and afforded the same amenities and security measures as everyone else -- the Russians correctly asserted the Olympics were supposed to be about the finest athletes in the world coming together to compete -- NOT about any other factions using the Games as a world stage to promote their cause.

At the time, that wasn't good enough for some. Wanting more "outreach", they vowed to go to Russia and have their voices heard. Perhaps many did, but guess what? Once the Games started, the masses of sports fans the world over ceased to care about anything besides the competitions themselves -- as it should be. Whether or not certain factions gathered together to march, wave flags, make speeches, or otherwise demonstrate is unknown to yours truly. Though the media was likely on high alert, there was no word of harrassment, arrests, and/or detentions, much less anybody getting shipped off to a Siberian labor camp somewhere. Again, the Games themselves went off without a hitch.

So what was all that misplaced grandstanding and media circus about in the first place? Turns out -- nothing.

Jason Collins, at 35 years old and the first openly gay player in the NBA, recently signed a 10-day contract with the New Jersey Nets. Rookie head coach Jason Kidd was on board, as was GM Billy King. Even owner Mikhail Prokhorov, a (gasp) Russian himself, signed off on it. Veteran players such as Paul Pierce also nodded their heads.

Collins' initial stat line? Zero points, zero assists, 2 rebounds, and 5 fouls in 11 minutes of action. A behemoth offensive tackle in the NFL could likely put up those kind of numbers in a game of hoops. But hey, quoth certain proponents, Jason actually dove on the floor for a loose ball and leveled an opponent. And the Nets beat the Lakers 108-102 in that game.

Nevermind that if a player isn't diving for loose balls, (be he young, old, tall, short, gay, straight, whatever) he won't be around very long. And further nevermind Collins is 7 feet tall and the player he decked was only 6 foot 2. And let's just ignore the fact that any half-way decent NBA team beats the Lakers these days, because they're terrible.

Somehow, JC's "re-debut" was trumpeted to the masses as a big deal.

Just a thought, but it would have been helpful if he could still -- you know -- play at a high level.

Much ado about nothing indeed.

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