"We thought it was something appropriate and that it would always be interpreted as somewhat loving. Never the less some of the European media did not see it this way. ... Anyone who would like to interpret this differently is absolutely confused."The problem, of course: almost everyone but the Spaniards thinks it was offensive! The IOC has called it "clearly inappropriate," the press reaction has been universal ... and most importantly, tens of thousands of Chinese fans lustily booed the Spanish team before the team tipped off its game against China Tuesday morning. One can only assume this photo had something to do with it, considering the Chinese fans haven't (as far as I can tell) booed anyone else during the Games.
In a New York Times dispatch from Peter Thamel, Pau Gasol appeared somewhat more understanding of the concerns.
"Some of us didn't feel comfortable doing it," Gasol said. "To me it was little clownish for our part to be doing that. The sponsor insisted and insisted. They pushed because they're the people that pay the money. It was just a bad idea to do that."Shame on the sponsor for pressing the team to make the pose, and shame on the team for caving. But most of all, shame on Calderon -- a guy who plays professionally in a city with one of the largest Chinese populations in North America -- for sticking his fingers in his ears and crying, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"