The MELBOURNE HERALD-SUN has Andrew Webster of THE DAILY TELEGRAPH reporting on a, “CONTROVERSIAL television commercial portraying a Sydney Kings basketball player hopping into bed with a married couple has been branded as racist and in appalling taste.”
(Watch the ad below)
More from Webster:
The offensive ad has outraged African American legends of the game and thrown the National Basketball League into turmoil on the eve of its first game.
The ad has been on high rotation on Ten’s One HD but outraged several black former NBL stars at the league’s recent Hall of Fame dinner held in Melbourne.
Apparently “nuzzle” is a more subjective term than previously thought as the player in the ad, former Winthrop University player Taj McCullough, never touches the woman and is only on-screen for two seconds.
But evidently there is some context that is causing some black former NBL players to blanche at the ad.
For some, it immediately evoked memories of former Sydney Kings player Bryant Matthews, who was jailed for rape when he was found in similar circumstances as an unwanted third person in bed with a couple in Sydney in 2006.”I couldn’t believe it,” Boomers and Brisbane Bullets legend Leroy Loggins said.
“Why would you show a black American jumping into bed with a man’s wife to promote basketball? I don’t even know how someone could think up a commercial like that. You would never see any other sport in the world, that takes themselves seriously, portraying a black athlete that way.”
NBL legend Darryl McDonald said: “It puts black Americans in a bad light. That commercial has nothing to do with basketball. Nobody else would present their sport this way. It’s supposed to be in fun but not everyone will think the same way.”
NBL Hall of Famer Cal Bruton said he had contacted Basketball Australia and Ten about the offending ad.
“They are treading a minefield of racism,” Bruton said.
While Basketball Australia’s Diane Smith-Gander assured Bruton that the ad would immediately be pulled, it hasn’t been. Perhaps NBL officials considered the Herald-Sun’s poll on the subject, which had 85% of respondents approving of the ad as harmless.
While we can all understand the objections of some former players because of past circumstances, it appears that overwhelming majority opinion on the subject has won out.
If only we took that tact more often here stateside.