I’ve worked in television long enough to know that it’s pointless to utter phrases like, “Now I’ve heard everything!” But this is the kind of story, had I not learned said lesson, that might make me say such a thing.
Yes, those red, white and blue uniforms United States athletes will be sporting at the 2012 Olympics were actually made in China.
And it’s a story that even both Republicans and Democrats seem to agree that there’s something very wrong with this picture.
In Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that he’s so upset, he wants the Olympic committee to “take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.”
“You’d think they’d know better,” Republican House Speaker John Boehner said.
Yes, John, you’d think so, wouldn’t you?
The uniforms are being manufactured by American company Ralph Lauren. That part doesn’t seem to bother anyone. But the fact that the American company is apparently producing its American design in a foreign company that seems to be rubbing everyone the wrong way.
Well, not everyone: the U.S. Olympic Committee’s spokesman called the controversy “nonsense” on Twitter:
“[The designer] financially supports our team. An American company that supports American athletes.”
I have no problem with that. But surely Ralph Lauren could have made the uniform for this country in this country. Even if they had to spend a little more to get the job done here, it’s hard to believe that it never occurred to anyone that a foreign-made uniform at the Olympics wouldn’t stir up a hornet’s nest.
When you consider the nation’s economic conditions, the fact that the textile industry is one of many hit hard, and the fact that the Olympics are a source of patriotic pride, one wonders why no one saw this quagmire coming.