Olympic Men's Basketball: Spain and Complain Rhyme For a Reason

KC AllenContributor IAugust 23, 2008

It first started with the Argentinians.

Then the Greeks.

Now, it's back to Spain.

Why is it that every time the American players touch the ball or shoot a free throw, there are constant, disrespectful "boos" from the opposing fans? Every time.

The American fans are quiet when the opposing team is shooting or even when a call doesn't go America's way.

The hostility that the Europeans and South Americans are displaying is rude, undeserved—and honestly, annoying. As I watch the gold-medal match, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have both tallied two fouls each in the first four minutes of the first quarter.

But when a Spanish player finally receives a foul, for a full minute the Spanish fans reminded me of the way I reacted when I found out that M. Night Shyamalan was making another movie.

And that's with the Spanish bench throwing their towels down and arguing with the ref every time America possesses the ball?

(Dwayne Wade is amazing right now and the Americans are only up by eight, 69-61, despite shooting 60 percent beyond the arc.)

Then there's the highly controversial Spanish team poster that the team created in commemoration of the Beijiing Olympics.  What bothers me most about this is you would think the Chinese would find this extremely offensive, and be the ones 'booing' when Spain takes foot on the floor, but I guess they accepted Calderon's ridiculous excuse:

"I would like to share a story with you about something that happened with the Spanish National Team that someone interpreted incorrectly.

It happened in the photo session where the Spanish National Team was introduced. One of our sponsors asked us to pose with a “wink” to our participation in Beijing, we made an oriental expression with our eyes.

We thought it was something appropriate and that it would always be interpreted as somewhat loving. Nevertheless some of the European media did not see it this way.

From here I would like to declare that we have a huge respect for the East and their people, some of my best friends in Toronto are from China and one of our Spanish National Team sponsors is the Chinese brand Li Ning. Anyone who would like to interpret this differently is absolutely confused."

The team poses with their hands pulling their eyes resembling slanted eyes. The players claim it was only in fun and games.  This is absolutely absurd.


The slant expression is relevant to a wink? I believe Bruce Lee would beg to differ.

Spain has a history of racial tensions in its sporting history. La Liga—which is arguably one of the top soccer leagues in the world, featuring powerhouses Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as a plethora of world class players—has also dealt with racism.

Black player Samuel Eto'o of FC Barcelona, has had bananas thrown at him as well as monkey noises chanted at him every time he touches the ball.

Now let me throw in another quote, from then-Spanish National Soccer Team Coach Luis Aragones to Spanish player Jose Antonio Reyes in reference to French player Thierry Henry: "Some players have to see things more clearly. Tell that black shit that you are better than him. Tell him from me, `You're the best'."

I bet Mr. Reyes jumped all over that opportunity. Aragones claims that he only said that to get his team and players pumped up for the match.

Reyes: "Hey, black shit? I am the best." Henry: "Oh, Okay!"

To sum up, I'm not saying America is an angel in any way, because as we all know the U.S. has its racial problems. But I felt the need to express my anger towards Europeans and South Americans alike.

It's unfair, and unsportsmanlike to 'boo' athletes in an international competition when my country is showing the upmost respect and understanding for these foreign players.

Anyways, thank God the USA won gold in the basketball game, as LeBron guaranteed back in June. Spain did play their asses off, so hats off to them. Congrats to everyone who worked hard to be part of the successful Olympics in Beijiing.