In case you haven't heard, Rudy Fernandez will be arriving at Portland International Airport soon. Consistent with the hysteria with which Rip City citizens have surrounded the man, a mass of folks plan on showing up (2) to greet him. Driving into the DeceptivelyQuick satellite HQ this morning, I heard local sports radio urging people to take an early lunch and head to the airport to cheer for the man. The hype tornado continues.
I hate to ruin a good hero-worship session, but I am starting to feel like I am either the last sane Blazer fan or the only insane one. I am still confused as to why nobody is at least discussing his apparent ignorance (1 , 2).
When that infamous slant-eyed photo hit the news, I looked forward to reading some of Rip City’s premier bloggers discuss the photograph. I was sure it was coming. It seemed important given Rip City’s obsession with Rudy, with having “good guys” on the team, and with the sizable and growing Asian population in the Portland-metro area.
I was naive.
Obviously, not all blogs could be expected to delve into the issue. For example, the ones earning pay checks from Paul Allen. Indeed, Trail Blazers Center Court wasn’t about to touch the controversy. In a bit of unintentional comedy, on August 12th, shortly after the photo hit major spots like Deadspin, Center Court posted an entry entitled “Everything you need to know about Rudy Fernandez in four pictures.” The most famous picture to date featuring Rudy was not included. Must not be important.
Center Court has the excuse of being team owned, as does Mike Barrett’s Blog. It was far more disappointing to me to see how the controversy was covered by Rip City blogs that are Vulcan-free. The best of these are Blazers Edge and the Oregonlive Blazers Blog. These places are where to turn to read talented writers who don’t have anything in their job descriptions related to towing the Blazers company line. Their importance can’t be emphasized enough. And they both ignored this.
Dave and Ben, the excellent Blazers Edge writers, have combined for 66 stories to date that carry the Rudy Fernandez tag. You can spend hours in the archives devouring in depth analyses of Rudy’s game. You won’t find one discussing the photo. All the site has to offer on the topic is a thread posted by a commentor. The comments are great on Blazers Edge, but the bulk of us visit the site interested in what Dave and Ben have to say. We’re still waiting. We’re still waiting for Sean Meagher at Oregonlive to give us his perspective as well.
For a fan base that screamed of a need for "good guys" for years, why the free pass for Rudy? Do we just want to ignore the negativity for a while and bask in the warm fuzziness? Maybe. Is it related to the fact that Rudy's skin color is close to the vast majority of Blazer fans? I hope not. It would sure be interesting to hear what others have to say.