The Spanish inquisition

Some of you might have noticed that the Olympics have been going on now for a couple weeks. There’s been some great highs – Phelps mania, the U.S. Mens’ Gymnastics snaking a surprise bronze, the U.S. women’s soccer team beating Brazil for the gold in a nailbiter of an overtime.

And of course, there’s been some controversy. The judging in gymnastics has been questioned; a Jamaican sprinter who ran so fast in the 100 that he celebrated before he crossed the finish line – and still broke the world record – has been taken to task for showboating. But one controversy in particular has stood out as a clear “This could have been easily avoided with the right t-shirt.” And that’s the Spanish basketball team’s promotional photo that was published in a Spanish newspaper.

This photo has been widely criticized as racist; the Spanish team explained that the photo wasn’t meant to be racist, but was instead meant to be a “wink” to their participation in Beijing.

And that’s where you realize that all of this could have been avoided if the Spanish basketball team had simply put on a Beijing t-shirt to give a nod to its participation in the games. In this case, a t-shirt’s worth avoiding 1 ill-considered hand gesture seen ’round the world.

Not to be outdone, the Spanish Tennis Federation posted a photo of their Olympians – making the identical gesture – on their official website. The photo was captioned “We’re ready for China.”

(Well, technically it was captioned “Estamos preparados para China.” Because, you know, they’re Spanish.)

And yet again, we find a t-shirt that would have served that occasion well.

What’s additionally interesting about the Spanish photo controversies: Madrid was on the short list to host the 2012 Olympics but lost out to London.

Madrid is now looking to host the 2016 or 2020 games; we might suggest that they send some nice t-shirts to the IOC as a gift to demonstrate their non-controversial enthusiasm toward this end.

Or at the very least that they avoid showing their zeal for the Olympics with hand gestures of any kind.

  1. I thought you may have mentioned that Barack Obama has choosen his vice presidential candadiate for 2008. He choose 35 year Senator Joe Biden from Delaware. His Foriegn relations experience and his pull with the blue collar workers make Obama Biden a hard political ticket to beat. Should be very interesting. See OBAMA BIDEN tee shirts buttons yard signs and bumper stickers at

  2. Wow! All this mess just because this photo???
    Come on… Nobody can do nothing and everybody thinks this is racism!


    Huuummm… I don’t like the “beating Brazil for the gold”…
    Yeap. I’m brazilian :P.
    Just one gold :(…


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