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Burns: Suns, Sarver choose to make statement

Agree or disagree with Robert Sarver’s message or motives….the man has guts. The spotlight glare of this series was plenty bright to begin with. Suns/Spurs, revenge/redemption, payback/Popovich/Parker. But now that the “Los Suns” era is upon us you can throw politics into the equation. Sarver’s team will be on display for the entire nation to see tonight; even (or especially) to those who don’t know or care that the Suns lead the series 1-0.

Something tells me CNN just took my seat in the press box. Forget what Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith have to say about this series, I’m dying to hear Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann go back and forth on it.

Upon first hearing the about the “Los Suns” jerseys and the statement the Suns are making by wearing them, I won’t lie to you, I wasn’t a fan. The only “statement” I’m interested in is the one made by the Suns if they can go up 2-0 in the series with a win tonight and I don’t want anything messing with that. The day before Game 2 against your biggest rival, the Suns potentially angered and alienated half their fan base. Pardon the pun, but I hope the Suns didn’t just take their collective eyes off the prize. I’ve read plenty of Facebook messages and emails from fans who aren’t happy the Suns and their politics.

I, too, don’t like my sports and politics to be mixed up like some vodka martini. If I’m going to rail on Jesse Jackson and his letter to Bud Selig demanding he relocate the 2011 All Star Game, then – following that same logic – I have to do the same about “Los Suns”.

All I crave out of my sports is….sports. Entertainment. An escape. I don’t want a reminder about the real world, don’t need one. I live in the real world, pay taxes in the real world, have publicly educated children in the real world, and vote in the real world.

When I watch a game I want to forget about the real world for two-and-a-half hours.

Is that too much to ask?

But the moment of epiphany I just had – literally just had as I was writing this – is that there is no escape. This is the world in which we live in. Tiger Woods isn’t just a golfer; he’s a morally flawed sex fiend who has been the headline act on TMZ.com for months now. Tim Tebow isn’t just a quarterback; he’s a deeply spiritual man who loves God, speaks out against abortion and doesn’t care what you think about it. Green Day’s American Idiot isn’t just a CD; it’s a condemnation of President George W. Bush. Avatar, The Hurt Locker and Up in the Air aren’t just movies; they’re statements about the environment, the war in Iraq and unemployment, respectively.

So what I’ve come to realize is that while I might not like it, I will choose not to be naïve about it either. It’s here. Like it or not it’s here. On one channel I’ve got Hannah Storm talking about illegal immigration on ESPN. On the other, I’ve got Fox News reporting on “Los Suns”. At night it’s Letterman bagging on my native state of Arizona. I’ll have that vodka martini now, shaken and stirred; it appears I have no choice.

So I’ll end this little rant the same way I began it. Sarver and the Suns could have done nothing at all. Could have skirted around the storm and nobody would have said a word about it. Instead they turned their sails into the wind knowing full well the squall was going rock the boat. You may not agree with the message or the messenger, but you have to appreciate the courage of both.