Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Killing Animals is Funny

If a black cat ran on a basketball court on Halloween and a player kicked it to death it would be hysterical right? And if a sinister python slithered among the players until it was beaten to death it would be a hoot. So no doubt when Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs whacks a bat to death during an NBA game it's a laugh riot. The problem is - it's not. I enjoy ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning but when they hosted SportsCenter a few nights ago and played a video of this event I was livid at their humored reaction. I was further annoyed by a guest of ESPN's Scott van Pelt Show who claimed anyone who doesn't find this funny needs to shut up and go away.

Here's where I have a problem:
1) NBA star Manu Ginobili should not be in charge of pest control.
2) A bat flying loose in an NBA arena on Halloween? Coincidence? I think someone captured one and set it loose and if this is the case, they endangered the safety of any one of the 17000+ people in attendance.
3) If the bat wasn't freed upon the crowd than it may have been roosting in the arena and was disoriented or it was sick - potentially with rabies. I'm not saying they needed to evacuate the place but there should have been some attempt to capture the low-flying animal other than a mascot swinging a net at it. Bats can carry rabies but it's rare. Day flying bats in the US should be treated as if they are sick and certainly that is what should have happened here.
4) People in general have a disdain for the night-flying creatures. They are "low on the food chain" as Scott van Pelt suggested on his Tuesday radio show. Bats are intelligent, highly social creatures - so this and other ill-informed comments can be considered woefully ignorant.
5) A San Antonio Spurs official said the bat was taken away and "released". Anyone who comes in physical contact needs to be vaccinated against rabies. One of their players swatted the bat from the air and handed it to an arena employee and they let the bat loose? I would imagine the bat was killed and the team is hoping to avoid a PR mess.
6) PETA as usual needs to take a breath and not take such a hateful anti-Manu stance. It was a split second reaction - not the brightest move but Manu Ginobili is not Michael Vick.

In the end Manu had to get 4 rabies vaccination shots and will have to have subsequent shots further down the road. I hate needles. I've had the vaccinations. It's not as bas as he's making it out. But I'll give him credit - no doubt he was put up to it, but he did speak out against anyone handling bats and the dangers of rabies. If only he or any of the misinformed media would have had a little more respect for bats as a species in general. They are amazing when they are not being demonized.


  1. I don't see where any of the above creatures should be beaten to death on a basketball court for starters, and I sure wouldn't think it was funny. The cat might be cute, but the other two would certainly come under the 'inciting a riot' category and the person letting them loose in the arena should be paying for their actions. Apparently sports people have a bizarre sense of humor.

  2. Here in Austin bats are pretty close to revered. I can't imagine anyone here doing what Manu did. With any luck, having to have the injections will teach him a lesson.

  3. I would send your link with your thoughts directly to the ESPN studio comment center, Presidents office, link to the Mike & Mike
    Show and the San Antonio Spurs offfice.
    Plus, if you want more exposure, try a few
    other networks (FOX, NBC)which work rather
    well. It's a dig against their competition.

  4. Letter will go to Spurs, ESPN and the NBA - anyone else who is annoyed by this can send an email to http://www.nba.com/email_us/contact_us.html - I will post the Spurs and ESPN contact info when I get a chance

  5. It's not really hysterical, nor even funny, though maybe he should play baseball instead.


  6. But in baseball it's ok to use a bat to hit a ball. Ba-dump bah! I'll be here all week.

  7. Dear Pete:

    Thank you for taking the time to write concerning Manu Ginobili’s oncourt incident Oct. 31, in which he made contact with a bat that flew near him on the court. We understand your reaction to Manu’s actions, and both we and he regret that he acted impulsively.

    Manu recognizes that his actions were troubling to many, and he has publicly apologized both on camera and through his Facebook page. In his apology, Manu acknowledged the importance of bats to our ecosystem. Most importantly, the bat was released outside AT&T Center, where it flew away safely.

    The NBA understands that the visibility and popularity of our players make it imperative that we set a high standard of personal conduct both on and off the court. Manu has personally dedicated considerable hours and dollars to improving the San Antonio community, and we hope that one unfortunate incident will not discredit his well-earned reputation as a caring and responsible citizen.

    NBA Fan Relations

  8. "Just wanted to give you guys an update on the bat situation. As many of you already know, it wasn't a great idea. Not only for the fact that bats are great part of the ecosystem, but also because some carry rabies, which is an incurable disease. That's why I had to get vaccinated today (and it wasn't just one shot).

    Only 0.5% to 3% of the bat populations carry the disease, but if you can't find the animal, it's not recommended to take any risks [because] it can kill you!

    Since after the incident, the usher took it outside and the bat flew away (not lying!), there was no way of knowing if he was infected or not, so I had to do the safe thing. Finally, please, don't do it at home or anywhere; avoid contact with bats, skunks, raccoons, rats and animals like that."