Monday, June 19, 2017

Politics Ruins

The first title for Zaza Pachulia and Kevin Durant (slam photo)
I try to avoid political discussions. They ruin many a happy occasion. Bystanders are pushed into a corner and forced to take a position about matters that they may not have thought much about. Or maybe they only have a modest preference for one side and feel it's not worth the energy to argue, or even run the risk of sacrificing personal relationships. So they keep quiet and retreat if they can.

When you are a big-time celebrity it's almost impossible to be noncommittal. Inquisitors harangue you for an answer. And if you don't give them one, they say that you did, steering you to confirm or deny the assertion. Only a few hours after the Golden State Warriors had won the NBA championship they were forced to take a position on Donald Trump: [bold added]
Two reporters published unsubstantiated tweets after Golden State’s Game 5 defeat of the Cavaliers, that said the team “unanimously” had decided to boycott a visit to the White House.

The team released a statement Tuesday morning saying that no such decision had been made.
The Warriors may find this situation more difficult than any that they face on the basketball court. They have become a national team with fans across the political spectrum. While it's true that some of the team's leaders (e.g., Stephen Curry and coach Steve Kerr) are outspoken against Donald Trump, there's a difference between an individual protest and the entire organization doing so.

It won't help their "brand" to alienate half the country. And it well may be more than half who would disapprove of a White House boycott, since there are still many Americans who can disagree with the man and his policies, yet honor the Presidency.

Another thought: there are nine players new to the roster who did not go to the White House in 2015. To Messrs. Curry and Kerr, who have been there many times, not going won't be a sacrifice, but it may be the one chance for some players, coaches, support staff, and their families to go. Of course, all will accede to the Warriors leaders' decision due to social pressure, but I doubt 100% of their hearts will be in it, no matter what they say.

As I was saying, politics ruins many a happy occasion.

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