August 1, 2008

Bob Malaythong and the Commercial

I'm back after a brief hiatus. It was an interesting break. I will probably have a feature/opinion article coming up soon.

I was reading the New York Times yesterday (paper edition since I was actually IN New York), and I saw this article on Bob Malaythong, an upcoming Olympian in the sport of badminton. It's an interesting immigrant story, and it sounds like he has come a far way. Becoming an Olympian in any sport is a hard, competitive process, and he should be proud.

One thing that really disturbed me, however, was the following text from the beginning of the article. It says:
Ortiz would be David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox slugger. He teamed with Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher to play badminton against Malaythong and his partner, Howard Bach, in a national commercial for Vitamin Water.

The commercial ends with Ortiz spiking the shuttlecock deep into Malaythong’s leg.

You can see the commercial here:

I understand that badminton is an underfunded sport, but for the life of me, I can't understand why the American Olympic committee would let two of their upcoming competitors agree to be in a commercial in which they get trounced by two "American" (read: white or black) guys who don't even play the sport. You would think that someone would stop them. From the story, Bob Malaythong clearly needs whatever money he earned from the TV spot, but I would think that any self-respecting badminton or Olympic organization would ask him not to do it. Or maybe pressure Vitamin Water to rewrite the script. I'm sure they could've arranged something that would earn Bob money and save these poor Vitamin Water people from embarassing themselves with their racial nonsense.

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