You might have missed it, but for a brief moment, former NBA player Dennis Rodman was back and ready to make concessions to another bossy.
That’s right, the former member of the notorious Bad Boys Pistons team before joining Michael Jordan in Chicago had selflessly volunteered to start talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin to secure the star’s release from WNBA Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in prison. jail for having a cannabis vape cartridge in his luggage.
Or as Rodman put it, “I got permission to go to Russia to help this girl,” Rodman told NBC last weekend. “I’m trying to go this week.”
NO PLEASE DON’T DO THIS.
First of all, the “girls” of the WNBA and the Player’s Association are on it. Essentially, the State Department rejected Rodman’s generous offer. Spokesman Ned Price said that if Rodman traveled to Russia to help this girl, “he would not be traveling on behalf of the United States government.”
Shortly after, Rodman, known for his NBA championships and his friendship with Korean bully Kim Jong Un, said he wouldn’t go. First of all, Rodman can’t actually give Russia what it wants, which would be some sort of political concession or prisoner swap. And Putin isn’t as isolated from the rest of the world as Kim was that he’d love to make cigar smoke rings with the NBA champion.
So this one is best left to adults.
We in the sports community have to face it, we don’t send our best and our brightest. Rodman is a pleasure to watch in the last dance, but that’s as serious a role as he should be playing. Not only have we sent a Rodman to do the job of a careful person, a job that is the diplomatic equivalent of determining whether to carefully cut the red thread or the blue thread in order to disarm the ticking threat, but we also put forward a rogue gallery of charlatans and morons for some very important work.
Sports culture talks about a big game when it comes to leadership and character, and that’s the best we can do?
I think of course Herschel walker, who gets a kind of “bless his heart” cover despite being completely unqualified for the job of U.S. Senator from Georgia. The abuse allegations and the hypocritical hidden children are more than enough to disqualify him, but it’s clear that whatever Walker might have had about him at one point was likely significantly blunted. The very thing that made him attractive to Donald Trump as a puppet candidate, his football hero status, may also be what drove him to hunt Republican voters with his inanity.
Asked how to prevent gun violence, Walker replied, “What about having a department that can watch young men watching women, watching social media?
When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lamented “candidate quality” as a reason Republicans might not take the Senate, he was likely referring to Walker.
Lest you think I singled out professional athletes in this article, I bring you Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville. If you check his campaign website, he doesn’t use his name as much as the honorary title “Coach” from his years as a college football coach, including nine years at Auburn. During his tenure, Coach is best known for receiving this call from Trump on Jan. 6 as he was being taken from the Senate floor to a location that was not under active siege. I guess a good coach should always know when he lost the game.
He is also quite confused about World War II. “I tell people, my father fought 76 years ago in Europe to liberate Europe from socialism,” Tuberville once said.
This would be news for many Europeans who benefit from free health care and excellent public transport.
But if America has become such a childish state that we can only vote for quasi-celebrities and sports personalities, how about sport sending in some of its brightest instead?
We have a literal Rhodes Scholar who is now a neurosurgeon, and I have no idea Myron Rolle’s politics, but former NFL safety must be a better option than the current crop. Certainly, WNBA players who spent months strategizing to get Atlanta Dream owner Kelly Loeffler beaten in her first race would have a better understanding of the policy and the issues. Surely Renee Montgomery, Sue Bird or Elizabeth Williams would do as well or better.
At least in the past, we’ve offered Jack Kemp, who once turned his quarterback career into a political career that showcased ideas about supply-side economics, reading books, and speaking in coherent sentences.
Think you can handle this, Senator Brady?