Straight No Chaser: Paper Soldiers

By Desi Cortez, BASN Columnist
Updated: March 9, 2010

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DENVER (BASN) — If college kids, from Berkley to Baton Rogue to Boston, all across the land are taking to the streets, in-protest of the astronomical cost of a higher education – and few “real jobs” to pay for one.

I can only hope college athletes are represented with-in their ranks, recognizing, as athletes they’re gaining access to a college degree, not via the ability to think, but primarily due to their ability to run and jump.

An education, according to U.S. History 101 – lays the magic stepping-stones to the elusive American Dream . . . and that dream ought not be knowingly, if not deliberately out of reach for 85% of the US population.

Their athletic asses should feel blessed.

So blessed . . . they’re hopefully willing to demand the powers-that-be spend more on making sure this nation invest in its people – as opposed to building prisons and fighting wars around the globe.

Even dumbed-down collegiate jocks ought to have concerns about Uncle Sam trading the blood of their peers (who couldn’t run fast enough . . . so they had to risk their lives in the U.S. Army) exchanging their lives for Black Gold, Texas Tea.

I’ve got my reservations here, because today’s scholar/athletes, like the generation before them, are first and foremost motivated by personal profit.

Let’s make it tangible, today’s jock maintains Michael Jordan values, i.e. , morals, values and standards conducive to Wall Street, the unbridled greed mandated to be an American aristocrat . .

. Money is God . . . God is money.

Calculate into the equation, the contemporary athlete’s intellectual curiosity – not stoked since third grade, and this whole scholar /gladiator tag is just that, an dated image long dead. Books only matter in that athletic eligibility must be maintained.

In a nutshell, Athletes, and I’m speaking primarily-of and directly-to the Black American Athlete; between the low-expectations of society and the all encompassing diversion of sports, entertainment, or the under-world, dwells in a eternal adolescent world, while his White counterpart is prepared to do anything, go anywhere, be anything their mind could conceive.

I just don’t have any faith these sports-men are interested in much outside of hoops, women, music, cars and clothes. And since the university is picking up their college tab, it’s almost a given they’re not going to take to the streets shouting “Burn baby Burn” with their peers, with they’re community, neighborhood and family members.

No, instead they’ll sit idly by and watch, play spectator instead of activist – because they don’t want to risk losing that ticket-to-ride. Now note, that’s if they even know what’s really going on. Somebody go put on Marvin Gaye’s classic 45 . . . .

You’ve got to go back to Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Ali and Ashe to find athletes who had the interest and the heart to stand with their people. Tommy Smith and John Carlos, The AFL players who boycotted the 63 AFL All Star Game in the Big Easy. Players who were also 2nn class citizens, fathers, mothers and son.

Let’s not forget the predecessor to these disconnected athletes – Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Big George Foreman . . . two barbarians who lacked social savvy, allowed themselves to be pimped n’ played, exploited by the establishment to maintain power and control.

And who was the model negro of the 1960’s and 70’s?

O.J., who wasn’t going to say a damn thing which might have aggravated or irritated his corporate sponsors. O.J. was not about to lend his name or fame to any political/social movement – and that was what endeared Simpson to White America.

I know it sounds so 1968 . . . in a nation which is beyond race, post race . . . color-blind even. Of course the Juice could run and jump through airports for Hertz.

Nevertheless everybody knew Hertz would have never picked an uppity nigger who had marched or protested with men like Dr. Harry Edwards, the orchestrator of the 68′ Olympics protest.

Joe Louis provided the Blueprint, Floyd Patterson updated it and Jordan has cemented the tone, and guys like Tiger, Tim Dunbar carry the match-stick of “I stay out of all that kinda stuff, boss.”

It’s common knowledge; If you want to make money in the White man’s word, sell him Fruit-of-the-Loom draws, cars or Fruit-Loops . . . don’t have an intelligent or controversial thing to say about the issues being discussed by adults at the big table – simply stay out of that conversation.

This mentality has trickled down to everyday average college athletes – there’s too much moo-lah at risk to tune in and turn on.

Isn’t it odd how these leaders on the field’s of physical competition – can sit-down at the end of the couch and not say jack? Never ask to get into the verbal battle.

Never take a side, never make a stand.

Nonetheless we hail them as Alpha Males? Please!

How can today’s athletes be oblivious to the ills n’ woes which plague this nation, and specifically working class people and people of color? Blind to the havoc the Reagan Revolution has left.

This 30-year White backlash has dismantled FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s Great Society and replaced MLK’s Dream with the American Nightmare – 75% of Black kids born to unwed mothers, less then 50% of Black boys graduating high school, more dead on the streets of Houston then the alleys of Baghdad.

The Black athlete of today is endlessly articulating . . . and I use that word with hesitation, the horrors of the hood they grew up in. Every game, every sport where Blacks are present, there’s some announcer recalling the hardships some Black kid had to endure to make it off the reservation.

The dominant form of Black music over the last quarter-century . . . does nothing but endlessly express and explain life in da’ hood, so I can only assume most Black players, if nothing else have seen and personally experienced the adverse conditions far too many people of color live in . . . .

If it’s that bad . . . and it is, then why not stand up with student leaders?

So, I can only conclude their silence stems from an overall disinterest in the larger, heavier world outside of sports, coupled with some combo of apathy, a deep ignorance of the glaring fact . . . they drink from a well . .

They did not help dig . . .and aren’t willing today to keep that well flowing.