Nothing seems to brake an athlete’s focus more than mind games. Sadly, there are no rules to keep the crowd’s words out of another player’s head. The only way to avoid this mental battleground is to do what Kansas State’s Angel Rodriguez did when he received racial chants from the Southern Mississippi Band.
At the free throw line stood Puerto Rican born Rodriguez and off in the near crowd hurled chants from band members. I guess they didn’t get the memo. Instead of playing their instruments the members decided to taunt him.
They chanted, “WHERE’S YOUR PAPERS?”
Besides being overtly racist, the members were just out of line. I hope after this the NCAA will implement some rule where it says the band can only open their mouths when its time to play music.
On the other hand, Rodriguez remained calm and collective as he went on to score 13 points and to help his team take the win 70-64. It wasn’t until after the game when he was asked about the racist chants.
“You know, I don’t pay attention to that nonsense,” he said. “Especially because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth. So we don’t need no type of papers.”
Although Rodriguez allowed the ignorant blurbs to role off his back, the university immediately issued an apology statement from the president. Even administrative officials personally apologized to the 18-year-old Rodriguez.
Without hesitation the young Latino baller accepted the statements, which shows that racism is just a bunch of noise. It also shows that a little determination and confidence can go a long way for players who want to keep focus.
Source: NY Times