Not long ago, Cassandra Casanova would plan her weeks around the NBA playoff schedule. She would wear her San Antonio Spurs gear and spend days talking about her favorite team, dissecting its postseason matchup.
Not this year.
“I have no idea when the games are,” she said. “I could not care less.”
Casanova ignored the Spurs’ playoff opener over the weekend, a Game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, and she said she doesn’t feel as though she missed a thing. She has no problem with Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker. Her anger is directed solely at Coach Gregg Popovich.
“I am completely turned off. After all those years supporting the team, and now I just have no interest,” she said. “Popovich really messed up.”
Sports fandom in 2018 can be complicated, particularly when athletes and coaches have no qualms about espousing their political views. Fans such as Casanova are the inevitable result: She feels insulted and can no longer bring herself to root for her favorite team, which is making its 21st consecutive playoff appearance. When Popovich got political, Casanova got a garbage bag and filled it with 30 or so Spurs T-shirts, banners and trinkets. It all went to Goodwill.
“That’s how angry I got. It ruined my basketball life,” she said. “I took it personally. I was such a loyal fan, and he insulted me. Why would you start attacking the people who had been so loyal?”
For years, national politics either weren’t relevant in the sports world, or sports figures made a concerted effort to steer clear. But as athletes and coaches have become increasingly vocal on political and social issues, some fans have seen their ideological loyalties at war with their sporting interests.
Since the presidential campaign, Popovich has shared his disdain for Trump. He has …read more
Source:: The Denver Post