Monday, December 26, 2005

Graz to Rename Stadium Tookie Williams Stadium?

Per the NYT, the town of Graz, Austria, has decided to remove native son Arnold Schwarzenegger's name from the stadium:

Stadium Naming

The reason for the removal of the naming honor, well Schwarzenegger did not pardon Crips gang founder Tookie Williams from his court ordered execution:

"I submitted a petition to the City Council to remove his name from the stadium, and to take away his status as an honorary citizen," Sigrid Binder, the leader of the Green Party, said in a recent interview. "The petition was accepted by a majority on the council."

"We are against the death penalty not only in word, but really against the death penalty," said Wolfgang Benedek, a professor of international law at Graz University. He said the council's reaction reflected the special circumstances surrounding Mr. Williams: a man who had written a children's book aimed at steering young people away from violence, had already spent many years in jail, and seemed, to Europeans at least, to have reformed himself.

I guess in Austria, if convicted murders who were sentenced to death for the lives they took, write a children's book, they are entitled to have their sentenced halted. No word whether Graz will rename the stadium the Stanley "Tookie" Williams Stadium.....................................

Don't laugh, a similar idea has already been floated:

The new name is now simply Stadion Graz-Liebenau (a district of Graz), though there were other proposals. One was to name the stadium after the Crips, the gang that Mr. Williams founded, but that idea did not get widespread support....................

As nutty as Sigrid Binder, Wofgang Benedek and the city of Graz sound, I would not be surprised one bit if there will not be an official petition filed soon to do just that..............