Australian basketballer Andrew Bogut has never been afraid to tweet what's on his mind. But the 2.13m Dallas Mavericks centre reached peak bizarre-o with a tweet on the so called pizzagate affair.
Long story short, pizzagate is a fake news story that originated on Reddit about an alleged Democratic Party sex ring operating out of a Washington D.C. pizza joint. Even by 2016 standards, this fake news story is a doozie. But some people out there have taken it seriously, including a gunman who entered the restaurant armed with an assault rifle.
Andrew Bogut, who has won an NBA championship and who represented Australia at the Olympics this year, should have known better. Not because he's a top sportsman, but because he has a brain. That organ alone should have prevented the following tweet:
You have to wonder what possible part of pizzagate could amount even to one percent truth. Or what made Bogut take to social media to express his opinion on the (non) issue.
Award-winning sports writer and columnist Greg Baum of The Age cleverly put it all in an Australian context on Thursday. His piece opened:
Hey, Andrew Bogut, did you know that your footy club, Essendon, has a secret laboratory in a dank chamber underneath its Tullamarine HQ, where it not only churns out peptides by the thousands but does a nice sideline in methamphetamines, supplying bikie gangs all over the northern suburbs?
Apart from Baum's bollocking, Bogut has been feeling the social media backlash, much of which was like this:
@andrewbogut how you feeling about this now? Embarrassing for you to peddle such shit. Was a fan of yours & considered you better than this— dat tortoise (@fortis_r) 6 de dezembro de 2016
Give the guy some credit. He's not one to run away and pretend nothing is going on. Bogut did delete one or two subsequent, equally offensive tweets on the matter (which you can see at Deadspin), but he did give an interview to ESPN which sort of, kind, of explained nothing and everything.
"No one's ever asked my political views. They're far from alt-right, and they're far from crazy left," he said.
"Look, yeah, the Pizzagate stuff [was] pretty stupid. My tweet said, 'If one percent of this is true, that's sick.' That's it. Everybody is entitled to their opinion of what they think. I'm not going to even defend that. I don't care what people label me."
The big question here is a question not just for Andrew Bogut but a question for our times. Is everybody really entitled to their opinion on something which is so clearly fabricated? What opinion is there for a sane person to have except to dismiss such a mad story?
There's talk that Bogut may now become a darling of the alt-right, which could be a career problem, given he plays in a league with predominantly black players. He laughed off that suggestion, saying the (anti-immigrant) alt-right wouldn't have him because he's not an American.
Which again, misses the point. Which Bogut does a lot. He's been missing the basket this year too, for the record. His team is running last and his personal shooting percentage is at 47 percent, compared to his career average of 53.
Perhaps that's the percentage he should be more worried about rather than the probability of an impossibly preposterous conspiracy.