Monday, August 18, 2008

Spanish Olympics Teams' Racism

Some of Spain’s athletes and fans continue to lose their racist minds. In 2004, Luis Aragones, the coach of Spain’s men’s soccer team, told his player Jose Antonio Reyes to “tell that Black [expletive] you are better than him.” Aragones was referring to the Black French player Thierry Henry. That same year (and pretty much ever since), Spanish soccer fans shout monkey sounds at rival Black players. This year, Spanish fans showed up to a Formula One racing event in blackface to mock driver Lewis Hamilton, a Black driver from England. Today, the Spanish athletes have turned their racism toward their Chinese Olympic hosts.

The Spanish men’s basketball team posed for a sponsor’s camera advertisement by making stereotypical Asian “slant eyes.” One player, Pau Gasol, also plays for the L.A. Lakers. Another, Jose Calderon, plays for the Toronto Raptors. Gasol apologized for the portrayal indicating that he felt victimized be the team’s ad because it wasn’t particularly funny and it made him look clownish. Oh…and it wasn’t supposed to be racist or offensive Gasol said. Calderon was angry that anyone would challenge him on it: “we did it because we thought it was going to be something nice….but somebody wants to talk about it. It is too much of a big deal with you guys [the press]…” The men’s head coach of Spain’s team, Aito Garcia Reneses, made it sound like political correctness run amok—“I can’t understand anything more.”

What I understand is this ad, which is running, needs to be pulled and that the racisms coming out of Spain’s athletics has got to stop. Yuck.

Follow-up: It has just come to my attention that the Spanish tennis Olympic team posed for a similarly racist photo in February. That's them gathered around a table.

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