The most offensive statement concerning the Spanish basketball team’s controversial photo was not the actual photo itself, but in the apology, or lack thereof, that followed afterward.
By now, the photo has made its rounds on the Internet and sports talk shows. It shows the 15 Spanish players on the national team in uniform pulling back the skin on their eyelids, in a “slanted-eye” pose in front of a dragon pictured on a basketball court.
Indeed, the photo is clearly offensive on its face, and there’s no doubt that the Spaniards shouldn’t have taken this picture. It’s racist as its worst, and thoughtless at its best. You’d figure at some point along the way, one of the Spanish players, or the coaches, or the advertisers, or the Olympic committee, really, anyone, would’ve pointed out that this was going to be offensive before publication.
Yet it slipped all the way through the many levels of review that are in place, and now the Spanish team has tainted its imagine, something that will follow it for quite some time.
But the reaction from the Spanish team was even more perplexing.
“It was something . . . supposed to be funny or something but never offensive in any way,” said forward Pau Gasol, who currently plays for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers.