Chill out, and get it right.
First of all, this spread ad that will be the hot topic for the next 2.5 days—until Super Bowl hype kicks in this week—was slated to run months ago. It’s part of Nike’s larger “Prepare for combat” theme. (Hey, look, even hockey players got in on it!) It’s NIKE that ran the ad, not the NBA. Look closer, you see any NBA logos on it? In fact, the NBA had no knowledge the ad was running, nor does league commissioner David Stern approve, especially after banning Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton.
As for the issue of guns in the league, ha, okay, whatever nubes. You know how many athletes have firearms in sports other than hoops? More than Gilbert, that’s for sure. Did you think a fierce stare slash chest thumping thug lifestyle embraced by players with a topping of Mello Don’t Snitch vibe would be absent any connection with guns?
Tell me you believe there’s no connection and I got a blog in Florida I wanna sell ya.
What about the influence of the violent videogame and music culture that athletes depend on in their downtime to get by—or get amped up for games with? And people are surprised at a gun reference in an ad? Really?
Have ya forgotten about Plaxico so soon?
Only thing dumber is Lebron contradicting himself by saying Kobe was taken out of context. (Forget that a copywriter likely wrote the ad copy.)
“That has nothing, zero, to do with guns,” James said, raising his voice at reporters. “At all. At all. Zero. That’s very simple. For somebody to even say that - that's a basketball term. To try to highlight Kobe and say that he was referencing guns is totally ridiculous.”
James said such slang is common among his peers.
“We say a lot of things as basketball players that make a reference to guns and violence, but it’s really not guns and violence,” he said.
Easy. I know he’s probably giddy with the prospects of the bidding war about to happen this summer between the Cavaliers and the Knicks, but which is it?
If people are upset about the chamber reference (which, admittedly IS a specific gun reference), then blame Nike for this bit of bad timing and their less than contrite “Sorry you were offended.”
Just this week I heard a magazine reporter claim NBA League security people told him off the record that the numbers of athletes and/or their entourage who carry firearms could be more than 300, or basically, the entire league. And that’s just the NBA.
Oh, wait, *carry*—there goes another NBA term someone will be sure to misconstrue.
The deeper issue at work is the equating of combat with sports. Violence and physical contact are a part of any game, and that has always been the case. All sports are a form of combat to one degree or another. Pick a sport and count the phrases:
The QB who throws a bomb. A team that has a dangerous defense. Sudden-death overtime. Intimidating and formidable. Blitz. Battling hard all game. Everyone wants a shot at number one.
You can’t be a fan spouting these clichés and then turn around *shocked* by an ad which is a direct reflection of the sports culture that spawned it.
Cue your faux rage all you want at Nike having the misfortune of bad timing, but one gun reference is nothing when compared to the violent nature of sports.