All Articles Tagged "Black athletes"
By Gresham Harkless
Athletes make more money than a lot of people would ever dream of in their lifetimes. Even with these large contracts, however, there is no guarantee that after their playing careers have ended, these men and women will hold on to their wealth. But rather than leave their futures to chance, some athletes balance what they do on the court or field with business endeavors. The Atlanta Post takes a look at ten African-American athletes from the present and past that easily transition from their jumpsuits to business suits.
While Melo’s childhood dream of playing for the New York Knicks may have had nothing to do with money, the opportunity is likely to prove lucrative. His move from Denver to New York is going to open up countless endorsement opportunities. One of the first came in the form of a 128-foot Boost Mobile billboard mounted two blocks from Madison Square Garden. One day after Anthony was traded, VH-1 announced that they would air a reality show featuring Anthony and his wife La La Vasquez. Melo is also signed to Michael Jordan’s Jumpman brand.
by Mark Anthony Neal
Like many Americans, professional football player Rashard Mendenhall was moved by the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US military personnel. Yet what moved Mendenhall to speak out in the hours after the announcement was his disgust with the celebratory antics of folk who gathered across from the White House and at Ground Zero in New York City. On his Twitter feed Mendenhall wrote “What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…” Mendenhall, who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, also expressed some concern that many who were celebrating in the streets didn’t really know the full story.
Reaction to Mendenhall’s comments was swift, most notably by Steelers team president Art Rooney II, who quickly distanced the team from Mendenhall’s comments. “The entire Steelers organization is very proud of the job our military personnel have done and we can only hope this leads to our troops coming home soon,” he announced. And just recently, Mendenhall was dropped as a spokesman for the sports apparel company Champion.
On Sports talk radio—never a bastion of thoughtful commentary—the reactions were to be expected: athletes should keep their opinions about anything other than the game, to themselves. As Thabiti Lewis observes in his book Ballers of the New School: Race and Sports in America, sports are intended to “divert us from conversations of political, economic, or social criticisms and analysis, while cultivating jingoists—intense patriots.” Yet, underlying even those nominal responses is the belief that Black athletes, in particular, should shut-up and, to quote rapper and activist Jasiri X, “just run the ball boy.”
Mendenhall, of course, has every right to express his opinion. His willingness to offer such commentary, however it’s perceived, is laudable in an era when many athletes are too concerned with alienating advertisers and damaging their own brands, to speak out on anything that might be viewed as controversial. This creates a context in which Black professional athletes, save a few examples, are generally silent on issues of concern to Black communities. Instructive was the negative response to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who suggested earlier this year that the labor dispute in his sport was like “modern day slavery,” as if the idea that professional athletes were treated like chattel was some sort of radical concept.
Historically, Black professional athletes have often faced challenges with regards to speaking out, if only because there had been clear limits on how outspoken Black people could be in general, well into the 20th Century. Yet the very idea of the Black athlete-as-activist was born in the early 20th century, literally at the same moment that the concept of the Black athlete was invented from “the repertoire of colonial fantasies about Blackness” as sociologist Ben Carrington writes in his book Race, Sport and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora.
Heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson never considered himself a political figure, but there was arguably, nothing more political for a Black athlete in the first decade of the 1900s than pummeling White men for a living. More to the point, Johnson rarely held his tongue, often conscious of how scurrilous his comments were, while also flaunting his desire for White women.
Tags:african-american athletes, apathy athletes, Black athletes, free agency, Mendenhall lost endorsement , michael jordan, pittsburgh, pittsburgh steelers, politically concious, politics and athletes, rashard, rashard mendenhall, rashard mendenhall bin laden, rashard mendenhall champion, slaves athletes
(AP) — Miami Heat star Chris Bosh is suing the mother of his child for appearing on a reality TV show called “Basketball Wives,” which he said intrudes on his private life. L and intruding into his private affairs. He acknowledges he and Mathis have a child together. The suit says Mathis was hired to appear in the third season of the VH1 reality show and wants to use it to become a TV star. Bosh seeks damages and an injunction to block her and the media company from trademark infringement by using his name and disclosing private facts about his life.
We’ve all played this game: “If I were rich I would…” Travel the world? Start a business? Quit my job? No one ever says, “Squander it all,” despite the fact that this happens often. In a recent article, 15 Athletes Gone Bankrupt, CNBC reminds us how pervasive a problem this is among sportsmen. The NBA estimates that 60% of players go broke within five years of retiring, and according to a 2009 Sports Illustrated finding, 78% of NFL players could be classified as bankrupt or financially distressed, within two years of leaving the job. The Atlanta Post takes a look at the ten African-American athletes that made CNBC’s list.
After serving 3 years on rape charges, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson returned to the ring. It wasn’t long, however, before he bit a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear off, in one of the most disgraceful incidents in sports history. His career never rebounded and when he filed for bankruptcy in 2003, an extravagant lifestyle, pet tiger, $9 million divorce settlement and back taxes had not only succeeded in absorbing the $400 million he’d earned, but left him with a $27 million tab.
(Wall Street Journal) — Baseball home-run king Barry Bonds goes on trial Monday in the highest-profile case stemming from a seven-year government probe of sports doping that has ensnared Olympic gold medalists, track coaches, a lawyer and a chemist. Mr. Bonds is charged with making false statements to a grand jury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury in 2003. Mr. Bonds denies the charges. He testified he never knowingly took steroids, never accepted human growth hormone from a personal trainer and never allowed anyone other than medical personnel to give him injections. If convicted, Mr. Bonds could face five years or more in federal prison. Either way, his single-season and lifetime home-run records may never escape the shadow of a criminal case. A lawyer for the 46-year-old Mr. Bonds, Ted Cassman, declined to comment. Mr. Bonds’s case hinges on whether prosecutors can prove the former San Francisco Giants slugger took steroids and that he knew what they were when he was taking them. The case was delayed two years after the government unsuccessfully appealed a judge’s decision to bar key evidence that included positive drug tests.
by R. Asmerom
As much as we appreciate the strides that have been made since the Civil Rights movement in terms of racial equality, there are a few realities that remind us that equality is still a goal. The discrepancy between the number of athletes on the field and the number of Blacks in front office positions is a grand example of how covert discrimination plays out in many corporate environments. Are there seriously not enough Blacks interested in the business end of sports?
This is just one of the points that Dr. Thabiti Lewis, a professor at Washington State University in Vancouver, examines in his book “Ballers of The New School: Race and Sports in America.”
“On one hand, we say wow, it’s a different age. There’s been quite a bit of progress,” said Lewis. “It’s post Jim Crow, post Civil Rights and yet, I think in some ways, the handcuffs are a little tighter than they were before,” he said of the Black athletes today who seem to hold a lot of power but barely use it when it comes to speaking out on sensitive issues.
These athletes are what Lewis calls the “new ballers,” who stand for a far different set of principles than the “old ballers” like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali. Those athletes took an active political role as popular figures. They sacrificed their careers for their causes; a fact that contrasts sharply with what Lewis deems as the apathy that permeates today’s sports culture. Players are more associated with the lavish lifestyles that they lead rather than the causes that they push. It’s indicative of an age when more Blacks do have access to wealth and power, but have less concern for the plight of African-American advancement.
Lewis said that he wrote the book to illuminate the courage and bravery of the “old ballers” he admires. “I’m trying to show people a generation of integrity, of a certain political consciousness, of a real certain focus and direction,” he said. Oftentimes, the efforts of the old ballers came at the cost of their careers. “What people forgot were that [the old ballers] were maligned, they were hated, they were seen as being too out of the pocket.”
He recalls a more recent time when Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a third-pick in the 1990 draft and a key player for the Denver Nuggets until 1995, expressed his political beliefs by refusing to stand for the national anthem. He justified his action by saying that the flag was a symbol of oppression, connected to the country’s racist history. Abdul-Rauf was ridiculed for his decision by NBA fans and was consequently traded away from the Nuggets to play for the Sacramento Kings despite his stellar performance. Eventually, he went overseas to continue his basketball career. “It was symbolic,” said Lewis. “If you aren’t going to be patriotic, then ‘we’ll give you what you want and you’ll be out of America.’ According to Lewis, those that do not follow protocol are maligned by the media and the public.
Today, there are very few, if any, instances of an athlete being criticized for his political activism but Lewis contends that they are being maligned nevertheless, by the media. The narratives around sports players are being produced by a predominantly white reporting staff according to Lewis. “88 percent of sports writers and 95 percent of sports editors are white males, “ he said. “There is a narrative that is being constructed, being glinted in one direction.”
(Chicago Breaking Business) — Former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, who committed suicide last Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., had filed for voluntary personal bankruptcy last September in a case that was still pending. But his Fort Lauderdale lawyer said he was “shocked” when he learned that his client had shot himself. “Things were looking good for his bankruptcy case. He seemed extremely upbeat,” said Zach Shelomith, of the law firm Leiderman Shelomith. “I see clients with financial problems all the time who are in a lot worse shape than him. When I saw the news on TV, I was shocked.”
In his bankruptcy petition, Duerson had listed $34.6 million in assets and $14.7 million in liabilities, according to the September filing in a U.S. bankruptcy court in the Southern District of Florida. Accounting for nearly all of his assets was one accounts receivable, or a payment owed to Duerson: a final judgment entered against defendants in case of Duerson Foods LLC vs. Ohio, and Dutch food interests stemming from a 2004 case in Wisconsin.
(AP) — Dustin Byfuglien looks around the Atlanta Thrashers locker room and sees a bunch of guys who look like him. The Thrashers are just the second team in NHL history to have five black players on the roster, which is even more significant in a city with a huge, affluent African-American population. The team has beefed up its advertising on urban radio stations and black-oriented publications, focusing heavily on Byfuglien (BUFF-lin) and 19-year-old Evander Kane. Anthony Stewart and Johnny Oduya have also played significant roles this season, while Nigel Dawes has gotten in a handful of games. Given the Thrashers rank near the bottom of the league in attendance, marketing officials are trying to boost hockey’s presence in Atlanta’s black community.
(The Bleacher Report) — The Following list showcases some of the greatest African American Wrestlers to ever set foot in a WWE Ring since the early WWWF days. I decided to go with just 10 superstars who I feel changed the way Black Wrestlers were portrayed in the industry. Obviously there are a handful of other superstars who could have been included in this list, so please comment and give your opinion n the matter.