Can I Have My Sports Without Political Correctness?

I watched the LA Lakers and Golden St. Warriors going through their pre-game routine the other night and saw them wearing “NBA GREEN” on their warm-ups.

“How great is this, the NBA is finally admitting that it’s all about the money,” is what I told my wife. “A pro-sports league being honest, I wonder how the media will react.” She quickly corrected me and told me what I already knew. The NBA has an effort to “go green” by trying to save the planet, or something to that effect. How thoughtful of they who have 30 teams who fly around the planet playing 82 games each of a regular season, plus a long pre-season and an even longer post-season. But then can celebrate how the Oklahoma City Thunder planted 14 trees. If we ever see Dale Junior driving a Chevy Volt in a NASCAR race, then we can declare The End is near.

One thing I know is that sports and its media are just as liberal as their newsroom counterparts.

I have another example dealing with the “green.” Jim Calhoun and UCONN just won the National Championship in College Basketball. Not the style of game I was used to when I covered the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in 1990, but still, a National Championship. It brought to mind an interview that Calhoun did with a freelance lib reporter in 2009. The reporter felt Calhoun should take a pay cut because he was a state employee and questioned him about it. It’s a classic response by Calhoun and I became an instant fan when I heard it. You will too—enjoy a minute and click the link.

I’ve had people bark back at me during interviews and I never really minded it. It made for great TV. Mike Tyson called me a “smart ass” once and that caused his handlers to jump in between us and stop the interview (ya, like I was going to actually hurt Mike Tyson.) Villanova hoops coach Jay Wright and I had some great battles over content while he was an assistant at UNLV. Fun times. I like Jay and hope he wins big at ‘Nova. I could go on and on—I never minded confrontational moments during interviews, but as a reporter, you’d better be prepared and know your stuff when it happens. The guy who interviewed Calhoun got his clock cleaned.

Back to the NBA for a moment, recently I watched the Lakers play the Phoenix Suns. On the front of their jerseys was emblazoned, Los Lakers and Los Suns. The Suns first did this in 2010 to honor their Latino community. Their timing was political. It was when the state was being sued by Obama for Senate Bill 1070 that called for federal laws to be enforced on immigration (how bizarre is that sentence I just wrote?) At the time I wondered if the sports writers would call for Suns management to “open its borders” and allow everybody in to the game for free. Shocking news—that never happened. Instead, the Suns piled it on. Steve Nash, who is in America legally from Canada, called the law “very misguided.” NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter chimed in by saying the immigration law in Arizona is “disappointing and disturbing,” Then he went on to misrepresent the law as racial profiling. No sports writer I saw was there to question why the Phoenix Suns and the NBA were jumping both feet into liberal politics.

Hey, I know part of this is about jersey sales (back to the “green” again,) but what’s next in the NBA? There are a lot of fans and players from Eastern Europe. Should we know if NBA Commish David Stern has an opinion on the European Union? Since the Houston Rockets have Yao Ming (even when he’s injured) would they please tell me what position I should take on the Chi Coms. Sports writers won’t complain because they love dealing with politics and that makes them feel more important.

Being from east LA I just rooted for Kofax, Wilt, West, and Fernando—I never cared where they were from or what their politics were. Sports is supposed to bring people together and ignore the politics of the moment. I guess that’s a little too much to ask for in this current environment, besides, Obama has an NCAA Bracket to fill out again next year, and no matter how good they are, after what Calhoun said, he won’t be picking UCONN.

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