Support the Orlando Magic, support war in Iraq? That's what MSNBC's favorite leftist sports guru, Dave Zirin of The Nation magazine, argued on taxpayer-subsidized Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now on Friday. Blackwater CEO Erik Prince is the brother-in-law of Magic owner (and conservative funder) Dick DeVos. So Zirin thought NBA fans ought to think twice:
I mean, I don’t think a majority of sports fans, when they go see an Orlando Magic game and cheer for players like Dwight Howard or Jameer Nelson, are saying, "I’m also buying a ticket to support Blackwater’s efforts in Iraq!" No, that—and effectively, though, that’s what they have us doing. It’s coercive, and I’m against it.
Zirin doesn't say Erik Prince actually owns the Magic, he just draws a Crayola line to him. Zirin also argued it was "money laundering" for sports owners to accept public money for stadiums and then hold political fundraisers in them. His villain was Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, who supports the SB-1070 immigration law:
Ken Kendrick holds fundraisers for SB 1070-supporting politicians in the owner’s box of what is a publicly funded stadium in Arizona. This is political money laundering, and it happens in our cities around the country. We are underwriting right-wing politicians and right-wing politics through sports.
His Pacifica interviewers weren't going to ask about leftist sports team owners using publicly funded stadiums for fundraisers. Does Zirin really believe that's never happened?
He moved on to denounce former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and his son Merritt, who bought the Portland Beavers minor league baseball club (a Padres affiliate) in 2007. The Paulsons are compared to the devil:
Henry Paulson is a partial owner of the team. So we are underwriting the sports ownership of Henry Paulson. These are facts that sports fans need to know. I call it the Keyser Söze principle. You know the movie The Usual Suspects? Keyser Söze, it’s like the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was making us think that he didn’t exist. It’s like we don’t know who these people are. I do this for a living, and I didn’t know who Ken Kendrick was a year ago, the owner of the Diamondbacks. And yet they exert so much power and take so much public money.
Another man, Phil Anschutz, I’m sure a lot of listeners have no idea who that is. He’s the minority owner of the LA Lakers, the Kings and the Sparks. He’s also the owner of The Weekly Standard. The Weekly Standard is a neoconservative, very right-wing magazine. It operates at a financial loss. It loses money. And Phil Anschutz gets money from the state of California as minority owner of these teams. So, you see, what happens here, it becomes right-wing political money laundering and using sports as a Trojan horse to do that. And as a sports fan, as someone who loves sports, I think we have to say enough is enough.