Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hey, Remember Tom Knott?

Back during the playoffs, Tom Knott was writing some hate filled tirades against LeBron James (I wrote about him here, here and here). Remember, this guy is a (terrible) journalist:
LeBron James skipped down the floor like a little baby after incurring a player-control foul late in the first half of Game 5 last night.
This is the face of the NBA?
This is not a face anyone should have to see.
The only item missing from this sad, sorry spectacle was a stuffed animal.
As wimpy as this display was, there were others.
And these shallow bursts of immaturity seemed to work on the decision-making abilities of referees Bernie Fryer, Mark Wunderlich and Joe Forte in the early going.
The trio indulged every whimper of the Cleveland Crybabies.
It is a wonder the referees did not hold the Crybabies close to their bosoms.
James was the Most Valuable Crybaby, as he employed a wide variety of tormented faces.
Miss him? I know I did. Now Knott is going after Etan Thomas for having the gall to talk about this:
Etan Thomas, the power forward/center for the Washington Wizards, saw the military presentation on NBA TV and knew in his gut that it was wrong. He said to me, "I don't have a problem with the troops talking to the players on their own. But for them being brought in to build a better basketball team just feels wrong. If I was there, my reaction would have been completely different. The fact that...Scott Smiley has lost his sight would not have made me feel patriotic pride. It would have made me feel ashamed, angered and saddened that this soldier was blinded at the service of a war we shouldn't have been in in the first place."

Okay, so Thomas feels a bit icky about having our wounded soliders trying to pump up a basketball team. What as asshole. Knott sets the record straight:
Etan Thomas supports the troops but not the war in Iraq, which is not unlike supporting the Wizards but not the games in the NBA.
The contradiction eludes the morally smug.
The far-left politics of Thomas are well-known, and his objections to the Bush administration and all things Republican are usually about as subtle as a sledgehammer.
It should come as no surprise then that Thomas took exception to Team USA's various functions with members of the U.S. military last month.
He thought it tasteless, exploitive, if not a sign of USA Basketball's tacit approval of America's war on terror.


It is doubtful Thomas would have an objection to a wounded veteran speaking in an anti-war forum.

Um, I thought his whole point was he didn't like using these guys to build a basketball team? I don't think he would object to soliders speaking at pro-war rallies either, I think his objection was about using soliders wounded in war to better a basketball team.

Knott continues:
It is necessary to note the NBA's Hoops for Troops program because of the left's urge to cite Mike Krzyzewski's West Point background and Jerry Colangelo's GOP work in Arizona as the only impetus behind Team USA's embrace of U.S. troops.
They politicize an affair that the NBA intends to be apolitical, if that is possible in these highly polarized times.
See what he did here? God damn you Etan Thomas, you sonofabitch, this is why guys like you (Jermaine O'Neal) weren't on this team, they didn't want to politicize this. See, when there's no other voices, there's no political bickering. Kinda reminds me of this:

OBSCENE. Both the Times and the Post note this morning that Bush laid two wreaths at ground zero last night in the company of George Pataki, Mike Bloomberg, and Rudy Giuliani. The Post goes well out of its way to remark that the event “left aside the partisan rancor” that…well, that Bush & Co. have enforced on the country since about 9-14.

If this event was so nonpartisan, where were Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton? Neither paper makes any mention of their having been there. I’m told that in fact they were not invited (they were at St. Paul’s church, where Bush went after laying the wreaths -- and where there were apparently no photographers!!). In what sense does an event that features four Republicans but excludes the two senators who were representing New York at the time of the event, but who happen to be Democrats, leave aside partisan rancor?
As Atrios says, partisan rancor is easy to avoid if you only invite one party.

Knott ends with this:
Yet to be genuinely supportive of the troops is to be at odds with the far left, which limits its support to lip service.
Thomas, alas, is of this ilk.
He finds little to celebrate in America.
Or if he does, he keeps it to himself.
His screeds masquerading as poetic musings touch the customary talking points of the far left. He sees all kinds of social inequities in America. He sees poverty, racism and the broken-down public schools of the inner city. He sees that which he disdains but offers no solutions.
Darkness is inevitably a tough sell, even more so for a person who lives incredibly well.
To ease some of the injustices and inequities, at least in his tiny corner of the world, Thomas could start with himself.
He could start performing at a level worthy of his contract.
Etan Thomas, you dick, how dare you point out that America isn't perfect. Ignore the bad things and just clap harder.

Knott ends with a cheap shot, calling Thomas overpaid. Which is fine I guess (and completely in character for Knott), Thomas (like most big men) probably is overpaid (though one could argue that compared to jobs that actually matter, like teachers, all athletes are overpaid, but that would be focussing on the negative).

Knott's point is that Thomas should STFU and play better ball. Fine, whatever. But Thomas shouldn't talk about poverty and racism because he may not live up to standards on the fucking basketball court? That's absurd (in the same vein, based on Knott's hatchet job columns filled with one sentence paragraphs, Knott shouldn't voice his opinion ever).

Thomas responded to Knott, via Truehoop:
It is so amazing how a reporter like Tom Knott, because of his far right politics, is absolutely blinded to reality. For some odd reason, he and unfortunately other right wingers like him always equate being against the war with somehow being unpatriotic. They feel that if one points out the way that their country could be better whether through fairer practices regarding the public school system, health care, lack of a response to Hurricane Katrina, an unjust war etc. that somehow is reducible to, as Tom Knott described me in his article, simply being a person who “finds little to celebrate in America”.

If Tom Knott and others who share his opinion feel that they support a war that has cost us the lives of over 2600 US troops, then they are free to do so, but don’t claim that someone is somehow un-American if they have an opposing view.


(P.S. I love that the title of Knott's column is "Injustice? Look at Your Contract, Etan". Bravo, comparing an bad NBA signing to poverty, racism and the war in Iraq. You, sir, are a delight)

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