Hopkins’ Comments Just As Hurtful As T.O.’s Actions

By Gregory Moore
Updated: December 4, 2005

SAN ANTONIO – What do Bernard Hopkins and Terrell Owens have in common besides being best buds? How about a foot in mouth disorder. Now we all know the story of Owens and I’m not going to enumerate it again in this space. Been there, done that and if you want a reprise, google the topic. Yet I do want to bring up the fact that Hopkins has decided to insert himself into a topic that he isn’t smart enough to even speak on in a casual fashion and that’s slavery and professional sports.

I’m going to go on record here and call Hopkins out. As a matter of fact I’m going to go on record and say that not only were the comments that Hopkins said on Premiere Radio’s Jim Rome Show inappropriate, they were borderline boorish, outlandish, infantile and just plain ignorant and they came from an individual who had the audacity to go on national television and equate what a professional athlete does and how he is treated to one of the world’s worse atrocities to a human race of people. In my own, personal opinion, Hopkins was either ignorant in his comments, stupid in his assumptions or a combination of the two and as a Black man in this country where racism is still alive and very prevalent in many parts of this country, it is upsetting as all get out that another Black man wants to try and paint his so-called friend as a slave. I’m sorry but any respect I have had for Hopkins is now in the toilet with his buddy’s respect.

Like I said earlier, I heard the comments that Hopkins made and there is no defense for what he said. Now call it fight hype if you want but from this seat in the cat’s bird seat, what I heard is a man who doesn’t have a clue about professional sports, it’s dynamics or any formulations of what makes it be the vertical market that it is in this country. I say that because evidently Hopkins believes that one man can change a season if on a team. Let me say this about the 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles. As talented as that team was, they were going to go to the Super Bowl with or without Terrell Owens. You can debate it at the water cooler all you want but that is a stone cold fact of sports life. The Eagles had already been to the NFC championship three years before Owens got there and they were on their way to their fourth appearance. Oh and yeah I know that Owens had ten touches for a buck twenty but where were the other players?

But beyond any of what happened last year, it is the fact that a grown man would have the audacity to try to say that professional athletes are being worked like slaves. The last athlete who made such an asinine statement was Warren Sapp and where is he today? Oakland and that’s enough said. For Hopkins to actually think that the listening audience was going to be down with him on that is what makes this even more of a tragedy. Hopkins and many others truly believe that bull crap about how athletes are treated because Hopkins and others have got the concept wrong. If you want to compare any type of servitude to professional athletes, the closest you can come to is the role of an indentured servant. It may not be politically correct for some but this is the reality of the situation. Just what is an indentured servant? The definition according Webster’s is an immigrant to North America during the 17th to 19th centuries who contracted to work for an employer for a number of years in exchange for passage and accommodation. Now even by that definition, professional athletes are not servants and the only thing that this definition and pro players have in common is that they are contract employees. That’s it. But yet you wouldn’t catch me going on FSR’s The Drive with Chris Meyers and Bryan Cox, ESPN’s Hot List or even a local radio show espousing that belief of indentured servitude is akin to what pro athletes are going through. It would be insensitive at best and down right career suicide at it’s best for me to do something that foolish.

And that brings me to another question on why Hopkins made such a statement. What in the hell was the purpose of even talking such crap to begin with? Did Jermaine Taylor tune his dome up that good that hasn’t thought straight since the July loss? I have to be serious here because I am just wondering why a person wants to say something as incendiary as what Hopkins said on Rome’s show knowing full well that he was going to take some heat. Well then again maybe Hopkins wasn’t thinking at all because I don’t see anyone with the kind of athletic clout that Hopkins has in the sports world to say something so blatantly stupid to be a successful fighter. And that’s just my opinion on the matter.