NBA, NFL & MLB: Past to Present

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There is no rewriting of history.  And when it is a particularly painful history…reconciliation of one’s feelings occurs on a frequent basis.  As I embarked on a tour of the Deep South….and in far too many ways the deepest, darkest aspects of this country’s past….the impact of Tuskegee, Montgomery, Selma & Birmingham resonated on many levels.  It is never lost on me, that every single aspect of what I do…each and every day…is because of the shoulders on which I stand.  The connection between the past and today can not be ignored:

The international and domestic slave trade was devastating…and has continued its devastation for generations.  As such, it truly incenses to hear any athlete…regardless of how intense a contract negotiation gets….draw a comparison to slavery.  When freedom of choice to continue a line of work or remain at an institution of higher learning & compensation are involved...there is no longer an argument.  Nothing but slavery compares to slavery!

Walking along the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma connected to today’s athletes using their platforms to inspire social change.  Because personalities are a unique thing, I hold no expectation for all athletes to engage in the world around them in such public ways.  However, those that do…knowing full well a backlash could translate to loss of individual gain….are to be commended!

What was once a stop on the journey of the Freedom Riders, the museum at Montgomery’s former Greyhound Bus Station, told its own story of the sheer determination of so many in seeing equal rights prevail in public transportation. When the NBA’s King deplaned from a private jet in sunny southern California in full view of an aerial camera…it only underscored just how far a people had come.

As visitors marveled at the virtual demonstration of Satchel Paige’s various pitches & checked out equipment used by Jackie Robinson and others at the Negro Southern League Museum….the evidence was crystal clear---talent knows no barriers!

The sports entertainment industry mimics everyday life.  While large strides have been made in the area of diversity…from head coaches to front office personnel….as well as the perception of athletes of color in general…it is also evident there is much work to be done!  Just like at the beginning of any Game 7 though….I’m energized by what’s to come!!

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