Monday, August 06, 2007


想要談這個有趣的議題,已經有一段很長的時間,卻因沒有時間作罷。今天剛好讀到這則LeBron James簽下NFL美式足球員經紀約的新聞,腦筋突然又動了起來。

James' LRMR Marketing inks buddy Ginn to deal
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James thinks he can help fast friend Ted Ginn Jr. become a bigger star.

Further broadening his business portfolio, the Cavaliers' forward has signed Ginn, the former Ohio State speedster now a rookie wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, to a marketing contract.

Ginn is the first athlete signed by LRMR Marketing, James' budding sports marketing company.

簡單的說,LeBron James用自己的運動經紀公司LRMR Marketing,老實不客氣的簽下幼年時代以來的麻吉,今年剛從Ohio State進入邁阿密海豚隊的新秀外接員Ted Ginn Jr.,負責打點Ginn的行銷事務。

可以看出來,James年紀輕輕,已經頗有Nike前輩Michael Jordan的生意頭腦,也或者可以說,James背後的團隊是很有心的在操作著他強大的市場影響力。不過,這不禁讓我想起發生在今年季後賽期間的一個事件。

Ira Newble

和James同屬騎士隊的小腳Ira Newble,由於對中國政府在蘇丹達佛事件中始終不願表態反對屠殺人民的政府、同時以安理會常任理事國身份反對聯合國派駐維和部隊(PS: 近日已同意)進駐該地極為感冒,寫了一封公開信,向正在準備2008北京奧運的中國政府公開抗議。

對達佛事件不太清楚的人,可以看這裡:Darfur Conflict(英文) / 達爾富爾(達佛)衝突(中文)

Newble希望全隊隊友都簽名支持他的公開發聲,除了兩個人以外,隊友都欣然同意簽名聲援。沒簽名的這兩個人是:LeBron James和Damon Jones。

事情傳開之後,在紐約大學教授歷史和教育的教授Jonathan Zimmerman,投書屬於右派的報紙Christian Science Monitor,有著以下的評論。他認為,James也許有權選擇不對此議題表示意見,但公眾也有權針對他的態度和行為作出評論。

On Darfur, LeBron James drops the ball
Ironically, LeBron James has not decided whether he will compete in Beijing. But in the real battle, over Darfur, James has elected to stay on the sidelines. That's his right, of course. And the rest of us have the right to call his behavior what it is.

其實大家都不笨,James和Jones選擇不簽名的原因,當然是為了中國這片廣大的商業市場,而Damon Jones還是中國的李寧牌球鞋所簽下的第一名NBA代言球員,簽名形同自己找死。

LeBron James


10 Questions for LeBron James - Time Magazine
Q: Why didn't you sign your teammate Ira Newble's petition protesting China's involvement in Darfur? Jonathan Braus, NEW YORK CITY
A: When the petition was going out, I didn't have enough information on the situation. Now I'm trying to read up on things.



Here James echoes the dominant hoopster of his youth, Michael Jordan, who has a record of putting profits over principles. Mr. Jordan refused to endorse African-American Democrat Harvey Gantt in his bid to unseat Republican (and ex-segregationist) Jesse Helms in a racially tinged 1990 Senate race in Jordan's home state of North Carolina. "Republicans buy sneakers, too," he explained.


所以,我們倒不如回過頭來敬佩Ira Newble。Newble?你會問,他是那一腳啊!其實,他在球場上確實不太算得上是一腳,頂多的形容就是:一個身材壯碩,擁有不錯的防守能力的功能性鋒衛。但是,他選擇為自己所相信的價值發聲,同時作出行動。對一名球員,尤其是NBA球員來說,是很不簡單的事。


"This is bigger than sports, bigger than basketball," Newble told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "This is about human beings, and how they are dying at an alarming rate because we are standing by and doing nothing."

Newble's petition specifically targets China, the host of the 2008 Summer Olympics. It contends that China is an unfit host for the Olympics as long as it is "complicit in the terrible suffering and destruction that continues to this day."

Newble wants to help convince China -- which has influence over Sudan's reigning regime because it buys two-thirds of Sudan's oil -- to pressure the Sudanese government to allow peacekeepers in the area. China has reportedly been an obstacle in the United Nations' effort to get aid into Darfur.


"I'm not sure what impact this may have on my career," Newble told the Plain-Dealer, "but I need to do this."


插句題外話,這讓我想起以寫詩聞名的巫師中前鋒Etan Thomas,他曾說,有一名白人NBA裁判在得知他寫詩之後大感驚訝,曾在場上對他說:「原來你不像你看起來那麼笨嘛!」,標準的種族岐視。(延伸:Five Things You Didn't Know About Washington Wizards Center Etan Thomas)

當然,Newble不是史上第一個敢站出來大聲說話的運動員,職網名將Arthur Ashe曾跳出來譴責南非的種族隔離,拳王阿里因反對越戰而拒絕入伍,Kareem Abdul-Jabbar等黑人籃球員,曾因支持黑人民權運動而拒絕加入奧運國家代表隊。對這些知名運動員而言,作出這些行動需要很大的膽識、勇氣和堅持。

barkley_100_bio說到這裡,你又不得不想起直言不諱的查爾斯爵士Charles Barkley。查夫子是有了名的會放砲,同時他也完全不避諱談政治,從頭到尾力挺民主黨,一度要爭取阿拉巴馬州州長提名。


我不想去對人在江湖、身不由己的運動員作攻擊、批評或譴責,但是卻想要為Ira Newble這樣子的球員表達敬意。