Maybe some of you have seen Uber-Patriot Darren Rovell's hit piece on the winner of the NYC Marathon, Bruin and American citizen Meb Keflezighi. If not, Deadspin has done a great job of listing the Patriotic (TM) talking points from Rovell:
Meb Keflezighi, who won yesterday in New York, is technically American by virtue of him becoming a citizen in 1998, but the fact that he's not American-born takes away from the magnitude of the achievement the headline implies.
Given our disappointing results, embracing Keflezighi is understandable. But Keflezighi's country of origin is Eritrea, a small country in Africa. He is an American citizen thanks to taking a test and living in our country.
The first point I'd like to make is that Meb did more than just "live" in the country. For the most part, he grew up here. Last time I checked, the University of California, Los Angeles contains three words that identify itself with the United States, so he was educated here. And being a citizen thanks to "taking a test" is no small feat, considering that there are reports circulating that a mere 3.5% of American High School students would be able to pass that same test. I'd like to know if Rovell could pass. I know I have my doubts.
Well, Deadspin, which does a great job of mocking all things stupid in sports and sports reporting, unloads with this gem:
That's right. An American by Scantron. Meb can run around with Old Glory all he wants. Won't change the fact he was born not just in Africa, but in an African country so damn un-American we made Ethiopia bomb the crap out of it for us. So, no, Rovell will not be waving the flag today, thank you very much. He's waiting for an American to win this goddamn race. Someone who really represents these United States of ours. Maybe someone more like that fellow who won way back in 1982, the last time an American broke the tape in New York. Now there was a real American. Guy by the name of Alberto Salazar.
Who was born in Havana.
Let's leave aside the fact that this is a country of immigrants for a second and concede that Rovell does have a point here. Clearly Eritrea is a part of the Axis of Evil (TM), and we should not be embracing this double agent as one of our own. I prefer our heroes to represent American values, like Alberto Salazar, hailing from the great beacon of Democracy (TM) and Freedom (TM); Havana, Cuba. Almost makes you wonder what that whole embargo business is about...
(No, I am not impugning Mr. Salazar's claim to citizenship)
Shamefully, Rovell's stupidity has even been picked up by our own host, SBNation. However, I do suggest clicking through to both and going to the comments where there is more comedy and well reasoned mockery to be had.
I salute Armchair Patriot (TM) Darren Rovell's diligence in bringing this pressing matter to our attention. How could you not trust a man with such an extensive athletic resume:
Rovell doesn't just report, he does. He finished the New York Marathon in 2004, the same year he ate six hot dogs and buns at a hot dog eating qualifier. He finished fifth in the world in the World Championship of Watermelon Seed Spitting in Luling, Texas in 2005, and scored one point in a two-minute stint for the Washington Generals at Madison Square Garden in 2008. He is also on the Green Bay Packers season ticket waiting list, has searched for golf balls in the water of the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass and has been tutored by the Dallas Mavericks free throw coach. In February of 2008, when Shaquille O'Neal was traded to the Phoenix Suns, he gave Shaq the idea to call himself "The Big Cactus."
In case you were wondering, yes, eating hot dogs is on the American Citizenship Test. That makes Takeru Kobayashi (of Tokyo, Japan) one of the greatest Americans to ever live.
UPDATE: (Achilles): I was writing a similar post but Tydides beat me too it.
Does anyone actually think that the U.S. government allowed Meb to become a citizen because he runs fast? Does Revell honestly believe that Meb is a ringer, that citizenship is so cheaply awarded that the United States granted Meb a passport so that the nation could rejoice in him winning a race?
The funny thing is, some of the naturalized citizens that I know are more patriotic and know more about this country than many Americans who were born and raised here. That test that Meb took? It's not given by the DMV. It's tough.
I'm struggling to respond here in the same way one would struggle with someone who said "You know, blank people are cheap." Or "blank people really do like to marry their cousins." Battling ignorance is tough because it forces you down into the muck.
What I'm really wondering what Keeley and Revell would say to the parents and wives and children of dead American soldiers who died in battle defending this country after becoming naturalized citizens. I wonder if they would tell them "Thanks, but it's not as if they were real Americans who were actually born here."
I not only rejoice in Meb's win because we are both Americans. I rejoice that I live in a country that allows great men like Meb to become citizens and then proceeds to treat him no differently than those whose families came over on the Mayflower.
UPDATE II: (N) It looks like CNBC's Darren Rovell has apologized for his insane column today. Yet the damage is already kind of done. Meanwhile, the post on SBN mocking Mebe as "technically" an American is still up. We'd suggest you fill up the comment thread not only demanding an apology from Sean but also his editors for allowing that kind of nonsense to be posted on a network which we are part of. We are also going to communicate to SBN that we expect a retraction or apology from Sean by the end of the day tomorrow.