By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
A Small Act of Kindness Must Move This Nation
Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter
OAKLAND, CA. (BASN)—Let the American Sports world begin to implement small acts of kindness to end the American racial divide. Let the sports world lead the way in American race relations; let the sports world lead the way in religious understanding and human relationships.
The citizens of the United States state that they want to live in racial harmony but African Americans and other minorities truly question these efforts.
Small Acts of Kindness
The Election of the first Black president in 2008 was thought to be a giant step toward racial unity but sadly the United States took two steps back evidenced by the events a year ago. The President of the United States had to show the world his birth certificate.
Eccentric businessman Donald Trump forced President Obama and his administration to show the birth papers of the 44th President of the United States. This was the first time the leader of the free world had to prove that he was truly an American. This is not an act of kindness. This is not respect. This flagrant arrogant attitude has permeated not only the political field but also the sports field.
Now the Republican Party is showing lack of respect for the highest office in the land. Making an effort to make President Obama a one term president not based on polices but on personalities and his skin tone.
This cruel act set back American race relations.
Citizens of the United States need to start thinking about racial acts of kindness. The Civil Rights Bill passed in 1964 but now the issues are social consciousness, not legal rights that needs to be enforced in 2012.
The Washington Football Club could be called number one on this list of non-social reform. The Washington Football Club should reconsider their existence because of the pain their name evokes with First Nation-Native American Indians. In 1932 the Boston Braves Football Club became the Boston “R-word” (Redskins) Football Club because the owner George Preston Marshall did not want his team to be confused with the Boston Braves baseball team. The team moved to Washington in 1937 with their new name. This organization became the flagship football team of the old Dixie south and harbored some of the Rebel southern racial attitudes. It was the last team to permit an African American player on the field. Wide receiver, Bobby Mitchell, was Washington’s only black player and he was immediately traded to the Cleveland Browns.
The Washington Football Club prompted by President John F. Kennedy, the District of Columbia, and the NFL executive officers put Mitchell in burgundy and gold. All three institutions threatened to evict the team from Washington Stadium if the club continued this practice of discrimination.
For those who do not know, during the days of the old American West, cowboys received rewards for bringing back animals that they had killed. However, there were times when they could not bring back the whole animal which was due to the lack of space. Therefore hunters and trappers would bring back the fur pelts, skin pelts, or heads.
This practice led to bringing back the scalps of Indians during the Indian Wars to prove the number of kills. Remember head wounds bleed more than any other body wounds thus…., the current name of the Washington Football Club.
The Washington Football Club can keep the majestic Indian head logo and the burgundy and gold colors. This is not the issue; it’s the team name and what that name signifies.
A Small Act of Kindness
The Washington Football Club should drop this name.
Washington can no longer use the excuse that it would be too expensive to change the name. In our consumer conscious country the Washington Football Club could make more money with their new clothing apparel and new name.
The Washington Bullets basketball team renamed their franchise to the Washington Wizards. Not only that, in respect to young Black males being killed in the African American community, and the city’s hand gun problem, The Bullets/Wizards also changed their uniform colors.
Small Act of Kindness
Team number two on the list, is the Cleveland Indians Baseball Club. This historic baseball franchise was the first in the American League to have an African American player Larry Doby, the 2nd Black player in the Major Leagues. The issue is the disrespectful logo on the cap and the left sleeve of their jerseys. Chief Wahoo, the silly grinning warrior, dons the jersey of the Cleveland Indians. All Star pitcher Louis Tiant stated many times that he did not understand why the team had to have the logo. Tiant was traded to the Boston Red Sox and became one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history with his trademark 90 degree twist and high kick during every pitch.
This is one of the easiest implementation of change. Either remove the Chief Wahoo logo completely or replace it with a logo similar to the Washington Football Club, The Florida State University, or The Chicago Blackhawk Hockey Club Native American Indian/First Nation head. These logos are majestic, bold, and honorable; and show respect for The First Nation-Native American Indian history unlike the current silly cartoon character in Cleveland, Ohio.
Former Cleveland Cavalier basketball star LaBron James never wore an Cleveland Indian baseball cap at a Cleveland Browns football game. It was his silent protest of Chief Wahoo. The American media never had a clue.
Chief Wahoo is not a respectful mascot. When The Indians moved from Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1994 to Jacobs Field now Progressive Park the administration removed the logo on the cap with a script red C. Two years later in 1996 Chief Wahoo returned on the cap. The Cleveland Indians organization wised up. On road games the Indians wear the block C cap because opposing fans protested Chief Wahoo wherever Cleveland played. That leads to the following question, will the Cleveland Baseball team ever respect out First Nation/Native American Indian Brothers and Sisters?
In 2008 former Senator Barack Obama made a speech about this issue
In his historic speech on race, Sen. Barack Obama raised two important truths: America is stuck in a racial stalemate based on profound misunderstanding, and we cannot ignore these wounds “if we are to continue on the path to a more perfect union.”
Charlene Teters makes it clear.
Cleveland is the home of the most offensive racial icon in the country,” Charlene Teters, an artist and founding board member of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media, said during a demonstration outside Progressive Field on Opening Day Monday. “Don’t insult my intelligence telling me this honors me. . . . It is ‘Little Red Sambo.’”
The Cleveland Indians can keep their history but it is imperative that they retire Chief Wahoo.
A Small Act of Kindness
The Atlanta Braves took this small step by removing most of their First Nation/Native America Indian references in 2009, although few Americans noticed. So the Braves have sent a message to other professional sports teams that it can be done without fanfare or fuss.
There is another issue, the Atlanta Braves organization should investigate or address the now infamous Tomahawk Chop and Native American Indian War chant with the rhythmic drum beat during Atlanta Braves rallies.
This is also the same hand motion and chants fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, Florida State University Seminoles, and the University Of Illinois @ Champagne-Urbana Fighting Illini use at their games.
The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats have been the catalyst for the music behind the chop in the 1980′s.
The University of Illinois retired their mascot Chief Illini five years ago. After a long protracted battle and many tears.
“The tomahawk chop is a white man’s idea of an Indian chant, complete with the hatchet-like object us white folk call a tomahawk, brandished in a way us white folk feel an Indian would do such a thing when going to war. or doing whatever us white folk think an Indian might be doing. Whether the Indians ever did anything approximating this is open to debate, but, as we shall see, who the hell cares anyway?
There is something about the chop and chant that is particularly powerful. If the Indians actually did something similar to what is now heard in Atlanta, it was undoubtedly used as some kind of communal motivation device, just as the honky baseball fans now use it. Its sound has a narcotic-like effect, like a song you can’t stand but can’t stop humming. The whole thing, spurred on by the success of the club, caught on, and a mantra-like addiction took hold of the masses.”
The Atlanta Braves, Florida State University, University of Illinois and the Kansas City Chiefs football club need to retire the chop and the chant for racial harmony. This could be a small act of kindness
A Small Act of Kindness/Do the right thing
Major League Baseball should retire the number 21 just as they have retired the number 42 for the Brooklyn Dodger second baseman Jackie Robinson’s entrance into the league breaking the color barrier.
Roberto Clemente, the great left fielder for the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates was a shinning symbol to most Latino American baseball players and a hero. MLB should do the right thing and retire number 21.
A Small Act of Kindness
Even in hockey there was a racial backlash. There were 29 Black players in the NHL this year, the highest number in the 85 year league history. Some fans were not happy and not respectful to these players of color.
According to tradition every player gets to raise the cup over his head on the ice after the series victory and before the awards are given. The Chicago Blackhawks won Lord Stanley’s Cup in Philadelphia. Black star Dustin Byfuglien received The Cup with a chorus of boos cascading down on the Philadelphia Comcast hockey rink.
Remember, the Philadelphia crowd was polite until then.
The Boston Bruins played the Montreal Canadiens in game 6 of the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Every time defensive star P.K. Subban touched the puck loud boos could be heard. No other Canadian player received this rude behavior. It is o.k to root for your home team, even boo the opponent when he makes a great play but to boo him throughout the entire game is immature. Subban who happens to be Black got the last laugh and silenced the Boston crowd as he scored the tying goal sending the game into overtime. It was very interesting that the Boston crowd did not boo Subban in the overtime as he made the Bruins and their faithful wait another period for a series victory.
These two great hockey players had too suffer indignities only because of the color of their skin not because of great hockey skills.
Both Byfuglien and Subban made the NHL All Star Team. Both should be respected as highly skilled players but all of that gets lost because some fans still see color.
A Small Act of Kindness
Hockey fans should enjoy the improvement of the game with the infusion of talented Black and minority players. Basketball, football, and baseball can bear witness to this improvement.
These small acts of kindness has to start somewhere Thanks for the quotes from the articles of David Briggs and Jarome Grapel – Baseball and the Tomahawk Chop
If these teams do not make an assertive effort to change then it is time for the American Public to economically
Boycott or picket the product on the field through their advertisers and vendors.
This means not buying team apparel and advertisers products to these advertisers. please state the reasons by writing, emailing etc.
When you write to the Washington Football Club please make it a point that you do not appreciate the team’s current name:
We should also give praise to the Atlanta Braves and the University of Illinois for their ACTS OF KINDNESS
The Washington Football Club
21300 Redskin Park Drive
Ashburn, VA., 20147
The Cleveland Indians Baseball Club
2401 Ontario Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44115