Sports has always been a galvanizing force that brings all types of people together to rally around a common cause. Think of the fervor and excitement of how countries unify around their shared interests during the Olympics or the World Cup, or how Jesse Owens and Joe Louis raced and fought not only against their opponents, but Hitler's appalling brand of fascist ideology as well.
The team construct in the American sports landscape brings great athletes from a dizzying array of nationalities, backgrounds and belief systems together in ways that few other entities can.
Tune into a National Hockey League game for five minutes, and you'll see a cohesive blend of players on the respective teams that hail from the United States, Canada, Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland, among other places.
Major League Baseball boasts players from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Cuba, Curaçao, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Taiwan and the U.S.
Last year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament featured ballers not only hailing from Texas, California, North Carolina, Illinois and New York, but from Canada, Nigeria, the Bahamas, Germany, Serbia, Lithuania, Australia and Belgium, among others.
29% of the NBA's players where born on foreign soil, many of whom are here on green cards or employment-based immigration visas. And right about now, the league is concerned enough about "President" Donald Trump's newly instituted Immigration Ban to be on the phones with the State Department and their internal lawyers working through some tough questions and future scenarios.
Some of those players have their origins in what is considered to be “countries of concern”, like the Milwaukee Bucks' Thon Maker and the Los Angeles Lakers' Luol Deng, who where born in Sudan. Despite having Australian and British passports respectively, Trump’s executive order could eventually affect them if they continue to maintain dual citizenship.
“It’s a tough day when u find out that so many ppl that u thought were fans or friends really hate u and everything u believe in,’ said former Chicago Bull and University of Kentucky alum Nazr Mohammed, a practicing Muslim, on Twitter.
In a nation of immigrants, it's hard to reconcile this current sweep of xenophobia that has resurfaced en mass since Trump took office. But then again, for people who understand the true nature of America's evil deal with the devil, it's not surprising at all.
We all arrived here from somewhere else, save for the remaining vestiges of Native Americans whose ancestors survived the genocide and worst human atrocity ever carried out.
Some of our parents, grand parents and great grands came here legally, others illegally. But America's diversity is what makes it great in the face of its self-defeating and morally reprehensible addiction to a moronic racism that will ultimately be its undoing.
And the power and beauty of sports is that it reflects who we are when we are at our best.
But the idiotic among us will look back fondly on someone like Fernando Valenzuela, and in an instant proceed to glorify the need for an absurd Mexican border wall.
Trump’s ban has nothing to do with the threat of terrorism, although that’s how it's been presented to the less educated and those without the capacity to think critically.
Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11th took place 16 years ago, no one in the U.S. has been killed in a terrorist attack by anyone who emigrated from or whose parents were from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, the seven countries targeted in the order’s 120-day visa ban, according to the New York Times.
And according to statistics from the conservative-leaning Cato Institute, not one American was murdered in the United States by citizens from any of those countries between 1975 and 2015.
As a matter of fact, the biggest threat to America's safety in terms of a terrorist attack stems not from Islamic radicals, but from its own hidden cells of right wing extremists, militias, neo-Nazis and sovereign citizens. Yes, America's greatest threat to the safety of of its citizens is, and always has been, white men.
But don't tell that to Billy-Bob-Buford an'nem. This is nothing more than fear-mongering at its absolute devious best.
Notice that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt were not included on his list, despite the fact that citizens of those countries carried out the 9/11 attacks. They're are still welcome and able to apply for U.S. visas and travel permits.
And why is that? Because Trump controls some incredibly lucrative licensing and development deals in all of those countries. That's a bigger conflict of interest than Bill Walton doing color commentary at a UCLA basketball game!
But I digress.
The sports community in America is pissed. You can forget the U.S. hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics. And there are so many unanswered questions of elite athletes (as well as brilliant scientists, tech innovators, physicians, etc) from these nations and their ability to come to America to compete in world class athletic events or earn scholarships.
Many of these athletes come here to attend school and to train under the best conditions possible. Sports like soccer and wrestling would be most heavily affected. How about the Brand Jordan International game? How will the great amateur FIBA events be effected?
Major League Soccer? Track and Field? The New York City and Boston Marathons?
British track sensation Mo Farah, who owns four Olympic Gold's in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, was born in Somalia.
Yesterday, he posted on Facebook, “On 1st January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm. On 27th January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien. I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years - working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home. Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome.”
I think we all know who the aliens are here, Mo.
Let's hope that common sense, empathy, intelligence and the values that have balanced out America's insidious nature will ultimately prevail here. But in the America that elected this most recent "President", those things are not as common as we once took for granted.
Many people are feeling the same way as Kyle Lowry right now. They're not feeling the absolute berlshit.
One thing is for certain, the White House used to be a place of tolerance that celebrated the beauty of diversity in sport. Today, as in many other segments of the societal strata, that is no longer the case.
Like Too Short and Jay Z once said, "It was all good just a week ago."
It doesn't like things will be all good for quite some time now moving forward.