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A way of looking at the Toni Smith issue...(15 posts)

A way of looking at the Toni Smith issue...ClydeTri
Mar 3, 2003 2:27 PM
For those of yall whom if you were her coach who would let her continue to do what she is doing, I ask you are coach, you are playing an exhibition game against a foreign national team, say Spain for instance. If some players told you in advance they would not stand at attention and honor the Spanish flag, would you as coach allow them to do so? If your answer is no, then why would you allow Toni Smith to dishonor the US flag? To stand quietly at attention and look at a flag does not mean you agree with everything associated with it or agreeing to fight for that flag, but that you respect the people who do believe in that flag. If you believe people have no obiligation to do so, next time you are at NHL, NBA, or ML game with a Canadian team involved, yell and scream during the Canadian national anthem. It is the same as Toni as doing. Silence can be quiet loud.
Silence is only loud to the fascists. . .czardonic
Mar 3, 2003 3:00 PM
. . .who demand that everyone believe and behave as they do.

Toni Smith should be free to stand or not stand as she pleases as long as she fulfills her role on the court. It is patently un-American to force someone to demonstrate their fealty to the Flag.

You are obviously contemptuous and disrespectfull of her beleifs. Should she and others who agree with her have the right to punish you?
I agree, and disagree,TJeanloz
Mar 3, 2003 3:07 PM
While I agree that Ms. Smith should be free to say whatever she likes regarding U.S. foreign policy, I think that part of her "role on the court" is to stand and face the flag. It's part of the game in which she is a willing participant. Sports are about entertainment, and the National Anthem is part of the show. I fully support her right to say nasty things about the US, to hold a press conference after the game and say that she is embarrassed to face the flag - but standing and facing the flag is part of the ritual of the game.
If the "patriots" were facing the flag, they wouldn't notice. . .czardonic
Mar 3, 2003 3:22 PM
. . .who wasn't. Funny how the people most concerned with the sanctity of this ritual so quick to cheapen it by using the time to judge others. Funnier still is the way they trumpet their fundamental ignorance of what the Flag stands for in the first place.

I don't think that unquestioning obedience to the state is part of basketball, nor do I think it should be.
re: A way of looking at the Toni Smith issue...Alpedhuez55
Mar 3, 2003 3:07 PM
In think if she wants to do it, it is her right. If that is her way she views the country and that is her way of protesting it, she has every right to do so. I think she is misguided personally. If she were to be disruptive during the anthem, that would be different. I think her protest is a good way to make the statement.

If I were a national team coach, say for the Olympics or World Championships, I would have to think twice about her. I think you want people who play with some pride for the country.

As for booing the National Anthem, it was a contreversy last year during the Basketball & Hockey Playoffs.

That is far more disrespectful than what Toni Smith is doing.

Mike Y.
I agree mostly...PdxMark
Mar 3, 2003 5:03 PM
Flag ceremonies and anthems are symbolic rituals of respect. Not standing or facing a flag is a respectful symbolic protest. I think it's respectful protest in that it is not disruptive of the ceremony and actually acknowledges respect for the ceremony by not standing (for example).

As for Olympic or Worlds teams, I'm not sure another standard should apply. It doesn't speak well of how well we value free speech if we deny respectful sybolism on a world stage. The Olympic podium protest in the 1968 Olympics comes to mind - I forget who they were. It was a shock for everyone to see, but I don't think it hurt the US.

I'm not sure I can articulate why I think a different standard should apply for disruptive protest by athletes in those situations, but I don't think disruptive protest should be tolerated. I guess that's my arbitrary line in the sand.
I agree mostly...Alpedhuez55
Mar 3, 2003 7:21 PM
I think times were a lot different in in the US in 1968 when Tommie Smith & John Carlos made their protest. I think it is easier for most to understand the black power protest in Mexico City. I do not think it was disruptive. It made a statement.

This is a statement I found online that Toni Smith made:
"For some time now, the inequalities that are embedded into the American system have bothered me. As they are becoming progressively worse and it is clear that the government's priorities are not on bettering the quality of life for all of its people, but rather on expanding its own power, I cannot, in good conscience, salute the flag.

It is my right as an American to stand for my beliefs the way others have done against me. ... Patriotism can be shown in many ways, but those who choose to do so by saluting the flag should recognize that the American flag stands for individuality and freedom. Therefore, any true patriot must acknowledge and respect my right to be different." --Manhattanville basketball star Toni Smith
I think she is a little misguided with her views. But she has every right to express them.

To me, Jackie Joyner Kersey wiping the sweat off her face with a flag after her victory lap in the Olympics is far more offensive than what Toni Smith is doing.

Mike Y.
I see a difference on national stage...VertAddict
Mar 4, 2003 2:44 AM
When you are competing internationally, you being supported in your participation by your country, and are there to represent them to the world as an ambassador of sorts. As such, I find it highly inappropriate to disrespect the country you are there to represent. If you really have such a problem with it, stay home and don't represent this country you dislike so much.

We have some experience with this here in Canada, with Quebecois periodically pulling out their flag when on the world stage and ostensibly representing Canada. Personally, I find it highly offensive and don't feel a cent of my tax dollars should go to support someone who is essentially showing allegiance to Quebec over Canada, nor should they be allowed in any fashion to act as an ambassador for the Canada in the world of sport.

Again, if they really don't feel comfortable representing Canada, fine: stay home and let someone who considers it an honour go in their stead.
essay questionmohair_chair
Mar 3, 2003 4:39 PM
Turning away from the flag (or not standing at attention) can hardly be confused with yelling and screaming during the national anthem. If you can't see the difference between the two, you should look up the words 'active' and 'passive' in the dictionary and write an essay comparing and contrasting them.

Plus, you ask "why would you allow Toni Smith to dishonor the US flag?" Are you kidding? Do we now have the right to force people to honor the flag?
Possibly a solution could be....Funston
Mar 4, 2003 9:37 AM
I don't think anybody should be forced to perform a patriotic ritual, unless one is a member of a national team. A prior understanding/agreement to participate in patriotic activity such as anthems and flag ceremonies should be required for members of a "flag" team. If a player's conscience would be in conflict with that, then simply don't join the team.

For school or pro teams, however, it's different. Besides those players whose consciences would have them turn their backs to their flag, there's many foreign players, some who come from countries that may be at political odds with our own (i.e. Yao).

The problem here is what to do with any players who for whatever reasons will not follow protocol - and the solution is to simply find a way to properly manage it, such as having those players who would not follow protocol discreetly sit out the ceremony out of camera range in the locker room.
Maybe they could symbolically refuse salary and scholorships too128
Mar 4, 2003 9:55 AM
those other evil symbols of United States policy.

Hard to fault this Toni though: she's young and doing something she sounds sincere about. Of course the curiosity is protesting that which initially fascilitates the protest.
The flag is a symbol, so she could face it and let it symbolize her protest, to herself, instead of believing that addressing it makes her complicit in that with which she does not agree, to some real or imagined outside observer. Sounds more like a person weak in their convictions than strong in their protest (dats yute doe)
Yao has embraced Capitalism...Alpedhuez55
Mar 4, 2003 12:39 PM
I love the Yo/Yao/Yogi visa commercials.

Actually there was a player in the NBA, maybe for the Nets, who made some sort of protest a few years ago. I think he was Muslim. I think he just went though some routine during the national anthem. I do not think it lasted very long though.

Mike Y.
But still can't tender commercial paper! Yo? -nm128
Mar 4, 2003 1:15 PM
why are you so threatened by her actions? Youreyebob
Mar 4, 2003 1:36 PM
response speaks more about you than it does her. What are you afraid of? Please tell me how her "dishonor"ing (your word) is relevant? So what if someone is dishonoring you, your mother, your country? Really, so what? Same issue with flag burning. Let em' burn em' if they want. Dissent (especially non-violent dissent) should be appreciated for what it does. It raises questions and opens debate. Isn't that a good thing? Doesn't it give you a chance to state your point of view too?

The U.S. boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow...Me Dot Org
Mar 4, 2003 2:58 PM
Because the Russians invaded Afghanistan. Mixing sports and politics goes way back. ('36 Olympics, anyone?)

At the '68 Olympics the famous "black power salute" raised a furor, today it is relegated to a rather mild footnote in history.

I agree that you don't have to agree with every single policy of a country to honor it, but Toni Smith has her right to express her opinion.