Buzz for the new yet-to-be-released war movie, Red Tails, which was produced by George Lucas and tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, came from the most unlikely place: the post-game conference of the BCS Championship game between Alabama and LSU. Turns out the Crimson Tide players watched a screening of the movie before their dominating 21-0 win over LSU, and, according to their coach, seeing the movie helped inspire the Alabama players to win the biggest game in college football.
Now I get that sports teams have to find inspiration wherever they can. But comparing a football game, no matter how big and important, to the bravery and contribution to the first African American aviators in the US armed forces is a little ridiculous.
Check out the trailer for Red Tails if you haven't seen it yet:
No doubt about it -- the movie looks both amazing and inspiring. Nick Saban, Alabama's head coach, and the team were able to see the movie before it was released, with George Lucas' permission, no doubt in exchange for dropping the movie title a couple of times during his press conferences.
Saban mentioned that the Airmen's motto "describes the spirit of ... the group of players that we have on our team this year." But comparing the "spirit" of these African American aviators, dealing with daily racial discrimination and eventually putting their lives on the line for a country that didn't fully accept them because of their skin color, to a bunch of college kids playing a football game is a tad crass. It seemed more like a rehearsed plug for the movie more than anything else.
Don't get me wrong, I do love how these young guys were inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen and their bravery -- the sacrifice and heroism and hardship endured by the Airmen should encourage all of us to lead better lives. But I would have preferred that Saban stick to football strategy during his press conferences, so the next time he tries to shamelessly plug the next blockbuster movie, it doesn't seem so contrived, forced, and insensitive.
Does it bother you that Alabama's head coach compared the spirit of his team to the spirit of the Tuskegee Airmen?
Image via YouTube