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IOC critical of Spanish basketball team ad

A man in Madrid, on August 13, 2008, looks at an advertisment that appeared in the Spanish daily sports newspaper Marca featuring Spains national basketball team members in uniform pulling back the skin on their eyelids, and smiling. The controversial photo is making the rounds on the Internet, and may be considered racially insensitive.

BEIJING -- The International Olympic Committee has weighed in on the advertisement featuring the Spanish men's basketball team that some have deemed offensive because it mimics the eyes of Chinese.

"Clearly, it was inappropriate,'' IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said Thursday.

"But we understand the team apologized and the athletes meant no offense whatever. So, as far as we are concerned, the matter rests.''

The ad was for Seur a courier company based in Madrid. The company said it had no plans to pull the ad. But the Times' Bill Plaschke and Mark Heisler both weighed in on the ad earlier.

-- Randy Harvey

Photo: A man in Madrid looks at an advertisement that appeared in the Spanish daily sports newspaper Marca featuring Spain's national basketball team members in uniform pulling back the skin on their eyelids, and smiling.  Credit: Miguel Riopa AFP/Getty Images

 
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Comments (81)

Jose Mingo:

I think you are putting words into my mouth. I don't think the Spanish sports scene is littered with, etc, etc. I just think that there should be some standards were people are removed from the stadiums for offensive behavior. Then again, I could be wrong and they have had those policies in place for years. Can you enlighten us? If they have those policies, what is considered offensive in Spain?

Dear Jose Mingo:

I do agree that a lot of the first as well as most of the comments were over the top and possibly written in anger. I was angry. I was saying that a few of the blogs from yesterday had a more conciliatory tone and I was hoping it would continue that way.

Dear Turn the Page?: In Spain, calling someone a racist is considered offensive. Bunching all Spaniards as a homogenous group is also offensive. I wonder if some Asians don't mind being called racist. It seems that some Spaniards don't mind if someone makes the slant/slit/pulled-eye gesture on them. It's probably all Spaniards (unless they are married to an Asian) but I don't want to offend anyone. Believe me.

Isn't objecting to being called racist just another form of politically correctness? It probably means being PC is not as evil as people portray it to be. In any case, I didn't think the pictures were racist. They were very offensive to me because I'm Asian. I hate to admit it but I probably wouldn't have been so offended if they had mocked another race.

Jose wrote: "It's incredible to read posts saying that everybody in Spain is racist because of the way some people behave in football games, or that everybody in the US is racist because of the imperialist way some people behave. You guys! A small minority does not define a whole country!"

I certainly agree that a small group of athletes is not necessarily representative of a whole country. Would a Spanish survey with almost 30,000 respondents count?

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/sociedad/racismo/cala/aulas/elpepusoc/20080718elpepisoc_2/Tes

Dear vivo fuera,
Nice article in El País, I hadn't read it, although I had heard about it. I agree that 30,000 people is a pretty good number for a survey, but remember that we're more than 45 million here in Spain!
What I like more than statistics is real life. Let me tell you about the experience of many of my relatives as teachers in many different subjects, as well as my own.
There is racism in the classrooms, as there is racism all around Spain, but I must insist that they're minorities. Racist kids are usually the same kids who bully others, regardless of their ethnic group or origin. They're usually the worst students, ignorant and careless characters who jeopardize the progress of the whole group with their constant interrptions and nonsense. Most of them are talented but lazy, others are not talented but, instead of choosing to work hard, they prefer the "easy path", trying to become the joker of the class and following any idiot with stupid ideas about racism (that's the only feasible explanation for the mention of Jews, something unheard of since General Franco and his Jew-Mason Conspiracy).
I'm a humanist; I believe in people; I know this imbeciles are just a minority who will disappear soon, once the different races have mixed with each other (it's already happening). Besides, one of the reasons for this minority yokels to behave the way they do is that they feel intellectually inferior to the ones they persecute - they know they will have to serve the offspring of the immigrant people who are serving them today, because usually they're much more hardworking than them and they will get the best jobs.
Wait and see.

 

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