Friday, August 24, 2012

Is There a Racial Element Involved in Sports?

     Race has been an issue since the beginning of history. In America, it began with the Triangular Trade & enslavement of Africans & Native Americans. Although there has been an infinite amount of progress over the past 400 years, it is still a topic that is debated upon day in and day out. Whether we are talking about politics: with our Commander in Chief, music: with the dynamic between artists singing Country, Pop, R&B, and Rap, or sports: with the growing amount of diversity in competitive athletics worldwide, race is always a topic that is brought up. Earlier this week on ESPN First Take with Steven A. Smith and Skip Bayless, the panelists implied that Redskins' coach Mike Shanahan drafted Kirk Cousins in the Fourth Round of the 2012 NFL Draft to sabotage the career of RGIII, because he does not believe an African-American can be successful playing the Quarterback position. Is it possible that, in the world we live in today, this is still a serious problem?

Italian Soccer Star Mario Balotelli
     In my opinion, American sports have much less problems with racism than those of other countries. In actuality, that state of mind is racist, or at least egocentric. Balotelli, a black Italian, was the top soccer player in a predominately Hispanic and Latino soccer world this summer. A basketball player from Tunisia asked Kobe Bryant for an autograph, the ultimate symbol of respect from a competitor. Players of nearly every sport from all over the world worked well in the Olympics, but not without some controversy. Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was kicked off the Olympic team for mocking African immigrants. Swiss soccer player Morganella Michel described Koreans as retards after losing to them in a group-stage match. The world still has a long way to go before everyone sees each other as equals, but what can be done to prevent racism and stereotypes from showing themselves in athletics?

Argentina, led by Manu Ginobili, won the Gold Medal for Men's Olympic Basketball in 2004

     International competition is growing. At one point, the USA completely dominated the rest of the world in almost every sport, and it showed in the Olympics. According to numerous compilations made by websites, including Stat Silk, the US has more than double the amount of Gold Medals of any other country in the world. In recent years, however, China, Russia, and Great Brittain have been competing much better, and the sports are becoming much more even. In fact, although America did win this summer, China had the most gold medals in 2008, and Canada had the most gold medals in the 2010 Winter Games. I believe that the way to eliminate racism in athletics is for parity to occur at the national level. There have been some anomalies throughout history, but for the most part the US dominates in basketball, China dominates in diving, Kenya & Ethiopia dominate long-distance running, and Jamaica has recently taken over short-distance running. In the near future, athletes to need to start breaking the mold, going against the odds, and doing things in a different way.

     The world of today is about creation, innovation, and opportunity. People are born to create opportunities for themselves through innovation. A game changer is a person who is a visionary. Magic Johnson was known as the first of his kind, a point forward. LeBron James is changing the way the game of basketball is played, and he has allegedly invented the power guard position. Michael Vick's dynamic play at the Quarterback position paved the way for an age of athletic, running QB's. On a more negative note, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, & Mark Mcguire changed the game of baseball by starting the Steroid Era. Now, it is time for athletics on a larger scale to see a change. European basketball teams need to find a to start competing. USA Men's Soccer needs to find there way back into the mix of things. The NBA is already talking about starting a World Cup of Basketball in order to make way for a younger wave of Olympians, and Roger Goodell has stated on numerous occasions that he wants to have an NFL team in Canada, and an NFL game in China. The world continues to become a better place, and it is time for our role models in the athletics to join the push to make a difference. 


  1. that is the wrong use of parody - I think you mean parity?

    also, you say this:
    Race has been an issue throughout the world forever. It began in America with the Triangular Trade & enslavement of Africans & Native Americans. Although there has been an infinite amount of progress over the past 400 years,

    so has it been an issue throughout the world forever (which is such a generalized statement that it would go back to the era of the dinosaurs) or is it something that came about in the last 400 years in the Americas?

    1. When I say "It began in America..." what I mean is, "In America, it began with.." Racism was prevalent before 400 years ago, as it was a problem in Africa before then between darker and lighter Africans. I'm no historian, but I do know some of the facts.