The San Antonio Spurs Coyote: Most Offensive Mascot Ever in the NBA?

Lake CruiseAnalyst IOctober 12, 2010

SAN ANTONIO - MAY 11:  The San Antonio Spurs coyote holds two year old Isabella Weissman in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs at the AT&T Center on May 11, 2008 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Why would an alleged drug lord from a Mexican cartel sport a San Antonio Spurs T-shirt?

What is the connection between the overlord and the Spurs' mascot?

Is the Spurs' executive office brass too spoiled to recognize this subliminal message?  

When will they address the issue about the kind of message this sends?  How have they been allowed to get away with this for so long in light of the great immigration debate?

Surely Peter Holt, owner of the Spurs, has heard about Mexican mafia members who were once known for sporting maize-and-gold-colored University of Michigan fitted baseball caps.

This information has been blasted out in print, television and on the air in the US.

An arrested development, this is.

On Sept. 12, 2010, Mexican marines arrested alleged cocaine kingpin and mafia supplier Sergio Villarreal Barragan without any stereotypical drug-lord-dying-in-raging-gunsmoke involved.

A believed leader of the Beltran-Leyva cartel, it took 30 marines to nab him in Puebla, Mexico on a lazy Sunday.

He was one of Mexico’s most wanted traffickers, and a $2 million reward was placed on his head by the attorney general in that country.

As he was presented to the Mexican media while standing defiantly in handcuffs, Barragan wore a black Spurs tee with “San Antonio” stitched on it. 

A U-shaped spur was emblazoned under the city’s name.

Talk about embarrassing. It was much worse than any antic Dennis “The Worm” Rodman ever pulled as a member of the Spurs.

A cartel leader wearing a Spurs tee raises a red flag, the same way a cartel leader sporting a Michigan cap does.

It is a brazen notification that the cartel king identifies with the head Coyote in town.

Coyote is slang for a human smuggler who brings people into the US from Mexico.  These coyotes, or polleros, are offensive to most people.

Not to be confused with a human trafficker who exploits their victims into prostitution, slavery and drugs, human smugglers generally get people across the border for a fee and let them go.

There is reason to believe that a cartel emperor would be involved in both smuggling and trafficking human beings.

But what does a member of the billionaire boys club like Holt care?

He is already paid, and his motto is “mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money.”

Since 1983, the Spurs have employed a Coyote. 

The official team mascot has entertained fans at the Hemisfair Arena, at the Alamodome and at the current AT&T Center.

The Coyote has seen coaches Stan Albeck, Morris McHone, Bob Bass, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Bob Weiss, Larry Brown, Jerry Tarkanian, Rex Hughes, John Lucas, Bob Hill and Gregg Popovich.

Players during the Coyote’s era include "The Iceman," "The Twin Towers" and "Pretty Tony."

The Memorial Day Miracle shot by Sean Elliot and four NBA championships have come and gone during the super mascot’s time.

But is he now viewed as a liability in South Texas to the Spurs' image?

The good luck charm makes public appearances in and around San Antonio for worthy causes and is a member of the Mascot Hall of Fame.

I realize that a team’s fame and winning tradition translates into alluring style for many street gangs and criminal organizations.

Many Blood Gang members sport Cincinnati Reds or Saint Louis Cardinals (Redbirds) gear.  The Grape Street Crips are known for wearing Lakers outfits.

Cartel leaders prefer Spurs gear, yet the Spurs pride themselves on a squeaky clean image.

San Antonio fans will not hesitate to recite the many shortcomings of Dr. Jerry Buss and Kobe Bryant and in the same breath talk about the upright citizens that Spurs players and executives are.

Now, mighty Lakers fans have a retort off the top of their heads:  All Coyotes must go.

In this light, the Spurs' mascot should either be a cowgirl with a bodacious pair of chaps and big boots with spurs on them or a black-and-silver-clad cow. 

You decide which one.

This has been another installment of my “Reasoning on the Riverwalk” series.  I am your humble host and mascot policeman: Great Lake. 

What badge? I don’t need no stinking badges.