The popcorn containers and confetti have all been swept away and the throngs of screaming, adulating fans have returned to their respective hometowns to muse over the various encounters they had at their specific NCAA March Madness tournament sites.
Now, reflection is taking hold of all who beheld the college basketball championships of 2017 and an audacious question has begun to dance off the lips of many within the realm of sport.
While this question is not specifically aimed at this year’s NCAA Tourney, at the very same time it still has everything to do with the NCAA Tourney.
Have we as a nation forgiven Arizona for its culturally demeaning transgressions, which had forced the world of sport to turn its collective back upon the bedeviled sunny state? Or have we become so encompassed by commerce that we no longer care who did what, as long as behinds find their way into the sometimes insanely expensive seats in the stadiums within a culturally embattled state’s borders?
The student-athletes that just competed at the Final Four in Phoenix, Arizona are too young to remember that the state didn’t want to honor The Martin Luther King Holiday back in the day. Many probably have no idea that Arizona refused to give any credence to the holiday until they were finally threatened with losing its Super Bowl-hosting privileges in 1993.
It took the sports world attempting to deprive Arizona of millions of dollars for any change to be met. It wasn’t done because the people had a change of heart, it was done because they wanted the revenue that the sports world was going to withhold if they didn’t comply. There is a big difference in the two.
Arizona has continued to have it’s issues as it pertains to racial and or cultural insensitivity. It was only recently that the formerly elected official Sheriff Joe Arpaio lost his job. The man who spent a whopping 24 years proclaiming himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff” is known for publicly bragging about humiliating illegal immigrants while they were in his keep.
Arpaio himself is currently awaiting trial for criminal-contempt upon his admission to violating a federal judge’s order to stop enforcing civil immigration laws.
Yes, you read that correctly, the former Sheriff refused to stop rounding up folks and allegedly treating them as if they were less than human. He was ordered by a Federal judge to knock it off, and yet he persisted. The people of the state knew of his heinous treatment of some of the most vulnerable populations within their borders, and continued to vote for him anyway. They only stopped when Arpaio found himself in legal trouble.
His trial was actually moved from April 4th to April 25th of this year to accommodate the NCAA festivities. Which is a pretty interesting development inside of itself, right?
“Sheriff Joe” has long been a hero to those who don’t feel there was any reason to treat immigrants with any respect. He is a fundraising dream for organizations in Arizona that want to disrespect and or humiliate minority populations. He was one of the very first to advocate for President Trump and the infamous wall that is allegedly going to be built upon the border of the United States.
So, some within Arizona are wondering if he will find himself pardoned upon conviction should he be found guilty. The ties that bind are apparently no joke in the desert state.
In 2015, the state of Arizona even had to be schooled over it’s discrimination in schooling!
After a years-long back and forth between citizens, the state and the Tucson Unified Public School District, the 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals got involved to determine whether or not ethnic studies could be taught in Arizona!
This was as a result of a state law which was created that rejected multicultural studies within the K-12 curriculum. This included classes that focused on the studies of the Latino, African American, Asian and Native American cultures. One might think this was a law that was written in the 1950’s, but it wasn’t. It was originally enacted in 2010.
Yeah, let that sink in.
So, with all of their forward movement, the state of Arizona still has some hiccups that it must get a serious drink of water and cure immediately.
And the question still remains unanswered.
Should they be rewarded financially when clearly there are still some things that they need to work out?
People in positions of power still seem to be wielding it against minorities in the state. And if that was the reason they were shunned in the first place, are we not rewarding their reprehensible actions now with tourney bucks and tourism coins?
It’s definitely something to ponder.