“My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.” – Bruce Levinson, Atlanta Hawks
EL BARIO, BRONX – Yes, I am writing back to back. That is because three things happened after yours humbly, Righteous Deacon Blaber, stepped away from his sports bully pulpit yesterday: 1) Above-quoted Hawks majority owner Bruce Levinson offered to sell his share of the club after an alleged racist email came to light. 2) The Ray Rice suspension… Ray Rice got so big, it was impossible for it to not go first. 3) Short Matt suckered me in as a pinch-hitter. Anyway, it all comes down to Levinson and Racism and Sports in America. Grab a latte and a anisette biscotti and come for the ride.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said once that “We are a nation of cowards when it comes to talking about race.” I feel the same way, especially when it comes to sports. We act like the history of this nation didn’t occur and the wealthiest country in the world wasn’t built on racial slavery and late xenophobia. This carries over into sports and the way we treat situations, especially when insensitive moments arise. Let’s take a look at the 4 major sports.
MLB: For all the talk of asterisks on the PED era why don’t we put asterisk on the pre-intergration era. I will say it right now, Babe Ruth isn’t fit to carry Josh Gibson‘s jock strap! Ty Cobb is a celebrated racist! Satchell Paige was the greatest ever – not Cy Young. All these celebrated players happened before integration. While we are at it, how did baseball lose black America? It is shocking that the league is so Spanish now. And why are they marketing it so poorly?
NBA: This league is blacker than midnight on Eastern Parkway And Utica Ave. It took a while for blacks to become coaches. However, that next level – management – seems to eluding blacks and no one can say why. I think that has a bit to do with the number of players that actually come into the league with the vision for life after the sport. They have the ability but don’t normally apply it. Smart players become good management people.
NFL: If not for the Rooney Rule, how many black coaches would there be? DON’T get me started on the college situation. There is a clear stigma attached to moving blacks up the chain. There is still the quarterback situation, and the marketability of white QBs compared to black ones is joke. Remember Warren Moon and him having to go the CFL?
NHL: The NHL is purely socioeconomic. Hockey is the most expansive of the 4 major sports at the youth level. As such, the ones that can often afford it are in white circles in the USA and Canada.
But across the board, why are we surprised about racist owners? These elite got to be rich by viewing everything as a business, whether old money or not. So they live a life detached from interaction with the players and black people. These are also often men from a different generation where “you can’t say that” didn’t exist. It explains why scouts, and their slang/vernacular is often in appropriate. It is a result of their age/era. Combine that with the antics of the players that they pay big bucks to with a blind eye to bad behavior and that is what you get… These guys are often racists before they own the team as this is ingrained in them. The ownership just brings it out.
All that said, I don’t see what Levinson said is so bad. He is literally making an analysis and even compares Atlanta to D.C. He is talking about maximizing revenue and stating what he sees are obstacles. He doesn’t use any derogatory remarks or epithets. Now that scouts comparison needed to be African street vendor then it makes sense. African is just half-ass and lacks follow through.
If it seems I am a little lax on this – for a black guy – it is because I have been in a locker room. It is the most politically insensitive place in the world and I loved it. I loved it because for once there was discussion and theories and stereotypes were laid bare. That is the only way we move forward; by talking about it.
That is it for now, hope you enjoyed the article and hope to hear from you below.
P.s… If you want to read more of my ramblings as a Rugby Guy, you can find them on RugbyWrapUp.com and our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp and @JunoirBlaber, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.