Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

Do Not Let the Madness March Over HBCU Basketball

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

Brackets

 

March Madness is here and we college basketball fans are excited.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) annual ritual is the single most entertaining sports event in the world for me.

It is also a cash cow. The NCAA will get $857 million from Turner this year. Within a few years, it will be generating over $1 Billion in TV revenue alone.

I am also a proud Historically Black College and University (HBCU) graduate of Howard University!

As March Madness grows to include more teams, it is crucial that we fight against efforts that would exclude HBCU’s. The most specific threat against HBCU’s is the call to eliminate the automatic bid system.

The current system allows any Division 1 team that wins its conference championship to secure an automatic bid to the tournament.

This is how you sometimes end up with teams with say a 15-15 record in the tournament. ESPN commentator Jay Bilas, whose opinion I generally respect, would do away with this. His contention is that the best 68 teams should be selected via record, who you played, and where you played them, as well as the infamous “eye test”. In a vacuum, it is a compelling case. Who among us that are sports fans don’t want the best teams in the playoffs?

The problem is that nothing in this world is ever in a vacuum. There is both a historical and current day context for all understanding and college basketball is no different.

The history is that up until 1957, HBCU’s were not permitted to participate at all due to the Jim Crow laws of that day. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) was actually the first to admit such schools. The NCAA was forced to admit schools in order to compete.  There was a time when only conference champions made the tournament. This is why arguably the greatest team in the history of Maryland basketball did not get to play in the tournament. The 1973-74 team that featured John Lucas, Tom McMillan, and Len Elmore finished 23-5. All of their losses were to North Carolina, 8-time defending champion UCLA, and eventual national champion North Carolina State, that beat Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Some say that game was the greatest college basketball game ever played.  There were calls to eliminate the automatic bid at that time but the alternative of awarding at-large bids won out and was implemented in 1980. This was a boon for the power conference schools, while keeping the automatic bid process.

The tournament has expanded over the years largely due to its incredible popularity. However, with every expansion comes the call to eliminate the automatic bid process.

Doing so would be a deathblow for HBCU basketball.

Contrary to what the current Secretary of Education thinks, HBCU’s were not born out of choice but out of a necessary response to racism. That same factor has always undermined these institutions’ financial struggles. Participation in this tournament not only gives them a rightful cut of the eventual $1 billion TV pie, but also helps with recruitment of both athletes and non-student athletes.

You may think if they want to participate, they should have to earn it like every other school. How did that work out for Central Florida in college football? They went undefeated, concluding by whipping Auburn from the mighty SEC, which beat both title game finalists. Yet they were systemically locked out of any chance to win the college football title. There was nothing that they could do differently because the power schools do not have to play them. The same would and already does happen to HBCU’s. The best they get is a “pay to play” trip across the country to play larger programs for a check. Only in the tournament do they get to compete in a neutral site.

It is not as if HBCU’s have no history of success.  Of the eight number 15 seeds to win a game, three were from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC, the home of my Howard University).

We are talking about a basketball legacy that has produced Willis Reed, Earl Monroe, and Sam Jones. Such talent now rarely considers HBCU’s in basketball, which is a byproduct of the raid that integration brought about. Simply put, the struggles of HBCU basketball are not from bad coaching or management, but they are a direct result of the expansion of opportunities for the players. The automatic bid process is the only safeguard that keeps HBCU’s at the table. The system is rigged to favor the power schools and without the automatic bid, HBCU’s will be shut out.

It should remain and we should fight any argument otherwise.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

No, the McCaffrey Snub Was Not Reverse Racism

Monday, December 14th, 2015

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

CM

In high school I remember playing football against a guy named David Craft.

He was not that big or fast.  He was white and be it consciously or subconsciously, I suppose initially that played a role in his being underestimated.  But you did not need multiple chances trying to tackle him to come to realize that David Craft was good….not good for a white boy….good, period!

Watching Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey this year reminded me of Craft.  As a die-hard USC fan, I saw much more of McCaffrey than I cared to see……enough to believe that he should have won the Heisman trophy.

He didn’t and it’s hard to know if the reasoning was SEC bias in favor of Derrick Henry, or regional bias in that all too many voters don’t bother to make it a point to watch the later showing west coast games, or the simple anti-stereotypical reality that McCaffrey is white and voters have a mold of the football running back that he simply can’t accommodate.

What I do know is that even if race did play a role in McCaffrey not winning the award, it is in no way a validation of the existence of reverse racism, and to make such a comparison amounts to a false equivalency on steroids.

Those who make this claim are either being shamefully disingenuous or have a child-like understanding of the concept of racism and more specifically in this case, white privilege.

Simply put, in no way will McCaffrey not winning the Heisman adversely affect his quality of life.  His opportunities going forward as an NFL prospect and Stanford graduate will be there.  Opportunities for his children to get a good education and fulfill other quality of life indicators are not affected.  The same can’t be said for the children of Eric Garner.

 

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

The Sterling Affair

Monday, April 28th, 2014

by B. Austin

Brad Blog

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo via BuschLeagueSports.com)

(Photo via BuschLeagueSports.com)

If people caught the conversations inside “the locker room of War Room Sports”, we would be banned, jailed, lynched, hung at the stake, and neutered.  My point being, as human beings we all can be insensitive in our conversations about other human beings.  Our prejudices can and do at times rear their ugly heads.  However, a consistent pattern of behavior towards others with certain malicious undertones indicates something more than prejudice or general ignorance.  Donald Sterling is the personification of something a little more heinous, and a line of thinking that has gone unchecked for far too long.

Through my travels on the world wide Web and interactions with the “internets”, there are a couple points I am putting out there in conversations regarding “The Donald Sterling Affair”: 1) We as black people ARE irate, as we should be, but we should remember it is not illegal to be racist.  It is not illegal to express racist beliefs.  Power behind any belief in this country comes from economic viability, exposure to to a mass audience, and support from that audience.  We have all supported Donald Sterling.  How you might ask?  By and large, passive inaction.  He has a history of this behavior that has gone unchecked and ignored.  He was already awarded an NAACP image award and was going to win a lifetime achievement award next month.  Due diligence was not done by us, or even more frightening,  was ignored as insignificant.  2) This point I will state facts and ask a question.  Donald Sterling purchased the Clippers for roughly $15 million.  They are presently worth $770MM.  When an owner or ownership team is selected and awarded a team by the league and the committee of other owners, VAST amounts of due diligence is done because that owner now represents the other owners and a larger global brand, with an audience of billions.  Even 30 years ago, due diligence was fairly stringent with David Stern.  Do you think the owners and NBA administration were not aware?  What is their culpability in this?  3) America turns a blind and cowardly eye to her current pathologies born from her past transgressions and trauma.  This perpetuates cowardice and weak character because we don’t inject responsibility, accountability,  and acknowledgement into our discussions about race, where we are, where we’ve been, and what is going on now.  4) Black people (and others); stop chastising and criticizing these players for not risking their financial livelihood by boycotting.  The vacuum in Black leadership can be blamed for their lack of “lay it on the line, John Carlos-like” actions.  They took adequate steps and may continue to protest.  At the end of the day, on any pro sports team, you play for the money, the love of the game, your teammates, your coach, and the fans…not ownership.  To expect them to risk $62 million (or any percentage of that salary number) is unfair.  If they did boycott, it would have been noble, honorable, and a beautiful thing, but not necessarily smart, as it would give Sterling an “out” of “non-performance” in any later legal proceedings or arbitration in an attempt to relieve him of ownership.  5) America; stop being so shocked and surprised at these racist feelings and circumstances rearing their ugly heads. We have not come that far and quite honestly we may have regressed due to societal and cultural declines in recent years.  Not to mention these are older white men who control and operate the socio-economic engines.  They grew up in the 40s, 50s, 60s.  They are direct descendants and/or participants in Jim Crow’s sons’ and grandsons’ views.  6) What is a 20-something woman of Black and Mexican decent doing dating Donald Sterling?  Does this remind you of the slave master’s relationship with Black female slaves?  He can hate pieces of you but exploit the things he wants?  7) Ultimately the true response and changing of the societal tides lie with the people, the fans. The players, the owners, etc are major stakeholders but nowhere near as powerful as the fan.  In today’s society where the culture of immediacy and sensationalism is prevalent,  how long will this remain an issue that the people are committed to?  WHAT WILL YOU DO?  NOT ANYONE ELSE.  Fight their power, become better people, and this goes away in generations and centuries.

Click here to watch the War Room Sports roundtable discussion on “The Sterling Affair”.

 

B. Austin of The War Room, for War Room Sports

Black Protectionism Part 1 & 2

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Coach Under Fire For Racist Remarks!

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011