The Bucks don't want soldiers to propose on their video board

Eric Freeman
December 10, 2010

When you go to a game, there are certain things you expect from the in-game production staff: the Kiss Cam, bloopers, cheerleaders, free giveaways, and marriage proposals. But if the Bucks have their way, that last one won't be a part of games any longer. Even for America's servicemen and veterans.

I'll let Jim Stingl of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explain the situation:

Tom [Cde Baca], a shipping manager who lives in Darien, first contacted the Bucks last week and told them his son, Jacob, an Army MP on active duty and a Bucks fan, was hoping to propose to girlfriend Holly Sawtelle, 19, with some added sizzle from a scoreboard message during a game on Dec. 27.

Jacob, 20, will be home in Wisconsin for five days on a break from training at Fort Polk in Louisiana preparing him for deployment to Afghanistan next year. He has a brother who is stationed in Afghanistan .

"I thought how cool this would be for him to do this before he is deployed," Tom said.

But when he called the Bucks, he was told the scoreboard was not available for marriage proposals but only for advertising. That made Tom want to jeer the deer.

Stingl also quotes Bucks spokesman Dan Smycek as saying that the team also has to consider the feelings of the women in question, who are put in awkward positions whenever proposals go public.

That's true, I suppose, but a basketball team isn't a person's parent. Presumably the elder Cde Baca supports his son's decision to propose to Miss Sawtelle, or else he wouldn't have contacted the Bucks in the first place. Is it the Bucks' job to protect their fan's against embarrassment? Perhaps, but only if you believe in a perpetual nanny system.

The Bucks have understandably started damage control to deal with this perceived slight of the military, but if they truly believe that fans proposals shouldn't happen then they shouldn't change their minds about this decision. However, given their video board guidelines, they appear to want to make as much money as possible during games through advertising. Jacob Sde Baca and Holly Sawtelle are legal adults and can deal with whatever consequences arise from a public proposal. Is this about stopping embarrassment or pure commerce?

Maybe the Bucks will reverse course and allow this proposal to happen. Although something tells me the element of surprise is gone.