Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Red Face-off and White Washing

American men are behaving badly at the Winter Olympics again.  Including Shaun White.
First, to get it out of the way, the U.S. men's ice hockey team.  Ahead 2-0 over Slovenia, the Americans suddenly collapsed and lost 3-2.  After the American women beat out the Olympic Athletes from Russia team in a shutout (5-0), the men shut down. Which prompted all of those silly Americans chanting "We're number one!" to shut up.  (At least one of the current White House residents, I'm sure, was secretly pleased.)  
As if seeing our guys live up to the tradition of American national men's teams choking weren't bad enough, we now learn that Shaun White is yet another celebrity involved in a sexual harassment case.  White has his own rock band, appropriately titled Bad Things, with a female drummer that has since left the band after White did . . . bad things.  To her.  It was since been reported that he texted her pictures of  private parts, and he has also been accused of having shown her hardcore porn, forcing her to drink vodka, trying to make her change her look to appear sexier, and making her smell something, uh, personal.  After his gold-medal victory in these PyeongChang Winter Games (the one hundredth gold-medal victory for the U.S. in the Winter Games' 94-year history), White, who settled with the woman out of court, admitted to the first charge but not the others, dismissing the rest as "gossip."  White sounds like a guy who's addicted to cocaine, crystal meth, and tobacco and only admits to smoking.
White has since apologized for his poor choice of words ("gossip?") and how he handled the story when it came to the fore; the case, for the record, was settled out of court.  He admits to being in a dark place at the time of his fourth-place halfpipe showing at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, leading to his bad behavior.  But the truth is that White has always been in a dark place of sorts.  No one in snowboarding likes him because of his swagger and self-importance. "To so many who saw the text messages, read the allegations," Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote about White's magnificent comeback on the halfpipe course this week after his Sochi disappointment, "the notion of redemption was nothing more than a canard to distract from a far uglier story."
I'm not going to equate the U.S. men's ice hockey team's misdemeanor of sucking to White's high crimes.  But to see both stories at the same time has certainly caused a pang of rue for anyone who expected our guys at the Winter Olympics to be shining examples of American manhood in the Age of Trump.  Uh, fellas, could I see you in my office?     

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