26 comments
MODI
MODI

Beyond previous comment, as a lifelong sports fan, I am in a constant state of struggle between loving sports while attempting to grapple with the violent toll it takes on athletes lives. The truth is that I do love boxing and football for many reasons, but I have yet to have that "Howard Cosell moment" to walk away as he had done in the 1980's in boxing. When I watch film of a young Ali, I see artistry on the highest of levels, but know that this can't be separated from his Parkinsons.

 

I search for ways around it (i.e., can we make football safer?), but realize that I am complicit in many ways. It is a personal struggle that continues. The only way a non-sports fan can understand this internal struggle is if they had to give up the music or art they love the very most.  

 

Okay, I will remove myself from the couch now! :-) 

MODI
MODI

Nancy, just a tremendous post, and thanks for sharing it with us at POPSspot.com. As a lifelong sports fan, I struggle with many of the points that you raise. Moving from childhood to adulthood, I have come to abhor the racial double-standards and the not so subtle impact and reflection of the racism endemic in our criminal justice system. The influence of sports media plays an enormous role in the normalizing the criminalizing of athletes of color.

 

While this has always been the case going back to Jack Johnson, I don't think that the influence of sports has been given its appropriate study within the academic community -- not say, as compared to say other mass cultural movements such as music whether it be Bob Dylan or Hip-hop or similar course that are routinely found at universities. that is why I am so appreciative to pieces like these and others who make the connection between sports coverage and the criminal justice system. I do see academia weighing in more and more on an individual level and hope that this translates more and institutionally at universities.

rubyr
rubyr

Well, I am very late and I apologize. I was 

working some odd hours on Tues. and Weds. 

 

This is another amazing essay. Our violent 

society is not getting any better. Such a 

tragedy. 

 

Thanks Nancy and Seeta!! 

 

I guess POC will be exploited and 

dehumanized to the end of time. 

It's awful. But people like yourselves 

are doing a lot to bring awareness and 

that is heartening. 

 

love. 

trashablanca
trashablanca

I've given up sports, partly because of the violence, partly because of the greed of the owners, and partly because of owners' GOP politics. I used to love basketball, baseball, football and boxing, but the violence is too hard on the players, and it's a shame that Junior Seau killed himself, and that he shot himself in the chest, so his football- damaged brain could be studied.

 

I grew up a Dodgers and Lakers fan, and remember how freaking many times Steve "cocaine" Howe was given chance after chance, until he aged out of baseball. I don't think he ever did time, but he is a white man.

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock

Nancy, this is such an important and essential essay.  Thank you.

 

I used to be a boxing fan; lost my taste for it by the 90s.  I became so uneasy about the unspoken idea that the guys in the ring - and now the women, too - are gladiators in a dominant culture.  

 

RIP, Hector.

 

This:  "This largesse is rarely granted for their counter-parts of color. Here, the sports industrial complex demands compliance and gratitude. The reaction to deviance, however minor, is often swift and extreme."

 

Seeta
Seeta moderator

Really thought-provoking piece Nancy! i honestly didn't know much about Camacho -- but this is a must read for anti-racism advocates.