Despite the unusual hours for games overseas, games outside of North America are a huge draw for all sports fans alike. However, a college basketball trip to Spain has changed the topic from basketball to the safety of our athletes.
Yesterday morning, a van plowed through a crowd of people in Barcelona, Spain – right outside a hotel where several of the NCAA’s top college basketball teams were staying before their games and practices later in the day. Reports from team after team kept piling in alerting fans that their teams were, in fact, okay and that one of their beloved – and very young – athletes had not been a victim of what was dubbed an act of terror.
BREAKING: Police in Spain call Barcelona van incident a terror attack; local media report up to 13 dead.— The Associated Press (@AP) August 17, 2017
Arizona, Oregon State and Clemson basketball teams all in Barcelona. All told ESPN they are safe and accounted for. https://t.co/fCwMq90CMu— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) August 17, 2017
But what if one of the athletes of any of the teams had been a victim? It’s a scary thought.
Too Much at Risk
The day of the attack, the Arizona Wildcats‘ men’s basketball team decided to forgo its final game in Spain and head home for safety reasons, so the fear is not completely lost. However, this did come just after a terror attack happened that one of them could have, tragically, been a part of.
The reaction of fear is there, but not the original forethought of fear given the history of attacks as of late in Europe. There have been, in 2017, seven terrorist attacks in European cities, all (and more) ordered chronologically by Express. These attacks aren’t unlike what happened today in Barcelona. These attacks can happen at any time to anyone – so should we be putting our athletes in this situation?
A problem with this is there are many people who believe that sports are their own entity, completely separate from every struggle and event that happens outside of it. Some people might not even think of the fact that sports stars can be victims of anything – they are normal people after all.
Time compiled a list of the worst terrorist attacks that involved sports – most of which occurred outside of the United States. Again, it’s not like athletes have been and continue to be immune to terrorist attacks – they too are vulnerable.
So why are we putting our stars in harm’s way like this? Why is it that sports seems to have a barrier around itself, protecting it from other real issues like police brutality and terrorism? How long will it take until we actually have to hear the news that we lost one of our own because we weren’t on our toes?
Sometimes, we all have to remember there are bigger things than sports out there.