Letters to the Editor

No foreign threat

July 17, 2008


To the editor:

Why does the Journal-World print blatantly xenophobic articles such as the sports column written by Bill Mayer (July 11)? The columnist wrote that he supported a basketball team because it had fewer foreigners than their opponents and he lamented the number of foreign players selected in the NBA draft. Though he praised KU basketball's Russian import Sasha Kaun, he took a swipe at Kaun's country of origin, the 1972 and 1988 Olympic champions USSR, mistakenly referred to as "Russia." (There were Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Georgians on the 1972 Soviet team, and their 1988 squad had Lithuanians and Estonians.)

The columnist claimed that the USA "owns" the sport that it "invented." USA Basketball learned four years ago that American players cannot simply slap on the national jersey and expect to be handed the gold medal. Sports teams are not entitled to anything but fair competition; victory must be earned. And the sport was invented by a Canadian, James Naismith.

The NBA didn't collapse after Argentina won the last Olympic basketball gold, nor did it implode after the San Antonio Spurs won three championships with the help of a Frenchman (Tony Parker) and an Argentinean (Manu Ginobili). KU basketball will not suffer because a Russian helped the Jayhawks win a title. All those foreign teams and players did was pave the way for other talented international players to join the NBA or play at American universities. They also helped popularize the sport in other countries and increased the NBA's foreign revenues.

Robert G. Rodriguez,


BorderRat 9 years, 11 months ago

I love the foreign players in the NBA. They play defense and know how to pass the ball. Too bad my Denver "No Guts" won't trade for a few.

Jay_Z 9 years, 11 months ago

Mayer needs to hang it up. His "articles" are usually a bunch of nonsense, and quite often disparaging of KU and its athletes.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 11 months ago

We're talking about a bunch of guys in short pants chasing a ball, right?

cato_the_elder 9 years, 11 months ago

Bill Mayer is a treasure. His columns provide insight into past events in Lawrence and elsewhere that only he can provide, and his common sense analyses are always refreshing, entertaining, and, as is again demonstrated in this case, thought-provoking. While it has become de rigueur for some to criticize him, he's forgotten more about sports in Lawrence than they'll ever know. Keep 'em coming, Bill, and don't sweat the trolls.

Joe Hyde 9 years, 11 months ago

I hope the Journal-World publishes Mr. Mayer's articles so long as the man can keep moving his fingers on a keyboard. I certainly don't agree with every column he's ever written, but last time I looked "100% reader approval" is not in a sports writer's job description.As Cato the Elder says (above), Mr. Mayer has forgotten more about sports in Lawrence than most of us know.

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