Rant: Not Entertaining

On December 14, I went to watch the Denver Nuggets take down the Houston Rockets. The game, which started sluggishly, was actually one of the Nuggets’ most laudable performances in an otherwise lackluster season. Just when I was starting to enjoy myself, though, the Nuggets managed to commit an unnecessary foul—during a break in the action.

Rocky, the team’s mascot, trotted onto the floor with the dancers for a quick routine. He, the announcer explained, was filling in for a member of the dance troop and had spent plenty of hours preparing. The dancing started and a female version of Rocky walked on to the court with a stroller (a mini Rocky nestled in it). She saw Rocky, ran over, and started beating him repeatedly with her purse. They argued, he gave her roses, they made up, and the game resumed.

A lover’s quarrel is an overused plot line and Rocky’s on-court persona has always been a bit of a cad, but when the antics—by him or his counterpart—involve violence, it crosses a dangerous line. Domestic violence is a hot-button issue in professional sports (you’ve read the headlines about Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Jeffery Taylor). Heck, earlier this year, the Cleveland Cavaliers apologized for a video that showed partner violence. So, it’s surprising that the Nuggets organization wouldn’t be more sensitive to this serious issue, especially at this time of year, when the holiday season often brings added stress to households, which leads to an increase in domestic violence reporting, especially on New Year’s Day.

I asked the Nuggets if the skit had raised any complaints and if it would be performed again. We received this response via email from Tom Philand, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer: “I think it is safe to say that all skits involving Rocky are meant purely for entertainment. We have not received any complaints regarding this skit to the best of my knowledge. If we unknowingly offended someone, we apologize and will take that concern under advisement.”

After witnessing Nuggets games where the performances during breaks are quite entertaining, I know the organization has plenty of material and can retire this skit for good. A PSA about stopping domestic violence would be nice, too.

Rave: The Best Job Listing Ever

If Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the The Martian have you looking to the stars, NASA just might make your dreams come true. This month, the agency announced it is looking for a “new class of astronauts.” Applications are due by February 18, so you’ve got time to prepare, but some requirements—20/20 vision (glasses and LASIK are OK), passing a swimming test during training, and so on—could be limiting factors. Oh, and if you can read this without the Star Wars theme playing in your head, I salute you.

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.