The players have been stunned by the reaction to what they saw as a spontaneous gesture, “a moment of levity,” said Gail Greenberg, the team’s nonplaying captain and winner of 11 world championships.What would we do without ambassadors like Ms. Greenberg to explain our little quirks to our friends abroad.
“What we were trying to say, not to Americans but to our friends from other countries, was that we understand that they are questioning and critical of what our country is doing these days, and we want you to know that we, too, are critical,” Ms. Greenberg said, stressing that she was speaking for herself and not her six teammates.
The controversy has gone global, with the French team offering support for its American counterparts.
“By trying to address these issues in a nonviolent, nonthreatening and lighthearted manner,” the French team wrote in by e-mail to the federation’s board and others, “you were doing only what women of the world have always tried to do when opposing the folly of men who have lost their perspective of reality.”
Because up until now, all of our friends abroad thought every American save Natalie Maines and her band mates had voted for Bush. And look at how those poor girls suffered for their outspokenness.
Let us hope that Ms. Greenberg et al don't suffer similarly.
Ms. Greenberg said she decided to put up the sign in response to questions from players from other countries about American interrogation techniques, the war in Iraq and other foreign policy issues.
“There was a lot of anti-Bush feeling, questioning of our Iraq policy and about torture,” Ms. Greenberg said. “I can’t tell you it was an overwhelming amount, but there were several specific comments, and there wasn’t the same warmth you usually feel at these events.”
And let's applaud her and her cohorts for choosing China as a venue for exercising their First Amendment rights. So appropriate, really.