Stepping Up To The Plate

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: November 24, 2009

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — The past two weeks many witnessed African American men helping others on the court and on the field.

Each heartfelt attempt was ignored or criticized by the mainstream media.

Constantly, the four letter word network portray African American sports figures as “Beast of Burdens” It started in Cleveland when wonderkin-superstar LeBron James of the Cavaliers stated he would like to see the NBA retire Michael Jordan’s No. 23, as a salute to one of the greatest players of all time.

James also stated that any current player wearing No. 23 should do so. To honor Jordan , LeBron said he would change his number to No. 6 next year.

The majority of African American players agreed but of course The Mouse (a.k.a. ESPN) challenged this suggestion. They stated that if Jordan’s number were to be retired then other superstars numbers would have to be retired (i.e., No. 6 for Bill Russell; No. 13 for Wilt Chamberlain; No. 33 for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; No. 10 for Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe; and No. 1 for Oscar Robinson).

The list could on and on. By throwing a negative light on a positive thought by an African American male — and also because it was not their idea — ESPN and other sports media outlets discouraged it.

The fact that a Black man wanted to honor another Black man flies in the face of ESPN’s racially political and social rhetorical agenda. A young Black man saying these words really impressed many sports fans.

It means that young African American sports figures are paying attention to world issues but they are quietly expressing their thoughts. It also gives hope for the future.

LeBron did not stop there, he would assist another African American brother. The chaos and circus going on with the Oakland basketball team caught James’ attention. James wanted to make another point. At the end of the Cavs-Warriors game last week, LeBron stopped in the middle of the floor and pulled rookie Stephen Curry close to him.

James started speaking words of wisdom in his ear.

No one could hear what LeBron was saying and as the cameras closed in on the two basketball stars.

James pulled Curry even closer to him. It appeared that he was expounding on his experiences in the NBA. The rookie seemed to have taken it all in. The crowd at Oracle Arena just watched. It seemed like hours but it was only a few moments.

Whatever he told Curry it must have worked because in his next game, the rookie had the best game of his young NBA career. Look at what the sports media missed, an event that will never broadcast by the four letter network because it’s a positive act by an African American male.

Such an act like this does not attain an audience this does not get advertisers and it makes Black males human.

The American Sports media would rather talk about a Black Oregon football player’s explosion and going ballistic after being called the “N” word by a white Boise State lineman.

Yes, the game was over. It’s more fun portraying Black males as animals who wear do rags on their heads, and dance in the end-zone or after a great play, and then display rage and anger after a bad play because that’s what they want America to see.

President Obama has dispelled that theory. As he exhibits a cool and calm demander in every situation. The President defies the 200 year old myth that the sports networks are still trying to portray.

This past Sunday night in Chicago, another Black athlete shared words of wisdom to a fellow quarterback who happened to be white. At the end of the Eagles-Bears game, Donovan McNabb pulled Chicago QB Jay Cutler close to him.

Words of wisdom of a wise old quarterback to a struggling young quarterback were given. The microphones picked up a few words spoken by McNabb.

Donovan told Cutler to hang in there, that he was a winner, to pay no attention to the negative press, and lastly to keep problems in house. Meaning keeping the dirty laundry in the locker-room.

Cutler kept silent and shook his head confirming McNabb’s words of wisdom. Donovan like LeBron because he did not care what uniform the man wore or what color the man was.

This is the true American spirit. This is what America should be about, but on this Thanksgiving Weekend 2009, the United States still has racial strife.

One Black man helping another in need. These are the type of events the media especially “the mouse” do not broadcast. Refusing to let America see the human side of these fine athletes.

Could it be that these athletes are human? Could it be that these athletes have a heart and care about the game they play? Could it be that it would ruin their political social agenda?

But let James or McNabb commit a mistake or say something provocative, ESPN will be right there with cameras in hand and making it a front page story.

We as African Americans or just Americans have to call ESPN on this and make them and other sports media accountable.