A few days ago, the Red Wings and Flyers played an exhibition game. The score was tied at the end of overtime, so it moved into a shootout. During the shootout, someone threw a banana peel on the ice. Anyone with even a slight awareness of hockey knows that things are thrown on the ice all of the time--octopi, hats, rubber rats, slabs of beef, etc. Now, other than the NHL powers-that-be, things thrown on the ice are pretty well tolerated by everyone--until the banana peel incident. And why was this different? The player on the ice at the time was the only black player for either team. And someone decided this was a racist incident--which it probably was. And the (hockey) world exploded for several days.
While I would never argue that racially motivated acts are okay, I do have some very serious concerns about this entire affair. First of all, this game was a pre-season game. That in itself meant that not a whole lot of people were watching it. There was no audio or video broadcast of this game--other than to an area in and around Philadelphia. So, the fans in the arena and the (relatively) small viewing audience were the only people who actually saw this happen. And I question how many people saw this, even if they were at the game--several players were questioned about this later and they weren't aware of what happened until they were told. But, someone DID see this and ran with the story. I don't know where it first appeared--Twitter, a news story, a blog--but someone made a story out of this. And once it was out there, it became fodder for opinion pieces, blogs, newscasts, Twitter, Facebook, etc, etc, etc. This was reported and talked about ad nauseum for several days.
As I said, I would never advocate for a racially motivated act. I also don't believe society is benefitted by sweeping unpleasant topics/acts under the rug, BUT... And there is the problem. The person responsible for this was never found, so we really don't know what his motivation for throwing the peel was. I'm NOT saying there wasn't a racial element to this, but I'm saying that the assclown who did this probably had a bigger reason for his actions: PUBLICITY.* And he got his share of publicity. This is pretty much the only thing that was 'talked' about for several days.
Now, we come to my question. Is this something that should have been ignored? This could have flamed out very quickly, because of the small amount of people who saw what happened. Actually, it would barely have been a spark if it hadn't been reported. Have we become a society so politically correct that we have to 'make a big deal' out of everything, even if the intention was nowhere close to what others perceived? We are finding in all areas of our lives where huge stories are (manufactured?) from small, insignificant incidents--from politics to our personal lives--and it doesn't seem to help do much more than inflame. I do have to wonder who is benefitting from this--other than the 24-hour news sources and the assclowns who want publicity.
*I realize that I am publicizing this just as much as everyone else did, but I don't reach a big audience, so I don't think my little blog matters. ;)