By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Do The 20th Century’s Best White Athletes Deserve An Asterisk Next To Their Names?
NBC’s Pro Football Talk is orchestrating a rather simple-minded yet ingenious Mt Rushmore contest. In it sportswriters and fans determine what four gladiators in the glorious history of that individual NFL team has earned a place high-atop their prestigious pedestal of popularity.
I think we’ve got a problem America . . . .
Through the unveiling of different team’s icons, it seems abundantly clear the impact of racism and discrimination was never more apparent nor undeniable.
Teams like the Seattle Seahawks, created in 1975 when the US was not as racially segregated as it had been – their Mount Rushmore is 75% Black, with the only White guy making the foursome – Steve Largent. While Green Bay’s Mount Rushmore was void of a Black face . . . . coach Lombardi, coach Curly Lambeau, receiver Don Hutson and quarterback Bart Starr.
Hutson played and Curley coached when Blacks were banned n’ barred from the league, while the other two, Starr and Lombardi are from an time n’ place when Blacks were still branded mere “tokens” – one or two on a team to appease the “Negro-Lovin” politicians of the day.
Lombardi wasn’t a racist . . . and that made him unique.
Seattle’s choices reflected the results of fair and open competition, “all qualified comers” were given a shot, as opposed to the gilded 1961 process which was fixed, rigged – the best were excluded in a calculating manner.
It’s interesting: there’s an endless, ongoing debate about whether Hutson, if he played in the modern-era . . . some claim he’d be as good as the great Jerry Rice; the argument is the game was different in a multitude of ways – the emphasis on the run, etc’. But never do the White sports pundits and fans mention the game Hutson played in – no Blacks were allowed.
Had Blacks been allowed to play, at the high school/college and pro-level, do you really believe a White kid could have started at wide receiver for the University of Alabama?
Roll Tide Roll.
Had Hutson gone to the NFL and Black men were permitted to play . . . do you really believe he would have beat them all out and started? Do you believe, had Blacks been allowed to play – Hutson could not have been covered by Black defenders?
From every conceivable angle, it’s almost inconceivable that Hutson would start, let-alone dominate.
Yet another glaring example; Indianapolis had Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry and Marvin Harris.I’m here to argue Unitas and Berry might not have made their college team had it not been for racial segregation . Let-alone would they had entered these “hallowed” mountains or shrines had Afro-American players been permitted to compete.
Am I lying?
Matter-of-fact, I don’t care what NFL franchise you site, regardless of the team, any team – the White players from pre-1975 or so . . . are suspect, and ought have an “asterisk” placed beside their names, denoting that they played during a reign of apartheid, where the most-talented athletes were not permitted to play.
Please understand what a contradiction in common-sense and fairness this is, to “reward” guys who wouldn’t/couldn’t some might say compete against the best. The White American sports fan is minimizing, slighting, rationalizing and by doing this somehow justifying the undeniable and well-documented historical discrimination which allowed White men to falsely dominate sports . . . and all other aspects of life in America.
By playing-along with this today, in the 21st century, it only legitimizes and authenticates the tainted accolades and achievements . . . which were obtained under what were not simply questionable terms . . . but abhorable rules. This claiming to be the very-best amongst the best is akin to banning players over 6 feet tall from playing basketball, then declaring the cats who are under 6 ft and playing . . . as the best or greatest.
It makes no sense and it’s insulting to those who were good enough, yet excluded.
Why must Black folks pretend, make-believe the NFL’s blighted, bigoted history holds little weight, and it matters even-less Black men were deliberately and strategically forbidden from playing thru what the game considers its “Glory Years” the golden era of . . . segregation?
Must I be silent to appease the fragile egos of White guys who can’t come to grips with the rock-hard, stone-cold fact their childhood heroes were . . . fabricated paper-tigers in many instances? We’re bestowing greatness upon those who didn’t really achieve it, yes? And mediocrity upon those who don’t deserve it, no?
Not-to-mention . . . the present-day integrated gridiron was only achieved with the White establishment bitching, crying n’ whining the entire way. The NFL did not honestly, willingly, wantonly integrate . . . The American Football League integrated the NFL.
And need I state the obvious; once Blacks were permitted to compete . . . we’ve come to predominate and dominate the gridiron. The Ebony gladiator has redefined the game . . . to the point where very few White guys, a mere Hobbits handful can play the running-back or defensive-back position in today’s game. The NFL’s best defenses are “all Black” as are the best ball handlers . . . excluding Quarterback.
Quarterback is where Blacks have meet a stone-wall surrounding the last make-believe bastions of White Alph-Male superiority. Nonetheless, as we all see . . . a change is a’comin’.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a head coach like Grambling’’s Eddie Robinson would be on some teams Mt Rushmore . . . if the NFL would have permitted Black head coaches. Nevertheless, as we all know Black men were not even allowed to be assistant coaches in the NFL until the 1960’s n’ 70’s.
So perhaps there ought to be a asterisk next to the coaches who are declared the best of all times?
George Allen . . .*
And if an asterisk is justified and required here, on a mythical mountain-top . . . then I dare suggest that some similar distinction be applied at the NFL Hall Of Fame . . . just to make it all official-like.
Now, with that in mind and with clarity as my motivation . . . I called the NFL Hall Of Fame in Canton Ohio, spoke with Joe Horring the shrine’s VP of Communications on the eve of game 7 for the NBA finals. We chewed the fat – discussing the possibility of applying some designation which states these men played in an era where the Black sportsman was tactically denied the opportunity to participate, compete, dominant and probably rewrite the record books . . . .
Mr Horring politely and extensively explained to me the solid and worthy attempts the HOF has done in a genuine effort to unpeel the stinky-onion that is the history of race relations, different exhibits and all . . .
It was all fine n’ dandy . . . nevertheless I believe myself . . . and a few other million Black sportsfans would like to see a “confession” and “explanation” 14 year old Black . . . and White boys can understand, regardless how uncomfortable it may be.
We’re anointing men who didn’t face the best competition . . . the guy across town on the other-side of the tracks . . . . and when those guys, like Marion Motley and Jim Brown were permitted to play by the great White fathers . . . they ran over, through, around n’ bye all them “All Americans” from Mississippi . . . what did that say.
It’s akin to BYU facing any big time program where the entire starting 22 are Black . . . you know the outcome.
Sorry, my dad didn’t say a damn thing about be polite, he said ‘tell it like it is son.”
Between the concocted Mount Rushmore and the brick n’ mortar NFL HOF – there exist an air of half-truths and misspeaks. It’s left an misleading impression that White America produced all these grandiose pig-skinned role-models for young mancubs to aspire-to . . . in a fair contest. And that’s a lie.
To go-along to get-along in this case is spineless, and I refuse to play-along.
The best athletes across the land were forbidden from competing – because White America knew that what Jack Johnson, Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis were doing, the same type of ass-whuppin’ would occur in the sport of football.
And it did, we’ve, Blacks, come to predominant and dominant when the field is level.
Not being satisfied with Mr. Horring’s rationale and conclusions . . . I’ve got an E-letter on the desktops of a handful of HOF Board of Trustees, the head, Thomas W. Schervish, and members Bernard McRae, Jr., the great Kansas City Chief Willie Lanier and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Daniel M. Rooney – inquiring about the possibility of placing an asterisk where one belongs – for I don’t believe telling the truth ever did anything but shame the devil.