The field of sports is normally one of the areas with the least racism in the US. (Europe is quite a different — and abominable at times — situation, especially in regard to soccer.)
This is why P&J were somewhat taken aback — but not entirely, given the actions of the loudmouthed meatheads we regularly see with their replica jerseys and prole-strap baseball caps — by the insults recently thrown at the Central Falls High School soccer team, by some of the athletes and hangers-on at Coventry High School, as well as the Coventry police.
The latter weighed in on an ugly, racially motivated verbal attack on the Central Falls players, who were accused (wrongly, as it turned out) of stealing things from their hosts in Coventry. The loyal gendarmes yanked the C.F. players off their bus and subjected them to searches for the stolen goods. It was a demeaning experience for the kids, and smacked of the worst racial profiling.
When Phillipe arrived in Little Rhody as a teenager, he played in the local semi-pro soccer league with Lusitania of Cumberland, right on the Central Falls line. He was the only American-born player on the team. The club players were predominantly Portuguese, with a few Italians and Latinos thrown in because of their skills. Many of them had attended Central Falls High, and most moved on to blue-collar jobs, in which they worked their asses off.
To a person, the friendliness, courtesy, and generosity that existed among this community of people couldn’t be matched by the WASP elites at the Reading Room or the Newport Country Club. For the next generation to have to put up with abuse from a bunch of white punks in Coventry — hardly the Paris of Vo Dilun — is unconscionable and painful.
P&J know that racism, despite some strides, remains prevalent throughout the US. But we greatly dislike seeing it raise its ugly head. Let this be a lesson to everyone involved, especially youthful sportsmen and women, whose normal respect for their teammates and opponents, no matter their race or ethnicity, is usually higher than that of the everyday man and woman.
Shock and awe
The surprises coming out of Washington these days are enough to make our well-coiffed (and polished) heads spin.
What a cowinkydink that gas prices are rapidly falling as the November election looms. Since the GOP realizes that this year’s voter mantra includes, “It’s at the pump, stupid,” the Big Oil companies, longtime proprietors of the Bush-Cheney White House, just happen to have found a way to deliver cheaper fuel.
Could this be due to the Bush clan calling in some markers from their close friends in the Saudi Arabian royal family?
We were also shocked — shocked! — to learn how both Republicans on the ethics subcommittee looking into the Mark “Page Boy” Foley/Dennis Hastert scandal are financially linked to the obese and lumbering House Speaker.
According to the USA Today on October 5, “Both Republicans on the House ethics subcommittee investigating the Mark Foley scandal have financial ties to Speaker Dennis Hastert . . . Ethics Chairman Doc Hastings received $2500 during the 2000 campaign from Hastert’s political action committee, Keep Our Majority, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks money in politics. The six-term Washington Republican, who became ethics chairman last year, will lead the Foley investigation . . . Rep. Judy Biggert of Illinois, received $6000 from Hastert’s PAC and $2000 from Hastert’s own re-election fund during the 2002 campaign.”