So Italian-born former-number one pick Andrea Bargnani was apparently close to joining a pro team in Italy this year, only the team that wanted him (Virtus Roma) couldn't afford him. So they sought out a sponsor to help pay his contract, and that sponsor was AshleyMadison.com, an online dating service for people looking to cheat on their spouses. But wait, there's more.
Then Opus Dei—the crazy extremist wing of the Catholic church made famous in the Da Vinci Code—got involved. Let it be known, y'all: Opus Dei does NOT like what's happening with #HumbleBargs and Virtus Roma and AshleyMadison.com. It's just WRONG.
"It is a crazy thing. A betrayal of the value and identity of sport. I really hope that the management of Virtus will deeply think about that. The core values of sports are tied to family. And bring their own children to a team who promotes a website like means to betray the identity of sport. The world of sports has to resist to seductions of money. They don't have to mix with that idea," said His Grace Flavio Cappucci (via Sports Illustrated).
So, what say you? One of Bargnani's former coaches called it "evil" to cooperate with a site like AshleyMadison, but I think that's probably a little dramatic. Classless or desperate is probably closer to the truth. But as far as resisting to "seductions" of money or any other kind, I'm pretty sure that ship sailed a long time ago.
For his part, Bargnani's distancing himself from the whole thing.
Either way, it's a reminder that NBA players in Europe during the NBA lockout is a sideshow that'll be worth following all year long. And whatever you think of the #HumbleBargs/Ashley Madison situation, Mr. Opus Dei was certainly right when he said, "It is a crazy thing."
And if the Bargnani does fall through in the end, then ere's to hoping they can involve the other Italian NBA star in all this. Because you know, it just wouldn't be right for an Italian team to promote illicit encounters without having Danilo "Big Cock" Gallinari out there front and center.