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Cam Newton’s Historic Blindness

Cam Newton is a great quarterback, and he has led the Carolina Panthers to the Superbowl. He may wind up to be one of the best ever to play the position. Only time will tell.

Along the way, there has been some media flack about his touchdown dance and other sports related bar talk. To which he has responded …

“I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to,” Newton told The Charlotte Observer yesterday (January 27). 

Uhhhh Cam…Doug Williams ring a bell? The primary storyline surrounding Super Bowl XXII was that Washington’s Doug Williams was the first African-American quarterback ever to start in a NFL league championship game, let alone a Super Bowl. He became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, and four in a half. Williams was the first black starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl in 1988, and the only one until Russell Wilson won Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. Just to jog your memory, Cam…

And Russell Wilson isn’t anyone’s slouch.

And he (Williams) did that on one good leg, after being injured in the first quarter. .

They ain’t scared because you are black, Cam. And you ain’t Doug Williams…Yet. A guy who played for years on some crappy Tamp Bay Teams with mediocre receivers until he was traded to he Redskins, and lit things up with what was then one of the best receiver corps in the league. And Doug went through weekly crap about black players “not being smart enough” to play the position, and left Washington after winning the Superbowl.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback dropped hard truths during a recent interview. 

Even as he lead the Carolina Panthers on a steady march toward this year’s Super Bowl, star quarterback Cam Newton caught flack for his unapologetic self-assurance and penchant for celebratory “dabbing.” In a new interview, Newton spoke frankly about why he has gotten more scrutiny and criticism than most other NFL players.

“I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to,” Newton told The Charlotte Observer yesterday (January 27). He then added, “People are going to judge and have their own opinion on certain things that I don’t have control over, nor does anybody else.”

Newton has faced this kind of criticism from journalists, commentators and football fans alike ever since he was drafted to the Panthers in 2011—all of it focused on behavior that doesn’t draw nearly as much scrutiny for White  players. One Seattle Seahawks fan even petitioned to ban Newton from CenturyLink Field, calling him “one of the most unprofessional, unsportsmanlike individual [sic] on the face of the planet.” We need not spell out the subtext behind much of this criticism.

Besides his legions of fans, Newton has an ally in Doug Williams, who in 1988 was first Black quarterback to play in the Super Bowl. Williams won the MVP award (for which Newton is considered a front-runner) during that game after leading theWashington NFL Team to a 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos—the same team that Newton and the Panthers will face in the 50th Super Bowl on February 7. Speaking to USA Today, Williams discussed the culture of denial surrounding criticsm of Newton:

“I’m not going to be the one who says what my thinking is, because sometimes it don’t matter what I think,” Williams said. “It ain’t going to matter what he thinks. Because at the end of the day you’ve got a lot of people denying [racism is behind the criticism of Newton], that that’s not true. Even if it’s true, they’re going to deny it.”

When Newton squares off against the Broncos’ veteran QB Peyton Manning in San Francisco, he will be only the sixth Black quarterback to start in the Super Bowl.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Race and College Sports

The last major bastion of slavery in America – college sports. College Football and College Basketball are major revenue drivers for the schools. Being part of a major conference, even for a school at the bottom of the standings still means $8-10 million revenue in TV Rights and ticket sales. The big money from football has caused major realignments of traditional leagues – resulting in major realignments of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the Big East as schools have fled to the big(ger) money conferences.

Schools winning the Championship series can garner over $50 million in revenue counting TV Rights, Ticket sales, and the ale of licensed material. This is BIG Business…

Racial prejudice is driving opposition to paying college athletes. Here’s the evidence.

With the money made from college sports increasing every year, the way colleges treat their athletes has become controversial.

That’s because college sports is a tremendously lucrative business for everyone but the athletes. The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) will receive $7.3 billion from ESPN for the right to broadcast the seven games of the College Football Playoffs (CFP) between 2014 and 2026, and $11 billionfrom CBS and Turner Sports to broadcast “March Madness” over the next 14 years.

Individual colleges also make out well: The University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team’s trip to the Final Four this year, for example, brought more than $8 million in revenue to the universities of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Each of the “Big 5” conferences will make an estimated $50 millionfrom the college football playoffs this year.

And none of this counts the money made from concessions, merchandise and licensing fees.

Meanwhile, most college athletes are “paid” with scholarships that cover only tuition, room, board, books and fees — although in 2015, the NCAA allowed Division I universities the option of increasing this to pay the full cost of attendance. After adding up the time spent on practice, training and games, college athletes often “work” the equivalent of full-time hours for the universities they play for…

 

Most blacks want college athletes to be paid. Most whites don’t

There’s evidence that he’s right. In survey after survey, strong national majorities oppose paying college athletes. In March 2015, for example, anHBO Real Sports/Marist Poll found that 65 percent of Americans do not think college athletes in top men’s football and basketball programs should be paid.

But these attitudes vary significantly by race. In every survey to date, blacks are far more likely to support paying college athletes when compared to whites. For instance, in the 2014 Cooperative Congressional Election Study(CCES), 53 percent of African Americans backed paying college athletes–more than doubling the support expressed by whites (22 percent).

Racial divisions on controversial issues, of course, are not new. Even on ostensibly race-neutral policies like welfare, health care, and law enforcement, strong differences in opinion exist between blacks and whites. Decades of research have found (here, here and here) that some of those gaps in opinion come from racial prejudice against blacks. When whites believe that a policy mainly helps blacks, their opinions on that policy are inevitably colored by their feelings towards blacks as a group.

Could some of that gap grow from racism?

Could racial prejudice also affect attitudes toward paying college athletes? There are good reasons to believe that it could.

According to NCAA data from 2014, blacks constitute the majority of players in college football and basketball, the two sports that most people think of when they think of college athletics. Given this reality, it would be strange if questions about paying college athletes did not conjure up images of young black men in the minds of survey respondents.

To find out whether racial prejudice influences white opinion on paying college athletes, we conducted a survey of opinions on “pay for play” policies using the 2014 CCES.

In a statistical analysis that controlled for a host of other influences, we found this: Negative racial views about blacks were the single most important predictor of white opposition to paying college athletes.

The more negatively a white respondent felt about blacks, the more they opposed paying college athletes.

To check our findings’ validity, we also conducted an experiment. Before we asked white respondents whether college athletes should be paid, we showed one group pictures of young black men with stereotypical African American first and last names. We showed another group no pictures at all.

As you can see in the figure below, whites who were primed by seeing pictures of young black men were significantly more likely to say they opposed paying college athletes. Support dropped most dramatically among whites who expressed the most resent towards blacks as a group.

When we talk about paying college athletes, we’re talking about race 

In other words, the discussion about paying college athletes is implicitly a discussion about race. As the representative of nearly 1,200 schools, conferences and affiliate organizations, the NCAA should consider how much it wants to base its policies on public opinion that may be tainted by racial prejudice.

Kevin Wallsten is an associate professor in the department of political science at California State University atLong Beach. Tatishe M. Nteta is an associate professor in the department of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Lauren A. McCarthy is an assistant professor in the political science department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
 
 

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Globetrotter Legend Meadowlark Lemon

The Harlem Globetrotter star, and favorite of millions of young fans has passed.

Meadowlark Lemon, Harlem Globetrotter Who Played Basketball and Pranks With Virtuosity, Dies at 83

Meadowlark Lemon, whose halfcourt hook shots, no-look behind-the-back passes and vivid clowning were marquee features of the feel-good traveling basketball show known as the Harlem Globetrotters for nearly a quarter-century, died on Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he lived. He was 83.

The death was confirmed by his wife, Cynthia Lemon.

A gifted athlete with an entertainer’s hunger for the spotlight, Lemon, who dreamed of playing for the Globetrotters as a boy in North Carolina, joined the team in 1954, not long after leaving the Army. Within a few years, he had assumed the central role of showman, taking over from Reece Tatum, whom everyone called Goose, the Trotters’ long-reigning clown prince. Tatum was a superb ballplayer whose on-court gags — or reams, as the players called them — had established the team’s reputation for laugh-inducing wizardry at a championship level.

This was a time, however, when the Trotters were known not merely for their comedy routines and basketball legerdemain; they were also a formidable competitive team. Their victory over the Minneapolis Lakers in 1948 was instrumental in integrating the National Basketball Association, and a decade later their owner, Abe Saperstein, signed a 7-footer out of the University of Kansas to a one-year contract before he was eligible for the N.B.A.: Wilt Chamberlain.

By then, Lemon, who was 6 feet 3 inches and slender, was the team’s leading light, such a star that he played center while Chamberlain played guard.

Lemon was a slick ballhandler and a virtuoso passer, and he specialized in the long-distance hook, a trick shot he made with remarkable regularity. But it was his charisma and comic bravado that made him perhaps the most famous Globetrotter. For 22 years, until he left the team in 1978, Lemon was the Trotters’ ringmaster, directing their basketball circus from the pivot. He imitated Tatum’s reams, like spying on the opposition’s huddle, and added his own.

He chased referees with a bucket and surprised them with a shower of confetti instead of water. He dribbled above his head and walked with exaggerated steps. He mimicked a hitter in the batter’s box and, with teammates, pantomimed a baseball game. And both to torment the opposing team — as time went on, it was often a hired squad of foils — and to amuse the appreciative spectators, he laughed and he teased and he chattered and he smiled; like Tatum, he talked most of the time he was on the court.

The Trotters played in mammoth arenas and on dirt courts in African villages. They played in Rome before the pope; they played in Moscow during the Cold War before the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. In the United States, they played in small towns and big cities, in Madison Square Garden, in high school gyms, in cleared-out auditoriums — even on the floor of a drained swimming pool. They performed their most entertaining ball-handling tricks, accompanied by their signature tune “Sweet Georgia Brown,” on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Through it all, Lemon became “an American institution like the Washington Monument or the Statue of Liberty” whose “uniform will one day hang in the Smithsonian right next to Lindbergh’s airplane,” as the Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray once described him.

Significantly, Lemon’s time with the Globetrotters paralleled the rise of the N.B.A. When he joined the team, the Globetrotters were still better known than, and played for bigger crowds than, the Knicks and the Boston Celtics. When he left, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were about to enter the N.B.A. and propel it to worldwide popularity. In between, the league became thoroughly accommodating to black players, competing with the Globetrotters for their services and eventually usurping the Trotters as the most viable employer of top black basketball talent.

Partly as a result, the Globetrotters became less of a competitive basketball team and more of an entertainment troupe through the 1960s and ’70s. They became television stars, hosting variety specials and playing themselves on shows like “The White Shadow” and a made-for-TV “Gilligan’s Island” movie; they inspired a Saturday morning cartoon show…Read More Here

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in Giant Negros

 

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Better Punt Aussies – LA Inner CIty Kids Take up Rugby

Rugby isn’t very big in the US, but in the UK and Australia it is a big sport.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Stupid Deal of the Decade? Magic Johnson Group Buys LA Dodgers for $2 billion…

There are good investments…and bad.  Paying out $2 billion for a Sports Franchise in a sport which is on the way down – is definitely one of those “bad” investment ideas. Seems to me $2 b could be better spent buying a NFL Franchise (Several of which are actually worth $2 B or more) or investing in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), which is about the fastest growing professional sport out there right now. The list of the Top 50 Professional Sports Franchises in the World looks like this.

So… Why but the Dodgers?

I hope Magic hasn’t lost his business “magic”!

Group Led by Magic Johnson Wins Auction to Buy Dodgers for $2.15 Billion

In a quick, dramatic end to the year-long financial crisis of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team’s owner, Frank McCourt, agreed to sell the team Tuesday night for $2.15 billion to a group headed by Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ Hall of Famer.

The Johnson group’s deal, financed largely by Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services firm, includes $2 billion for the team (minus $412 million in debt) and $150 million to create a joint venture with McCourt on the parking lots and land surrounding Dodger Stadium. The deal is valued at $2.3 billion.

If the all-cash deal is approved by the judge overseeing the Dodgers’ bankruptcy, the price will be the most ever paid for a professional sports team.

The most ever paid for a franchise is at least $1.4 billion for Manchester United. The Miami Dolphins were sold for $1.15 billion and the Chicago Cubs were acquired for $845 million. McCourt, who bought the team in 2004 for $421 million, had resisted selling the real estate, preferring to rent the lots for $14 million a year to the team’s new owner. But the Johnson group suggested the joint venture on the land, said a person briefed on the sale but not authorized to speak publicly.

The deal will let McCourt repay a $150 million loan made to the team last year by Major League Baseball and his $130 million divorce settlement to his ex-wife, Jamie.

The winning bid defeated one by Stan Kroenke, the billionaire owner of the St. Louis Rams, Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets, and a second from two other billionaires: Steven A. Cohen, the hedge-fund manager who recently bought a small share of the Mets, and Patrick Soon-Shiong, who made his money in pharmaceuticals.

The final steps in the process came rapidly. McCourt’s investment banker, Blackstone, asked each bidder to raise their offers Monday night.

Baseball owners approved all three bidders Tuesday afternoon and later in the evening McCourt selected on the Johnson group. An announcement was made shortly after 11 p.m. eastern.

In addition to Johnson and Guggenheim Partners, the winning group includes Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and Peter Guber, the film producer and head of Mandalay Entertainment.

The agreement to sell the Dodgers to Johnson’s group appears to end an extraordinary year for the team. It filed for bankruptcy last June after Selig blocked a new, long-term billion-dollar cable TV deal between the Dodgers and Fox Sports. Selig had sharply criticized McCourt’s management of the team — in particular his use of team money for his and his ex-wife’s personal use — and installed a monitor to oversee the team’s operations. McCourt called that a hostile takeover.

 
 

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Jeremy Lin – Race Matters

Growing up in the 60’s I was pretty comfortable in my ignorance about Asian people. They were short, small folks weren’t they? During segregation black folks didn’t much socialize with Asians, as the few Asian kids that were here went to the white schools. That comfortable ignorance was shattered my freshman year of college when I went to the Penn Relays and a friend introduced me to a 7′ tall Chinese High Jumper, who educated this poor brainless twit to the fact that Asia is huge, and peopled by a lot of different folks…

With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 eliminating racial quotas and restrictions on immigration (not to mention putting us all in the same schools in more enlightened parts of the country) – you would think folks would have learned a hell of a lot about each other by now.

I guess not in the last bastion of bigotry – Sports.

Jeremy Lin - The Kid's Got Game, Y'all

Opinion: Man to man defense

Last Friday, Jeremy Lin – the Knicks’ sensational out-of-nowhere superstar – finally sealed the deal.

Despite his record as one of the most exciting talents to come out of the Bay Area in years, leading Palo Alto High to a stunning 32-1 record in his senior prep year, he was recruited by none of the top basketball schools, finally opting to attend Harvard University after being offered a guaranteed spot on their team.

He subsequently dominated the Ivy League, and put up numbers in his senior year that should have gotten any NBA scout excited, becoming the only player in the NCAA’s Division 1 to rank in the top 10 in virtually every performance category.

And yet Lin went undrafted, finally accepting an offer of a deep backup slot on his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors – who gave him a handful of garbage minutes, shuffling him back and forth between the bench and the NBA’s development league, before finally releasing him in December.

The Houston Rockets, who’d lost center Yao Ming to retirement the previous season, briefly picked up Lin as a potential ploy to retain their substantial Asian fanbase, but dropped him a few weeks later – on Christmas Eve.

The Knicks, ravaged by injuries to all their big-name, big-ticket stars and reeling in the standings, picked him up to ensure they could field a full team on the floor. In the past week, Lin has led New York to a string of victories with a set of incredible individual and team performances.

And last Friday, after dropping 38 points on an elite Los Angeles Lakers squad, he convinced his remaining critics and doubters that they’d been wrong all along.

Most of them.

Minutes after Lin’s amazing game, with the streets of midtown still in the throes of LINsanity, Fox Sports News personality Jason Whitlock issued a flip, ostensibly satirical tweet that probably can not be reprinted in full here. Suffice it to say that it suggested that Lin would be celebrating his victory by entertaining “some lucky lady,” while also reiterating an ugly and cliché stereotype about Asian anatomy.

Why Jeremy Lin’s race matters

After heavy pressure from a range of sources, particularly the Asian American Journalists Association, on Sunday, Whitlock apologized for the joke, calling his remark “immature [and] sophomoric” and one that “debased a feel-good sports moment.”

While many people, including, apparently, Fox Sports News’s leadership, have been willing to let things go based on this act of contrition, I think Whitlock dodged addressing the larger cultural context behind his statement.

I think that’s unfortunate, especially in light of a few other recent in-the-news events.

The first is another offhand tweet by a television personality. Roland Martin, a commentator for the news channel behind this blog, CNN.

Just a week before Whitlock’s unfortunate gibe, as the Giants were headed for a shocking Super Bowl victory over the Patriots, Martin blurted a response to H&M’s sexy underwear commercial featuring David Beckham – suggesting to his followers that any men expressing enthusiasm for the ad should be slapped upside the head. The remark drew a firestorm of backlash from LGBT activists, who interpreted it as an anti-gay statement. Martin was subsequently suspended “indefinitely” from CNN appearances.

There is a connection between the two incidents, and it’s not just that they both related to prominent news figures caught out on social media. Both Whitlock and Martin are African-American men. And both were speaking from a position that illustrates a particular entrenched attitude among men of color about masculinity.

This isn’t the place to go deep into the record of how sexuality, gender and race have intersected in black, Latino and Asian American history, with tragic and sometimes horrific results. Suffice it to say that as a consequence of that history, within each of these communities, manhood – its definition, its expression and yes, the defense of it against those who would question it – plays an outsized role.

Whitlock’s joke said more about his own male insecurities, reinforced by mainstream culture’s stereotypes about black men, than it did about Lin’s anatomy.

And Martin’s joke was ultimately less of an attack on homosexuality than it was a rejection of “sissyhood”: Beckham has long been held up as an exemplar of the “metrosexual male” – the sensitive, fashion-forward guy who, gay or straight, presents an image that runs counter to the rugged and bellicose sensibility of organized team sports, particularly football.

As NFL cornerback turned sportswriter Alan Grant noted in an essay some years back for ESPN.com, “the athletic world – that realm of all things male, musky and aggressive – is the final frontier of masculinity,” which is why it’s so frequently a cesspool for, as he put it, “crude, old-fashioned, sophomoric statements about sexuality.” Like Whitlock’s. And Martin’s.

Whether they intended to or not – and even if they’re oblivious to the fact – with their comments, Whitlock and Martin injected themselves into a much larger conversation of what it means to be a “real man” in an era where manhood is constantly perceived to be “under attack.”

But maybe the particular male archetype that Whitlock, Martin and many others have held up as a benchmark is one that deserves to be under attack.

It celebrates physical parameters that few men can reach – certainly not Whitlock or Martin, or me, for that matter: Big, burly, massively muscled, inhumanly endowed. It reinforces the notion that manhood is best expressed through violence – giving women “pain,” per Whitlock, or “slapping the ish” out of someone, per Martin.

It is, quite frequently, accompanied by words and actions that are deeply misogynist or nastily homophobic, or both.

It presents manhood as the fruit of harsh treatment and abuse – as exemplified by the viral video of the so-called “Eagle Dad,” Chinese businessman He Liesheng, forcing his four-year-old son to run around Central Park in the snow in his underwear to make him more manly: “When the old eagle teaches its young, it takes the young eagles to the cliffside, beats them, and pushes them to teach them to use their wings,” explained He.

One of the things that’s most incredible about the Jeremy Lin phenomenon isn’t just that he’s had so much success, but that he’s done so without relying on or embracing the tenets of raw, rugged, roughneck notions of manhood…

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Giant Negros

 

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Dewey Bozella – Exonerated After 26 Years in Jail…Wins Professional Fight

52? What’s in a number…Indeed.

Yet another wrongly convicted man in our troubled system of justice. Dewey Bozella pursues a long denied dream.

Exonerated inmate, 52, wins professional boxing debut

Dewey Bozella poses for photographers after defeating Larry Hopkins in their cruiserweight fight Saturday.A 52-year-old cruiserweight who spent 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit won his professional boxing debut Saturday night.

Dewey Bozella defeated Larry Hopkins by unanimous decision in the four-round match at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The pugilist served time in New York’s Sing Sing prison after being found guilty of murder in 1983; his conviction was overturned two years ago.

According to a biography on his website, Bozella was offered several opportunities for an early release if he would admit guilt and show remorse.

“Anger at his imprisonment gave way to determination and instead of becoming embittered, he became a model prisoner” and earned several degrees, the site says.

President Barack Obama called Bozella this week, offering him encouragement in his fight.

During his incarceration, Bozella was crowned the Sing Sing heavyweight champion. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2011 in American Genocide

 

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