Okay we are 65 years since Jackie Robinson made his major league debut with the then Brooklyn, and now current Los Angeles Dodgers. We are 65 years since Kenny Washington was the first African American to play in the NFL. We are 62 years since Earl Lloyd was the first African American to play in the NBA. We are 55 years since Nat Northington was the first African American to play football in the Southeastern Conference, at the University of Kentucky. To the best of my knowledge, every sport in America, if not the world, is essentially color blind; and I can say with confidence and honesty that this is a very, very good thing.
Sadly though there are still some people out there who cannot, or will not move beyond seeing the color of one’s skin, not just in sport, but in life too. Some of those people might be a little biased, to put it politely, while others just might be trying to grab a headline, by writing a racially charged article.
Take for example this article, and this article, both of which are about how the NBA team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, is the “whitest team” since the 1980’s Boston Celtics. This has led some civil rights activists to lay claim that this is an intentional move by the Timberwolves management.
Really!? Are we going to actually go there — now — in the 21st century?
Here’s my take on it, and it is much like the Timberwolves player, Brandon Roy’s take on it; I don’t see it as any sort of racial conspiracy. Brandon Roy has said, “I never really had to feel like I’m the only black guy out here. I’ve played on teams that maybe had all black guys and the feeling is just the same when I’m out there on the floor playing with these guys.” Yeah, that’s right, Brandon Roy is one of the African American players on the Timberwolves roster, and he does not see that roster as some sort of racial bias by the team’s management.
The Timberwolves roster isn’t just full of a bunch of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants from some American suburb. Five of their 10 players are from foreign countries. The Timberwolves also tried unsuccessfully to add two players from free agency, one received a matching contract offer with another team, and the other opted to take less money and play for the Los Angeles Lakers, because he believed there was a better chance to win a NBA title there. Both of those potential free agents are African American.
I think it is very sad that in today’s world there are still those that either look for, or can only see racial bias everywhere, and in everything. Sure in some instances there are such biases, but to be quite honest, in those instances the bias is so blatant as to where it cannot be ignored, or refuted. In this instance though I think those who are trying to say this is a case of prejudice are really going out of their way, by claiming it is some sort of well thought out and orchestrated conspiracy being played out by the management. The thing about racists is that they are not going to try and cover things up through a convoluted conspiracy; they are just going to be racist.
Finally let’s look at this a different way. What if someone decided to claim that some other team was too black? That person would be lampooned, at best, and would most certainly be called a racist for even making such a claim.
It baffles me that 59 years after one of the greatest speeches ever given, by one of the greatest Americans in our history, that person being none other than Martin Luther King, Jr., and that speech being his seminal “I Have a Dream” speech, that there are still so many people who either don’t remember, have chosen to ignore, or have simply never heard the famous line about living in a world where people are judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.