The National Basketball Association today fined Dennis Rodman $50,000 for insulting the Mormon Community during the NBA Finals in Salt Lake City. I find this action by the NBA to be the pinnacle of Political Correctness and incredibly false in its intention to punish Dennis Rodman for speaking his mind. The NBA should be regulating play on the court, not comments spoken on impulse.
Fans Need Black Hats
If Dennis Rodman were truly bad for basketball and bad for the NBA, the NBA would’ve ridded themselves of him years ago. But Rodman means business. He brings in the crowds. He gives the fans a bad boy to root for or root against. Rodman wears the Black Hat of a Bad Guy on the court when the easier and more pristine path for him to take would be in wearing the White Hat of the Good Guys like Stockton, Malone, Jordan and others. Every player in the NBA plays a role and Rodman’s is the lightning bolt the NBA uses to keep the other players in line.
A Rogueless League?
What fun is a league without rogues? What good is having whole-hearted competition without clear lines between good and bad and right and wrong? Every athletic contest pits darkhorses against favorites and bad boys against shining knights — it’s part of our mythology to crave and demand easily discernable enemies and heroes.
A League of Angels
Dennis Rodman presently plays the role of the ultimate bully for the NBA and they certainly love and appreciate his willingness to throw himself on the sword of “good taste” for the past five seasons; for without Dennis Rodman, the NBA becomes a league of Angels, and any good Preacher will tell you that without the threat of Evil in our lives, Goodness becomes less valuable. If you don’t believe in Hell, then you surely don’t believe there’s a Heaven. The NBA knows that Dennis Rodman plays the role of the delightfully Devilish bad boy dressed in Chicago Bulls uniform.
A Line in the Sand at Center Court
With Rodman, the NBA can draw a moral line in the sand at center court and place Dennis Rodman on the other side. This shows the fans that, while Rodman is bad and a bully, the NBA can, and shall punish him if he steps out of line. The NBA will manage Rodman’s morality by fining his pocketbook to enhance their collection basket of public opinion.
Foil for Moral Superiority
The NBA uses Rodman as a foil for their moral superiority. Since Rodman admitted that he didn’t really know what a “Mormon” was, the $50,000 Mormon fine is extremely silly since it punishes Rodman for simply being uneducated. What harm can come from words? I think Mormons have weathered tougher criticism from within their own disaffected ranks than they have from the tongue of Dennis Rodman.
Mormons vs. Head-Butting
If the NBA truly cared about the integrity of the game of basketball, Rodman should’ve been fined $50,000 for the head-butt on the Referee on March 18, 1996 instead of only $20,000.
A Public Hanging
Instead of legislating fair play on the basketball court, the NBA instead crossed a line of their own drawing in making Dennis Rodman a moral example in the court of public opinion. The risk in this play for Political Correctness is losing Dennis Rodman in the NBA! Hanging him out to be flayed by those with religious and moral agendas is beyond cruel and the NBA should be shamed for making this unseemly and tasteless play to the lowest common denominator of religious conservatism.
Tossed to the Wolfpack of Public Opinion
But it’s too late now for Dennis Rodman. He may be out of basketball forever. Perhaps a full, public confession of every Sin he has committed will feed the hungering Press the blood they’re seeking, but I doubt it. The NBA, by fining Rodman $50,000, has ensured that the story will never die or properly seek its own appropriate place in the spicy life of Dennis Rodman in his speckled five year history with the NBA.
Let the Bigots Speak!
Pro Sport Leagues should not be in the business of regulating free speech and morality. Let Marge Schott express her thoughts on Hitler. Let Rodman bad-mouth the Mormons. Let Fuzzy Zoeller talk about Tiger Woods’ diet. We want to hear Al Campanas’ views on Blacks. We need to know what Jimmy the Greek thinks about African Americans.
We need to hear these views because we are always bigger than mere words. Words, when wielded unwisely, always cut the originator deeper and more mortally than any forced punishment for politically incorrect behavior ever could.