Apology…Rejected! (Part Five)

By The Sports MCs
Updated: August 16, 2008

Craig Hodges

Craig Hodges

PHILADELPHIA — The offense was grave enough; the offender, questionable by his actions, buttressed by silence and cynicism, hoped for inaction, more reality television programming, with a few rump-shakin’ music videos thrown in to complete the illusion.

So even in this atmosphere of regret for things done in the past, African Americans are shown the Black Hand side of America as it continues to eat its’ young, corrupt the weak, and punish those who would think to raise their voice.

This current Olympic Games in Beijing is another shining example of bullshit being spun into gold; but we’ll get to Rumple Pimp Skin later.

It never fails when someone at some level of authority, when endeavoring to be human, gets labeled a maverick, or shit disturber, or controversial.

In the Sports MCs’ Human Hall of Fame (H2OF), Oakland Raiders’ Chairman For Life Al Davis is a charter member. While recent times have not been good to Brother Al, his good deeds proceed as well as define him.

In 1965, Davis moved an exhibition game from Mobile, Alabama back to Oakland because of how his Black players on the team were treated in the Deep South. It was reported that Black people weren’t allowed to even use the bathrooms at the stadium; and given the nature of segregation in the Jim Crow South, that’s not too big a stretch to fathom.

Part of the loyalty which is the Raider Way comes from the fact Davis (like his Kansas City cohort, Hank Stram) looked after his players and treated them like men.

Davis and Stram also did their homework in heavily recruiting the players from HBCUs, knowing there was superior unfulfilled talent within their ranks.

The American Football League (AFL) as a whole was light years ahead of anything the National Football League was doing in considering the feelings of their most valuable assets — the players.

But Davis’ most humanitarian move had to be during 1965 at the AFL All-Star Game, which was to be held in New Orleans.

Faced with more of the racial harassment, segregation and second-class horseshit with hotels and cabs not picking them up (I know about that one!) Black players protested the effort and voted to leave New Orleans. Davis, along with league commissioner Joe Foss, helped to reorganize and move the game to Jeppesen Stadium in Houston.

Now it’s not so much that Davis was some Great White Father; he seemed to listen to his players and backed them in those things which matter most; and not pertaining necessarily to football. For that we salute him.

Black – Sket – Balled

Craig Hodges didn’t play that bullshit either. One of the National Basketball Association’s truest pure shooters, Hodges, a guard and member of the 1992 Chicago Bulls Championship team, was a straight shooter as well.

He confronted President George H.W. Bush about the treatment of minorities during the obligatory White House Lawn meeting with the league’s champion.

According to accounts, he got in Michael Jordan’s ass as well; apparently for not speaking up on political issues as people like Jim Brown did back in the day.

After the incident, Hodges was waived by the Bulls. No other team would touch him, in spite of the fact he was a three-time NBA Long Distance Shooting Champion and integral member of a team winning back-to-back league championships. The only other player who could hold a similar claim? Larry Bird.

But in spite of Hodges’ skill sets, there were no jobs available.

The poison tongue was put out that his association with the Nation of Islam and Minister Louis Farrakhan was one reason the League had soured on Hodges, but he took the NBA to court in 1996, suing them for $40 million dollars for blackballing him and being outspoken on human rights.

Craig, all can we say is we feel you; and wish some of these cats out here ballin’ worked their brain for change like you could shoot. You are loved here, my brother; bronzed down and always good to go in the MCs’ H2OF.

And Curt Flood — well, we don’t even have to go there. Every muthafucka earning a paycheck in every sports league should be “breakin’ off a piece of dat sweet potato pie” to Flood’s family for the sacrifice he made.

Free to Pass, Free to Pass…

While the NFL’s laissez-faire attitude toward Black players never really changed (until the big money rolled in), one proud moment that stuck in my mind was in 1992, the year I covered my first Super Bowl.

It was interesting enough that SB XXVII was supposed to be played in Phoenix, Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium. But a fly named Evan Mecham got in the way of his own good intentions.

Mecham, then governor of Arizona, proclaimed that Martin Luther King’s birthday, recognized as a national holiday in 1986, would not be so recognized in Arizona. The NFL Players’ Association (NFLPA), not the most radical bunch in the world, but with over 65% African American membership, had a little problem with that.

The rank and file got rank enough to force the NFL to move the game to Pasadena, California at the Rose Bowl. Mecham, who had gone on record as saying “King didn’t deserve a holiday” (partly because he was a “Communist” – his words) wrote a woof ticket he thought the Brothas wouldn’t cash.

They did – and $250 million dollars worth of revenue skipped merrily into California cash registers.

Broke at last! Broke at last! Later that year, the Arizona government voted to recognize King’s birthday as a paid holiday. As my man Nino Brown says, “Money talks…bullshit runs the marathon.”

Arizona would finally get their first Super Bowl in 1996.

As we kicked it about along the lines of sport and politics during this series, our own MC Good Foot, Wendell Simpson, has been mulling over this subject, and, in the discourse reminded us of a very chilling event not much different from our recent stealth apology…

“What’s up, everybody? Between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted what came to be considered as the “arguably the most infamous biomedical research in U.S. history” in the Tuskegee Experiment.

“Euphemistically named Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, the Tuskegee Experiment began ostensibly as an analysis of the incidence of venereal disease in Macon County, Alabama. It quickly evolved to become a scientific debacle of Mengelelian proportions.

“Over the course of the study, 399 mostly illiterate African American men infected with the disease were coerced into participating in a 6-8 month study, which originally purported to be for the purpose of developing a treatment.

“But it was a pretext for something much more sinister: the study became a web of lies and misrepresentations that would culminate in the deaths, disfigurement and permanent disability of many of its subjects.

“PHS deceitfully advertised the study as an opportunity for men to receive treatment when the actual aim of the scientists involved was to allow the disease to incubate and progress in order that they might study its horrific affects. Many of those who were promised care were actually given placebo treatments.

“Even as the study’s findings were published in 1934, PHS continued the project into the early 1970s until public outcry finally scuttled the research for good.

“By the time of the study’s conclusion, twenty eight of the participants had died of syphilis; 100 died of related complications; 40 spouses had contracted the disease; and 19 children were born with congenital syphilis.

“The study has since become a focal point in the public health discourse regarding its racist and ethical implications. Given those implications — as well as those of government sponsored pogroms such as COINTELPRO, which sought to infiltrate the Black power movement with heroin, turning zealous advocates for equality and redress into useless junkies — is it any wonder so many of us took seriously Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s assertion that AIDS was purposely vectored simultaneously into the Black community and gay community?

Damn, cousin; hearing this again reminds me that earlier this year the American Medical Association (AMA) also apologized to Black doctors for their own “gentleman’s agreement” in discriminating against them as well.

In fact the AMA, in doing this, severely compromised overall health care in the areas where it likely was needed most.

It was bad enough they excluded Black doctors from being members, but I guess this is the “Year of the Apology.”

So what the fuck does this say about the AMA’s own Hypocritic Oath — as in, “do no harm?” There’s another reason why Black folks avoid hospitals. They can see that sign on the door: Dr. James Crow, Jr. Chief of Surgery; please stick out your neck and say, “AAARRGGGHH” as the good Doctor slides the Neck Depressor on your ass; then have the nerve to send your people the damn bill. “Oh, hellllllllllllllllllllllllllllll,no!”

“You’re right about that, cousin. But to swing back to the experiment, in spite of the fact a class -action suit was filed in 1973 by the NAACP, the few pennies the survivors received meant jack shit. In 1997, President Clinton formally apologized to the survivors and their families.

“But the information would’ve never seen the light of day if it weren’t for the Black Press.” Good lookin’ out on that one, Good Foot.

Meanwhile as the Olympic Niggers perform for the Massa — that is, masses — a chancre is growing and exposed with the pus-filled crap spewing from the U.S. Olympic Committee, noxiously seeping from the pores of promises not kept and the Bogart of Allegiance, reminding them they will never participate in another Olympics if they don’t behave.

Why didn’t the Black Press speak on this?

Next Time: What started all this – the shame and gall of the U.S. Olympic Committee; and the failure of the Black Press in our final installment, “The Three – Fifths’ — Compromised.”