Straight No Chaser: Personal Choices

By Desi Cortez
Updated: May 14, 2009

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

DENVER — The Paq-Man not only believes this Boy Scout line, he lives it. So much so that he’s considering seeking a political office – for the second time in his homeland of the Philippines. He’s no formal higher education to speak of; he simply has an interest in the destiny of his people.

How come Randy Moss don’t feel like this? Peyton Manning, Tiger or King James?

Tell me how it is, a guy – from the bowels of a semi-3rd world country, call it two-and-a-half, has the desire and intelligence to seek public office . . . to make a difference?

Manny Pacquiao, who emerged from a poverty laden upbringing as a street vendor, no kid in the worst housing projects in America could phantom, to the man widely regarded as the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer – has another interest . . . .

Politics, leading his nation out of economic hard times.

And he’s not retired. He’s not approaching a political career as something he can do after he finishes the “more important work” of fighting. No, instead Manny’s rising to the occasion, stepping up, throwing combo’s, getting involved in the adult affairs of his country.

There’s a sense of urgency in this man’s mind.

He gives a damn about issues outside his craft.

Why don’t we see this in American sports figures? Every Blue-Moon Odom the sports world produces a Steve Largent, Bill Bradley or, and I hate to mention him . . . J.C. Watts.

Paq-Man understands he can utilize his hard earned fame from the fight game, the fortunes it brought him, for more then a piece of ass and a Benz. He understands his celebrityhood, his cash, both tools; he can incorporate to make a difference in the life of his children, of his country.

The overwhelming majority of professional athletes in the USA don’t have any notion or aspirations to make America a better place for their kids, you or me. No instead they are singularly focused on bling n’ blang.

Pre-occupied with purchasing mansions’ which make the Beverly Hillbillies spread look like the ol’ log cabin Uncle Jed and Granny fled. 7, 8, 11 thousand square feet. A cement pond in the back, NBA size basketball courts, waterfalls and climbing walls, planes, trains and expensive automobiles.

The really important material things in-life which matter . . . .

America’s professional athletes, those one-time supposed collegiate scholar/athletes, overwhelmingly don’t participate in the political process, they don’t have any political curiosity.

Health care cost and its availability – is an issue they aren’t familiar with. Same goes for the war, the economy, the educational system or the environment. These pressing issues, that the everyday US citizen is impacted by . . . well everyday – are by-n’-large irrelevant to American sports superstars.

Sir Charles, despite whether or not you agree with his positions, ay least weigh’s- in with a opinion. At least Chuck pays attention to the world outside the NBA.

There are few Arthur Ashes or Bill Waltons running around who hold and advocate political positions, take social stands, lend their voice and stature to issues they believe important.

It’s odd, entertainers and artists do, but not sports figures. It seems their ‘indifference” merely solidifies the apparently well deserved title of “dumb jock.”

Despite knowing it can make an ass out of me, I can only assume either the risk is financially ‘too great” or, there’s just no real interest in issues outside of sports for most of this nation’s pro-athletes.

They are; egocentric, apathetic to changing a world that lay at their feet. They’ve no higher obligations, it’s instead – unchecked individualism, profit without principles . .

God is money . . . money is God.

And please, allow me to be a little more specific – Afro-American superstars, young people who’re the very recent descendants of a people who couldn’t vote, were refused service in eating establishments, couldn’t live where they could afford to, work where they were qualified to, or even seek an higher education if they had the desire, grades and money to do so . . . are today, as million dollar Mandingo gladiators, indifferent to the plight of working class Black America.

Take the top five athletes from major league sports and individual endeavors . . . I can’t think of virtually any who are involved in politics, in changing the American landscape, and if they are . . . you don’t know it, they want to keep it on the “down-low.”

There’s that fear . . . if one take’s a stand, pick’s an issue or a particular side of a controversy . . . you may loose some moo-lah. What did Jordan say . . . “Republicans buy sneakers too.”

That’s it.

A fear, one may loose a product endorsement is all so great – these slightly educated performers realize they can’t get paid if they become labeled as an “trouble maker”, a “malcontent” . . . an “uppity Nigger.” Being Black listed – team owners, fans, the media brand you. Mainstream USA won’t tolerate you as a poster boy for “Brut.

Go down the list; Tiger, TO, McNabb, Ryan Howard, Kobe or . . . Floyd “Money” Mayweather. I can’t recall any of these cats doing more than throwing a little cold cash Obama’s way. And before Obama’s quest for the White House – there’s basically no hint of political interest or activity on the behalf of sports big names.

Consider we just went thru 8 years of aristocratic conservative rule, where the fat-cats catered to the working class redneck’s prime fears – “the Black n’ Brown people, they’re animals and they’re going to eat you . . . you’d better vote for me.”

The rich got richer, the poor poorer, and the middle class is disappearing . . . and it ain’t no accident. It’s by rich Republican design. Police brutality is not vanishing, it’s reemerging. The best job a guy can get is driving a gas truck in Iraq. Roads are in decay, urban and rural schools are crumbling . . . .

Today’s Black athlete, when it comes to social awareness, has none. During the presidential race, we all read the quotes from dumb jocks who willingly volunteered they were willingly politically ignorant . . . just did not give a damn, and many seemed to take some twisted pride in the fact they “had to vote their pocketbooks.”

That “socially I’m liberal, but financially, when it comes to my Benjamin’s, I’m a staunch Republican.” Just declaring oneself rich – makes some weak spineless men . . . feel like a man.

Manny Pacquiao is a model of what the American sportsmen ought be – a grown man whose interest have moved beyond his boyhood dreams of being a champion, playing in a band, acting in movies to that of a full grown man’s yearning to help make his children’s world a better place.

There’s honor and dignity in that far beyond scoring a TKO over Pretty Boy Floyd . . . which Pac will do, Floyd will hit the floor in four.