bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: The sports world speaks out against Indiana’s bigotry

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In news that went well beyond the world of sports this week, the state of Indiana passed a new law that purports to protect religious freedom while really opening the door for sanctioned discrimination. The law was created in response to the legalization of marriage equality in Indiana and around the nation. As currently constructed, the legislation will allow business owners to refuse service to customers if their religious beliefs direct them that way. The government will not be able to tell a bakery owner, for example, that he or she has to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding if that person’s “closely-held religious belief” prevents him from doing so. What a bunch of garbage. So Indiana has basically legalized discrimination. Since the new law was passed, numerous people and organizations from the sports world have denounced it, speaking in often-strong language about the immediate need to change or repeal this disgrace.

The first sports voice I heard was that of Charles Barkley. The Round Mound of Rebound, who these days works for TNT as a studio analyst for NBA games and recently for the NCAA Tournament, immediately ripped the state for passing the law. He went so far as to say that the Final Four, scheduled for this coming weekend in Indianapolis, should be moved out of the state. Former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller, also spoke out against the law on Twitter. The NCAA itself, via embattled president Mark Emmert, took umbrage with the state’s actions, saying that the organization is all about equality for all and that it would need to consider future plans for its events and its employees (NCAA headquarters are in Indianapolis) if the law is not changed or repealed.

It didn’t stop there. The NBA, in conjunction with the Indiana Pacers organization, issued a statement asserting their commitment to equality and inclusion. I wish they had specifically denounced the law, but their intent was clear regardless. The most amazing one happened on Tuesday, when NASCAR announced its disappointment with the law and asserted its commitment to equality. A lot of people still think of NASCAR as a “redneck” sport, and would likely have thought of that as the last place they would see this kind of public stance taken. As a NASCAR fan, I am thrilled that the sanctioning body stands on the right side of history here.

A ton has been written about this subject, and many have explained quite clearly why this is such a travesty. The New York Times did an exceptional job of explaining why this is nothing but bigotry, no matter how Indiana Governor Mark Pence tries to sell it. My hope is that Indiana’s actions will continue to galvanize public sentiment against them and toward the idea of equality and protection from discrimination for all. If this law turns out to spur a major step in that direction, it will be poetic justice to the fools who wanted to institutionalize and legalize their hatred.

Good sports, continued:

2) There was some fantastic basketball in the NCAA Tournament over the weekend as the field was whittled down to four teams. The real highlight was the game between Kentucky, the overall top seed, and Notre Dame, a three-seed. The contest was tight all game long, and the underdog Fighting Irish led by six points with just under six minutes to play. Kentucky briefly took the lead with 2:48 to play on a three by Aaron Harrison, but after a timeout, Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant hit his own huge three to go back on top. Kentucky didn’t take another lead until Harrison hit two free throws with six seconds left, sealing the victory. Amazing game to watch, and I always enjoy seeing Notre Dame lose.

3) A lot of great stories came out after former North Carolina head basketball coach Dean Smith’s recent death. He was clearly an amazing man and teacher. This week, it seems he posthumously added to his own legacy. Every player that played for him during the nearly 40 years that he coached at UNC received a letter with a check for $200. The letter directed each of them to go out to a nice dinner, compliments of their former coach. He had put the money into a trust for this express purpose. Fantastic.

Bad sports:

1) The University of Tennessee fired basketball coach Donnie Tyndall on Friday. He is being investigated by the NCAA for alleged misconduct while coaching at Southern Miss before he came to UT. He got in trouble before that too, while coaching at Morehead State. Good hire, Vols.

2) Back in February, Victor Sanchez, a pitcher in the Seattle Mariners’ minor league system, was hit by a boat while swimming in Venezuela. He died of those injuries this week.

3) Jonathan Taylor, a defensive lineman for Alabama, was arrested on Saturday for domestic violence. Taylor was kicked off of the Georgia football team a year ago and later enrolled at Alabama. Seems like a good guy.

4) Earlier this year, it was revealed that the Atlanta Falcons were being investigated for allegedly adding to the existing crowd noise at the Georgia Dome by supplementing it with additional, non-organic noise while opposing teams were calling plays. The NFL announced on Monday that the team has been fined $350,000 and docked a 5th round draft pick in next year’s draft for the infractions.

5) Eloi Vasquez, a soccer player for Cal-Berkeley, was killed when he was hit by a car on a freeway in Los Angeles on Saturday. He had been reported missing after he left a fraternity party Friday night at USC.

6) The New York Jets filed a tampering charge against the New England Patriots last week after Patriots owner Robert Kraft made comments about having wanted to keep Darrelle Revis, who signed with the Jets. This was done in response to a similar charge filed by the Patriots a few months back after Jets owner Woody Johnson made a comment about wanting Revis to comeback to the Jets. Come on, children.

7) The Golden State Warriors have created a system with TicketMaster to create a reseller market for tickets to the team’s games. They have since told their season ticket holders that they could have their ticket privileges revoked if they sell their tickets outside of this exchange. StubHub, a popular online ticket broker, has now sued the team and TicketMaster for this practice.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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2 Responses to “Bad sports, good sports: The sports world speaks out against Indiana’s bigotry”

  1. Amen, Alan–the fact that the governor’s now announcing he had NO IDEA anyone would be bothered by this makes it even more appalling somehow

  2. Ridiculous, isn’t it? There were plenty of Democrats in Indiana who fought against this and expressed those exact concerns. Saying he had no idea is totally disingenuous.

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