Andre Iguodala, Sixers Championships, and Murder: Should Philadelphia Be Mad?

"In Philly, it's not about who you are, it's about what you do for us. You could be the worst person in the world, but if you score a lot of points or win a championship, you can murder somebody."

Andre Iguodala said that in the Sports Illustrated feature about Andre and his role with the Sixers. It sparked some outrage on Twitter as things always do, and led to some blog posts about how out of touch and aloof Andre is with the city of Philadelphia. Some kickback is to be expected, because Andre hit on three volatile buzzwords in that quote.

  1. Philly
  2. Championship
  3. Murder

Philadelphia fans are extremely sensitive, irrational, temperamental humanoids (as all fans are wont to be) so when you call out the city, they tend to band together, holding hands Red Rover in your friend Larry's backyard-style. Then, by saying championship, he immediately piqued their ears. The redheaded stepchild of the Big Four in Philly, the Sixers haven't won a championship since 1983 and are tied with the Phillies at the bottom of the list of how successful they need to be for fans to care. Bringing that up always brings down their ire. And finally, murder. Murder is bad. People break out their loaded opinions for murder just as people get hot and bothered when "rape" gets casually mentioned. Dre was walking through a minefield with this one.

So people are going to get mad. They're going to think that Andre has no idea about the city he plays in, and is propagating stereotypes of a town that already gets JD Drewed and Santa Claused out every time the national media pays a visit. Those same people will probably bring up how much money Andre makes and conjure up some ratio between those dollars and his points per game. Fadeaway jumpers may even be brought into the occasion.

It was inevitable. But from a hopefully more logical perspective, should we be mad at this?

Personally, I don't care what athletes say. It doesn't matter to me. I don't even care what they do off the field, so long as they perform on it. I love rooting for a team of guys I actually like (makes rooting for the current Sixers and Phillies especially awesome), but it's what's on the front of the jersey that matters to me, not what its wearer says.

I just wrote a bunch of words about Michael Vick with the Eagles but deleted it because this is harmless. Even if you do care about what athletes say or do, this Iguodala quote is nothing. And what's more, he's probably right.

Brett Myers beat his wife and aside for some heckling, it's not like he got maligned here. Jason Kidd, Ray Lewis, Donte Stallworth, Lawrence Taylor...sports are filled with people who have committed crimes, got off relatively scot-free and returned to play for adoring home crowds. If Andre had killed a guy when he was 19, went to jail for manslaughter and came back bleeding remorse and lead the Sixers to a title - you think we wouldn't support him?

You're rooting for the team, not the player. If Evan Turner played for the Kings, I wouldn't care if he was being used incorrectly, he's not a Sixer. This may be hard to comprehend if you're not a sports fan, but it's the way it is. Injuries happen and we spend less time mourning them than we do campaigning for a replacement. All fandom is basically fantasy sports, only slightly more irrational.

What Andre said was harmless. He was probably joking. That's one of the main reasons what people say doesn't matter. He was probably messing around with the interviewee and exaggerated about the championship craving in Philadelphia. No one gets hurt, this doesn't matter, move along. If I was quoted for some of the things I said, I'm pretty sure I'd be in solitary confinement in a Sri Lankan prison with glow sticks for eyes.

If you're getting upset about this quote, it likely says more about you than it does Andre.

Here's the quote about Lou one more time because I can't help myself.

It makes no sense to me why so many good scorers can't defend. Like Lou Williams. He's one of the toughest guys to guard in the league, but he can't guard anybody. I don't get that.

Bless you, Andre. Now rest that eye.

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