Category Archives: Sports

Why America Should not be Surprised by Boston Red Sox Fans Treatment of Adam Jones

Although it feels like a lifetime ago, I was nine years old when the Los Angeles Lakers selected Magic Johnson with the first pick of the 1979 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft. Upon reflection, it is possible for me to convince myself that my developing interest in the NBA and embrace of the Los Angeles Lakers as my favorite team was ordained by God. However, such conjecture would make me a liar because although Magic Johnson and “Showtime” was a significant factor in my deciding to support a team located nearly 2,400 miles away, I was merely following the lead of a black community in throwing my support behind the Lakers.
Although I did not understand all of the history and inner-workings of the L.A. Lakers feud with the Boston Celtics, one thing was certain; if you were African-American, you were expected to support “Showtime” and despise the Celtics. Within a black community that was far from monolithic, we all seemingly agreed that the city of Boston and each of their sports franchises were to be despised with an extreme hatred; not even the presence of black Celtics like Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, or Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell lessened our piercing disdain.
In actuality, the virulent racial animosity that characterizes Boston contradicts its storied history as the epicenter of colonial resistance to British tyranny. During the moments immediately before the Revolutionary War, a group of Bostonians was attacked by British troops in an attack that resulted in Crispus Attucks, a black man, being the first casualty of a prolonged conflict that resulted in the birth of America. Considering the history of racial bias and animosity that has come to characterize Boston, it is ironic that it was Attucks death that framed colonial rebellion against British rule. Put simply, the killing of Attucks serves as “the straw that broke the camel’s back” in regards to colonists determination to not be “the slaves of Britain.” Such a backdrop makes Boston’s current well-deserved reputation as a bastion of racial hostility all the more unfortunate.
When African-Americans are queried regarding their perspective of Boston, it becomes apparent that they long ago decided that it was a comfortable rest haven for racial prejudice, bias, and virulent racism. Considering that perception is the reality, it is safe to say that the vast majority of African-Americans view the city in as negative a light as the British troops dispatched to the North American continent to quell the colonial rebellion. Hence, the recent incident of Red Sox fans hurling racial expletives toward Baltimore Orioles player Adam Jones was not surprising.
For most African-Americans, this rather mundane racial incident is yet another verification of what we have always known; that being, those who attacked Jones have much company in regards to their views of racial matters. Although African-American optimists believe that whites stirring up racial conflict are merely a vocal minority that reminds them of racial antagonists within their community, however, even they must concede that racial prejudice and bias among whites is rather prevalent. There is not much room to debate the belief held by the vast majority of African-Americans that racial bias and animosity is endemic to not only the city of Boston and the fans that support their storied franchises, but also a significant omnipresent factor in every American city, institution, and segment of society.
Although not laudable, major cities throughout this nation have been incredibly consistent in regards to the prevalence of racial bias.
Even a cursory examination of American History proves that the thanks provided by white fans and owners to African-American athletes for their athletic contributions and service to the team is eerily reminiscent of that given to black servicemen returning from World War I. Unfortunately such thanks included a weighty post scriptum (P.S.) that reminded these black men that although their valor, commitment, and courage was recognized, it was not significant enough to alter their second-class citizenship status. Consider the following treatment afforded to two of Boston’s most notable sports stars.
K.C. Jones, a Hall of Fame player who later became the head coach who would lead the Boston Celtics in their titanic racially-tinged battles against Pat Riley’s “Showtime” related the following incident while purchasing a home in Boston. “We were living in Framingham when I was a player. I went to buy a house about five blocks away … The neighbors said they didn’t want any blacks to move into the house.”
In another incident that exposes the significant underbelly of racial animosity in Boston, Dee Brown, a recent first-round draft pick of the Celtics, along with his fiancée were accosted by nine law enforcement officers while seeking to purchase a home in the affluent suburb of Wellesley. For some unknown reason, local law enforcement personnel arrived on the scene and accosted Brown. Officers would later allege that Brown matched the description of a bank robbery suspect. This matter was not resolved before Brown, and his fiancée was forced to lie facedown in the street by officers who had pulled their weapons out.
The plentiful racial prejudice and bias found in Boston were characterized by the legendary Bill Russell as a “flea market” of racial animus in his book Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man. According to Russell, Boston racial bias and prejudice appeared in “all varieties…The city had corrupt, city hall-crony racists, brick-throwing, send-em-back-to-Africa racists, and in the university areas phony radical-chic racists.”
Considering that black athletes far-and-wide were aware of Boston’s racial climate, it is not surprising that a chosen few established stars such as Dave Winfield (Yankees) David Justice (Braves), and Gary Sheffield (Padres) included clauses in their contracts that forbid their present employer from trading them to the Red Sox.
As if things could not get any worse for the city of Boston, former Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling has unveiled himself yet again as the village idiot assigned the task of publicly refuting the city’s infamous history of racial bias. Via a perch provided by Breitbart, Schilling stated the following, “If somebody did say it, we’re going to see it and hear about it, and I would apologize to Adam Jones for doubting him, but until then, I think this is bulls—t. I think this is somebody creating a situation.” According to Schilling, Adam Jones is not a victim of racial hatred, rather an opportunist seeking to cash in on the fame, glory, and notoriety that attaches itself to politicized athletes such as Colin Kaepernick.
It is the general ignorance of figures such as Schilling that has historically proven counter-productive during discussions of racial matters. Schilling’s “demand for definitive proof,” as if an elongated history of racial bias in this nation is insufficient for such purposes, not only derails any movement toward the decline of racial animosity but also emboldens white racists in sneaky ways. The only way to counteract such individuals is for “good white folk” to denounce their antics via tangible actions such as ostracizing them socially and economically. Failure to make such individuals pariah makes “good white folk” accessories to America’s most gruesome crime. The alluded to actions should be willingly adopted by whites as a litmus test to evaluate their integrity. “Good white folks” failure to denounce racial bias and animosity leaves African-Americans no other choice than to group them with their boorish brethren.

A close reading of African-American history or even entrance into a middle-class black neighborhood will reveal to whites that the vast majority of African-Americans resist an urge to haphazardly classify them as racists with every fiber of their being. However, such efforts to find “good white folk” are not only exhausting but also have historically placed African-Americans in significant peril. So if nothing else, it is time for “good white folk” to stand up and make a move against those within their midst that continue to damage the brand of whiteness not only in this nation but also around the globe. Failure to make a significant move against those who stoke the fires of racial animosity leaves us with no choice to conclude that all whites are racists and every place is the same as Boston.
The ball to change these realities is most certainly in “good white folks” court.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

 

WHY I WILL NOT BE CELEBRATING THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF JACKIE ROBINSON’S MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT

Although I am a baseball fan, I will abstain from the jubilant celebrations surrounding the 70th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s integration of “Major League Baseball.” Where others see cause to celebrate, I mourn. From my perspective, this is yet another occasion that proves that African-Americans have made whites the measuring stick that they measure success. Such individuals apparently think that there is no greater sign of success than to close the physical gap between themselves and whites, no matter the cost. One thing is for certain, African-Americans foolish commitment to integrate with whites has repeatedly resulted in their ruin. Put simply; the integration of Jackie Robinson into major league baseball came at a steep cost to the entire community, particularly black baseball players and those men who owned Negro League teams.

Never mentioned in these annual celebrations of Robinson’s arrival to the Los Angeles Dodgers roster on April 15, 2017, is the economic ruin that resulted for the black community. The eventual disappearance of Negro League teams meant the loss of dollars within a community that had learned to circulate their monies as a result of racial segregation. Trust me when I say that the socioeconomic casualties, especially the loss of ownership of teams, are far too numerous to list in this space. Negro League teams such as the Atlanta Black Crackers, Cleveland Buckeyes, New York Black Yankees, and Kansas City Monarchs were not only a significant source of entertainment for the African-American communities that they were situated within, but also provided an opportunity for team ownership for African-American men such as Joe Green, Andrew “Rube” Foster, Tom Wilson.

By most accounts, Negro League players were more skilled and physically superior to their Major League counterparts. This statement even includes a folk-hero such as Babe Ruth whose talent was eclipsed by Josh Gibson; we must never forget that it was Gibson, not Ruth, who was the only man to ever hit a ball out of Yankee Stadium.

In hindsight, it made little sense for Negro League teams to disassemble and have its most acceptable, not necessarily most talented, pieces parceled out to white Major League teams. Although I could be wrong on this matter, I would hope that if the African-American community understood that the most significant consequence of Jackie Robinson integrating Major League Baseball was the dismantling of the Negro Leagues and the ancillary decline of the African-American community’s socioeconomic viability that they would temper their celebration of Jackie Robinson donning “Dodger blue.”

Now please do not take this as a veiled call for the continuation of racial segregation in baseball or the nation in general, because it is not. However, it is a much-needed call to reconsider African-Americans rush to abandon their institutions for outside entities for no logical reason beyond it being owned by whites.

Make no mistake about it, the decline of the Negro Leagues was a hostile takeover by white baseball owners. If Major League Baseball power-brokers such as the frequently celebrated Branch Rickey were interested in actually integrating the sport, they would have pursued diversity throughout the entirety of the game from the outfield to the ownership boxes. There is precedent for such a move in professional sports as well.

There was a time when the National Basketball Association (NBA) had stiff competition from the upstart American Basketball Association (ABA). Now I do not want you to think that the ABA was some ragtag outfit composed of players who could not have played in the NBA. It was very similar to the Negro Leagues in that it featured incredibly talented players:

  • Julius “Dr. J.” Irving
  • Artis Gilmore
  • Connie Hawkins
  • Rick Barry
  • Spencer Haywood
  • Billy Cunningham
  • George McGinnis
  • George Gervin
  • Moses Malone
  • Dan Issel
  • David Thompson

Instead of “integrating” the ABA stars into NBA teams, NBA owners created a merger with the upstart league and agreed to accept the Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, and New York Nets into their league. Players from the two remaining teams that folded were placed in a dispersal draft.

When placed within this context, there was absolutely nothing, outside of bigotry fueled institutional racism, preventing white Major League owners from creating a merger with the Negro Leagues and bringing several pre-existing franchises into their league. Although I am certain that many will charge that white fans would have boycotted inter-racial games, such an action would have had little impact on profits as African-American fans would have flocked to the games in droves with hopes that black baseball players would have proven their superiority once and for all. Despite it being relatively difficult to comprehend considering the popularity of football and basketball within Black America that there was a time when baseball was also Black America’s favorite pastime.

Unfortunately for Negro League owners and the black community, the price white team owners demanded their “acceptance” of African-American baseball players was the dissolving and absence of black ownership. From their perspective, African-Americans were only acceptable as disposable employees, not as owners possessing a voice in league operations. It is for these reasons that I cannot fully embrace Jackie Robinson’s Major League Baseball debut because it came at such a steep cost to the entire black community, a cost that is so enormous that we still to this day do not have an accurate tally. In fact, the vast majority of us are unaware of the tremendous collateral damage that the integration of the Major Leagues had upon the entire community.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017.

The Resurrection of Charlie Strong: What it Says about America’s View Regarding Black Professionals and their Ability to Serve as Leaders

One of the most difficult things for anyone, particularly an African-American male to bounce back from a failure in their professional lives. This matter becomes unbelievably more complicated when the alluded to failure occurs on a national stage in front of one’s peer group. It is inevitable that failure will befall some unlucky chap from time-to-time.

Historically speaking, when a failure occurs for an African-American coach in either a professional league or at a major collegiate campus they are usually never provided another such opportunity. As an alum of The Ohio State University, my mind reverts to the turmoil within our men’s basketball program that ultimately led to the dismissal of Randy Ayers, an individual who would never again serve as a head basketball coach.

Well-meaning mentors have historically taught burgeoning African-American professionals that they have no room for error in their professional endeavors as one errant step could ruin their present position and any future opportunities. Historically speaking, African-American professionals, regardless of the venue they are operating within are expected to be beyond perfect; a demand that no one could ever achieve. It is amazing that more African-American professionals have not cracked under pressure to achieve perfection.

News that the University of South Florida is seriously considering Charlie Strong for its head coaching position is noteworthy because it proves that one professional failure such as the one that Charlie Strong experienced at the University of Texas is no longer the end of the road. America should celebrate this occurrence as it proves that this nation has lessened its grip upon old stereotypes that questioned African-Americans ability to fulfill leadership roles.

When placed within the larger context of American race relations, the belief that African-Americans possess the make-up to serve in leadership positions by whites is something that must be noted and then applauded.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

It’s Bigger Than Football: Why Charlie Strong is Representative of SO MANY Mis-guided African-Americans

From the moment that the ‘good folks’ at the University of Texas (UT) settled, and yes I do mean settled, for Charlie Strong as their new head football coach I knew that he was doomed.

Actually, when I heard that Strong accepted the UT job, I openly questioned what in the world could he have been thinking? There was no conceivable way that Charlie Strong should have left the charlie-strong-1University of Louisville in favor of becoming the head football coach at the University of Texas; the only way that such a move made any sense was that maybe, just maybe, Strong was oblivious to the racial realities that governed the great state of Texas. There is a popular saying that says, “everything is bigger in Texas”; and after living in this state for over a decade, I must agree that this state’s unofficial mantra has to be ‘either go big or go home’. Unfortunately for those blacks seeking association with whites, such extremism applies to racial matters within the great state of Texas. I privately hoped that prior to signing his Faustian deal, someone who had Charlie Strong’s best interests at heart would kindly remind him that Austin, with all of its liberal elements, was still located within “the great state of Texas.”

As stated above, things were bound to be particularly funky for Strong at UT when one considers that he was not even on the ‘short list’ of candidates that tremendously influential alumni and boosters felt capable of addressing the Herculean task of reconstructing the University of Texas Longhorn football program that Mack Brown had run into the ground.

There is no clearer sign that the most powerful elements of the University of Texas community were greatly disappointed with Strong’s selection than the vitriolic rhetoric hurled at the new hire by longtime Longhorn booster Red McCombs. McCombs referred to Strong’s hire as a “kick in the face” to boosters such as himself by UT administrators.

According to McCombs, the former owner of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Vikings and co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, “I think the whole thing (the hiring of Charlie Strong) is a bit sideways. I don’t have any doubt that Charlie is a fine coach. I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator. But I don’t believe [he belongs at] what should be one of the three most powerful university programs in the world right now at UT-Austin.”

Unfortunately for Charlie Strong, he failed to understand that the duties associated with being the University of Texas head football red-mccombscoach extended further than the gridiron. The UT position, like most prestigious athletic positions, is akin to an ambassador position that requires socializing with and winning over wealthy boosters and alumni who under other circumstances would have little, if anything, to do with African-Americans or the issues facing the young Black males who serve at their behest on the gridiron. Put simply, such individuals have carefully crafted lives and social circles that by design do not include African-Americans. It is for such reasons that racially conscious African-Americans realized that it was only a matter of time before trouble and turmoil found Strong in Austin. Sadly, Black America has seen this scenario unfold in a host of arenas.

There is an unspoken truth among African-Americans that is rarely discussed in the presence of “mixed-company” that goes like this, success and longevity for African-Americans at an institution such as the University of Texas or even a mundane job hinges less upon their ability to fulfill the job duties and more upon their ability to fit within the dominant work culture.

Although it is rarely commented upon in public, conforming to and accepting the denigration that naturally flows from a socially offensive and outrageously discriminatory dominant culture is the path that African-American professionals must travel if they have any real aspirations to “get ahead” in America.

Unfortunately for African-Americans, their foolish decision to focus exclusively on integration and not pursue entrepreneurial endeavors at every turn has left them largely beggars, if not parasitic, in regards to employment opportunities from an often hostile white community that consistently verbalizes its unwillingness to share economic resources.

Nevertheless, whites hostility toward a figure such as Charlie Strong or any other African-American working in their midst rarely results in ut-3the vanquishing of Negroes from their presence. In many ways it appears that Negroes are more committed to working for, spending their money with, living among, and forcing themselves into white social circles than they are at either providing a future for future generations of Black America or healing themselves from the damages that result from their interactions with an overtly hostile white America.

In the end, I guess it is to be expected that Strong, and millions of others, will continue their dastardly fight to maintain their close, yet not quite intimate, association with an overtly hostile white community, it is what Negroes do after all.

What is most saddening of all is that I really do not think that Negroes such as Charlie Strong know any better; and I tell you, it is late in the game to be that damn stupid or naïve.

Dan Freeman

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2016.