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‘Black Olympics’ is a Disgrace
But after viewing Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett’s egregious video, I thought it was only proper that I join Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock and many others in setting the record straight for another NFL player that “Just Doesn’t Seem to Get It!”
Let me state that I love some good humor just as much as the next individual. My tastes span from Richard Pryor to Chris Rock, but I can’t imagine how in his right mind that Bennett thought the “Black Olympics” was a good idea or even funny.
In an era where sadly to say some African Americans are still struggling for equality, the Bennett brothers, Martellus and Michael — a Seattle rookie — thought it would fun to emphasize offensive racial stereotypes of African Americans and then broadcast them to the world via YouTube.
The video shows the pair chowing on fried chicken and watermelon plus drinking Kool-Aid all in a timed fashion.
Bennett recently said on Hall of Famer Michael Irvin’s Dallas radio show that he thought the spoof was not racially insensitive and Irvin being Irvin agreed with him. “I don’t really think it’s offensive,” the second-year tight end told Irvin.
“It depends on your sense of humor and how you look at things. We were just having fun and it was very funny for me and my brothers, when I look at it I just can’t stop laughing. If someone takes offense, I apologize. That wasn’t my intention. It was just us having fun.”
But the Bennett were dead wrong! I was already surprised that Martellus Bennett was involved again in these type of shenanigans after he had been fined $22,000 earlier this year by the Cowboys for insulting blacks and gays in another YouTube video.
But you would think someone in the Pro Football Hall of Fame like Irvin would understand and convey to the young tight end that being role models and representatives of “America’s Team” – like it or not – requires much more.
Bennett needs to understand that the news around the NFL already has enough negative player stories — Michael Vick’s Dogfighting case, Donte Stallworth’s drunk driving manslaughter situation, the many misdeeds of Pacman Jones and many more — that kids, particularly those in urban communities without male role models, do not need more fodder to tear down their self esteem especially from their “so-called” NFL heroes.
The Cowboys had “No Comment” on the video, but I am hoping NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will meet with the Bennett brothers and possibly hand down some kind of disciplinary action for their behavior.
Some people may think that this line of thought is too heavy handed and everyone should just “lighten-up”. Plus what right does the NFL have to interlope into a player’s private work during the offseason. But in today’s world where the NFL wants to be a global marketing entity, this type of behavior cannot be tolerated.
Already the NFL’s headman has used the open-ended NFL Player Conduct Policy associated with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to administer discipline in all kinds of situations. And all Goodell has to find a similar example from the sports pages to support this type of action is go back to October 2000.
Do you remember the firestorm around the NBA caused when former Sixers guard Allen Iverson released a hip-hop rap single off his debut CD filled with NBA fan unfriendly lyrics?
League officials met immediately with Iverson causing the want-to-be rapper to shelve his 40 bars CD for the betterment of the league and giving a half-hearted apology, like only Allen Iverson can do.
The NFL, Dallas Cowboys, owner Jerry Jones, and any other person/entity affiliated with the league do not need the “Black Olympics” video and the problems that it brings.
I can only imagine what prominent former NFL players and trailblazers like Mel Blount, Doug Williams, James “Shack” Harris, and others think of Bennett’s tasteless video.
Sadly, Bennett like every other rookie in the 2008 NFL Draft class visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame last summer in a program that Irvin encouraged Goodell to implement to teach youngsters coming into the league about respect for the legacy of the NFL.
I guess Bennett kept his eyes and ears shut during his tour as he neither understands nor appreciates the history of the NFL. Especially the plight of men like Charles Follis (first black player in professional football), Fritz Pollard, and the four men that helped to re-open the NFL to blacks in 1946 (Woody Strode, Kenny Washington, Bill Willis and Marion Motley).
If Bennett needs something constructive to do until training camp, I have an idea…read a book. My suggestion is Outside The Lions: African Americans and the Integration of the National Football League by Charles K. Ross.
Just maybe Bennett, in all of wisdom at age 22, will learn something about the “journey” of the black football player in the NFL and the legacy that he needs to help preserve.