Jim Caple at ESPN has a weird (in format) mini-essay on the bottom of the index of Page 2. It’s there on the site, but kind of obscured, and I feel that it will probably get lost in the sea of poor content. Or at least it’ll probably be gone tomorrow or whenever they update, so I’m going to ignore any idea of fair use policy and just post the whole thing here:
The NBA has reprimanded Phil Jackson for a postgame off-color joke that referenced the movie “Brokeback Mountain.'” Jackson apologized for his remark and said the reprimand was justified. And everybody was eager to move on.
Of course, had the NBA wanted to make a more substantive statement about intolerance toward gay people, the league wouldn’t have focused so much on Jackson’s fairly harmless (although crude) joke. Instead, the league could have commented on Seattle SuperSonics and Storm co-owners Aubrey McLendon and Tom Ward bankrolling (with donations totaling $1 million) a political group trying to ban gay marriage. Which action, after all, shows less tolerance of gay people?
Or, if the NBA had wanted to make a stand regarding “Brokeback Mountain,” it could have reprimanded Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller two years ago, when he had the movie pulled from a theater he owned. His metroplex did, however, show “Hostel,'” thereby teaching families the important message that depicting two men in love is morally wrong but showing the torture and mutilation of young women with power tools is wholesome entertainment. (Miller, at least, later told the Salt Lake Tribune that pulling “Brokeback Mountain'” was a mistake.)
This reminds me of when Major League Baseball suspended John Rocker for his bigoted and hateful remarks in 2000. MLB suspended him, but continued to allow Cleveland to market its team with the racist Chief Wahoo logo and Atlanta to hand out foam tomahawks. Criticizing a coach or a player for their words is just so much easier than confronting an owner in power about his more meaningful, and potentially damaging, actions.–Jim Caple
Well said, well said.