Spanish Team Slants Eyes For Photo Shoot

By: Ayman - Aug 13, 2008
References: & guardian
The Beijing 2008 Olympic games controversies continue, but this time, it’s not China who stands accused. It is Spain who has pulled a racist, immature trick.

Spain’s Basketball Federation has unfathomably published a good luck advertisement for the Spanish Olympic team on a full page in the Spanish sports daily, Marca. The controversial image shows the Basketball team members using their fingers to slant their eyes and make them look ‘Chinese’ with a dragon symbol on the court. 

I have done some research on the topic and found reports that claim the photos are part of a publicity campaign for Seur, a Spanish courier company that is a sponsor of the team. I have found both male and female team versions of the picture. Now, I understand that it might have been a foolish bad judgment call. I am sure many pictures are taken in jest and then are later deemed too irresponsible.

Taking a ‘racist’ picture is one thing, but publishing that picture in a national newspaper is another.

I have read many comments from the players that it "was not meant to be offensive", and that "we are sorry people are offended", and such. They claim that the team simply obliged with what the photographer asked in a spur of the moment art direction.

""We felt it was something appropriate, and that it would be interpreted as an affectionate gesture"," explained team member Calderon, who plays for NBA’’s Toronto Raptors. "Without a doubt, some members of the …press didn’’t see it that way."

What is mind boggling about this controversy is that this image was not taken from a personal blog or a hacked computer. It is a paid ad that is printed in a National newspaper. Surely people and organizations assess ads before they run them.

There is simply no excuse for this.

The Spanish Tennis team did the same thing, as seen in the photo. What is it with these Spanish sports teams and stereotypes?