‘Making a List and Checking It Twice’

By Lamont Germany
Updated: April 4, 2008

Maritza CorreiaBALTIMORE, MD—It’s time for me once again to break out my list.

It’s my list of things Black folk have never ever done before.

It’s 2000 years after Jesus…and 139 years after the Emancipation…

…And we are still hearing about the first black to do this and the first black to accomplish that.

It’s still a long list, and some things on it may never come off. Stuff like being President of America or going to the moon.

And Yes…Even in sports there’s still a lengthy litany of things Black folk haven’t done. Many of us continue to labor under the myth that sports are a level playing field. Every time I take a look at my list, I’m not struck as much by things Black folks have done… I’m still dumbfounded by how many things African-Americans have yet to do.

The sports universe encompasses a broad spectrum on and off the field, however African-American participation in that universe is extremely limited. It’s as segregated as a Birmingham bus in 1955.

Blacks play football, basketball. They throw punches in the ring and run track. That’s about all folks. African-Americans have virtually no other significant presence in any other aspect of sport, on or off the field.

But, in recent months, I’ve had the pleasure of crossing some things off the list.

For Example….

Mississippi State’s Sylvester Croon is an abundantly qualified Black man who finally got the long overdue opportunity to coach an SEC football team. Glory, glory Halleluiah. I never could understand why you had to have pale skin to hold one of those jobs.

The Southeast Conference had never had a Black Director of Athletics at any member institution, but they do now. Damon Evans has become the first Black AD in the SEC. He’s running the show at the University of Georgia.

I can cross that off my list.

In the history of the whole wide world there had never ever been a Black female Swimmer on the U.S. Olympic Team. We can cross that off the list because Maritza Corriea became the first Black female to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Swim Squad. She showed off her stroke in the 4X100M Relay last month in Athens, Greece.

The U.S. Olympic Rowing team had never before had any chocolate flavor. That’s off the list. Washington D.C.’s Aquil Abdullah became the first African-American to make the U.S. Olympic Rowing team.

Thus it becomes another item I can cross off my list.

There had never before been a Black Majority owner of a major professional team sport in the U.S of A. But when the Charlotte Bobcats open the 2004/05-hoop season, there will be a brother in the owners box. Bob Johnson is the man in charge of the new NBA squad in Charlotte.

We can finally cross that one off the list….

Sports are a multi-billion dollar enterprise. And just like every other multi-billion dollar enterprise in American, the access afforded African-Americans is limited.

Progress? I Guess…But the problem is the progress has been so painfully and pitifully slow.

I think it was W.E.B Dubios back in 1904 that said the problem of the 20th century would be the color line.

Hey W.E.B… it’s 2004…. Guess what? We still have the same problem in the 21st Century.

I’m Lamont Germany…

This is your two-minute warning…