Albert’s Truth vs. Media Fiction

By Dexter Rogers, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: September 29, 2010

INDIANA (BASN) — Washington Redskins defensive end Albert Haynesworth, who has a $100-million dollar contract, recently suggested he has been treated like a slave.

Is it possible for a man who has $100-million dollar contract to suggest he’s a slave? Yes. It’s quite simple. It’s not about the money, it’s about power, control and how one is treated.

Days ago Haynesworth issued the following, “I guess in this world we don’t have a lot of people with, like, back-bones, “Haynesworth said, “Just because somebody pay you money don’t mean they’ll make you do whatever they want or whatever.”

“I mean, does that mean everything is for sale?” Haynesworth added, “I mean I’m not for sale. Yeah, I signed the contract and got paid a lot of money, but … that don’t mean I’m for sale or a slave or whatever.”

Haynesworth hit the nail on the head. Just because someone pays you a bunch of money doesn’t mean you are the property of another.

In 1969, the late Curt Flood said it best when he proclaimed, “A well paid slave is nonetheless a slave.” Flood was the catalyst that provided the foundation to smash the infamous “reserve clause” in Major League Baseball so players could have rights.

Athletes were treated like slaves. Ownership determined where athletes would play and how much money they earned. Players were not permitted to control their own destiny because they were property of the franchise.

It’s true. Haynesworth has been treated like a slave because he’s been labeled as a defiant athlete who talks too much.

Haynesworth has been unfairly singled out by head coach Mike Shanahan. It’s been a battle of wills that Shanahan is content on winning but Haynesworth is not backing down.

First off, Haynesworth was forced to pass a bogus conditioning test. This wasn’t about a fitness test; it was about embarrassing him and forcing him to acquiesce.

Then Haynesworth was placed with the second unit during pre-season and regular season games when it’s clear he is a first unit guy.

Haynesworth suggested last month he didn’t attend OTA’s last year and wouldn’t attend next season. His statement directly challenged Shanahan’s authority and the iron fist he’s trying to rule with.

What’s rather perplexing is how white athletes often get treated more favorably than their African-American counterparts.

What about Brett Favre? When Favre continues to hold teams hostage with his diva-like wavering yet his behavior is chalked up to “Brett being Brett.”

Favre has skipped OTA’s, mandatory training camp and pre-season games the last two seasons yet he’s treated like royalty.

Furthermore, mainstream media ignored the fact Favre was given a raise a $7-million dollar raise without asking for it. He’ll make $20-million dollars this season, hasn’t played very well thus far, but because it’s Favre it’s no big deal.

Meanwhile athletes like Haynesworth are bashed for being highly paid athletes who defies authority. The African-American athlete is expected to act docile and not question the establishment even if wronged. Hayneworth is supposed to simply, “Shut up and do as you are told.”

But Haynesworth isn’t having it.

Haynesworth is rich but he’s not wealthy. Daniel Snyder is wealthy because he signs the checks: Haynesworth is rich because he makes a lot more money than you and I.

In this society the establishment will allow you to make as much money as you so desire but the power that ownership affords will continue to elude the grasps of African-Americans. In short, the establishment will allow African-Americans to amass millions but won’t encourage overall freedom.

In society and sports a select few African-Americans have reached the zenith of ownership such as Oprah and Michael Jordan. When you are wealthy you can call the shots, when you are rich you have options but not total control.

White athletes make a ton of money as well but the key difference is they have a plethora of opportunities to advance their careers beyond the field while African-Americans don’t.

Ownership, upper-management and coaching jobs are dominated by whites. After the cheering stops for African-American athletes those opportunities extended to whites are rarely enjoyed by African-Americans.

Bottom line: Athletes like Haynesworth will always be subject to more criticism compared to their white counterparts. As long as Haynesworth continues to speak his mind he will continue to be treated like an out-of-line slave.

It’s just like Flood suggested, “A well paid slave is nonetheless a slave.”