Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Football, Hypocrisy and Cam Newton

One of the best books on sports I ever read was William Rhoden’s “Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete.” In the book, he provides a lucidly terse commentary, backed by historical occurrence, that the African American athlete and today’s sports industry are equally comparable to the slave and plantation respectively. More specifically, that the industry of sports today, whether professional or amateur, is no different than that of the slave era plantation, which was exclusively distinguished by white ownership and African American labor.


Some would argue against such but I would say his premise is on point, in particular with respect to the hypocrisy being evinced regarding precarious allegations directed toward Cam Newton. I have wondered, since the New York Times and ESPN ran with the story of him taking money “supposedly from a no name former quarterback,” what was the reason for doing so? It was strange because it happened after Auburn beat LSU and became the number one team in the land, albeit for a week. Now all of a sudden records from the University of Florida have been released regarding allegations that Newton once cheated while in college. Again, I can’t understand this, unless the University of Florida and Florida football head coach Urban Meyer have something to do with this. It would not surprise me since Newton was first enrolled at the University of Florida.

Now it seems that the mainstream writers and the coaches alike are doing what they normally do to African American athletes who are successful, or considered recalcitrant. But what can I expect; the proclaimed legendary Pop Warner, Coach of Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School threw Thorpe under the bus when he didn’t want to play football for him, causing him to have his Olympic gold medals to be taken away. Pop Warner lied and said he had no knowledge, when he did and knew that Thorpe would gross him $10,000 each game he played.



Folk the likes of Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Jesse Owens, and Willie Mays knew of this environment. Mays even told his God son Barry Bonds to look after himself because baseball didn’t care. As was evident when they looted the negro leagues for more talented players for less than half the price, the same way they do Latin American players now. Barry Bonds as a result of his attitude and his purported cheating via steroids use may not make it to the Hall of fame, when he deserves and more obvious cheaters like Gaylord Perry and Whitey Ford have.


A say all this just to question the dynamics of sports, what is it that would make some suggest that Mike Vick less than a quarterback than Matt Ryan, or that Cam Newton, although a greater physical specimen, is not as smart a quarterback as Tim Tebow or Kellen Moore? I cannot answer these but It does strike me as strange that all of this attention, albeit it unsubstianted, directed toward Cam Newton, ironically happens prior to his race for the Heisman Trophy and National Championship chase. Maybe it is just me or maybe there is truly a level of unprecedented hypocrisy in college and professional sports – God forbid you use the R-word, for the reality is this is what Black kids who show exceptional athletic talent should expect.

7 comments:

Reggie said...

I was tooling around Barnes and Noble one day and came across William Rhoden’s “Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete.”

It was an excellent read.

12kyle said...

Great book by William Rhoden!

I think this has EVERY thing to do with race. Newton got in trouble at Florida TWO YEARS ago and now this stuff has managed to surface? And it happens to surface when he is the best player in college football and on the #1 team in the nation? Gimme a break! Some people don't wanna see this young man do well. That's all there is too it.

kamikak said...

I think I may need to pick this up. Sounds like a good read. I almost swear that when Mike Vick came home and did one of his first press conferences for PETA all I could see was a traded slave. They know good and well Mike Vick did not espouse the views of PETA but he had no choice. The PETA exec in the video was making him dance and so was the NFL. He looked broken. But as usual, I digress...

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