Our Love/Hate With Certain Athletes

On Monday morning, I woke up to get ready to go to a doctor’s appointment and all I heard was stories about how unprofessional Angel Reese had been. Louisiana State University and Iowa were playing in the women’s national championship of college basketball with LSU prevailing 102-85.

As they were walking off the court Reese with LSU made the same hand gesture Iowa’s Cailtin Clark had made during the Iowa/South Carolina game. It was popularized by professional wrestler turned actor John Cena and known as the “You Can’t See Me” gesture. There’s a good bet on Sunday, the majority of Americans didn’t even know the gesture or even that Cena was a wrestler. It’s common in professional wrestling for all the theatrics and behaviors. Half of professional wrestling is trash talking and theatrics because fans get a kick out of it. Andy Kaufman realized that over 40 years ago.

But for some reason, because Reese is black and Clark is white, they only want to focus on Reese. Sports has a double standard like this that is very hypocrital and biased. This was the focus of HBO’s Winning Time which focused on the rise of the Showtime Lakers. Larry Bird always seemed to get press over Ervin “Magic” Johnson. Bird who called himself “The Hick from French Lick” would trash talk a lot with a can or cup spitting tobacco juice in. But he was also the most favored over the thuggish Johnson.

Richard Sherman was called out for his trash talk during a sideline interview when playing for the Seahawks. Sherman dressed like a penguin for a costume party. Anyone who dresses like a penguin isn’t a thug. BUt it shows you that people expect black athletes to “Shut up and play” as they said toward The Chicks (nee Dixie Chicks).

All the talk over Reese took the glory away from LSU’s win. Caitlin Ckark is the corn-fed white girl from Iowa, the heartland, while Reese is the thuggish black girl from the Baltimore area. People don’t choose where they born or were they’re raised. Yet we want to praise them for achieving but criticize them if they don’t follow the narrow pathes we want them to. It’s digusting sports fan only care about black people when they’re playing sports. But when they don’t do what “Massa” want them to do, they’re ungrateful or brutish.

Ask yourself one question – Would anyone have noticed women’s basketball was playing if this hadn’t happened? Men’s basketball gets most of the press and most of the glory. The best basketball game I sat through was one I covered as the team was competing for a bid to the state tournament. The game went into four overtimes. Even the fans and the players (who were the boys teams) were on pins and needles as the whole area was filled with people watching.

But there’s always going to be trash talk. We just overlook it. There used to be a private school in Rome, Ga., near where I grew up. They would throw concessions at band members and players from the other team. These weren’t just kids. The adults did it too. And the adults really know how to lay it on. My ex would often go to the football games I had to cover. One time, she got up and walked to the visitor’s side because there was so much ugliness being spoken from the home team.

Another school, that is predominantly white, often had the worst behaviors from players, students and fans. One time, the quarterback was called back on a run during a game. He tossed the football at the official. He didn’t throw it. He didn’t hurl it like a Hail Mary. He tossed it under hand the way you toss something to someone from across the room. It came up short. The fans on the other side booed and jeered. Wanna guess what skin color the quarterback was?

Another time, they had a very offensive banner in front of the student section reading, “Beat ’em Like Vick” as the team they were playing was the Bulldogs. This was referring to the dogfighting scandal Michael Vick had found himself in where he was operating illegal dogfighting rings resulting in the maiming and killing of dogs. This was before something snapped on a cell phone and posted would go viral. I told the adminsitrator of the school that it was offensive. He looked at me as if I had asked him to move mountains. Other people were telling him, so he finally in a huff like a spoiled brat caught in a lie, went over and tore it down while the students looked confused and he pointed across the field to the visitors side.

I covered a girl’s soccer game one time in which the goalie from the other team would scream, “Play the ball! Play the ball!” so much that I just couldn’t listen to it anymore. And then, when it appeared the home team had scored, but the official called it back, she threw her arms up at the people and screamed, “She didn’t score!” It was poor sportsmanship. But guess what skin color she was because no one said anything.

I remember Arhtur Ashe once saying he always had to behave a certain way while John McEnroe could scream and berate the officials. It was parodied by Snoopy in Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back). And we all saw what happened when Serena Williams called the officials a few years ago. It’s typical.

But even stretching beyond sports, Angela Bassett was criticized for looking disappointed 2.7 seconds during the Oscars. She had every right to look disappointed. But she didn’t huff. She didn’t get up and walk out. She stayed and later looked like she was still having a good time despite not winning. But you didn’t hear about that.

Imagine what would happen if tomorrow or next week, every black person refused to play a sport. People would shit bricks. They make money off likeness, names and bets. It’s okay to exploit black athletes but they “need to learn their place” is what everyone is saying.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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