We Are All Witnesses But To What?
Black Athletes & The Black Movement Vs. Selling Their Brand
Back in the day, most Black athletes were not only about the business of winning, they were about the advancement of our people and improving our quality of life. These brave warriors not only took hits and punches in their respective sports, many lost revenue and major endorsements to promote Black Power and to keep our voice relevant in the political arena as well as the sports arena.
Significantly starting with the breaking out of Michael Jordan and others to follow; sure they are great athletic stars but they are making conscious choices to not take political sides. Instead they elect to become “brands” and sell their voices to the highest bidder.
Everyone associates MJ with Nike, but how many people want to take him to the hole on the sweatshops and Nike debate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_sweatshops)? Why won’t MJ take his money and create a Black factory in the urban areas, or demand that Nike do so?
Magic Ervin is known for doing business in the Black community but the list of Black Athlete Entrepreneurs grows shorter with every sport season gone by. Most are electing to create foundations (tax write offs some and others are legit foundations) and some are electing to put their money into causes, but yet and still very few are lending their power to our movement. They are not (to coin a current phrase) “taking their talents” back to the hood of things.
Muhammad Ali caused a national debate by not serving in the military. John Carlos and Tommy Smith shocked the world with their black-gloved fist held high to show Black solidarity. Now, the only movement we see is the campaigning for draft picks or monetary rights to jerseys and apparel. A far cry from the movement that was started not so long ago. We are still not free in this country yet WE entertain billions, even across the globe and create a ridiculous amount of revenue for the NBA and NFL cartels! Please see this article on how much they actually make off the backs of our people. Yet we see very little coming back to the Black community.
And if we are not seeing enough of them acting a fool on Twitter or some other social networking site, now their wives and baby mommas are reaping the rewards by showing up on reality TV, showcasing to the entire world the ignorance people to some degree are associating with modern Black culture.
No we all don’t have weave and we all are not angry! TV is a messed up place right now!
Who is the next Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul, Bill Russell, John Carlos, Tommy Smith, or Muhammad of our time?
Is it time to stop helping the Kobe’s, Lebron’s, Williams Sisters, and Tiger’s launch their brands and refocus them back to the real cause of empowerment, civil rights, and moving the entire Black race forward?
See below for an excellent piece on this topic.
Athletes and Politics
By JOCKlife Sports (Contributor) on September 26, 2008
In 1968, John Carlos and Tommy Smith took a stand. After medaling in the ’68 Olympics they climbed up on the podium quietly slipped a single black glove on their hand and with their medals draped around their necks, lifted their gloved fist above their heads as a salute to the millions of African-Americans at home who had yet to obtain their Civil Rights.
During those same Olympics, the future Heavy Weight Champion, George Foreman took a stand of his own. After winning the Gold medal in boxing, Foreman took a small American flag and paraded around the ring waving it gleefully, the antithesis of John Carlos and Tommy Smith.
One year earlier, another boxer made a huge sacrifice to take a stand against something he did not believe in. Muhammad Ali refused to take the step forward symbolizing the induction into the United States Army. Ali believed that the Vietnam War was unjust and that Blacks in America were being oppressed by the same government he was being asked to defend. No doubt Ali paid a heavy price for displaying such courage out of the ring. He was stripped of his title, denied the opportunity to make a living in his chosen profession (boxing) and generally vilified by the power structure. Ali never wavered. Today, he is known simply as the greatest!