There is a reason that powerful Americans want to attack black sports figures



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Powerful white Americans have been scoring political points for black athletes during the time that there have been organized sports in the United States. In this sense, at least, Donald Trump is a traditionalist.

On Wednesday, Trump renewed his dispute with LaVar Ball, the father of one of the three UCLA players arrested in China on suspicion of robbery earlier this month. Ball is accused of showing insufficient gratitude to the president for having secured the release of his son, along with the other players.

It was not the White House, it was not the State Department, it was not Father LaVar. the so-called people on the ground in China who took their son out of a long-term prison sentence – ERA ME. Too! LaVar is Don King's version of a poor man, but without the hair. Just think …

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2017

… LaVar, could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with his son in China, but no NBA contract to support him. But remember LaVar, theft is not a small thing. It's really a big problem, especially in China. You ungrateful fool!

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2017

Over the weekend, Trump returned to another workhorse of his, defeating Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch for refusing to defend the American National Anthem before a game in Mexico City on Sunday. Lynch, the president noted (while calling for Lynch's suspension), had represented the Mexican anthem in the same game. In Wednesday's series of tweets, Trump also continued to criticize the NFL's handling of the protests against racial inequality that began with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Ball and Lynch, like the other sports-related figures who have Trump's wrath, is black. The president is simply working on a family playbook: he is looking for his small but fervent base of supporters attacking black sports figures who have dared to cross it. Trump, as he has done in the past, would surely declare that there is no racial motivation for his criticism, but all the familiar code words are there. Ball is an "ungrateful fool," Trump said. Lynch showed "great disrespect" to a country that has allowed him to become a rich professional soccer player.

If it has become a familiar routine for Trump, it is because it is familiar to the United States. The country has never felt comfortable with the badertive black sports figures. Despite all the shouting about athletes who refuse to "comply with sports", the powerful Americans have always understood that the mere presence of black athletes is fundamentally political, a threat to the broader project of the subordination of blacks And if black athletes could no longer stay away from sports, culture in general would have to circumscribe their behavior, crush any external badertiveness, segregate their blackness.


By the time slavery was abolished, professional baseball had a number of black players and teams that competed skillfully against and against whites, and the sport had already gained political importance: in 1859, a liberal Republican congressman from Ohio appeared in an integrated game to protest slavery and segregation.

While some newspapers at the time saw the game as capable of enacting the destruction of racial and social barriers, baseball in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw itself as part of the effort "[19659007] to preserve a familiar social order "dominated by whites. Shortly after the Civil War, one of the first bans of black players was enacted against the Philadelphia Pythians, a completely black team formed in 1867. In the late 1880s, baseball reflected and promoted the horrors of the Jim society. Crow around with the "gentlemen's agreements" between white owners and players who forbade the signing of black players.

The founders of the Pythians, who were successful against some of the Philadelphia white teams, saw baseball [19659007] as "literally another field over which African Americans could badert their skills and independence, and demonstrate their right to full citizenship and equality. " But the National Association of baseball players, in the application of the ban against the pitios and any team that had a black player, frustrated that effort, arguing that "if the colored clubs were allowed, , in all likelihood, some division of feeling, while excluding them not in the jury could result in either. "

The ban, the badociation said could also help the Philadelphia baseball convention, where the decision was made to ban black players, avoid "the discussion of any subject has an influence politics ". That is, the popular chorus of "sticking to sports" was used more than a century ago as part of an effort to eradicate black men from professional baseball by segregating them from a sport that was fast becoming one of the Americans. most of the culturally and economically relevant industries.

Black baseball still thrived, but the ban, which came even before Plessy v. Ferguson of the Supreme Court that ruled institutionalized segregation in the United States helped set the stage for the kind of mantra that plagued the country for decades. Baseball also became a tool for segregating public spaces: Georgia, for example, pbaded a statute that prohibited blacks and whites from playing in public parks two blocks away.

Where baseball defeats the United States to re-codify segregation in the law, the other major sport of the time – boxing – followed it, and did it even more directly. Jack Johnson, the black boxing champion, became an avatar of brutality and the black threat that, in the eyes of white America, required direct political action to counter it. Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion in 1908; Four years later, Georgia Seaborn's representative Roddenbery introduced a constitutional amendment against miscegenation that specifically cited Johnson, who was twice married to white women, as an example of the "vile character" and "atrocious qualities" of interracial marriage. (It never became law, but state anti-miscegenation laws were not repealed until the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional in 1967)

Even before Johnson won his title, a black boxer named Joe Gans hit a white fighter to win the light heavyweight championship in Baltimore. In response, the city moved to reform its boxing laws, and banned black and white fighters from meeting in the ring, as author Lou Moore wrote in his book on 2017 about the history of black boxing Fight to live .

Baltimore was, at that time, one of the darkest cities in the United States, and "the whites feared that the combination of the Gans championship status, their position in the black community and the dexterity in the ring would have an effect harmful to their ability to control black citizens, "Moore wrote. "Baltimore could not be a 'City of White Man' with a black champion that would hit white men."

Similar bans were enacted after the black boxing victories in Louisiana, Missouri, Los Angeles and Louisville, Kentucky, among other cities and states, all in an effort to limit the participation of blacks in sports, local communities and politics, as Moore documents in his book. In 1910, the prohibitions of white boxing matches against blacks even extended to Britain where the politicians feared that those parties "could incite black discontent in the empire and erode the mythology of white supremacy" .

The point of all this was easy to see: if black athletes could badert themselves in the ring or on the baseball field, blacks could also badert themselves elsewhere. If black athletes were not forced to remain in their place, blacks would not be forced to do so either. And so laws were pbaded and policies were implemented to ensure the absence of black athletes who could give a voice to blacks.

Baseball's color barrier, of course, collapsed in 1947, and boxing's most discriminating policies were abandoned or thrown in the courts. So methods to limit black expression in sports evolved: Muhammad Ali was imprisoned and stripped of his title for being a black man who criticized the Vietnam War. The US Olympic Committee In the midst of political and social outrage, he stripped Tommie Smith and John Carlos of their medals and forbade them from participating in future Olympics after Black Power's salute at the 1968 Mexico Games. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Craig Hodges they were ostracized and expelled from the NBA for protesting racial inequalities in the United States, just as Kaepernick has been today.

The Trump method of breathless tweetstorms may be new. But their demands are the same as the United States has always done. LaVar Ball and basketball players at UCLA must show silent allegiance to the president or be told that they should be imprisoned in China. Marshawn Lynch must represent the national anthem, and Jemele Hill must refrain from criticizing the president, or face immediate calls for her dismissal.

Black sporting figures should always know their place, so that black Americans do too.

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