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I’ve been in, or nearly in, fights at plenty of stadiums in the U.S., but to have an entire team and stadium full of people attack visiting players, coaches, and fans, as happened to Georgetown’s basketball team in China last week, is both new and disgusting. Even the normally nationalistic Chinese are reportedly “irked” by the conduct of the players and fans of the Bayi Rockets, a Chinese professional team made up of soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army (shown here attacking two Georgetown players).
As both a Georgetown employee and alum, I’ve got to say I’m not impressed by the behavior of the Chinese “soldiers” involved in the incident, nor would I be by, say, the West Point team kicking around a bunch of Chinese college kids. I do commend Coach Thompson for his professional, though a bit mild, response. The responses of some former Georgetown players were a little stronger and less reflective of diplomatic niceties.
One of the more interesting responses to the brawl came from Foreign Policy magazine, which put together an article listing, “five geopolitical ballgames that spilled over into off-field violence.” My personal response, aside from this article, has so far been limited to convincing my wife not to buy a Volvo (which is owned by a Chinese company, where Volvo has growing production and R&D operations).