In The End, Sports Are Just Games

As the Jerry Sandusky story unfolds, and many people are sharing their differing postions on the firing of Joe Paterno, I thought I would add my two cents.

This story made me think, I believe its time to take a step back and realize, hey, sports are just a game, a silly kids game.  But thats not the way that most people think when it comes to sports.  Joe Paterno is a legendary head coach, holding numerous records and winning Penn State many games.  When I first saw the news that Paterno had been fired, my initial reaction was wow, how can you fire someone like that, with all that history and recognition that he has achieved?  I know, that sounds ridiculous, but I am a sports fan, I love sports.  Joe Paterno is a household name in the sporting world.  So of course, me the sports worshipping fanatic(also uninformed)was in shock.

But, as I read stories on what happened in the Penn State football program regarding the Sandusky case, I became appalled.  This escalated when I read the Grand Jury report on this matter.  How could a man witness child rape, and not report it to the police?  How could a head coach, the face of the university, not report what he had heard to the police?  How could the school Administration and President do NOTHING when informed of the actions of Coach Sandusky.  Its simple, because he was a coach, of the illustrious football team at Penn State.  The football team at Penn State bring in millions of dollars in revenue, and the schools student body rallies around the football program all year wrong.  In simpler words, football is a big deal at Penn State.

The coaches at Penn State, and all of those involved in this case, made an explicit choice, and sent a powerful message to the world.  Penn State Football was more important then the lives of children, and could not be engulfed in scandal.  This is disgusting to think about.  That a sporting program could possibly be more important to a group of individuals then the lives of young defenseless children.  But this is the current state of sports in America, and it took this event for many people to realize this reality.  Its time we do something about it.  Racism, Sexism, Child Abuse, or any abuse of any person should take precedence over any sporting subject.  The well being of a person is far more important then any sporting event, game, or outcome.  If you ever witness someone or something that is denying the well being of a human being, animal, etcetera, I have one piece of advice.  Speak up!

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

-Edmund Burke


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.

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.