Home Team Racism And Crowds

I have neglected to write a post that encompasses the rest of the world, other then the United States.  So here goes.  The great soccer club Chelsea F.C., based in London has ran into a major problem.  When 22 year old striker Daniel Sturridge took the field in a recent match, he was called a monkey by a fan sitting right behind the bench.  This is disturbing on many levels.  Sturridge is a promising young player who has competed for his country and club team on many levels.  So why would a fan of Chelsea decided to call one of their players a racial slur?  Maybe he did not realize how ignorant and racist that term is, but thats unlikely.  I believe that the reason that this man decided to use this racist term is that he felt comfortable saying that in his current environment.  Many people will use racist slang or terms when they feel that they are in the company of a crowd who would not be offended by the use of that slang.  If I am right, what does that say about the condition of soccer in England.  Why would a middle aged white male feel that it is okay to call a black man a “monkey?”  Again, this is just my opinion, so take it for what its worth.  The silver lining to this story is the man who was sitting near the man who made this comment.  The man who was sitting near the man was so offended by the remark that he sent an email to the club’s president.  I guess that not everyone in the crowd was okay with that mans blatant racism.


Controversial But Interesting

Doing some research on the Michael Vick story regarding his crimes involving dog fighting I came across a very interesting article.  Very interesting, and very controversial.  The author, Melissa Harris-Perry writes about the history of African Americans and animal rights.  I am going to link the article at the bottom of this post but I thought I would give you the basics of the article.  Perry gives us a detailed description of how American racism may have led people to come to different conclusions when judging Michael Vick for his crimes.  African Americans were used as slave labor, viewed as sub human, on the same levels as dogs and other animals.  African Americans have had dogs used against them numerous times during the struggle for civil rights.  Therefore she writes, that certain African American communities may be complicit in the abuse of animals, because of the racism and abuse that Blacks have faced in our country.  Another point she makes is that some African Americans feel that the general population cares more about animals and pets then they do about African Americans.  She references the images of animals and pets being airlifted out of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, while many civilians are stranded.

After thinking about this topic for a while I am starting to see how this may influence the way certain people view animal cruelty.  But this in no way justifies or makes the actions of ANY person who abuses animals acceptable.  Just something to think about, I recommend you take a look at the full article.


Look At It This Way

When Lebron James came out and made it public that he was going to play for the Miami Heat and leave Cleveland, he instantly became one of the most hated athletes in the world.  His jerseys were being burned daily and his popularity was at an all time low.  But when James told Soledad O’Brien that he believed that some of the hate he was receiving was because of racism, everyone went quiet.  We like to believe that racism does not play a role in sports, I mean hey, we have a black president for petes sake.  Many critics of James said that it was his antics, and the way he treated the situation that made him a villain.  This idea of being a villain in the sports world inspired me to research the most hated athletes of all time.

I came upon a list of the top 25 most hated athletes of all time published by the website Bleacher Report which receives over 20 million monthly readers and boasts the ranking of number 4 site for sports media.  So, lets take a look at how many athletes on the top 25 most hated atletes of all time were black.  Heres how the numbers break down, 17 Black athletes and 7 White athletes and 1 Spanish athlete.  These numbers are pretty consistent in other lists as well.  So why are black athletes so prevalent on these lists.  It could be argued that there are more high profile black athletes, but I believe that racism is not dead, and that racism effects how the public views athletes.  White athletes who commit crimes and cheat are often forgiven and said to have made a mistake, while black athletes who commit the same mistakesare criminals and hated by the public.  The sad truth is that it is easier for people to hate black athletes then it is to hate a white athlete.

PGA, Practice What You Preach

“Golf has no place for any form of racism.”  Apparently when the PGA  heads made this claim, they had no intentions of backing it up.  The former caddy of golfer Tiger Woods, Steve Williams, directed a racial slur at Woods during a caddies party earlier this week.  While this slur was made as an attempt at humor, it is nonetheless unacceptable, especially with the said policies I earlier stated right?  Wrong.  The PGA has made no actions or attempts to punish the caddy for his actions.  While many members of the golf community have expressed their disgust with Williams actions,  the governing body, the PGA, has done nothing.  Golfer Fred Couples was quoted as saying that, if Williams had been his caddy, he would have been fired.

Golf, as most people are aware is a predominantly white game,  very few non white golfers are present in the game today.  If the PGA has any hopes to change this mostly white field, then this is something that they should have acted on.  By letting this racist slur go, they are projecting the image that they dont really care, at least not enough to punish Williams.  When people who are a part of the golf world are making these comments and projecting those images, it does not make the game seem like it is welcoming to all races.  Nice going PGA, apparently racism does have a place in your game, or maybe you just dont care.

Yes we can?

I stumbled across this picture while further researching the white running backs in the league.  I thought this pretty much summed up how the public views white backs.

Victim Of Whiteness

“He’ll be a great second-round pickup for somebody, but I guarantee you if he was the exact same guy – but he was black – he’d go in the first round for sure,” the scout said. “You could make a case that he’s a Steven Jackson-type – doesn’t have blazing speed but he’s strong and powerful and versatile.”

-NFL Scout on Toby Gerhart

I was doing a little sports news reading when an article came up about Toby Gerhart, the running back for the Minnesota Vikings.  The article was regarding Toby’s evaluation by the NFL scouts and coaches, and how that related to his skin color.  Because as NFL fans know, white people dont play running back, they aren’t fast enough and dont have that break away speed.  Gerhart was asked by NFL teams what it mean to be a white running back, he was also asked if it made me feel entitled, or like he was sort of a white hope.

Why does that matter? Look at his stats from last season, turn on some tape and watch him carry the ball through the arms of multiple defenders.  The tape and stats dont lie, the kid has skill.  But he is doubted because of his skin color.  Put the stereotypes aside and base your opinion of the player on the unbiased stats.  This line of reasoning in professional sports clouds the judgments of front offices and managements every year when it comes to draft day.

Race and Positions in the NFL

Anyone who watches a few minutes of an NFL game on Sunday can give you a pretty accurate description of what color skin each position group primarily consists of.  The Quarterback position is dominated by white faces, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are the first names that come to mind.  The QB is the man in charge of the team, a natural leader, hard working, and extremely smart.  The skill positions (corner back, wide reciever, running back, and safety) are mainly African American athletes.  My question is why, or how did this come to be?

1.  Stereotypes.  Every time of year when it comes around to draft day in the NFL, players are analyzed in every aspect of their life, to determine whether or not they can be a successful player in the league.  White QB’s are hardly ever questioned in their decision making skills, or abilities to read a defense.  On the other hand, black quarterbacks are analyzed through a more cynical light.  Black QB’s are perceived as having shaky potential to succeed in the league because they may not be able to handle the sophisticated NFL offenses, and are often viewed as relying on their speed to get them out of trouble.  Most people fail to realize that they way we look at athletes is directly related to racial stereotypes.

2.  Lack of role models.  Children who are aspiring athletes look to professional athletes for inspiration.  As a kid I emulated many different athletes trying to make my play style and technique the same as theirs.  When a child turns on their tv and watches the highlights of an NFL Sunday on Sportscenter their gonna see that almost every QB is white, and that becomes the norm.  Most kids will go with the norm, and when they sign up to play football, the black kids will want to be like Adrian Peterson, and the white kids are gonna want to be like Peyton Manning.

3.  Coaching  Becoming a QB involves a lot of training, which costs alot of time and money.  The majority of NFL QB’s received numerous hours of special one on one coaching with expensive Quarterback coaches.  This is a major factor in how a athlete develops his skill set as a QB.  A player who receives this extra coaching, at a cost, is much better off and has a huge advantadge over the kid who receives the normal coaching.   Access to the best coaching is limited, and only those with the means can obtain that level of coaching.

However in more recent times we are beginning to see a slight breaking of this trend.  Black QB’s are being used in different personal packages, and players like Josh Freeman, Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Jason Campbell, and Vince Young are making big plays in the NFL this season.  Now when I see a white safety making a big hit, I am a little bit less surprised then I would have 10 years ago.