by Timothy Rollins, Editor and Publisher
April 23, 2002
In what can only be described as a clear-cut case of the ugliest of Americans, they were out in huge numbers at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Sunday for the playoff opener between the Detroit Pistons and the visiting Toronto Raptors, the fans there made it clear why Detroit is seen by so many as one of, if not the ugliest city in America. Dress it up all you want, but there seems to be a certain ugliness to it all its own. No matter how hard you try to make it over, the stench and putrid seems to rise to the top any time something happens to bring it into the headlines.
Like New York, Detroit is a big-time sports city. Having been there several times, that was perhaps the first thing I noticed. They are the home of the Detroit Red Wings - the hottest team in the NHL and the Detroit Pistons of the NBA - both of whom are currently in the playoffs. They are also home to the Detroit Lions of the NFL, a team with a reputation of late of being shall we say, hapless and pathetic losers; and as for the Detroit Tigers of the American League: They currently have a record of 3-15 … enough said. These people do not take losing well. They do not believe in being gracious in defeat. For crying out loud, they don't even handle winning well.
Remember when the Detroit Tigers had their season of destiny back in 1984 when they went on to win the World Series in only five games making mince meat of the San Diego Padres? There were verified reports of the city burning down with fires all over town. The same thing happened in the spring of 1989 when the University of Michigan won the NCAA Basketball Tournament. It seems that every time Detroit or any other Michigan team wins something, something gets burned if for no other reason but for the sake of burning it.
At one time, Detroit was the homicide capital of America - or so I'm told. That title has since been taken over by Washington DC if memory serves. Even still, Detroit remains more violent than New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago.
However ugly Detroit may show itself, at no time in recent memory has Detroit shown its ugliness more clearly than it did this past Sunday at the basketball game. I can understand booing the referees - I've done that plenty of times - in fact, I was almost tossed out of a basketball game in 1980 because my voice shall we say … carries - especially in enclosed buildings such as Utah State University's Spectrum where after contesting a call, the referee told me to either 'button it' or get ejected. Booing the players and voicing one's displeasure is part and parcel of any sports activity. But I draw the line at the national anthem. The booing during the playing of the Canadian national anthem was completely and wholly unacceptable in every sense of the word. The actions of the Detroit fans were completely inexcusable. This is especially so in light of the deaths of four Canadian soldiers earlier in the week as a result of a so-called 'friendly fire' incident involving US aircraft, but that's another column I will do at a later date.
If America wants to know why there are those outside the country who hate us so vehemently and want to destroy us and the way of life we love and cherish so much, maybe they ought to look more closely around them and perhaps within themselves. To chant "USA, USA" is one thing; but to go as far as to boo during the playing of the anthem of an ally that has been our best friend for well over 100 years only goes to reinforce the stereotype of the 'ugly American' so many foreigners hold of Americans outside the country. Now they are seeing it inside our country, and that is indeed unfortunate.
Perhaps it is time that the good folks in Detroit step up to the plate and teach their rude neighbors a lesson or two in manners.
It can happen none too soon. ***
© 2002 Timothy Rollins
COPYRIGHT © 2002 BY THE AMERICAN PARTISAN. All writers retain rights to their work.