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Why criticising Kevin Durant is hypocrisy while our sportspersons struggle to make ends meet

It would be far more helpful to defend our homegrown than get offended by an outsider's observation of the various realities around us.

Feature 13 Aug 2017, 20:42 IST

Durant received a lot of backlash for his comments

“It’s a country that’s 20 years behind in terms of knowledge and experience."

Kevin Durant recently shared his observations of the country after his visit to India. He said things that did not sound sensitive at all, and then backtracked and even apologised for his statements, asserting that he meant well and was planning to visit the nation again.

The news starts and ends here, but much has come to happen between these two statements. His comments stirred up a huge controversy and enraged quite a few Indians. People ranging from those that relatively agreed to what he said to those who were mighty offended by it and didn’t stop short of cursing him, took to platforms like Twitter and Facebook to showcase their feelings, the latter clearly more in number.

Take a look at these Tweets, and you will get a better idea.

Irrespective of whether people agreed with his statements or not, it can safely be said that the news got more than enough limelight.

Just two days before Durant’s statements spread like wildfire, there was another news 'hoping' to catch the attention of proud Indians - a national level wrestler Vishal Kumar Verma passed away due to electrocution at the Jaipal Singh Stadium in Jharkhand. This case is only one amongst the many tragic incidents that have happened in the near past and disappeared into thin air, with only a few Tweets or posts to their name.

This is not an argument that is seeking to add to the controversy that was brought upon by Durant’s statements, or to trivialise it. It simply seeks to understand why it is that a foreigner’s statement about the country extracts various emotions in people, while another player's bereavement gets neglected.

I am baffled at how nobody seems to be offended by the fact that a valuable sportsperson died tragically due to infrastructural negligence from the authorities and that nobody cared to seek retribution for the same.

People’s voices are getting more and more powerful in today’s times

We have had more than enough examples to portray the aforementioned statement, yet we see so many cases that deserve our attention, cases that if resolved will lead to tremendous growth for the country, getting pushed aside and then are forgotten soon.

Vishal Kumar Verma’s case is just but one example. Every day there are cases in the news, cases that speak about the many problems that athletes in this country face despite putting their heart and soul into serving their sport.

While there are sportspersons missing important tournaments because they’ve not been able to procure a Visa, there are some that are unable to make it to prestigious events due to lack of funds and even if they do, it is after utmost difficulty; veterans awaiting their dues from the authorities, be it in terms of money or promised jobs, and victorious but little-known athletes getting meager to no welcome into the country after returning from an event victoriously. There are stories of people who put their sweat and blood into representing the very soil that some get offended about, in various arenas and have been forced to drop out of their sport in order to continue supporting their underprivileged families.

These stories are of real people

And they need attention and responses with as much fervour. This is not an attempt to pit different cases against one another, but considering the number of people that got offended by what Durant said, one would assume we have a large support system to ensure that these issues get noticed?

A lot of these issues have consistently been brought up in the media. Many a times, circumstances have driven the players to appeal to people or authorities through the same social media platforms, but in vain. The responses have evidently been close to nothing.

It is one thing to defend our nation with mere Tweets and comments and one thing to stand by those who actually defend it through their efforts on the many fields, courts and tracks everyday.

These stories need to be heard. We need more people standing up to all the wrongs that our hard-working players and athletes face everyday, celebrate all the victories that they earn for us, despite their limitations.

And that, in my humble opinion, would be the best way to respond to an ignorant comment about the country that unfortunately holds true as of now.

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