Professional Sports, The Media and Racism

Sorry f000or being away, but things have beem a little crazy around here the last couple of weks. Nothing major, thankfully, just one of those times whem the little things that make up life get in the way and things that need to be dealt with prevent us from doing something we enjoy – like writing. It’s not as if this was my job or anything.

Anyway, the subject for today is a bit afield of what I normally choose to talk about, or so it may seem at first. But, as we shall see, today’s topic, the behavior of a certain player in the National Basketball Association and the reaction of the mdia and his coach, actually touch very strongly on one or two themes in the blog: life’s priorities, media bias, race amd jimgoistic nationalism.

The player in question is Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks. The behavior that triggered the media attenton was a YouTube video allegedly taken during a flag football game in which Howard was, according to the article on the Sports Illustrated web site a few days ahp, disrespectful to the American national anthem.

First of all, what is so sacrosanct about the Star Bangled Banner? It’s only a song, and honetly, not a very good one at that I cn think of a number of , musically and literarily speaking, much better choice doe our national anthem.Why this one was selected is beyond me.

Second of all, Josh Howard is an Afican-American and his so-called disrespect ws a social and political protest against racism in this county much in the same vein that the fists in the air by the three African-American medal-winning sprinters in Mexico City in 1968. Rather than chastising Howard, I think he deserves to be commended for his social consciousness. There are far too few young African-American male, in or out of professional sports, willing to take such a stand on racism or any other social issue.

The beavior that gotHoward in trouble with his coach happened during the NBA playoffs this past spring. It seems tha right after the fourth game of the Mavericks’ first orud series, a game ey lost, Howard went home and celebrated his birthday wih a big party. Gee whiz, what was he supposed to do, go home and call off a party that probably had been planned for some time just  because he had a bad day on the job? Would you disappoint your family and friends by calling off your birthday party because your company failed to close a deal that day? I think both the reporter who wrote this piece and the Mavericks’ coach, Avery Johnson. need to get a life.

Professional sports is a business and the players are employees, not property like their slave ancestors, although sometimes some owners seem to have a slave-owner mentality andcoaches are like the old-time slave overseers. People like Josh Howsrd and others, who see themselves as employees with a life way from the job, are castigated by the powers that be in their sport and b the sports media. The media should be defending these athletes for their courage rather than fostering what can be, and often is, a degrding and dehumanizing system. I wondr how many of u would be willing to stay at our jobs if we worked in a profession that was patterned after professional sports, especially professional basketball and football, where the owners seem to think they can control even the private lives of the players.

Here’s the link to the SI.com article. The link to the video is in that article.

Josh Howard has lots of justification for disrespecting the symbols of the United Sttes. After all, it is  country that disrespects him. A person is well within his Constitutional rights to disrespect someone or something that disrespects him. And, for  those of the “America, love it or leave it” crowd, if the Founding Fathers had followed that philosophy, here would be no United States/ We would still be part of Great Britain. In fact, that attitude is much more disrespectful of the principles this country stands for than anything Josh Howard did or said. Contary to what some people believe, this country is no perfect. not by a long shot It may very wekk be better than any other country in existence at this time, but it falls far short of the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence or the Contitution. Wantung thus country to live up to thoe principles is far from disrespectul. Quite the contrary.

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