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ACTIVISM, POLITICS, & SPORTS; IS THERE A RESURGENCE?

In HOT BUTTON TOPIC, NBA, PHILOSOPHY OF SPORT, Politics, PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, SPORTS on September 10, 2008 at UTC.26.30.

“We’re showing that we care about something bigger than the size of our cars or how fast our sports cars are. … To me it’s pretty simple: When you’re a professional athlete and people look up to you, you have a responsibility to represent something,” said Andrew Ferrence.

Wow, and the rub on most athletes is that they’re spoiled, selfish, and aloof. This guy shatters all that hyperbole with righteous action.

‘Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has considered himself a practicing environmentalist. When the weather permits, he leaves his hybrid car at home and bikes to games.’ He composts. “Pretty much go down the list, and I try to do it in my personal life,” he says.

I’ve never watched an NHL game a dy in my life, although, I can support anyone trying to utilize their celebrity to a worthy cause that affects al of us. Its commendable that someone who is wealthy takes time to empathize with the world we live. Moreover, to practice the tenets first hand in your own day-day life. In this instant gratification, Me-first society that’s a story truly worth reporting.

Remember in the mid 90’s, when the iconic Michael Jordan ostracized his community by not supporting liberal African-American candidate Harvey Gantt in his bid for a Senate seat in North Carolina. Jordan’s comment infuriated many a leader & activist, “Republicans buy shoes, too.”

Fast forward to one of today’s iconic players Baron Davis and his comments about his desire to speak out, and to take an active role in the presidential campaign, “the more I spoke out about politics, the more I would turn corporate sponsors off,” he esponded, “Who gives a s—?”

That alone shows you a stark difference between the last two generations of blacks in America. Yesterday, blacks were still operating under outdated philosophies as pertained to claiming voice, identity, solidarity, and activism. Still, nothing is in a vacuum.

We honor Muhammad Ali and his stance against the Vietnam War. Though, his role may have sparked by his fisrt hand role as draftee. It really matters not why, rather the fact that he left an example of a conscientious athlete willing to risk $$, fame and status to take a politival stance. History absolves all because with the passage of time, tensions allay therefore allowing for objectivity.

One would be hard pressed to find support of a superstar today that issued such a crass remark as Jordan’s back in the day. Although, we may not have to look that far. Lebron James wears # 23, and has been dubbed the “The Chosen One.”

When fellow teammate, Ira Newble wrote an open letter to the Chinese government about its role in the genocide in Darfur, he suggested that all his CLEVELAND CAVS team also sign it. Most did, according to reports, however Mr. James elected not to. HIs remark was frigid & seemingly disingenious, “claiming that he was insufficiently informed on the issues to take a stand, many suspected that, in fact, his off-court income, particularly from Nike, drove his decision.

Of course it did, NIKE is made in China, not to mention the Chinese have the biggest market in the world. James has said he wants to the 1st Billionaire athlete. I hope when he gets there he still remembers all those who came before him, that made his dreams a reality. Even though, James’ support of Barack Obama is honorable, by giving $20,000 to a campaign group to elect Obama.

What does it say when an athlete puts his own wants before the larger community? Lebron doesn’t need a billion dollars, I’m sure with his endorsements, and NBA salary he has more money now then he knows what to do with. So, what are we left to think after statements like these from the biggest stars Jordan, James etc.

I say boycott all products that they endorse, and then sanction them for those disparaging comments. These talking heads should be subject to the same intense scrutiny anyone else in the public eye are held to. In addition, they need to be held accountable. As a tax payer’s, fans, and American citizens it is our duty to do so.

The genocide in Darfur is horrendous, and the world’s silence is reminiscent of Rwanda. For anyone in a position of power to sit idly by as this crises goes on unabated is absolutely unacceptable, and the repurcussions will be swift.

Why are crises of humanity more tolerable in Africa, moreso than other continent in the world? Is it because Africa doesn’t hold any value to our foreign policy? Or, is it more sinister and directly corelated to race?

We live in a different world today, thank goodness some athletic stars have the integrity to answer teh call of the day: CHANGE!. So, for any black athlete to shirk his/her responsibility to the larger black community they come from is irresponsible. There is definitely a resurgence of activism & political action in the world of sports. Still, the biggest names cower behind corporate sponsorships, which is antaganistic, and disloyal.

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