The Black Eye On The Black Athlete

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Long before Simon Cowell introduced the term “American Idol” to the forefront of pop culture, we were very well aware of the concept of idolizing an individual for his or her given talents in a perspective field. Some talents are considered “God Given”, however until those talents are harvested, honed and polished, they truly are dormant attributes dwelling inside the solitude of your internal DNA. So in retrospect I solute those who are committed to their craft, who sacrifice and pay a tremendous toll in ordered to reap the benefits of the fame, notoriety and financial rewards. I often reference Proverbs 18:16 as I aspire to be a writer, for it states that: “A man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men”. I believe this to be the absolute truth, as a man/woman’s gift or talent, can bring them to places that others may only dream of. It can catapult you into a different realm; an unfathomable dreamscape to the said individual, due to the countless hardships one faces on the journey towards the pinnacle of success. Duly noted is the fact that even if you are a savant, there is still a responsibility when trying achieve greatness. A responsibility to both your predecessors and your peers, whose sacrifices beforehand, helped to provide you with very the platform in which you stand upon. Regardless of any achievements, we are all standing on the shoulders of someone else’s prominence. This is why I subscribe to the philosophy that with great power comes great responsibility. Everyone has someone to answer to and acknowledge; a proverbial pecking order one encounters during their epic climb towards the echelon of their zenith. It is during this process that we are admired, critiqued, adored and to some degree; idolized. As it relates to the black athlete, there is an added criteria of also being a role model. In spite of what asinine theory Charles Barkley states, the fact remains that the African-American community still lacks the accoutrements for sustainable and applicable success. So to believe that we don’t require more positive role models is about as ridiculous as believing that the brain can survive without oxygen. The black male is absent inside the household, whether by death or by incarceration. This has spawned an undeniable crippling and rippling effect that is no longer on the table for debate because it is indeed factual. It’s either a Hip Hop artist or an athlete that garners both the admiration and the attention of African-American youth, due to the absenteeism of the black male as an everyday role model. It the athlete/musician who many emulate, simulate and replicate more so than that of the professionally educated. For this blog, I am concentrating on the black athlete; I will save the musicians for another soliloquy at a later date. Now before I go further, let me acknowledge that not all athletes are bad role models. Athletes like Serena Williams, Lebron James, Tim Duncan, and Russell Wilson; all who have kept a clean images for the most part, give the black youth a template for decorum, professionalism and being image conscious. But I would be fallacious if I did not mention the flip side and the reason for this blog entry. There are those who I refer to as the poisonous athlete. The people like Greg Hardy, Ray Rice and Floyd Mayweather Jr., who in my opinion belong on a terrorist watch list for the black community far more than that of any white supremacist for a multitude of reasons. Bravado; I get. Ego; I get. Arrogance; I get. Being brash and a bit cantankerous; I get also. These are common attributes that most great people have in their DNA makeup that makes them elite and usually puts them at the top of their professional field. What I don’t get is the brutal beating of women. What I also do not get is the amount of fans that blindly follow them and idolize them like the prodigal son. I respect Ray Rice for at least coming forth to accept responsibility for his actions; but the fact that a person like Floyd Mayweather Jr. has never come forth and been contrite or apologetic (mind you he’s considered a lethal weapon due to his training) yet hordes of black men and sadly enough, black women follow behind him like he’s a God is disgusting and deplorable. What am I missing? Am I so caught up in my own moral compass to the point that my direction is not on a GPS tracking system? To me it speaks volumes on how we so need more positive role models to the point of possibly suggesting a black version of The Purge on the African-American community in order to rid ourselves of not only the tainted idols, but those minions of followers who still remain clueless to a fault. For far too long we have adhered to the pathway of failure by self-inflicted injury; a malpractice of a botched surgery that has crippled the very legs we stand upon. No one expects perfection, but it is too much to ask for apathy, especially when the lifestyle that you are afforded is due to the public consumption of your said brand. A person with a full stomach does not need to be fed, but perhaps it is time we begin to starve those who benefit from the people, but continue to show that they are not about our people. #it’s time to make a change

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