Ever try to give someone a compliment and end up deriding an entire European nation?
Me neither, but Spurs TV announcer Sean Elliott somehow managed to end up on the wrong side of that congratulatory coin while praising the gritty nature of Tony Parker to the San Antonio Express-News, according to NextImpulseSports.
In the interview with the Express-News, the former Spurs forward-turned-sportscaster complimented Parker on the toughness he has exhibited in the 2013 NBA playoffs, saying he’s nothing like most Frenchman.
Everything they’ve said about French people doesn’t apply to him. It just doesn’t apply. He’s as tough as they come. And I promise you, if he was in a bigger market, they would be comparing him to a guy like (former NBA star) AI (Allen Iverson), who took the hits and fell all the time.
As you can see, Elliott’s remarks were meant to be supportive of Parker and the way he’s managed to help his team this postseason, but they strayed into territory that French basketball fans (and people in general) will likely have an issue with.
Elliott's comments sparked different reactions from fans. Some were more understanding than others.
Geez guys… Sean Elliott’s Tony Parker comments couldn’t be more tongue-in-cheek. He jokes about him all the time. But twitter wins again.— Matthew R Tynan (@Matthew_Tynan) June 18, 2013
Elliott himself isn’t exactly empowering negative French stereotypes—he’s saying that Parker is proving those misnomers wrong. The reality, however, is that even alluding to French cowardice is a bad idea, and people will take it as a slight.
Another unfortunate part of this whole scenario is that Elliott is an authority on toughness. The man came back from a kidney transplant in 2000. He’s right when he’s says that Parker has the heart of a champion, but he's managed to muddle his own message.
Now if he only can find ways to express that without conjuring up white flags and “We saved their bacon at Normandy!” platitudes, we can move on from this triviality and get to the point.
Tony Parker is a B.A. ‘Nuff said.