I recently wrote an article about how Kobe Bryant is the Donald Trump of the NBA. Now we have another athlete that is acting like a politician.
The words are now famous, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Some call it a lie. Others dismissed it as a misunderstanding of the definition of “sexual relations,” but either way Bill Clinton talked his way out of a big controversy by trying to change the meaning of words and refusing to acknowledge the truth. Now, amidst the backlash of finishing his shooting routine while the Canadian National Anthem was being performed, Dwyane Wade has taken the position that he “is not a disrespectful person.” Well, I’ve got news for you Dwyane, actions speak louder than words and just because you say you are not disrespectful, doesn’t mean that you aren’t.
In Wade’s statement is found at least part of the problem–too many athletes feel so entitled that they cannot view the world like a normal person. By Wade taking the position that his decision to continue his shooting routine because that’s what he has done for years in warm-ups is the same as saying, “You have all come to watch ME play and ME getting a proper warm-up is WAAAAAYY more important than your silly anthem, no offense.” Remember the Dumb and Dumber line, “You are one pathetic loser. No offense.” How dumb does Wade think we are? Am I the only the who remembers when Muhmoud Abdul-Rauf decided to refuse to stand for the National Anthem 20 years ago?
SB Nation recounts the story:
Rauf’s refusal to stand during the National Anthem gained National headlines and caused a tremendous uproar. There were those in Denver who weren’t surprised by this turn of events in March of 1996 and had said it had been building since he changed his name in 1993. Rauf’s demeanor had been becoming more dour and serious as the 90’s progressed and it seemed that he was isolating himself from everyone.
Under tremendous mounting pressure from the public, the NBA suspended Mahmoud for the March 12th game against the Orlando Magic. It seems so strange that someone would be suspended for refusing to stand for the National Anthem. It’s the only time it has ever happened. The public was angry and the NBA saw fit to appease the public.
Abdul-Rauf was actually suspended for his decision and yet, here we have Dwyane Wade, a much higher profile star and surefire Hall of Famer and we let him off the hook by letting him blame the clock operator in the arena? Has Wade never played in Canada before to realize that they play both the U.S. and Canadian anthems? Do we let it slide because the NBA is a United States league and we don’t really care about respecting Canada? When players disrespect the U.S. flag, we suspend them. And that is what Dwyane Wade did, he disrespected Canadians, their flag, and their Country. In Abdul-Rauf’s case, he was doing it for political and religious reasons. He believed the U.S. flag was a symbol of tyranny and oppression. Wade, on the other hand was just too busy to pause his routine, line-up with his teammates, and show proper respect because in his mind, what he was doing was far more important.
Too many athletes think they are above the law, above common decency, above respect. This isn’t the first issue Wade has had and somehow retained his good image. Wade went through a nasty divorce when he left his wife, his High School sweetheart, for star Gabrielle Union. In the divorce documents, Wade’s now ex-wife accused him of repeatedly physically abusing her to the point where she was hospitalized for a week in one case, cheated on her, gave her an STD, and cut her off from bank accounts and money in order to control her. Wade sued for defamation, but the couple ultimately settled. Still Wade retained his image as a family man. Now, Wade claims that, “if anybody thinks I’m being disrespectful towards a country, then they have no idea of who Dwyane Wade is.” Does that strike anyone else as an egotistical maniac unable to see why his actions were disrespectful? The story is nowhere to be found on ESPN anymore, you can find only stories about how Wade came up big in the clutch for the Heat.
So this is how the society is going. So long as you can put the ball in the hoop, we don’t care what you do. We will allow you to think that selfishly completing your shooting routine instead of standing to honor the Canadian flag is somehow not disrespectful. Much like Bill Clinton, whom the American public let off the hook, Wade serves as another example of a high profile American being let off the hook by claiming they are not the person their actions suggest they are. I for one don’t buy Wade’s claim that he is not a disrespectful person. In fact, him claiming that his actions were not meant to be disrespectful helps me understand a little better why so many view Americans as arrogant. This is understandable seeing how we allow Dwyane Wade to represent us this way without doing anything about it. This is Dwyane Wade’s world and too many Americans are just happy to be living in it.