For years now sports casters, team owners and sporting leagues have been down playing, or actually denying that racism still exists in this day and age against Afro Americans and Afro Canadians in sports. I find it interesting though that black athletes still receive special training that no white athlete will ever have to experience and it has to do with how to toughen up their skin, so that they will be able to play in sports with white athletes in games that for the most part are still considered a white man’s game to some white people. This special coaching is not the beginning of racism in sport, but a mere confirmation that black athletes are still having to deal with racist fans, coaching staff, management, owners and sporting leagues with a smile on their face and in silence. Owners and sporting leagues will not allow any disruption in the game, or profits, because of their presence.
What has changed for the black athlete since Jackie Robinson was told that he had to have the courage not to react, not to fight back if he wanted to play in the major leagues with the whites, in essence to keep smiling and playing better than anyone else? Has the idea of a black athlete fitting into the professional league quietly and seamlessly without complaint, or fighting back changed, or is that still going on today? In other words if a black player is called a Nigger by a fan, teammate, opponent, coach, manager, owner, member of the press, or sports commentator, are they expected to be able to smile, ignore it and play even harder, because this is the price they are required to pay if they want to be able to play the game they excel at on a professional level? Is this special qualifier, this toughening of skin, this special ability to endure racist and racist commentary what they are taught as soon as they join organised sports?
Name for me just one white athlete in any year, in any sport, in either Canada, or the USA, who having had an extramarital affair end in divorce, being forced to endure any of the consequences for those actions on the list below:
- Treated by the fans, the press, players, coaches, team owners, or a league the way that Tiger Woods was?
- Lost sponsorships?
- Told that they were bad for the league and sport?
- Attacked by the press in both the USA and Canada, demanding justice and expulsion from the game?
- Had their ability to be a good role model to young children questioned?
Now with a straight face tell me that black and white players are treated equally in all things and in all ways when it comes to white athletes and black athletes in sports in Canada and the USA.
I believe that racism in sport starts long before:
- A fan goes to their 1st game, or tweets their first racist comment.
- A coach coaches his 1st black athlete and tells that athlete that they will have to be tough skinned and ignore racial abuse if they are to succeed.
- An owner buys their 1st sports team believing that white people should not attend functions with black people and their saying it in private is made public knowledge.
- A sports writer writes their 1st bias word that actually fuels and stokes the fire of racism making them accuser, judge, jury and executioner of the black athlete.
Unfortunately when coaches tell black children that they will need to learn to endure racism in silence and just go out there and prove that they are good enough to play on the same court, the same field, the same golf course, or swim in the same pool as their white teammates or opponents, they are telling the truth. The proof of this is revealed in the fact that we are still living in a society whose culture that allows for:
- Pros on tour like Fuzzy Zoeller and the Sergio Garcia to get away with their public racist comments meant to demean African-American players with zero punishment.
- Fans to tweet stereotypical, racist hate trash against black players such as PK Subban and not consider it a crime of hate that cannot be tolerated.
What I do believe is that the racism in sport that we see today is the direct result of the government of both Canada and the USA sending out mixed messages when it comes to white supremacy. They seek votes by turning citizens against each other with fear mongering and they do it in order to capitalize on both the minority ethnic vote and the white majority vote. The government of Canada and the USA try to look as though they are in compliance with the international agreements and treaties they are signatory to regarding human rights and freedoms, but all of the fear mongering is overflowing into the world of sports and just about everything else in both countries.
Is it fair to get mad at fans for tweeting racist things against black athletes, or for a sporting league to ban an owner for saying in private what the American and Canadian governments still enforce with the power of legislation and embody in the speeches that they make calling for the preservation of the white race, religion and culture? When the governments of the democratic west promote fear within their countries warning of impending cultural extinction of the white race from an immigrating multi ethnic, diversely cultural and often religiously conflicting hoard, is it any small wonder that some white feelings of mistrust and dislike spills over into the world of sport?
Stephen Harper has said it in a speech the need to preserve Canada for real Canadians. He went on to say that he was talking about, the real Canadians that shared a common European heritage, language and religion. Then we have the American Mama Grizzly and her Tea Party and a whole bunch of other politicians that spent the last 8 years proving that it is not enough to become the president of the strongest country in the world, because in the United States of America it is still a white man’s world in which the white man is the supreme being and even an uppity black president can and will be kept in his place and ridiculed, made to look incompetent an ineffective.
I guess what I am asking is why would a white person who has been taught from the time they were a child to think that they are some how superior to all other races by their government, turn into a tolerant respectful human being when it comes to sports, whether they be fan, player, owner, manager, reporter, or league?
Before you toss that stone answer these simple questions:
Do you believe that it is better for your children to date and marry within their own religion, race and culture?
How do you explain the reasoning behind your belief to your children that this is important and necessary for them to adhere to?
How do you feel that this will affect the way they feel about other races, religions and cultures and do you think that this will encourage them to see all people as equal?
I say that we must all look to the prejudices and fears within us and see ourselves for who we truly are and then decide do we want to be hypocrites who punish people publicly for doing what they are taught to do and that we support by our own actions behind closed doors, or begin to be different and make the meaningful change?
Think about this: If that tweet had been anti-Semitic in spirit and directed at a Jewish player, Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada would be denouncing what was said, still searching for the source of the tweet and threatening to punish the perpetrator if possible to the fullest extent of Canadian law.
Did you hear Stephen Harper, or anyone in our government publicly condemn the racist statements that were directed at Tiger Woods from either Fuzzy Zoeller, or Sergio Garcia?
- Did you hear Stephen Harper or any member of the Canadian government publicly condemn and denounce the owner of the LA clippers for his racist views and comments?
Did you hear Stephen Harper or any member of the Canadian government publicly condemn and denounce the Boston fans for their tweets about PK Subban one our own Montreal Canadians players?
The answer is of course you didn’t because racism directed at blacks and other minorities whether it be in sport, or in everyday life is not taken seriously by either government, or considered a hate crime unless we are talking about anti-Semitism. The way both governments deal with the ugliness of racism is to basically ignore it, bury their heads in the sand pretending it does not exist, wish that it will some how mysteriously take care of itself, or hope that it will be forgotten if given enough time.
Thought: It seems that PK Subban is playing harder and scored a goal and an assist in game 3 of the Boston versus Montreal series and had a teammate comment, “He plays better when he is all riled up.” The black players of the LA Clippers will ignore the fact that they have a racist owner and play their hardest, ignoring the fact that sees them as a southern slave owner would have viewed the acquisition of prize slaves. Tiger Woods seems to have managed to remain in the game of golf, find happiness and avert his life being ruined, after being singled out and made an example of for daring to as a black athlete to have an affair that hurt a white blonde woman that ended in a divorce. Is this the status quo that we as Americans and Canadians wish to live by? Is this the equality for all that certain citizens in both countries can expect to enjoy for all time?
“Canada shares more than Niagara Falls with the USA, but some of what we share is not so pretty!”