A Basque in Boise

Once again, Athletic gets a jab at his ‘Basque-only players’ philosophy

Jonas Ramalho (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

I found this article on Sports Illustrated after seeing About Basque Country Blog’s post on Facebook. The article talks about my soccer team, Athletic de Bilbao, finally “dispelling a longstanding myth” by signing the first black soccer player into the team. Basically, the article implies that, until now, Athletic has been a racist club because of their philosophy to use only Basque players. It looks to me like people are getting color and nationality confused. It’s not that players have to be white to play, they just have to be Basque.

Until recently, Basque population was almost entirely white, therefore, so were Athletic players. In the last few years, however, immigration has had a great impact on Basque society. In this particular case, the player’s dad is from Angola, but 18 year-old Jonas Ramalho was born in Barakaldo, Bizkaia, a town about 20 miles from Bilbao, which automatically makes him Basque, just like it would anybody else. What does the color of his skin have to do with anything?

I don’t understand why people have a problem with Athletic’s philosophy. What’s so wrong about playing with men and women from a team’s own country? Why is that racist? No, it’s better to have a team made up of foreigners and call it Real Madrid. Or take Utah’s basketball team, a franchise that began in 1974 as the New Orleans Jazz, in Louisiana. The team then moved to Utah in 1979 and became the Utah Jazz. Somebody, please, explain that to me. Can you imagine taking Athletic de Bilbao, changing its name to Granada Football Club, and moving it to the south of Spain?

In my opinion, people should think more about following Athletic’s example and less about bashing it.

Thanks for passing by: ↓

Mark Bieter

24 thoughts on “Once again, Athletic gets a jab at his ‘Basque-only players’ philosophy

  1. Aitor Esteban

    Great article, Henar. News are too often based on topics. Nice to follow you from the distance.

  2. Aitor Esteban

    Great article, Henar. News are too often based on topics. Nice to follow you from the distance.

  3. Henar Chico

    Nice to be followed, Aitor. Just so you know, I follow you too, if not by my own devices, thanks to my friend and one of your former students, Unai Sanz, who always forwards me articles in which you are featured.

    Besarkada bero bat!

  4. Henar Chico

    Nice to be followed, Aitor. Just so you know, I follow you too, if not by my own devices, thanks to my friend and one of your former students, Unai Sanz, who always forwards me articles in which you are featured.

    Besarkada bero bat!

  5. Steven Roosevelt

    One note, the Utah Jazz began in Anaheim CA as the Anaheim Amigos, moved to SLC in the late 60s as the Utah Stars, then to Nawlins as the NO Jazz before returning to SLC.

  6. Steven Roosevelt

    One note, the Utah Jazz began in Anaheim CA as the Anaheim Amigos, moved to SLC in the late 60s as the Utah Stars, then to Nawlins as the NO Jazz before returning to SLC.

  7. Henar Chico

    Are you arguing with Wikipedia?

    1974-1979: Pete Maravich and the early years in New Orleans
    In 1974, the Jazz franchise began in New Orleans as the 18th team to enter the NBA. The team’s first major move was to trade for star player Pete Maravich (who had played collegiately at LSU) from the Atlanta Hawks for two first-round draft picks, three second-round picks, and one third-round pick over the next three years.[1] Although he was considered one of the most entertaining players in the league and won the scoring championship in 1977 with 31.1 points per game, the Jazz’ best record while in New Orleans was 39–43 in the 1977–78 season. Maravich struggled with knee injuries from that season onward. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Jazz#1974-1979:_Pete_Maravich_and_the_early_years_in_New_Orleans)

    1979–84: The move to Utah and arrival of Coach Frank Layden
    Despite being barely competitive, the Jazz drew fairly well during their first five years. However, by 1979 the franchise was sinking financially. Barry Mendelson, the team’s executive vice president for most of the team’s early years, said one factor in the team’s financial troubles was an 11 percent amusement tax, the highest in the nation at the time. The team also couldn’t attract much local corporate support—an important factor even in those days—or local investors.[4]
    Battisone concluded that the franchise could not be viable in New Orleans and decided to move elsewhere. After scouting out several new homes, he decided to move to Salt Lake City, even though it was a smaller market than New Orleans at the time. However, Salt Lake City had proven it could support a pro basketball team when it played host to the American Basketball Association’s Utah Stars from 1970 to 1976.[5] The Stars had been extremely popular in the city, but their finances inexplicably collapsed in their last two seasons, and they folded in December 1975 after playing only 16 games of the ABA’s final season. Although Salt Lake City was not known for its jazz culture, the team decided to keep the name, as well as the team’s original colors of green, purple and gold (the colors of Mardi Gras). Some were offended by the Jazz keeping the franchise name after moving from New Orleans, citing it as a metaphor for the theft of Jazz from its cultural roots. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Jazz#1979.E2.80.9384:_The_move_to_Utah_and_arrival_of_Coach_Frank_Layden)

  8. Henar Chico

    Are you arguing with Wikipedia?

    1974-1979: Pete Maravich and the early years in New Orleans
    In 1974, the Jazz franchise began in New Orleans as the 18th team to enter the NBA. The team’s first major move was to trade for star player Pete Maravich (who had played collegiately at LSU) from the Atlanta Hawks for two first-round draft picks, three second-round picks, and one third-round pick over the next three years.[1] Although he was considered one of the most entertaining players in the league and won the scoring championship in 1977 with 31.1 points per game, the Jazz’ best record while in New Orleans was 39–43 in the 1977–78 season. Maravich struggled with knee injuries from that season onward. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Jazz#1974-1979:_Pete_Maravich_and_the_early_years_in_New_Orleans)

    1979–84: The move to Utah and arrival of Coach Frank Layden
    Despite being barely competitive, the Jazz drew fairly well during their first five years. However, by 1979 the franchise was sinking financially. Barry Mendelson, the team’s executive vice president for most of the team’s early years, said one factor in the team’s financial troubles was an 11 percent amusement tax, the highest in the nation at the time. The team also couldn’t attract much local corporate support—an important factor even in those days—or local investors.[4]
    Battisone concluded that the franchise could not be viable in New Orleans and decided to move elsewhere. After scouting out several new homes, he decided to move to Salt Lake City, even though it was a smaller market than New Orleans at the time. However, Salt Lake City had proven it could support a pro basketball team when it played host to the American Basketball Association’s Utah Stars from 1970 to 1976.[5] The Stars had been extremely popular in the city, but their finances inexplicably collapsed in their last two seasons, and they folded in December 1975 after playing only 16 games of the ABA’s final season. Although Salt Lake City was not known for its jazz culture, the team decided to keep the name, as well as the team’s original colors of green, purple and gold (the colors of Mardi Gras). Some were offended by the Jazz keeping the franchise name after moving from New Orleans, citing it as a metaphor for the theft of Jazz from its cultural roots. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Jazz#1979.E2.80.9384:_The_move_to_Utah_and_arrival_of_Coach_Frank_Layden)

  9. Steven Roosevelt

    Forget the facts, this is the West. Print the legend. (Classic movie reference).

  10. Steven Roosevelt

    Forget the facts, this is the West. Print the legend. (Classic movie reference).

  11. Diana

    I was going to write a comment here, but I remembered I don’t really care about soccer or football, maybe a little bit about basketball, but not enough to say anything. Peace out!

  12. Diana

    I was going to write a comment here, but I remembered I don’t really care about soccer or football, maybe a little bit about basketball, but not enough to say anything. Peace out!

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