All Articles Tagged "sports"
About 50 years after racial segregation had been outlawed in the US, Gabby Douglas made her historical Olympic debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics. But, despite nearly half a century of racial integration in American society, Gabby’s presence on the gym floor was as conspicuous as a polar bear in a desert — a Black girl slaying it in gymnastics, a “White sport”, was extraordinary.
It’s not just in gymnastics that Black athletes are sparse, the same can be said for other sports like lacrosse, swimming, soccer, tennis, and crew, to name a few. So what exactly is going on here? Aren’t we post-racial by now?
It’s no accident that in today’s society, the basketball courts and athletic tracks are dominated by Black athletes, meanwhile white athletes dominate in the pools and on the tennis courts. While it might be tempting to explore “the why” of this matter from a genetics angle, the root cause of it is probably more socioeconomic than biological.
The preparation for sports competition at the intercollegiate level and beyond begins several years in advance of college. Youth and high school sports programs are crucial to the skills development of an athlete; the quality of the coaching and sporting facilities; and the variety in sports offered are largely determined by the amount of funding available for these sports programs. In her book, White Sports / Black Sports: Racial Disparities in Athletic Programs, Lori Latrice Martin notes:
Neighborhoods that are predominantly white, tend to have more homeowners than renters, higher housing values, and greater access to resources and quality schools with quality sports programs and facilities. Neighborhoods that are predominantly black tend to have more renters than homeowners, lower housing values, and less access to resources and quality schools with quality programs and facilities.
The far reaching effects of a history of racial discrimination and economic oppression against Blacks in America rears its ugly head (yet again) in the form of informally segregated residential neighborhoods, which results in disparity in opportunities. The cost to maintain a 50m Olympic-size pool or manicured grass for sports like golf and soccer is hefty, in comparison to the upkeep required for a running track or basketball court; thus we generally see more Black athletes in basketball and track, whereas White athletes have wider access to more types of sports.
Not only is access an issue, the personal monetary investment to participate in “White sports” can be cost prohibitive; a private tennis lesson in the Boston area can cost you about $70/ hr, and a new top of the line field hockey stick could set you back about $300.
A friend of mine who played intercollegiate field hockey in the Midwest told me that field hockey was largely perceived as a private school thing, and that some students had never even seen field hockey before seeing it played for the first time in college. “College fields, courts and rivers are now teeming with equestriennes, female soccer players, rowers, and other athletes, but almost all of them — 70 percent — are white,” writes Welch Suggs in the essay: Title IX Has Done Little for Minority Female Athletes.
While racism in sport definitely does exist (Gabby Douglas spoke about this in an interview with Oprah, and we all know about the hate Serena Williams has had to endure), as a former field hockey player myself, I personally never felt disparaged by my teammates or coaches because of the color of my skin. However, there were a few times when discouragement crept in — stemming from members of the Black community itself.
As a young girl, I’d never thought of sports as being “Black” or “White” but high school quickly changed that. As a freshman, I learned that I played a “White sport,” because Black people would sometimes qualify my Blackness by adding words like, “but you play field hockey,” to the end of a sentence, as if to say that I wasn’t really Black or Black enough. I was Black but with an asterisk — a coconut — brown on the outside but white on the inside. For any teenager, high school is a tumultuous time where you’re just trying to figure yourself out and fit in, so such comments did make me question my choice in sport. I stuck with field hockey though because I loved it so much, and I was able to go to a great college partially because of my athletic achievements. By the time I got to college, I didn’t care anymore if people thought that I was coconut.
It’s unfortunate that there’s a lot of money left on the table in the form of college scholarships that Black athletes are not accessing at the moment. Hopefully as the socioeconomic barriers that have prevented minority athletes from gainfully participating in classic “White sports” crumble over time, we’ll see a rise in the participation of Black athletes in more sports. Role models like Gabby Douglas, Serena Williams and Simone Manuel will continue to be important as well to break racial stereotypes about Black women in sports.
The professional sports arena is messier than any reality show these days.
Matt Barnes became a trending topic on Wednesday after reports that he drove 95 miles to his estranged wife Gloria Govan’s Los Angeles home to “beat the sh*t” out of former teammate and current Knicks coach, Derek Fisher. According to Page Six, Barnes’ six-year-old sons called to tell him that Fisher was at their house. Reportedly, Barnes dropped everything after receiving the call and hit the road. It’s reported that he arrived at the home around 11:45 p.m., which is when the alleged fight broke out. Apparently, Govan was not off limits during the incident, as some reports claim that Barnes “spit in her face.”
Representatives for the estranged couple have not commented on the incident, but the NBA has acknowledged that something went down between the former teammates. The incident is currently under investigation, according to a spokesperson for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Fisher flew to California Saturday afternoon to see his children. The Knicks had Sunday off, but the player-turned-coach missed practice on Monday due to travel issues, ESPN reports. He did, however, make it to Wednesday’s night’s preseason match.
When questioned about the incident and what may have fueled it following the game, Fisher had this to say:
“Personal and private matters are personal and private. We’re obviously public figures, but we’re at work. So I won’t be commenting on anything that’s happened personally or privately for me.”
He did, however, reveal that he spoke with Knicks players regarding the possible altercation.
“I wanted to make sure that before they were asked about it at least that they heard from me directly about my state of mind and how present I am,” Fisher said. “I’ve been through a lot in life and experienced a lot of things. And sometimes we go through things in life that we can or cannot control. I’m here; I’m focused. It’s not something that’s going to take me away from who we are and what we’re trying to do. And I assured them of that. The only way to do that is to go out and do your job, and that’s what we’re going to do tonight.”
“It kind of caught everybody off guard,” said Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. “Nobody really knew what was going on. Still, nobody knows the details of what’s happening.”
I really have no idea why menfolks like Dr. Boyce Watkins object so harshly to Lee Daniels’ smash hit television show “Empire”?
Actually I do: it’s about the women and the gays. It’s always about the women and the gays…
That is certainly the theme in Watkins’ latest essay entitled, Why I refuse to support the coonery of the show, “Empire.”
I use “latest” as a relative term here considering this was originally posted in March of this year. Still this link, along with similar sentiments about the show, have been making the rounds again in lieu of the Empire’s second season premiere. As such I thought it best to address some of the “finer” points in the essay.
“When the Fox Network released the new show, “Empire,” I was concerned about what I might see on screen. Fox is not known for producing the most favorable images of black people, so I figured this show wouldn’t be any different. For some reason, black dysfunctionality makes for great television, and there is a long line of white guys getting rich off of our willingness to celebrate all that makes us miserable.
If you do some research, you might notice some of the same things I’ve seen in this ghetto-fied hood drama: Pimps, hoes, thugs, gangsters, emasculated black men, and all kinds of other kinds of stereotypical coonery that many of us have grown tired of seeing portrayed on-screen. Lee Daniels is apparently the man responsible for this televised monstrosity, and I wonder if a day will ever come that the majority of us will refuse to support directors who pimp their people to help bigots like Rupert Murdoch get rich from modern day minstrel shows.”
I am not going to bore you with the rest of the essay, but rest assured it is filled with the same ugly vitriol you would find in most essays and social media rants about the effeminate men and Black women.
And to be clear: Watkins may try to hide it inside a need and desire for more favorable images of black people” as a whole, but this is an attack on Black women too.
In fact, Watkins has made a habit (some would say a career) railing against programming created for the entertainment of Black women. “Scandal” is one. Reality television is another. And now “Empire” which, according to this article in Vulture Magazine, is the ratings share “equivalent of a Super Bowl” among African-American women between 35 and 49 years old.
Without saying it directly, Watkins, as usual, lays the onus of both the destruction and the repair of the community falls on the shoulders – or in this case, the eyeballs – of Black women. After all, it is our entertainment and viewing habits, which are allegedly hurting our image. And it is our support of “Empire” that is allegedly helping evil media mogul Rupert Murdoch get wealthier.
And if us Black Queens [eyeroll] would stop watching these frivolous programs that do nothing but distract us from raising children and making sandwiches for our men (that’s why they are emasculated), our men would be free to get jobs, stay out of prison and get down to the business of nation building.
But let’s suppose it’s all true. Let’s imagine for a moment that “Empire” is nothing more than a high-tech minstrel show, bankrolled by FOX with an agenda to turn all Black men into the gays and Black women into weave-wearing, White-men screwing NeNe Leakeses. My question is when will menfolks like Watkins lead by example?
What I mean is why are there never any essays connecting the dots between Murdoch’s evil plans to harm the Black community and FOX Sports?
Besides reality shows and “Empire,” there is no other more problematic image of Black people on television than what has come out of the NFL. I’m talking sexual assaults and domestic violence. I’m talking the financial castigation of Black men through exploitive contracts and poor ownership opportunities. And I’m talking head traumas, broken backs and other permanent physical damage to the players themselves.
Murdoch gets paid handsomely off of that oppression too. In fact, his Fox Sports networks are gaining ground on ESPN in terms of ratings, including in Black households. Taking a stand against the “coonery” by boycotting Murdoch’s sport networks and broadcast of NFL games would be the ultimate opportunity for the brothers to flex that invigorated-brand of masculinity, which they are always claiming is being snatched away from them by Black women, effeminate Black men and The Man.
And yet there aren’t any scathing essays imploring the menfolks to empower themselves through a boycott of the upcoming Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcon or the New England Patriots vs Dallas Cowboys games on FOX Sports. To be fair, Watkins, in 2008, did call for a boycott of NCAA basketball season, some of which might have aired on FOX Sports. But that was solely about getting college athletes paid. And he made no mention of how our support of March Madness contributed to FOX or Murdoch.
I guess he was cool with us lining Murdoch’s pockets back then. Just like how it was cool when we all went to go see X-men, Planet of the Apes, Alien vs Predator, Fantastic Four, and other action films produced by FOX. You know because Murdoch owns a lot of shat including the film studios, production and distribution companies and television stations in which great deal of our entertainment comes from?
Nope. Watkins, and others brothers who charge others with the task of fixing the Black community’s image, rarely seek empowerment through self-control and personal accountability. Instead, these fellas mostly seek validation of themselves through the policing of what the we women can say, do or even enjoy.
What’s most interesting in Watkins’ angst over “Empire’s” alleged role in bankrolling Murdoch’s empire is that Watkins himself has been a guest quite a few times on FOX programming. Talk about contributing to one’s own demise. But I guess that was different, huh?
The U.S. Open started yesterday, and we officially have tennis fever. While we’re rooting for Serena Williams to win it all, we’re also looking forward to seeing what she’s going to wear on the court. Williams has played in everything from a denim skirt to studded hot pants, and her daring style choices are an inspiration both on and off the court. So we’ve come up with three outfits of our own that we hope would make the No. 1 tennis player in the world proud and make you look like the ultimate fitness fashionista. Get inspired by the following ensembles:
The color blocking and mesh detail on this Monreal London dress help it stand apart from the typical tennis whites. Throw it on with a fresh pair of sneakers and some shades and top it all off with a sporty backpack.
Dress, Monreal London – $415 / Sneakers, Mango – $80 / Backpack, Herschel Supply – $55 / Rings, Kohl’s – $7.99 / Earrings, Kate Spade – $32 / Headphones, Beats by Dre – $300 / Sunglasses, Ray-Bans – $160
The world’s biggest athletes will receive honors for their achievements at the 2015 ESPY Awards tonight. With so many Black athletes commanding their courts, fields, stages, and rings, we decided to look at 15 of today’s biggest and most dominant Black athletes in the world of sports.
Are you going to watch Floyd Mayweather v. Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd? Floyd is regarded as the best boxer of his time, but some of the controversies in his past are giving boxing fans pause.
Dance, sports, theatre. There’s no doubt that participating in extracurricular activities is beneficial for your child. They can help boost their self-esteem, teach important lessons about teamwork, and provide them with scholarship opportunities. But how much is too much? How do you know when you’ve gone too far, making their extracurriculars more of an extra burden on your child and you? Here are five questions to ask yourself before filling out that next registration form.
Is it interfering with school? Yes, extracurricular activities are great, but school should always come first. Homework in the car, late at night, or not at all; falling grades…. Balancing their education and other activities requires a good blend of self-discipline and commitment. If your child isn’t able to juggle everything, it’s time to pull back on some of their activities until they’re able to better manage their time.
Is it straining my pockets? From registration fees to equipment, the cost of extracurricular activities can add up– fast! And there may come a time when you find that those things are straining you financially. Cutting back on spending to make it possible for your son or daughter to participate is fine, but if you’re making several sacrifices, you may want to start being more selective about what activities your child can and can’t do.
Is my child having fun? Sometimes there is crying in baseball…and pouting and whining and tantrums, too. With too much emphasis being put on their extracurricular activities, what may have started out as a genuine interest could end up being something that’s no longer enjoyable for them. So as a parent, you need to decide: Should I let my child throw in the towel? Can they do it immediately, or will I have them follow through with their commitment until the season is over?
How much of our time is it taking? There’s nothing like having the whole family cheering on the sidelines together and going out for a celebratory (or consolation) ice cream after a game. One of the best aspects of an extracurricular activity is being able to use it as family bonding time. But if your family vacations have been replaced by travel tournaments, spilling the tea means gossiping about playing time and nepotism, and the only dinner out you do as a family is a team banquet, it’s time to re-prioritize so your life doesn’t revolve around your child’s hobbies.
Are they still able to just be kids? If your son or daughter never seems to have time to play with their friends, is always missing things like birthday parties and other social events, perhaps they’ve got a little too much on their plate. When their activities conflict with other things that they’d like to do, ask yourself which one your child would want to do the most and weigh the importance. They may not be able to miss a recital or big game, but is it possible for them to miss a practice? Remember, they’ll always have time to participate in extracurricular activities, whether they do it now or if they wait until their high school years. But there’s only so much time that they have to just be kids.
Hey mamas! How much is too much for your family? How many hours are you devoting to your kids’ extracurricular activities each week? Do you feel like it’s worth the time?
When Bloomsburg University baseball player Joey Casselberry tweeted that Little League phenom Mo’ne Davis was a “slut,” he probably thought no one was listening. But the whole country heard him, including Davis herself and Casselberry’s school. Casselberry found himself booted from the team by Monday in a swift response from the University.
Surprisingly, however, he also found himself in Mo’Ne Davis’ good graces.
The 14-year-old and her coach sent an email to Bloomsburg University’s President, David L. Soltz, asking him to reinstate the disgraced former baseball player. The University declined.
Casselberry’s dismissal from the Bloomburg’s baseball team has already been lamented as the end of a promising career.
This is all too familiar: concern for the transgressor’s lost “future” eclipsing all else.
Davis’ message of forgiveness, entreating that Casselberry’s “dumb mistake” should not ruin his career, speaks volumes. Her plea for mercy on his behalf even mentioned how hard he’d worked to get where he was. It is shameful to Casselberry that this young lady has more integrity and poise than a grown man. She has only to gain by her gracious approach.
But frankly, Mo’Ne Davis shouldn’t have to be in the position to readily forgive someone who maligned her. Her willingness to take the high road is indeed admirable. I simply wish there were more options for a young, public-facing Black girl in this situation.
While Davis admitted she was hurt over the incident, the one emotion she could not express was anger. Black girls and women, even when we are wronged, are often stripped of the right to our righteous anger. In America’s eyes, we are “angry Black girls/women” already. We cannot afford to actually be angry.
As such, forgiveness is not a virtue we are allowed to let come with time and healing, if we so choose. Forgiveness must be as swift as the punishment. We are forced to accept half-hearted apologies, hollow appeals to our aggressor’s innate goodness. Part of Casselberry’s rote mea culpa insisted he was “in no way shape or form a sexist” and “a huge fan of Mo’ne.”
If calling a 14-year-old girl “slut” because you disagree with her career trajectory doesn’t qualify as sexism, then sexism doesn’t exist. But we know better. We’re adults.
However, should our daughters be expected to know how to act better than misogynist men? Should they have to feel the weight of that responsibility at such a young age? Can we permit them the human luxury of anger, without the pressure to grant a forgiveness they may not feel?
We cannot speak for Mo’Ne Davis and assume her offer of forgiveness to Casselberry was as contrived as his apology. Indeed, it is curious a comment was even necessary from her. I sincerely hope she extended herself because she desired it and not because others advised her it was necessary.
But we can certainly offer our daughters more options than the cage of an expected pass for bullies or abusers. We can give them the space to be wounded.
They should not feel pressured to give a response as victims—let alone absolution—to their aggressors. We can give them the words to name their pain; yes, call sexism, misogyny, racism, and homophobia what they are. We can allow them to define forgiveness on their own terms, because that is the right of people who have been wronged.
Mo’Ne Davis has been a study in maturity and grace during this ordeal. This beautiful, talented Black girl was made to feel ashamed of her brilliance. But I want her, and all our daughters, to know forgiveness is a gift rather than a requirement. Casselberry may be the recipient of her forgiveness and empathy, but he certainly does not deserve it.
Superbowl Sunday doesn’t usually rank high on the lists of “events to get dressed for” for most women but, try as we might, there is no hiding from the fervor of football in February. And let’s face it we love a good party and this is as good a reason as any to flex our fashion muscles and play around with some new styles.
You can go all the way sporty in a team jersey or tee or keep it low key by showing your support wearing the teams colors. If you simply don’t care who wins (or whose even playing) keep your look sporty and chic with items that can take you from the big game to whatever may come next. How do you show your team spirit and still stay stylish?
Fashionista Fix: Top Looks for a Stylish Superbowl
By now, you’ve probably heard of pitching prodigy Mo’ne Ikea Davis. As a standout player in this year’s Little League World Series, Davis dominated media and publicity surrounding the tournament—and rightfully so. Traveling with her team, the Taney Dragons, from her hometown of Philadelphia to the site of this year’s competition, Williamsport, Pa., the athlete had no clue she’d leave a little league legend (becoming the youngest face to grace a Sports Illustrated cover and first girl to throw a shutout).
And while her team, who represented the Mid-Atlantic region during the tournament, was ousted by Chicago’s all-Black Jackie Robinson West team, there’s little doubt that this is the last we’ll hear from the budding athletic star who dreams of success in professional sports. Here, we give you 12 fun facts to know about Mo’ne Davis.