Shaun Powell Takes A Stand In His New Book

Updated: November 5, 2007



We need far more

Journalists like Shaun Powell

Black Journalists like Shaun Powell

Veteran New York Newsday sports columnist Shaun Powell has taken his wide ranging career covering Sports in America and his acclaimed talent as a writer to author the most thoughtful book on Sports in America since last year’s classic by Bill Rhoden “40 Million Dollar Slaves.” Right away Powell let’s you know he brings a different tone to his tome with his less confrontational title.

Powell is clearly more optimistic than Rhoden about the status of African Americans in Sports today and the prospects for the Future. Not that Shaun isn’t critical or naive. Like Rhoden he lays a serious dose of Criticism on pampered Black athletes today who show no interest in or even disdain for the struggles of other African Americans.

But Powell focuses much of his considerable energy dissecting the generational differences between African American athletes of today and earlier generations. And his greatest emphasis of all is the role of family in defining African American success and failure in Sports as it is in all other aspects of life. The key element being the presence or absence of POSITIVE male figures in the young lives of talented Black boys and girls.

While critical of White Society “Souled Out” never makes that its central theme. Powell sees a very nuanced environment when he surveys the world of Sports from his African American perspective. Whites are as often heroes as villains in the fascinating picture Powell paints with page turning provocative insights.

Given a choice between changing either White minds or Black minds to create a better world of Sports it is pretty clear from “Souled Out” Shaun Powell would prefer to work his magic on the African American community most of all in terms of family stability and succeeding in that task next focus his energy on getting successful Black athletes to take themselves more seriously and be more thoughtful in their words and actions.

The fact is you need to read both Bill Rhoden’s “40 Million Dollar Slaves” and Shaun Powell’s “Souled Out” before re-forming your own views about the role of and the success and failure of African Americans in Sports today and prospects for the future.

One could envision Rhoden and Powell conducting energetic and refreshing debates across the country before large audiences. As each debate began it would seem they share common views. But as the discussion progressed more and more you would see them representing the two distinct sides of the debate about African Americans in Sports and where the problems lie and how greater success can be achieved. Is it a lack of opportunity and a biased society holding African Americans down in Sports or is it the failure of the African American community itself that is more to Blame.

Then there is the issue

of which African American

athletes are more of an asset or

a hindrance to greater Success

for African Americans in Sports

Illustrative might be an exchange about a notable African American athlete like Tiger Woods. Rhoden is rather critical of Woods if ever so carefully by omission in his book while Shaun Powell is very much an admirer of Tiger Woods, frequently mentioning him and of the opinion Tiger is having a profoundly positive impact for African Americans.

All of this leads to the most important conclusion of all

you owe it to yourself to read both of these

important books about African Americans

in Sports from the past to the future

in fact you should have already

read Bill Rhoden’s book now

and it is time to read

Shaun Powell’s

“Souled Out”

Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box …….

Tiger Woods