In case you haven't seen it already, the above photo was taken of the Spanish Olympic Basketball Team as part of an advertising campaign that ran in the Spanish newspapers. This photo is grainy, but what we have here is the Spanish team making a slant-eyed gesture as they stand over a chinese dragon symbol. This was clearly in good fun, and clearly, the Spaniards are as diplomatic as Don Imus when it comes to race relations...
Was this the best Spain's marketing department could come up with, or do we have a bigger issue here? According to this article, this wasn't the first incident of kind. In recent years, Spanish sports and cultural/racial insensitivity have been synonymous with each other. In a time when the global media machine is working harder than ever, you'd think the Spaniards would strive to appear tolerant at least.
I realize players frequently say things that are misinterpreted. This advertisement, however, was a calculated statement. It wasn't the product of an untimely interview quote by a sore loser. It wasn't a statement by one "bad apple" from an otherwise tolerant group of athletes. It was a thought-out, organized, advertising campaign that was participated in by an entire basketball team.
Maybe this type of advertising isn't viewed as offensive in Spain. Maybe (though I highly doubt it) it isn't even viewed as offensive in China. Regardless of whether some cultures shrug this off as a lame attempt at humor, others (America included) are going to be appalled when they see this ad. The Spaniards have to understand they are speaking to a bigger audience than their home fans. What makes it even more disgusting is the fact that seven of the participating players either wore an NBA jersey last season or will wear one this season. You'd think they'd know better.