To honor, you have to understand

Monday, March 10, 2008

Uni Watch | Los Gringos Massivos

Am I the only one who thinks this approach reeks of American ignorance? It’s like getting drunk on Tequila in Mexico City and then asking, “Where-o is el bathroom-o?” And it’s not like the words Spurs and Suns don’t have Spanish translations — Espuelas and Sols, respectively. Would that have been so hard? Just tossing “Los” on there is a lazy cop-out, especially since NBA jerseys don’t use definite articles to begin with (well, except for this one). And seriously, does the mere addition of “Los” really strike a chord in any Hispanic fan’s heart? If we’ve got any Latinos out there, I’d love to hear your reaction.

Before I start here, make sure to check out this photo and tell me that you wouldn’t wear a Milwaukee Cerveceros jersey. Anyway, Uni Watch is absolutely right - to honor someone, you must have at least a vague notion of who those people are. In this case, I’m pretty sure “the Hispanic community” is not “a bunch of crazies who use Spanish articles when speaking in English”. Maybe there’s some other “Hispanic community” that I’m not aware of, but I don’t think so. Seriously, it would have taken all of five minutes to look up the Spanish translations of “Spurs” and “Suns”. It would have taken a bit more time and a bit more money to do the extra customization of the jerseys, perhaps, but I can’t imagine they couldn’t make up at least some of the difference by selling Spanish versions of the jerseys. San Antonio and Phoenix, not to mention many other places in the US, have large Spanish-speaking populations that are growing pretty rapidly. If ten thousand New York girls will wear pink Jeter jerseys, is it so hard to imagine that a Spanish-speaking basketball fan might wear an “Espuelas” jersey? I know I can’t speak for the “Hispanic community”, but I suspect that it would have been better for the NBA to just continue to ignore them rather than making this less-than-half-hearted attempt to “honor” them. Edit: Uni Watch has some additional reaction today, from an actual Latino.

All of this just illustrates the point that “Latino” encompasses so many nationalities that it is very hard to get something like this right. But we have been all thrown in the same group, whether we like it or not.

So, this was probably a tough task for the NBA to get right, but I still think they could have at least TRIED.

Posted in: complaint , sports , stupid people