The first thing one notices about a person is the color of his/her skin. Not even in sports can you escape your race. It’s there from the beginning all the way up to the end of your life, so the way one sees you can’t be altered because it’s inevitable. One’s arena or field of play is supposed to be a safe haven, though, or so I thought.
The basketball court is the one place where the undersized superstar guard for the Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, can go that puts his soul at ease. After losing his sister to a car accident before the start of these NBA playoffs, he has since used basketball to cope with the pain, and heal from tragedy each day. Elsewhere in Boston, times are much hairier.
In Adam Jones’ case, his place to escape from reality is baseball. During a game vs the Red Sox, he was unable to use sport as an outlet when being slurred by racist fans. The Baltimore Orioles centerfielder was taunted and heckled with a bag of peanuts thrown at him because he is—you guessed it—black. This doesn’t make sense and it shouldn't exist anywhere, but it does. They do this all the time, and for years it has been prevalent.
Don’t think for a second that we are ‘taking the right steps’ or ‘have come a long way’ when the first American born NBA player of Chinese descent has been racially discriminated against repeatedly, too. As multiple reporters put it during a loss within Jeremy Lin’s historic start to his career, he was the ‘chink in the armor.’ The slip-ups that happened in both print and broadcast depict insensitive and unwarranted epithets that should remind us just how far we've come. But this nation is so ‘great,’ I might add. Not only are minorities persecuted in this country, but also in others.
Sulley Muntari, a black soccer player from Ghana, was interviewed by CNN about walking away from his Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) club. The racial prejudice he’s encountered while playing ‘football’ in Italy is eerily similar to what occurs in the U.S. since it happens every game. Not only in european football, but also in basketball.
Draymond Green is seen as a villain for his persona on the court, but nothing he does out there could ever justify calling him, or any other player, the N-word. What is making fans think they have the right to use such piercing language nowadays? Perhaps it’s just the times.
Maybe they are attempting to restore this nation and make this country great again like it was before. Back when Hank Aaron hit his 715th homer to pass Babe Ruth on the MLB’s all-time home runs list, the same time period in which he received hate mail and death threats from the fans of our country’s national pastime.
It’s evident that there is a trend here. Black and minority athletes in most sports have been staring racism right in the face for years. It’s not a new issue, yet I find it alarming that this day and age it’s continuing at such a high rate. The shift in power at the helm of this country has given the ‘White’ House added meaning though.
We had a Black President who cherished and valued sports, but ever since our new Commander-in-chief took the reigns that’s certainly not the case. Now, black players can’t get jobs they are qualified for, and fans shout racist chants and remarks as if they were cheers. Those who are less ‘woke’ tend to naively think that the U.S. has turned the tide, and the dust has settled on racism since the Civil Rights Movement, with a few exceptions. But the exceptions are nearly few. They are normalized.
It’s true that one has to work twice as hard to overcome suppression whether he/she is black, brown or other. When you step into your arena that’s all supposed to go away though.
For two hours or maybe even three, it's supposed to go away. Today, it’s clear now more than ever that the color of one’s skin can still mean something negative if it’s not white. Essentially, there's a target on our backs.
Even if the ball is orange or the field is green.