Thursday letters: Black athletes are fumbling the ball

March 27, 2014 

More than once last season, melees were ignited when African-American pro football players spewed the N-word upon other players of color.

As an African-American, my concern is that roughly 65 percent of the NFL’s players are African-Americans, and apparently not one has the moral character to say that the word is filthy, wrong and poisonous — and to challenge his brethren to shut up.

A few years ago, the NBA threatened to levy fines against players sitting on the bench (not in game uniform) if they were not dressed appropriately. Nearly 80 percent of the league’s players are African-American, and apparently not one had the guts to challenge his brethren not to show up for work dressed as hobos.

Black athletes and entertainers of yesteryear used their money, platforms and leverage to make life better for others, especially the poor and disenfranchised. Black football player and entertainer Paul Robeson was earning $100,000 a year in the 1930s but risked it all by challenging America’s racist policies. Black pro baseball player Curt Flood’s lawsuit (Flood v. Kuhn, 1970) made it possible for today’s players to earn tens of millions of dollars a year — and Mr. Flood never profited from it. Entertainers Harry Belafonte and James Baldwin marched shoulder-to-shoulder with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights icons — and their wallets suffered due to reprisals from white entertainment executives.

Black athletes, stop fumbling the ball. Black entertainers, stop missing your cues.

Eugene Washington

Columbia

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