Sports & Politics
Highlights of Lee Manley # 30 Germantown Gryphons 2011-2012 season. Lee Manley is listed at 6’7″ and 180lbs. He’s a very athletic tenacious all around ball player. He is very good at shot blocking and low post defense as you probably notice in his highlights. On offense he can take it inside or outside. Manley is currently looking for a 4 year college to attend. Be on the look out for him. He’s a very talented ball player.
Thank you to all of those who have responded to the original post on William Rhoden’s controversial book Forty Million Dollar Slaves. This post was written to continue to generate more and more conversation on an issue that certainly is not talked about enough. I like Marcia’s and Kim’s comments because they highlight how important the larger role of entertainment plays in our culture. While I do appreciate Dan’s intellectual probing, I disagree on a number of points. Yes it is true that we are all in a sense slaves if you define slavery as one who works for little to no monetary compensation and struggles to survive. As the new census report reviled over 15% of Americans are living below the poverty level and many more are close to poverty. This is why many of us are indeed victims to a capitalist system that forces its citizens to be ponds to much larger and more powerful interests (dominated by rich white men). With that said, Rhoden’s argument is more focused on the actual plantation system in America and how it can be directly or indirectly related to the sports industry in America. While his argument at times can be a little over-assuming, one thing is for sure, it certainly is not flawed! Black athletes today do bring in a vast majority of economic revenue yet are not afforded an equal share in the profits and or power that is generated from this multi-billion dollar industry. In fact it is the industries deliberate highlighting and monetary rewarding of a very small select group of black athletes as the poster children of their respective leagues (which is only afforded to them if they are under their best behaviour), that in fact creates a false illusion as if these athletes are reaping the majority of the financial benefits that are being generated in their name. What we must do as critical viewers of entertainment is to probe deeper to see the men behind the curtain who are really making the cash. Let me also make it clear that only the good negro who shuts his mouth and stays clear from the political arena such as Lebron James will be afforded those monetary privileges and even then he is still open to much scrutiny for every move he makes. In fact I think Rhoden’s main argument is that their needs to be more courageous and outspoken Black athletes who use their money and influence that they generate to effect change on a larger scale. The video that I posted highlights this well. To me I would rather be broke, free, and in the wilderness then be rich and under the rules of a professional association that imposes its will and squeezes every penny that they can out of me. But hey that’s just me. For the time being I would like to go back to the issue of entertainment. In the book White on Black: Images of Africa and Blacks in Western Popular Culture, Pieterse cautions us “That some blacks have become famous as entertainers or athletes is sometime presented as an argument to the effect that there is no real discrimination against blacks, that western societies are integrated and that every opportunity is open to blacks if only they make an effort. It does not require too much imagination however to realize that this kind of success is a marginal phenomenon and can very well go along with a pattern of discrimination in society at large”. He goes on to talk about how in slavery times entertainment served as a way to reduce friction and was always accompanied by the whip. According to Frederick Douglass the interest in black entertainment for Slave masters was a way of keeping rebelliousness at bay. Have we as a society become so immersed in our entertainment that we fail to see that it acts as a calming method that diverts our frustrations? To end I like Marcia’s comment that the main issue is how one will use his or her 40 million to help society. Thanks for reading and please continue to comment and get your views out there.
This is a new documentary called Not Just a Game which highlights and critically addresses the intersection between sports and politics. The film is based off David Zirin’s bestselling book The People’s History of Sports in the United States. Zirin argues that despite the idea that is commonly perpetuated that sports is just an escapist form of entertainment, rather American sports has highlighted some of the major political struggles and debates of our culture. Furthermore Zirin illustrates how sports has according to him “glamorized militarism, racism, sexism, and homophobia…”. He also traces a legacy of sports rebels that have used their status as athletes to fight social injustices. Although I haven’t seen the film myself I have read one of David Zirin’s books called What’s My Name Fool. I believe that it is a problem that our society just sees sports as a way to escape life that can sometimes be stressful and unrewarding especially in the midst of an economic crisis. I sincerely believe that it is the responsibility of our generation to learn from sports leaders of the past like Muhhamad Ali and Jackie Robinson who saw the importance of fighting for injustices while also being an accomplished professional athlete. Do you think that athletes such as Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Michael Vick, etc… have that responsibility? Or is there too much pressure on these athletes that we glamorize as our idols? What is our responsibility as consumers of sports?
This clip highlights a round table discussion of William C. Rhoden’s controversial book Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete. Rhoden’s book seeks to bring to light and critique the position of African-Americans, primarily males, in athletics. He illustrates that the big money sports (football, baseball, and basketball) are owned and controlled by white men and have a disproportionately big percentage of black athletes. He takes this information to articulate that the situation that black athletes find themselves today can be likened to a type of plantation system whereby they are bringing in the vast majority of economic revenue yet are not afforded an equal share in the profits and or power that is generated from this multi-billion dollar industry. Further, Rhoden notes that although Black sports figures are given a lot of celebrity and fan-fare it still remains true that there is a clear imbalance in power defined by white ownership and black labor. I have read this book and my views are that I do believe that the analogy of black athletes as slaves has validity and can even be extended to the music industry. With that said, I also don’t think it is useful to get caught up in the word slavery and rather simply understand that the fact that Black athletes are the work horses that generate millions of dollars for an industry controlled by white male owners is simply wrong and unfair. Until critically addressed this grave injustice will continue to persist in our society. What does everyone think about this argument? Do you believe that this has a lot to do with systemic racism? What do you think the role of both the White and Black demographic must be?