May 25, 2016

Cheer for the Raptors but not for “Canada’s Team”

Peter Miller

It’s absurd that the Canadian anthem and American anthem is played before every Toronto Raptors game. It’s much like the start of every school day in Canada, with the national anthem being played to invoke patriotism for youth in a country that is playing an increasingly aggressive imperialist role on the world stage and continuing its genocide against indigenous people.

That’s why it didn’t bother me when NBA legend, Dwayne Wade continued to warm up during the Canadian anthem during a recent play-off game in Toronto. Hearing the anthem before every game is a waste of time, and players should warm up during it if they still need to get their body ready for some intense play. Predictably, however, Raptors fans booed Wade for the rest of the NBA playoff series for his action. Some Canadian politicians even chimed in to voice their disappointment with Dwayne Wade’s actions.

Wade didn’t continue to warm up during the anthem for any political reasons, but he wasn’t the first athlete to ignore an anthem. In 2004, Blue Jays former all star first basemen, Carlos Delgado, refused to leave the dugout during “God Bless America” in Yankees Stadium during the Iraq war. He was jeered by Yankees fans for this. Delgado is Puerto-Rican and also was part of the Navy-Vieques Protests that opposed the use of the Vieques island in Puerto-Rico for bombing practice by the United States Department of Defense.

The Raptors have had 9 consecutive years of Canadian Forces Appreciation Nights. Players wear camouflage uniforms, Canadian soldiers get free tickets to the game, fans are giving camouflaged gifts, a General participates in a “ceremonial tip-off,” and more activities are organized to “support our troops.” In each of these 9 years Canada has been involved in imperialist war in the Middle East and South Asia. Since 2001, the “war on terror” in the region has accumulated a death toll of between 1.2 and 2 million people. It’s a good thing that not all professional athletes support this prolonged massacre, and it’s a shame that professional sports leagues do through allowing the militarization of their sports.

Today, the Trudeau Liberals are tripling boots on the ground in the war in Iraq and Syria, against the wishes of the people of Syria, supposedly to fight ISIS. In fact, the Liberals, much like the Tories, are committed supporters of NATO and the USA’s plans for regime change in Syria. Meanwhile, Canada is partners with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, two regimes that provide support reactionary Islamic groups like ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The Toronto Raptors recently defeated Wade’s Miami Heat and are in the Eastern Conference finals for the first time ever. This is exciting for any basketball fan, and rightfully so. But the next time you watch the Toronto Raptors don’t sing the Canadian anthem, or say you are cheering for “Canada’s team.” Watch for the joy of seeing extremely skilled players collectively playing a beautiful game.
- Comments

1 comment:

  1. What many people don't know is that all that propaganda to "support out troops" is actually paid for by the government. Since the organizers of these sport events are Investors and seek profit, they charge the Armed forces "minute by minute" to appreciate the troops and call in professional actors and models to dress up as soldiers.


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