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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Georgetown vs. China

This story was pretty interesting. Georgetown played an exhibition game in China against a top Chinese pro team, the Bayi Rockets. That is one of the top pro teams in China, comprised only of former soldiers with no foreign players allowed. (They aren't actual soldiers serving combat duty. They are nominally soldiers, whose primary duty was playing basketball.)

The referees were obviously biased in favor of China. By halftime, China's team had only 11 fouls but Georgetown had 28 fouls, and China's team was playing very dirty.

Even though the referees were trying to fix the game, Georgetown was making it close. The game was tied. It ended in a bench clearing brawl without being finished. The Georgetown players walked out of the game after the brawl, with the Chinese crowd starting to get ugly.

That second link has a clip showing the start of the brawl. (The clip on Yahoo cut out the very beginning of the brawl.) The fight was pretty obviously started by the Chinese team. There was a foul and minor scuffle. The Georgetown player tried to run away from the Chinese player, but the Chinese player escalated it to a full fight.

The Chinese government has censored the story in China.

In the USA, there's no official connection between sports and the government. Even if a USA national sports team misbehaves, nobody is going to blame the President.

In China, this team was touted as a military team. The referees were cheating to favor China. Even with that advantage, it was a close game, and the players got frustrated when they were losing. This is an embarrassment for the Chinese government, because there's an explicit connection between the team and the military and the government. The USA system is better, where sports teams are used as bread and circuses, but sports are independent of the government (although they receive direct and indirect State subsidies, like taxpayer-funded stadiums).

Interestingly, Georgetown's players have not been suspended after the fight. Usually, the USA sports policy is "In a fight, both sides get suspended, even someone who's defending himself." The fact that Georgetown players were not suspended, shows that it was obviously a one-sided fight.

The problem is that the referees didn't control the game, showing an obvious pro-China bias. There's a simple solution. The NCAA should pass a rule saying "All games involving NCAA teams must use NCAA referees, even exhibition games."

1 comment:

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