The PJ Tatler

Liberals: The Golden Gloves and 'Anti-Immigrant Policy' Made the Boston Bomber

Leftists keep coming up with excuses for the Boston bombers. First, it was the possible, undiagnosed brain damage that some boxers suffer. Never mind that Tamerlan Tsarnaev showed no symptoms of brain damage, and never mind that such damage tends not to manifest itself for decades. Facts don’t really matter if you’re a liberal making excuses.

Now they’ve come up with a new one, manufactured by the New York Times and propagated by The Nation’s Dave Zirin. According to them, the Golden Gloves boxing competition’s hierarchy made a decision that ended up in the creation of bombs.

Alienation, poverty and despair drive people—overwhelmingly young men—to awful acts of violence. That’s as true for the strung-out soldier who commits war crimes in Kandahar as it is for the gang member who kills a child on the South Side of Chicago. It’s also true in the case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the dead—and deadly—elder bomber of the 2013 Boston Marathon. The recognition of the roots of his rage rings clearly in a brilliant, harrowing profile that appeared Sunday in The New York Times. It’s less a story than an autopsy that explores what killed Tsarnaev’s hope that he could make a life in the United States.

Osama bin Laden was rich. Ayman al-Zawahiri is a medical doctor. If the former hadn’t gone terrorist he’d still be alive. If the latter hadn’t, he could have had a lucrative medical practice in his native Egypt for decades. Yet they both chose to go terrorist. Neither were alienated, poor or desperate.

Dave Zirin has no explanation for this.

But he has an explanation for the Boston bombers.

The Golden Gloves, at the height of Tsarnaev’s powers as a fighter, ceased its long-standing practice of allowing legally documented immigrants to take part in their Tournament of Champions. This broke with the history of a competition that was started in 1923 by sports editor Arch Ward in a hardscrabble town defined by immigration: the “stormy, husky, brawling City of the Big Shoulders” otherwise known as Chicago. That meant Tsarnaev and three other New England champions—all immigrants—were not allowed to compete. It’s only at this point that he quit the sport. As the Times reported,

Mr. Tsarnaev portrayed his quitting as a reflection of the sport’s incompatibility with his growing devotion to Islam. But as dozens of interviews with friends, acquaintances and relatives from Cambridge, Mass., to Dagestan showed, that devotion, and the suspected radicalization that accompanied it, was a path he followed most avidly only after his more secular dreams were dashed in 2010 and he was left adrift.

Did the Times talk with Tsarnaev’s boxing coach? Fox News did. What he told them does not square with what the Times came up with.

The coach is clear: Don’t blame Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s metamorphosis from a seemingly well-adjusted American immigrant – with dreams of one day representing the U.S. in the Olympics – into a radicalized killer on amateur boxing.

“That’s ridiculous,” Bob Russo, 58, of Portland, Maine, tells  “You can’t tie the sport of amateur boxing — that has helped so many immigrants and unfortunate people — to his transition to radical Islam.

“It’s a reach.  It takes more than that. I didn’t look at him that closely, the Facebook stuff and all that. But he just seemed like a typical refugee kid, (when I knew him). It’s a reach that amateur boxing dashed his dreams and caused this tragedy.”

The rule change that the leftists cite was done to clarify things, not alienate anyone.

Prior to 2010, the Golden Gloves allowed non-citizens, like Tsarnaev, to participate in the national championship, unless it was an Olympic year. Usually, winning the nationals secured the victor a tryout for the Olympic team on an Olympic year. But the old Golden Gloves policy, says Russo, resulted in confusion, controversy and numerous grievances on the part of both American and foreign fighters.

“It caused problems,” says Russo. “In the years the Golden Gloves would allow [non-citizens] into the nationals, the local guys didn’t want to fight their fighter against them because they felt the non-citizens shouldn’t have qualified in the first place. It was kind of a rule that needed to be cleared up and definitive. Yes or no. The Golden Gloves finally decided ‘no’ because it was causing chaos and confusion.”

Really, then, it’s the International Olympic Committee’s fault for having rules about citizenship dictate who competes for what country. How dare they?

The Tsarnaevs had been in the US for about 8 years by 2010, enough time to become US citizens if they had started early on their arrival in the nation that granted them asylum. The younger brother eventually did; the older brother’s citizenship was on hold because of his own actions.

The message of the Times and Nation pieces is that Islam, radical or otherwise, played no role in Tsarnaev’s transformation to terrorist. He was alienated, poor and desperate — not radicalized by an ideology funded by wealthy oil sheiks that has driven wholesale slaughter across the world and which left 3,000 Americans dead on 9-11. Instead of being a radical Islamist terrorist, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was just a misunderstood Jackie Robinson.

Similar hopes of finally having a seat at the American table have been projected onto athletes of color such as Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente and, most recently, Jeremy Lin. Their acceptance—or the myth of their acceptance—was treasured by immigrants and people of color as a sign that this country wasn’t just for Caucasians of pure European stock. How horribly ironic that this athletic avenue of acculturation closed in the face of someone who would have been at home in that late nineteenth century wave for whom the PSAL was created: an immigrant from Eastern Europe.

To the left and its apologists, radical Islam doesn’t exist, and you’re a bigot for suggesting that it does. Instead, ’twas the Golden Gloves that created the beast. In other words, America, your chickens have once again come home to roost.