Color me extremely unimpressed by the recent attempts by NBA basketball player Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James to weigh in on the recent shooting that occurred in Dallas, Texas.
The primary question that I would pose to not only Anthony and James, but also the vast majority of African-American athletes is a relatively simple one; ‘Where have you been?’ In a highly contentious racial climate that has seen so many of their peers, not their athletic peers, rather their peers as young African-American males, struck down by the bullets of law enforcement officers, notable Negro athletes have followed the lead of Michael Jordan and remained silent about matters that are truly important to Black America. I think that it is particularly revealing that Carmelo Anthony’s call for Negro athletes to do something did not occur after the numerous highly-publicized murders of African-American citizens, the call was issued after Micah Xavier Johnson took it upon himself to speak a stringent unbending truth to the white power structure regarding the actual value of Black Lives and the fragility of human lives in general.
Carmelo Anthony’s response to the occurrence in Dallas is as follows.
“Shooting 11 cops and killing 5 WILL NOT work…I’m calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change. There’s NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge.
We can’t worry about what endorsements we gonna lose or whose going to look at us crazy. I need your voices to be heard. We can demand change. We just have to be willing to. THE TIME IS NOW. IM all in. Take Charge. Take Action. DEMAND CHANGE.”
In many ways a figure like Carmelo Anthony choosing other prominent athletes to intercede after an African-American male has struck back reeks of what many would derisively term ‘House Nigga’ syndrome, I would call him the new Jackie Robinson. Put simply, now that the white power structure has been addressed in one of the few languages that they understand, politically disorganized and economically inefficient Negro athletes are supposed to join together and lead the way. Trust me when I say that the enemy that they are facing, an opponent that has never desired racial equality in any form or fashion, will never voluntarily loosen their grip upon a privileged position that they are so comfortable within that they no longer recognize its existence.
Contemporary athletes such as Lebron, Carmelo, “Money” Mayweather, will continue to fail at recreating ‘the Ali summit’ that included figures such as Lew Alcindor, Jim Brown, and Bill Russell due to a lack of intelligence, education, and courage. Each of these ‘things’ are critical components in the development of a politicized individual who recognizes not only that they are inextricably linked to their fellow African-American, but also their politicization calls them toward a higher purpose than a lifestyle that rests upon the mindless pursuit of designer labels and the accumulation of ‘materialistic junk’.
The most obvious examples of the lack of political astuteness among athletes were revealed when Michael Irvin tried his hand at political commentary during a statement to The Dallas Morning News. In this moment, Irvin places his full support behind the fallen officers without mentioning any of the events that led Micah Xavier Johnson to lash out. “You can let it beat you, or you can rally together and say, ‘Not on my watch.’ And that’s what the community in Dallas I’m sure will say, ‘Not on my watch, We will not allow this on our watch. We will rally together.”
Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders weighed in with a similarly idiotic tweet when he shared the following. “Black lives Matter, White lives matter, Hispanic lives matter, Latin lives matter, Asian lives matter, All lives matter, Yo life matters!”
Considering the absence of education that is so prominently displayed by so many professional athletes, it is a bit frightening to believe that they desire to join discussions that matter without the requisite training and mentorship. Although I never thought that I would pen these words, the truth of the matter is that figures such as Carmelo Anthony, Michael Irvin, and Deion Sanders are intellectually feeble when it comes to addressing racial issues, a most dangerous proposition as they are seeking to ply their craft in the midst of a full-blown war that is seeing many whites display a determination to re-fashion America that reminds one of a Holy Crusade that they are more than willing to die for.
Although the spirit of what Carmelo is calling for is admirable and it is true that people would listen to what these ‘superstar’ athletes would say, the truth of the matter is that it is not their ability to reach the masses that I take issue with, rather the harsh reality that they don’t really have anything to say about Race, Class, and Economic inequality to those who would eagerly listen to their ‘political position’. Hopefully, professional athletes who have very little understanding of American racial dynamics beyond being Black in America will do us all a favor and step-aside and do what they do best, dribbling balls and running around knocking one another down, and leave more important matters to those who have spent lifetimes studying and planning to make strategic moves aimed at ensuring ‘the liberation and salvation of the Black nation.’
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016