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WHY BASN MATTERS – A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR EMERITUS
WHY BASN MATTERS
By Anthony McClean, Editor – in – Chief, Emeritus
NEW HAVEN (BASN) — When New York Jets wideout Brandon Marshall made his comments regarding the Tom Brady decision earlier this week and was met with the predictable backlash because of it, it further reminded me why we continue to do what we do here at BASN.
When our late CEO Roland Rogers and others began the Black Athlete Sports Network back in the day, their simple premise was to celebrate the past, present, and future history and contributions of the black athlete.
While we’ve held true to that premise and then some, the thing I’m most proud of is how we’ve used that premise and taken it to an entire new and exciting level. A level that has and always will set us apart from any media organization in the country and beyond.
One of the proudest moments of my sports journalism career was when Roland entrusted me to become the Editor In Chief of BASN. I was honored and humbled by the fact that he thought that much of me to give me this title.
Consequently, when Roland passed a few years ago it was also one of the saddest days of my life. But I also made a promise to his family and my colleagues at the site to not let BASN and Roland’s dream die as well.
While we’ve had our ups and downs just like any company, I feel we that we kept Roland’s vision intact and that he’d be very proud as to where we currently stand.
We haven’t been afraid to take on important issues — be it sports and or politics — that have been and always will be prevalent in the black community. Some have tried to say that we’ve over stepped our bounds.
To those that feel that way I say, we’ve done what any media group with a conscience would do. While our main focus has always been sports and given the ever changing social climate as well as the constant intersection of sports and public policy, we’d be fools not to take those issues head on.
When you realize that the black athlete has been the most innovative and the most imitated being on and off the court, you must also realize that the atmosphere that surrounds them stretches far beyond the goal line or the baseline.
Every amateur, college, or professional sport, whether its golf or tennis, baseball or football, soccer or cricket, swimming or gymnastics has been influenced by the presence of the black athlete.
Long before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s modern day color barrier, men like Rube Foster and others began the Negro Leagues. From a tiny room in Kansas City spawned a league that helped begin the careers of Hall of Famers who not only changed the face of the game, but also helped the sport to become a “national pastime”.
Long before we marveled over the feats of Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor and others, pioneers like Fritz Pollard, Willie Thrower, Eugene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb, and others helped to put the NFL and the AFL on the sporting map.
Even before Tiger Woods and the Williams Sisters dominated their respective sports, there were folks like John Shippen Jr., Althea Gibson, Charlie Sifford, and Arthur Ashe who took a backseat to no one so that the future innovators who be front and center.
However with all that being said, there still exists a climate that looks down and dismisses the great accomplishments of these athletes — past and present. Many of the hardships and struggles that existed back in the day remain.
Yes, these group of athletes make more money and are more visible in the everyday lexicon of the process. But therein lies the real issue. While there are more black journalists, the medium is still largely dominated by group of white journalists who still look at these performers as subhuman.
The treatment goes to such a ridiculous level at times. It’s a mixture of resentment and envy of the money, power, and respect that these athletes have gained over the years. The objectivity that comes with being a journalist has been replaced by pure racism that’s passed off as objective criticism.
One of the things that we here at BASN have always done is point out those inequities that are masked as coincidences by mainstream media. However, one of the main things that has become a huge craw in our throats is one of media attribution.
Over the years, we have always been far ahead of the curve in reporting sports news. Whether it’s “The Batchelor Pad”, “Soul Tree Radio: In The Raw”, or “The Gray Leopard Cove”, our talk shows have always been more than a few steps ahead of the game when it comes to discussing the issues of the day.
When you listen to either of these shows, you not only will be entertained, but you’ll also be enlightened. Not in an arrogant “I know more than you” attitude, but with a “I never looked at it that way” or a “I never explored that angle before” point of view.
When you realize that most of the major media conglomerates have been bought and sold, that their mixed messages type of reporting has become the norm, and that there seems to be no more independent thought regarding such issues, it can make a person seeking organic information very angry and very cynical.
What’s even frustrating for us at BASN is the constant and blatant robbing of our information by many mainstream media outlets. What’s worse is that these robber barons don’t even have the brains or balls to even attribute their “scoop” to BASN.
Sadly it’s something that many black entities and others have had to deal with over the years. When creative folks like W.C. Handy, Louie Armstrong, and Charlie Parker put jazz music on the map, invariably guys like Benny Goodman and or Glen Miller were considered “pioneers”.
That kind of stealing of intellectual properties still exists today. Mike D’Antoni’s “innovative” offense is something that the great coach John B. McClendon ran for years. And his guys played both sides of the ball as well, unlike D’Antoni’s ripoff version.
At the end of the day, we’re not seeking monetary gain — yet!! It’s about being credit for the job that we do and have done over the years. There’s nothing more frustrating than to make a discovery and have some no-account asshole take credit for it.
All that being said, that’s the main reason why we still do what we do here at BASN. When I heard that a certain sports company launched an all-black sports entity a few months back in direct competition to BASN, I didn’t get angry or feel threatened.
I didn’t wish them any ill will or felt like I would defections from the staff. I simply said, “Game on”. Simply because I know that they can’t do what we do. We’ve cultivated a very appreciative and loyal following and I thank everyone of you who constantly come back to check us out.
The arrogance and lack of vision by the new entity is reflective of why mainstream media is being questioned and scrutinized more today. I’d like to think that we here at BASN respect and embrace our readers and loyal followers.
We intend to be here for the long haul. We intend to always inform, enlighten, entertain, and educate you. It’s simply something the legendary rapper KRS-One once called “Edutainment”. That one word has always summed up what we try to do here at BASN.
Now lemme go see if my headphones are still working before the Patriots get to them.