When we heard that the WASHINGTON POST had a story of a congressional aide being suspected of terrorism - just for wearing a Washington Nationals baseball cap - we were, to say the least, intrigued. Had an organization coopted the
Walgreens’ Nats’ “W” as a symbol of their own? Like it was some code to bring down Washington, since the team’s in Washington and all? Sounded cool.
Ah, but this is the WASHINGTON POST - not exactly a bastion of journalistic integrity - and the story quickly devolved into fantasy. Except it wasn’t reported as fantasy at all, but as something that actually happened. By all means, read on and judge for yourself.
Now it seems that being a Nats fan — and wearing one of those green Nationals hats — not only can be embarrassing but can even get you in a heap of trouble.
Take what happened when Tyler Allard, legislative assistant to Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), wore the cap as he returned from a trip last month to Jordan and Israel. An Israeli airport security guard pointed to the hat with the curly W team logo and demanded with a tone of disgust, “Why do you wear that?”
So far, so good. The Israeli military aren’t exactly a gregarious group.
“Good question,” his father, former longtime Senate aide Nick Allard, replied. “They are hopeless. They desperately need relief. You never know when they will hit, and because their defense is so bad, they suffer more than they can dish out. It’s not rational and I can’t explain why, but we are loyal and we love them.” The more he talked, the more upset the security folks became, Nick Allard reports. Their luggage was checked and rechecked, and they were quizzed by security.
When they were finally cleared to board, Allard wrote in an e-mail, the head of the security detail said: “We do not appreciate your Hamas headgear.” Green apparently is a Palestinian “color,” Allard speculated, and the vaguely Arabic Nats logo might have been mistaken for an extremist emblem.
All right. Let’s back up here a bit. You know that old joke about how bad football teams are like possums? You know, they play dead and get killed on the road? Yeah, that’s a joke designed to have multiple incongruent similarities for humorous effect. The “explanation” the Allards are telling this reporter, one Al Kamen, is about 5 of those jokes jammed into one. If Kamen were telling that part as the punchline, that’s one thing, but he isn’t doing that at all.
Here, let’s offer a different accounting of the story and see if you think this is any more plausible.
We were getting on the plane when one of the Israeli security guards noticed Tyler’s hat. He asked Tyler what that hat was all about, and Tyler said it was for the Washington nationals.
The security guard noticed the color and logo and said that it was something Hamas might wear, but we explained the situation and it all made a lot more sense than American diplomats openly supporting a terrorist organization in a Tel Aviv airport.
Then, when we were on the plane and flying home, I thought of all the ways Hamas and the Nats were alike, and I had a good chuckle. I ended up coming up with so many that I sent them to my friend at the Post! I hope he finds them as funny as I did.
That, of course, isn’t nearly as interesting a story. But it seems - to us, anyway - to be more likely than a minute-long diatribe about a woeful baseball team without mentioning their name or the word baseball, the entirety of which could have also applied to a terrorist organization.
So, sorry, Washington Post, but we’re calling shenanigans on this one. If it were reported as satire, well, you could have fooled us; if it were reported as true, um, right.