Historically, elders had been held in very high regard in the Black community. Their points of view were considered the gospel by which black folks operated within the societal zeitgeist. And because the United States of America has been a patriarchal society since its institution, it is only natural that the words of men who we felt defined what it was to be black in America were highlighted.
Unfortunately, it is this very same dynamic that allows for opinions that are antithetical to the upliftment of blacks in America to seep into the conversation.
As much as we all love the idea of absorbing sage wisdom from a long-lived whitebeard, the downside is that many of the wisest are also the most dense, losing the ability to discern and utilize new information with age. It becomes all about the “good old days”, even when those days were horrible to everyone but white males.
This very same scenario takes place when people who were once held in very high regard in the black community due to their sports accomplishments are called upon to speak about politics and society.
Ray Lewis and Jim Brown met with Donald Trump at Trump Tower today https://t.co/V3FPFNY3bU
Take, for example, Jim Brown. He was the very first openly activist-minded professional football player.
Today, hes a proud supporter of Donald J. Trump the president who only until recently had an avowed racist on his cabinet and blamed the violence in Charlottesville on both sides.
Trump, the man who called for the execution of the Central Park Five prior to their proven innocence, also had the support of Mike Tyson, Dennis Rodman, Shawn Merriman, Terrell Owens, Latrell Sprewell and Hershel Walker prior to the election.
These are all brothers that excelled at their particular sport. The funny part about these individuals who appear to be stumping for racists is that they believe theyre being objective and fair.
Not for one moment do I believe that any of the aforementioned athletes knowingly allowed themselves to be pawns in a chess game of demagogues and racists, but it does say a great deal about how a large number of our athletes are perhaps naturally affected by white supremacist dogma that is a normal part of everyday life and law in America.
Donald Trump didn’t elect himself and black folks didn’t elect him either (stop spreading that lie, please). It was white folks; poor, rich, man, woman, straight and gay. Yet, no one is speaking up for Trump as adamantly as black athletes.
Most of the very best black athletes in the United States of America received their tutelage from white coaches, general managers, and team owners, and any former athlete can tell you that a good coach will teach life lessons from a perspective outside of the field of play, but from his or her own viewpoint.
Just look at the list of coaches that were pro-Trump; former Indiana Hoosiers coach Bob Knight, former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, former Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan, who I happen to like a great deal as a coach.
@SNFonNBC Rex wishes he was Tom Coughlin
You would be hard-pressed to find a former black player to call anyone of them out on anything regarding race.
I recall from 25 years ago there was a great controversy surrounding a photo of Bob Knight with a whip feigning to strike then All-American Calbert Cheaney. The eventual Washington Bullets first round draft pick vehemently defended the intentions of his then-coach, and several other black players came out to defend him as well.
Would that fly today?
I highly doubt it, but it should have been absolutely clear that such a thing was not apropos even way back then. It took for the NAACP to begin making a stink about it for the story to even go national.
When I see victorious black competitors on the podium say Id like to thank after mentioning God, teammates, owners and the coaching staff are the next to be praised. Many internalize the words and opinions of men who believe every word of the national anthem to be praiseworthy, and that every police officer is a hero.
Donald Trump should be president of The United States.” – @MikeTyson #gettysburg #DrainTheSwamp
But these same men are allegedly blackballing Colin Kaepernick, who simply took a knee to protest police brutality and American-style fascism.
So, because these men have internalized the belief systems of those who would readily treat them as chattel, black folks who once were applauded by whites for their athletic greatness perhaps feel a compulsion to protect the opinions and institutions of individuals they believe are responsible for their own success.
Is it Stockholm Syndrome, House Negroism or plain old bootlicking?
Its impossible to tell for certain, but it is sad that these once fierce competitors are now political pushovers and talking heads who support systems of oppression against people that look like them.