Friday, August 02, 2013

And Yet Again, Racism Intersects With Sports

The major story right now in the world of sports is Riley Cooper from the Philadelphia Eagles saying the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert when he was drunk and with his friends. and everybody in the sports world is wondering if and when the Eagles will get rid of him. That should be the secondary story to what has been a bane in America since it's formation. The fact that racism and tribalism still exist in America over 225 years after we became a nation.

It is easy to play the victim here. Cooper could play the victim. His teammates could play the victim, like LeSean McCoy, who said that he has lost respect for Cooper. The black community could play the victim, although I hope that it doesn't. I am watching Around The Horn on ESPN and shaking my head listening to the sportswriters showing their indignation about this situation. They should be saying that Cooper lives in the NFL where this word is heard each and every week. Read Jason Whitlock's article on Fox Sports about Cooper's faux pas. You start to understand that this sort of language has been tolerated in sports for a while. That doesn't forgive the language that Cooper used. However, let's get real here.

If we are going to eliminate this word from the English vocabulary, then all people need to stop using this word. I don't care who says it. Racism will always be a part of the human condition. It is ingrained in human beings. We fear and distrust anything that does not look and act like us. History has shown us that. Society uses it in subtle ways. Just look around. Black Heritage Month. Really? Every month should be where achievements are celebrated and if the people that did those achievements are black, then they get celebrated. But yet, society doesn't do that. We separate people based on the color of their skin and what their interests might be. The best chef in Jamestown ND works at a place called the Depot. People are amazed when they find out that he is black. Why? Because of the fact that we have it ingrained into our heads that a chef is a big fat white guy who will keel over at age 54 because of his arteries being blocked.

The fact that a 3rd string WR for the Eagles said that word shouldn't be shocking. 70% of the NFL players are black. In banter back and forth, they freely flow with that word. Hell, Jay Z has a song with Justin Timberlake where the only word that Jay Z says is that word.

Basically what I am trying to say is that the double-standards that are in play here need to stop. Instead of vilifying Riley Cooper, use this as a teaching moment. Tell kids of all races and ages that this is not a word that we use in any neighborhood. Show kids that this is not acceptable from a white person or a black person or a person of Asian descent. Start showing the entertainment industry that we demand more from our entertainers than the basest of language. Until that happens, this stuff will flair up periodically and we will hear from people that this is wrong but do nothing about it. That is today's America. I fear for our future.


R.J. said...

Totally agreed. When Riley got caught the first thing I thought of was "How many times will Michael Vick use him as a decoy instead of a wide receiver?"

We all need to stop using this, but the NFL can't say they're combating racism until a certain team in a certain city stops using a racial slur for it's name.

Brent said...

But that name isn't a racial slur. Just ask Daniel Snyder or Roger Goodell. Or any of the congressmen that are freaking out about Riley but not doing anything about the team that represents the Capital.

Zebster said...

Nicely written, Brent. It always amazes me how our world has become so polarized, everyone's opinion and modus is extreme. Just seems common sense and simple decency are fading fast.