Who Da Cap Fit

   

 “Every Brother aint a Brotha, ‘Cause a Black hand squeezed on Malcolm – X’d the man.
The shootin’ of Huey Newton – From the hand of a nig that pulled the trig.”

Chuck D – Welcome To The Terrordome

More than any other year in recent memory, 2007 was a year where race seemed to be a factor in many of the headlines that involved Black Athletes. Not even three weeks into 2008, we have had our first “slip of the tongue” on record by female golf commentator Kelly Tilghman, who felt that her use of the word “lynch” in reference to a Black athlete would either go unnoticed by those that tune into the golf channel or totally ignored by the Black community altogether. Publishers of Golfweek magazine took it a step further and decided to place a noose on the cover of last week’s issue – not to denounce the comments that were made, but to in so many words ask, “What’s the big deal?”

Despite the outcry from the Black community, the target of Tighman’s comments, Elridge “Tiger” Woods saw it as nothing, just as eleven years ago he saw Fuzzy Zoeller’s “fried chicken and collard greens” comment as nothing. Tiger broke through the greatest of barriers; one I would dare say we accepted until NIKE made him the most marketed first-year athlete in history. We claimed Tiger as our own, and we thought the feeling was mutual, until Tiger declared himself an individual of all races. I personally felt like Woods used his melanin content to get just what he needed as a professional and in his moment of triumph he blew up the bridge built for him. The issue of whether or not Woods sees himself as a Black man is irrelevant at this point; it’s obvious that those in the golf community and beyond see him as a nothing other than Black. In the wake of the lynching comments, the consensus among whites was that if Tiger wasn’t offended why should the rest of us be? Soon to be followed by, ‘”Why do they (Blacks) always have to bring up the past.”

We don’t bring it up until we’re reminded of it.

Last year Serena Williams had a fan tossed during a tennis match because the fan yelled at Williams, “Hit the net like any ni**er would.” Although not much was made of this – but to Williams’ credit she did have the perpetrator tossed from the arena.

At what stage in your development is your pride as an individual compromised in exchange for your desire not to be seen as threatening? We’re viewed as a forgiving people and the worst that will happen is Al Sharpton and/or Jesse Jackson going on Larry King. We’ve run out of cheeks to turn. Our faces have been slapped and asses kicked long enough. Many of us who are trying to fight the good fight do so in spite of whatever mental and emotional scars we have encountered along the way.

We’ve taken the lashes for the Tiger Woods and O.J. Simpsons of the world because we know at some point that wake up call will come, you know the one that reminds you that you were always a ni**er – just one that could shoot a 65 or run the rock better than most. When their moment of clarity is realized they won’t acknowledge it publicly but their inner man will be humbled. This is bigger than them choosing to marry or deal with women outside of their race – the problem comes along when you forget essentially who you are and that it isn’t just about you. The prayers of those that died believing one day it would be better for their seeds fell at your feet and you stepped on them.

Here’s the rub – I don’t see a rallying point when incidents like this occur. If we can see the mistreatment or racial undertones taking root in a situation like I’m sure the fraternity of Black athletes can, why does the soapbox remains unoccupied?

It’s great that Black athletes give back to the communities in the cities in which they play as well as their hometowns. Some even head national charities and sponsorships – the message of giving back to the community has come across in a huge way and I’m proud of that. Even in times of national crisis the Black Athlete has been at the forefront of many situations, many of which go unpublicized.

However – when it comes to matters of race relations in sports, there is no one leading the fast break, hell, no one is even crashing the boards. There’s more excitement over a celebrity bowling party or some nonsense like that. They want to be seen but not SEEN. Charles Barkley is maybe the last athlete of significance that tried to hold it down. Charles did it in a way that let you know there was more to him than putting up 25 and 12 a night, he was fully aware the race machine was up and operational. Part of the problem was Charles’ employer, the NBA, had the most marketable athlete on the planet in Michael Jordan and if he wasn’t speaking out on anything political or socio-economical then no one else was going to; less they face a fine/suspension and a talk with David Stern.

But yet we could be heard humming “If I could be like Mike.”

In the wake of the murder of Sean Taylor, many in the media chose to look at the incident as something that Taylor had coming to him. One writer in particular -Washington Post journalist Leonard Shapiro -wrote in his column :”Taylor’s Death Is Tragic but Not Surprising.” “Certainly it would be terribly easy to rush toward some sort of instant judgment based on what we think we all knew about Taylor and the sort of life he once, and for all we know, still led,” Shapiro wrote. “But really, we know nothing at the moment, and until we do, may he rest in peace ought to be the operative phrase for this day.” Keep in mind Taylor was murdered in his home during a break in while he and his girlfriend and young daughter slept. His presumed past had nothing to do with what happened that morning.

Once again the outcry was great from Black journalists and community leaders but nothing from the people who spent more time with Taylor than anyone – his teammates. In losing someone you care about your defense mechanisms are heightened and when someone is trying to smear the memory of that individual, I would like to think your feelings for this person to kick in and defend him. Athletes in major cities are a close knit group, Taylor had friends on the Wizards, Ravens, Nationals, Orioles – maybe even the Capitals. The silence by Black athletes in response to Shapiro’s column and those like it would lead those of us that didn’t know better down a presumptuous road.

I chose the photo above because the four men seated were four of the most dominant Black athletes probably in history. Ladies in Gentlemen these were MEN! Bill Russell, whose life living in Boston as a member of the Celtics not chronicled enough, Muhammad Ali, whose life mirrors the Black Man’s struggle, Jim Brown, who my mom calls “The baddest man around.” and he may very well be and a young Lew Alcindor who is misunderstood more today than he was close to 40 years ago, but you can see his brilliance as a man when he speaks. They are surrounded by men Carl Stokes, Walter Beach, Bobby Mitchell, Sid Williams, Curtis McClinton, Willie Davis, Jim Shorter, and John Wooten – who were there to support Ali as he gave his reasons for rejecting the draft. It is poignant in the photo the most well known athletes are seated – those that are not as well known are standing in a show of solidarity. Thirteen men who put their careers on hold and maybe even in jeopardy for the cause of one.

This my call to arms for the Black Athlete to stand up and be counted; the days of sitting by idly waiting for someone else to grab the reigns has to end. Where will we be when Sharpton and Jackson can’t make those trips anymore. We’re grown men and women trying to ride with the training wheels on. Hell – we haven’t even gotten on the bike. Look at the state of our people, when people look to heal many look to you before they look to the Almighty on a Sunday afternoon – I’m not saying that’s right but it’s the truth. You are our last line of defense. Our demise in the eyes of many is almost complete – but I refuse to die easy. The same way your family, neighbors and friends fell back on you to make it out of the ‘hood – I’m counting on somebody, anybody to step up. We in the Black media and other areas can’t do it alone, I’ve got your back, but I need your voice in the front.

This isn’t just a plea from myself -but from my Black colleagues in the media who are not able to speak out on some topics because of their respective employers. That makes them no less involved and no less Black.

Being able to write for TSF is more of a blessing than I could ever realize because there would be no way I could do this in some media outlets. Being here at TSF gives me a renegade mentality and Mizzo said one time we’re like superheroes in a sense. I liken us to the old Oakland Raiders, a bunch of castoffs no one wanted, but also a group of cats no one wanted to mess with.

As long as I keep that rebel mentality, I’ll stay hungry because there will always be something out there worth fighting for.


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34 Responses to “Who Da Cap Fit”

  1. Yet another gem, Dwil.

    Good Stuff.

  2. thebrotherreport Says:

    Thanks Inkog but TBR wrote it.

  3. TBR,

    WOW! Fantastic! Very good article. I could see you standing at the podium. Preach on brotha, Preach on. Your words are powerful and I hope some of these athletes will listen. Again, good job.

  4. thebrotherreport Says:

    Thank you. We’re about to pass the plate around LOL!

  5. Hell of a column – and I’d encourage you guys again, don’t let those crackers Dmac come in here and disrupt your peaceful idyllic little community on the Internet. Or ignore him. Y’all much too good to recognize him. Hope you guys having a nice day (off).

  6. You knew I was gonna dig this one. Straight up powerful. Good work.

    Damn right where’s that plate….

  7. thebrotherreport Says:

    I was hoping you would. Thanks

  8. TBR,

    C-Webb comes to mind when I think of athletes that stand up against racism. That’s why the MSM hates him. He is what they call a trouble maker.

  9. Most of these young athletes of color are woefully ignorant of the bigger picture and afraid to rock the status quo. They really don’t understand their collective power either.

  10. thebrotherreport Says:

    I think they realize that they have collective power, if they can donate towards disaster relief that many of us feel was racially motivated, what is stopping them from making a saying something about a collegue that has been misrepresented in the media or even judicially.

    The Michael Vick case for example – alot of players around the league got tight-lipped when speaking about him because they were worried about the potential backlash from support groups.

    I’m with you when it comes to ignorance, prime example:

    When Mike Tyson was locked up no one ever mentions the fact that he had a damn tax attorney representing him in a rape trial. No one pulled his coat to that – but once he’s locked up everyone wants to have a Free Mike Tyson T-shirt on

  11. thebrotherreport Says:

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is the most talented generation and yet lacking in the most ethical areas. The rest of the world looks at us and says yeah he makes millions but he’s not morally committed to his people what is his cause besides scoring touchdowns.

    I’m looking for athletes willing to stand in the gap and stop this downward spiral that’s been happening for about 40 years. No one is bucking the system.

    In the 70′s it was guys like Larry Holmes, Kareem Abdul Jabbar & Ahmad Rashad, the 80′s it was Lawrence Taylor, Doug Williams, the 90′s it was Barkley, who has stood up and taken a stand about the way Black Athletes are portrayed in the media and some of the socio-economical conditions in the inner city. Like I said alot of them do great work in other areas but who of note has really spoken out about the noose on the magazine cover. That wasn’t about golf that was golf reminding us that the sports wasn’t intended for us anyway.

    Athletes blog just like we do – instead of promoting your next event take a look outside your window because the world as we know it is falling apart.

  12. TBR,

    The players that want to speak out are hated by the media so they are in no rush to put the mic in their face. These people however are few so I have to agree with you. C-Webb has been on BET several times speaking on how we as people need to unite but folks don’t seem to listen. Our children are too busy worshiping the likes of MJ who could care less about them. Now that’s our fault. Our children should be educated on the character of those we choose to buy from and look up to. I don’t care if you can play ball like a super hero but leave your neighborhood behind. That’s why guys like C-Webb and Ron Artest should be more respected by the black community. Guys that get rich party and spend their money on white women. I have no time for that. Not saying any names Dwayne Wade. A lot of famous rich people talk out of both sides of their mouth Russell Simmons. Your actions need to fit the words that come out of your mouth.

  13. thebrotherreport Says:

    They shouldn’t have to wait on the media to put a mic in their face. Roger Clemens right or wrong did the YouTube thing, guys blog. Gilbert Arenas I know has a blog page, they can take out ads in newspapers, billboards 3×5 flyer cards anything. I’m not gonna call anyone out because everyone isn’t cut out to be a leader.

    We both know that the media won’t put a mic in their face when it comes to matters that really matter.

    That’s why it pays to be proactive

  14. blackmystory Says:

    Excellent piece TBR, reminds me of the anology of fishing. Give a man a fish he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will eat for a life time. Because the modern athletes haven’t be conditioned to be fishermen and fisherwomen, much less be able to teach others how to.

    The White Supremacy system allows the celebraties to attach their names to charities by giving out shoes or running sports camp, or such. But using their money to create manhood and womanhood training program will cause their agents or “plantaion masters” to give them a speaking to.

    The realities are that the 60′s where a culmination of decades of struggles for human rights. Unfortunately some of our heroes and sheros took the oppressors words as gospel – that they would change their low down nasty ways. We weren’t vigilant enoughso we neglected to adage that when in war you prepare for peace, and when in peace prepare for war…especially if you are in enemy territory.

    We need more fishermen.

  15. Is that photo available as a poster? If so, can someone tell me where…..?

  16. gyangstah Says:

    Well said black…

    In biblical times, King Solomon was given the opportuntity to ask God for whatever he wanted. He asked for wisdom. In turn, God granted him that wisdom and riches beyond his wildest dreams. What we need is to apply what I dare say we already know and pass it on to our children so that they will seek more than mere riches and fame but the know-how to bring about positive change. Whatever they do, others will follow.

  17. Check this out thebrotherreport Minister Farrakan was at clark university for a visit.

    And he mentions how Carmelo Anthony came to see him speak.

    Well David Stern had contacted Carmelo to not go and see the minister speak.

    http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_4038.shtml

    Any brotha these athletes are following the OJ, Cosby, Magic and MJ routine when they were playing and acting. Don’t rock the boat and cause trouble with them white folks and you will be rich.

    Or rock the boat and get your @ss blackballed.

    And I still feel thats one reason Aron Brooks ain’t playing any more. He spoke out during hurricane katrina.

    Also thebrotherreport I believe if a athlete spoke out on Youtube that it would be pulled in a matter of minutes. Man I can’t think what happened but something happened about 2 weeks ago someone was speaking out or they were a whistle blower. Well in about 2 hours the youtube posting was pulled down.

  18. thebrotherreport Says:

    I believe the reason God gave him that wisdom was because he could’ve asked for anything else but he chose to ask for the key that would open the doors to riches, etc.

    Point well made.

  19. Well said black.

    These young athletes are just imitating us ignorant @ss adults.

    After ALi, Kareem and etc……….what superstar picked up the mantle. No one.

    Everybody was getting theirs. Now we expect some kids now to pick up the mantle. When a whole generation before them said nothing.

    Yeah they didn’t speak out on Vick………….but none of them fools in the past generation including barkley spoke out when Craig Hodges and Chris Jackson got blackballed.

    Nobody spoke out in the early 90s when that black kicker (minnesota vikings) got blackballed.

  20. thebrotherreport Says:

    Origin – That’s deep about Carmelo and it doesn’t shock me that Stern said something. No one said anything about Hodges or Jackson either. The fact that Jordan didn’t vouvh for Hodges speaks volumes. I remember these things going down but I wanted to get this out while it was fresh in my mind – I really didn’t research far enough but thanks for pointing it out.

    As far as YouTube you’re probably right the Pro leagues would threaten them with some kind of lawsuit if it wasn’t pulled.

  21. Origin,
    Thanks for the link to that story….I don’t even know why I’m angered that Stern would “advise” Carmelo to not go and hear the minister speak…that should have been expected.

  22. No problem Miranda and thebrotherreport.

    thebrotherreport IMO you did a great job in researching and I thought your article was great.

    I just feel sometimes as older heads we hold these young folks to a higher esteem then we held ourselves or our heroes. He11 even our own generation.

    So sometimes I think we need to step back and look at the whole picture.

    Also sista Miranda once these big corporations got into sports it changed everything for the worse. An athlete can’t even have a opinion now.

    What will the advertisers think???

  23. Hey anybody see Paul Mooney on Micheal Basiden show the other night???

    He was talking about this stuff from a hollywood perpective.

  24. thebrotherreport Says:

    I was thinking those same thoughts as I was writing this because the Leagues are getting younger and younger. I mean some of the younger players are afraid to speak up on locker room issues – let alone something of this magnitude that they may not be totally locked into as much as we are.

  25. Origin,
    ” I just feel sometimes as older heads we hold these young folks to a higher esteem then we held ourselves or our heroes. He11 even our own generation.”

    Truer words could not be spoken.

  26. thebrotherreport Says:

    As if we didn’t see this coming – Tiger dismisses the entire Tilghman comment as harmless and in his eyes he “considers her a friend” and says that it was all “media driven.”

  27. Leston Green Says:

    This article is great because it speaks out on the issues that many people in the black communities dont want to talk about…i dont understand how the comments that where said about Tiger by the sports anchor were fine…I feel that Tiger Woods should look in the mirror and re-evaluate who he is as a brother…and notice i said a brother because it dont matter what nationality his mother is he is consider a black man…As a Brother how could you let that comment be swept under the rug…then you turn around and say we have been friends for 11 years…well news flash Tiger if that person was your friend he/she would have not said that…and as for the black athletes today they dont care…its plain and simple…our ancestors and the black athletes like Jim Brown and Ali were fighting for something bigger than a sporting event and money it was for the freedom and pride as a people…many of the athletes today have it easy because the road was paved for them and they are just chillin having a good time.

  28. thebrotherreport Says:

    Today’s athletes drink from wells that they did not dig.

  29. I always wondered what happened to Mahmoud Abdul Raouf, I always liked him and one day he was just gone. Same with Hodges, remember him winning or participating (hazy memory) in the 3 pt shootout without a team. Was a bit young living in a nowhere town, so access to news was a bit limited in those (feels like) stone age days.

  30. Is Tiger “black” because white people say so? What does even mean? Does he have Asian brothers too? And who gives a shit. Really? The real value in his story is the paradigm of youth development st by his daddy. Richard Williams too. Tiger clearly has a special place in his heart for white women. It’s the same place Barkley has. Big deal. Millionaires with blonds and a life of leisure are not “race men” — unless you’ve lost you entire GD mind.

  31. Tiger Woo is calabasian and if he would renounce his blackness in a press conference I would appreaciate it very much, he is standing on the shoulders of althletes who took a stand and lost a lot but gained respect. Last week Jim Brown was in town for his Amer- I- Can foundation and young and old kids (lolol) who were too young to have seen him play or his movies were lining up and getting autographs from a man who took a stand not only on the field but off it too.

    Unlike Woo, Jordan and other so- called black ballplayers, nobody will be thinking of them in any historical way except they played a good game of their sport, but I have seen grown- ass men and children with that glow in their eyes when they see an Ali, Aaron, or Brown.

  32. “Blessed are those that struggle, oppression is worse than the grave, it’s better to live and die a free man, than to live your life a slave.”

    —the last poets

    Unfortunately the entertainers ( those seen as performing monkeys by the zoo attendees) are but a reflection of our community in general. Whether through education, intimidation, coertion or just plain having a twisted sense of self, most of us will rather live and die for party, a nice car or some other material shit.

    One can always tell who or what you are by the value you put on personal dignity or the value you place on being a human being. We like excitement too much, the extravagant the loudness, and we’re afraid of it being taken from us by those we give power to over our collective lives.

    When Bush first came to power i was actually happy, because at the time i felt we didn’t appreciate the ‘licks’ we were getting. He has proven to be even more of a nightmare than his father, yet the bamboozeling goes on. Where will it end, no one knows.

    I know one thing for sure though, a lot more people will suffer before this is through

  33. HarveyDent Says:

    I remember BET had a roundtable debate with Bill Clinton and prominent athletes during his administration that addressed the responsibility of Black athletes to their communities and Jim Brown and Jackie Joyner-Kersee got into pretty good over what if anything athletes/celebrities owe to their home communities. I could understand Joyner-Kersee’s position if she grew up in a social vacuum but I know that any shine she and others of her and my generation got was directly attributable to trailblazers like Brown, Wilma Rudolph, and even going back to Rube Foster and Jack Johnson. I lost much respect for her with her comments because while nothing is wrong with being somewhat selfish and proud of individual accomplishments it needs to be realized that we as Black folks in America do have a unique responsibility to each other because despite where we all may go in our lives nearly all of our ancestors came here in the bottom of a ship involuntarily. That’s a tie that cannot be broken and should not be denigrated because as my brother Leston Green said others paved the way for all of us today and not to reach back, give back would be a grave disservice to those same ancestors who pulled together when no one else was there for us.

  34. I remember that Harveydent. I thought that roundtable was on ESPN though.

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