Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

Where Jemele Hill Went Wrong

Friday, September 15th, 2017

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

JH

“Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.”

“His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.”

“He is unqualified and unfit to be president. He is not a leader. And if he were not white, he never would have been elected.”

“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”

“The height of white privilege is being able to ignore his white supremacy, because it’s of no threat to you.”

“Well, it’s a threat to me.”

“Donald Trump is a bigot. Glad you could live with voting for him. I couldn’t, because I cared about more than just myself.”

“I hate a lot of things but not enough to jeopardize my fellow citizens with an unfit, bigoted, incompetent moron. But hey, that’s just me.”

These are the tweets that landed ESPN commentator Jemele Hill into hot water.

Every last word is true!  

At the very least, it’s much easier to support what she says about the current president of the “Divided” States of America than it would be to refute them.  

And still yet often in America, truth is not the point! The denial of truth is.

Hill’s comments addressed the truth.  They did not address the denial of the truth, which is a prerequisite.  

It’s like trying to administer treatment or medicine to someone that does not acknowledge being sick.

I realize that this is a hard thing for truth loving people to stomach, especially those of us who are either more likely to be vulnerable to the adverse effects of the current president’s mindset and policies.  It is equally troubling for those who thought that they could find refuge from political commentary in sports.  

The point is that in America we have tacitly understood sacred cow subjects around which we are required to steer clear of under all circumstances, and race in sports is right at the top of that list.  

Full disclosure: Jemele Hill, along with Bomani Jones, Tim Kurkjian, and Jay Bilas, are my favorite ESPN commentators. Unlike Erin Andrews of Fox (throw a nickel out the window and you could hit 20 others who can do what Andrews does), she actually knows sports. She is insightful beyond sports, which is why she had to know that she was violating the code. What code you ask? The code that says as a sports commentator you are to, above all and foremost, insure that your white audience is comfortable with your commentary. Calling a man that more than a few of them voted for, a white supremacist, though absolutely true, is a violation of the code. One of the requirements to maintain a position such as the one Hill occupies is self-censorship.  

Now the other end of this is Jason Whitlock, who either consciously or subconsciously talks about race all the time, but in a way that placates the very element that is currently outraged about Hill’s comments.

As a result, his place in the mainstream sports media is secure.

I am not saying that she should not have said what she did. I am actually always happy to hear “insiders” rock the boat.  I am saying that when you do, understand that the pushback will be fierce and swift, and if one is not prepared to absorb such pushback without apologizing, why say it at all?  

My first degree from Howard University was in Journalism. My desire was to be what Hill is today, which is part of why I am a fan and have such great respect for her. I actually wrote for a Washington Black weekly paper upon graduating and was offered an internship with ABC News under Sam Donaldson. I turned it down and have no regrets. My thinking even then, over 20 years ago, was that to progress in such an environment would require I engage in the type of self-censorship that would have kept Hill out of the hot water she is currently in, and I knew that I simply could not adhere to “the code”.  

In the end, the issue is not Jemele Hill or even ESPN. The issue is the delusional notion that sports is some isolated haven, free of political commentary, or even that it should be. History proves this to be a fallacy.  Be it the influence of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color line in baseball, or the civil rights movement, or Muhammad Ali’s stand against the Vietnam War, sports has always been a platform to address larger issues to include politics as well it should be. But until the contrary myth is debunked, the likes of Jemele Hill and others of her valuable consciousness have a decision to make: is it best to maintain her current platform and speak truth to power from within the existing mainstream system or leave it and all of its perks and restraints to do so from the outside?  Neither you nor I can make that decision for her. If she leaves on principle, I’ll miss her on ESPN but respect her decision.  If she remains, she will surely have to understand that the push-back she is receiving is indeed the price of the party.

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Tactics vs. Objectives and the End Game of Protesting the NFL

Friday, August 18th, 2017

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

CK

Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem to protest the unwarranted state-sponsored killings, primarily of Black men.

He did not protest for the right or even the privilege to continue to have a job as a professional football player.

This is obvious to most and an unnecessary reminder for some.  However, when one listens to this current discussion about protesting the NFL over the obvious blackballing of him, it’s clear that many are thinking about the two issues as one.

They are not the same thing.

At best, protesting the NFL will provide the pressure for Commissioner Roger Goodell to do what he should have already done and that would be to call in a favor from an owner to sign Kaepernick.  This would relieve the pressure and “protect the shield” from the bad optics this drama has created.  If that were to happen, all too many of those insisting on this protest, would then retreat to their normally unengaged lives.  Those in danger at the hands of the police by the mere virtue of their skin color will still be in the same danger.

A protest is a tactic and not an objective.  Kaepernick’s objective was to bring attention to the injustice of police brutality.  Therefore, if the tactic of protesting the NFL will not address the above noted objective, what would be the point?

Protest works best when tied to a larger movement.  The Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 was tied to the larger Civil Rights movement.  Curt Flood challenging baseball’s reserve clause, which basically declared that a player, even when not under contract, was controlled by one team for his entire career, was tied to the larger struggle for free agency for baseball players and professional athletes in general.

Colin Kaepernick will be fine, even if he doesn’t play another down in the NFL.  The cause he has courageously taken up will now allow him to pretty much name his price on the speaking circuit, should he choose to do so, all around the country.  In fact, a case could be made that Kaepernick would be even of greater value to the movement if he does not play another down in the NFL.  That would then make him a martyr of sorts and few things are more inspiring to get others to take action than martyrdom.

Protesting the NFL will do nothing to dismantle the police industrial complex which is at the core of the issue Kaepernick raises.  So to suggest that the failure to engage in this particular protest is being unsupportive of Kaepernick really shows a gross misunderstanding of the scope of the issue. The fact is, police brutality, especially against Black men, is and always has been a fundamental part of the American DNA, and who does or does not have a job in the NFL will not change that one iota.  To suggest otherwise would be the same as offering a band-aid to a cancer patient, as if it were a cure.

I would wager that Kaepernick himself would much rather see those of us committed to the issue of police brutality join organizations that have as their missions to address such or related issues.  It might be the NAACP or the ACLU.  Or if you are in the Washington DC area, it might be the Prince George’s People’s Coalition or Pan African Community Action, or in Jackson Mississippi there is Cooperate Jackson.  And if there is no organization that addresses the issue to your satisfaction, then start your own, but be prepared to be in it for the long haul. Drive by social media activists and/or platform pimps will not serve the movement well. As the late, great Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) often said, “The struggle is eternal.”

The seeds of the terrorism that claimed lives in Virginia this past weekend were sown long ago.  Likewise, the oppression Kaepernick seeks to address existed long before he became a professional football player and will not cease whether he is in or out of the NFL.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Riley Rebel: Champion Athlete for America, Misunderstood Victim of Racist Roots, and Supremacist Upbringing

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

by B. Austin

BA

 

 

 

RC

It’s time to let “Riley Rebel”, champion of the Confederate Calvary of America, live in peace.  Time to stop judging him for shit we allow others to get away with, because it is less brash…not as overt.  I am absolutely certain his feelings are shared by many, many, many young white males from his background.  Personally, I prefer my racists and supremacists out in the open where I can see them and know their position.  I am not going to church, living near, or associating with Riley Rebel in anyway…so like white people have said for 100’s of years: “Run cracker run! Go run, jump, catch, hit, tackle, and entertain me with a football as you break your body apart for my entertainment”.

What BOTHERS ME THEN YOU ASK?  Well, I am glad you asked. What bothers me is the 7 or 8 other NBA owners that were Donald Sterling’s pals, which we will probably never know about.  What bothers me is the fact that the NFL, whose players are 72% black, have only 3 or 4 black head coaches, a few coordinators, the weakest player’s union, and NO BLACK MAJORITY OWNERS.  No, Riley Rebel doesn’t bother me much.  What bothered me was when 4 St. Louis Rams players decided to take a stand for justice regarding Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Police organizations and Policemen took a stand against that, and football fans didn’t rally or stand up against tyranny.  Nah, Riley Cooper didn’t bother me at all…he is entertaining.  I was much more concerned with the sports and athletic community’s lack of presence and silence in the #JusticeOrElse events.  Riley Cooper had no input there.  There are so many truly devious and heinous instances of white supremacy, racism, ethnocentrism, white privilege, white entitlement, Black apathy, Black colorism, self-hate, and overall societal erosion to point at, AND use sports as your landscape with which to do so.  Riley Cooper isn’t worth all the anger and ire he receives.  What Riley is to us and himself is a relatively slow, not-so-talented, overlooked, overpaid white professional athlete, who lives as a minority at his workplace and his true feelings came out on camera.  He probably faces an inferiority complex every day, and in the comfort and confines of his own territory, a Kenny Chesney concert filled with white country music fans (but secured by hulking Black security guards), Riley let that inferiority complex and alcohol get the best of him.  Here were guys that were bigger and stronger than him but making far less money and having far less status…and he was in front of his entourage…he had to let testosterone and frustration blend with the alcohol and racism, to go ahead and let his honest feelings be felt.  I actually feel sorry for dude. He has to live with this and public scorn for the remainder of his career, meanwhile America remains the same and the real problems go unsolved. He is merely an honest product of his environment.

 

B. Austin of War Room Sports