Ed Note: I hesitated to publish this in fear of sparking a heated political debate on our lovely little sports blog. In the end, I found this story provided fascinating insight into a prominent Suns player that was not going to be shared anywhere else. I encourage you to read this with an open mind regardless of your opinion and keep the discussion civil and respectful of the wide range of reactions that are sure to come.
Steve Nash, already well known for his political views, used Twitter recently to publicize an article in the left-leaning The Nation Magazine.
Nash in sending a link to the article tweeted, "I read a unique and interesting article by Sean Penn. http://www.thenation.com/do... Not getting on my soapbox but worthwhile."
The article is a first hand account from actor and activist Sean Penn of his trip to Venezuela and Cuba which included interviews with Hugo Chavez and Raul Castro. The leaders of those two countries are highly maligned by much of what Nash describes as the "main stream media".
After the Phoenix Suns practiced today and once he had finished answering basketball related questions from the assembled media, I had a chance to ask the Suns MVP point guard about the article and what he meant to convey when he linked to it via twitter.
"I thought it was interesting that he took his time to go down there and meet with people first hand and try and balance his opinions and not necessarily take what we see every day in our mainstream media outlets as the truth."
Many Americans consider both Chavez and Castro to be undemocratic dictators. Nash in his comments counters that perception which he feels is biased by a media that has it's own motivations.
"I thought it was an interesting article because I thought it was a new look, an new perspective on the situations. A new connectivity to the situations. I think it is always a good lesson for us to not necessarily buy into what some would say is an influenced, motivated main stream media."
Nash like many NBA players was a supporter of Barack Obama in the last election and in February of this year he authored an article for the English publication The Guardian in which he wrote:
Obama represented so much for so many people. He's someone the younger generation can relate to - he loves sports, he has young daughters - and it goes without saying what he means to the African-American community. And people were so ready for a change after eight years of the Bush administration. It was a perfect storm.
I asked Steve if he was encouraged by the new administration so far.
"I think it's great. They are going to make mistakes but it's such a microscope right now especially because of the economic situation and Iraq but..I think the amount of things they are doing and have tried to do thus far is exciting and commendable. Sometimes government can take so long to come into play and they've been very proactive and I think have taken a leadership stance that makes America once again look like a citizen of the world."
My final question to Steve before he headed off to a team meeting was how closely he followed this stuff. "Not that closely" was the response but for some reason that's the only thing he said that I have my doubts about.
Full audio version of my interview with Nash:
Link to a You Tube interview with Sean Penn talking about his interviews with Chavez and Castro.