Sports connects us
If you read my last post, you'll know that I have been playing golf since a young age. There is no secret that golf is a predominantly white sport and has deep ties to racist organizations in the U.S. However, being raised in Bermuda, I didn't experience much racism because the population is about 70% black.
However, it wasn't until I moved to Scottsdale, AZ, that I realized how "white" competitive golf was. I was the only black athlete on my high school and college golf teams and often was the only non-white player at tournaments. As a result, I have many clear memories of being mistreated due to being black. Being sheltered from global racism didn't make me naive that racist acts happen daily in life and sports. I didn't write this article to highlight my experiences but to bring awareness.
Sports have always acted as a universal connector, bringing people together no matter where. Sports symbolize freedom of expression and an opportunity for all to be heard. However, over the years, we have witnessed an increase in racism and intolerance that has permeated our sports culture.
I'm talking about sports, and I'm not just talking about the game. I'm talking about the unifying power of sports across racial, ethnic, and language divides. What happened to that Steve Nash commercial where he was on the soccer field in Spain, teaching young kids how to dribble and shoot? Sports showcase the possibilities of our future — the beauty of how we could become unified through a shared love for sports.
During the middle of the NFL season, an investigation into former Las Vegas, Raiders' actions occurred. It's a strikingly different narrative for the coach who won a Super Bowl as the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the Monday Night Football analyst on ESPN and received a 10-year, $100-million contract from the Raiders in 2018.
After leaked emails that included racist, anti-gay, and misogynist remarks, Jon Gruden resigned as the Las Vegas Raiders coach. Gruden responded to an initial email leak, one where the coach said NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith had "lips the size of Michelin tires."
“In the emails, Gruden called the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, a ‘f****t’ and a ‘clueless anti football p***y’ and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft ‘q***rs,’ a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.”
No matter how many “end racism” slogans are in the NFL end zones, what the halftime show looks like, whether Lift Every Voice and Sing is sung before the game, the NFL is a racist.
Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday against the NFL and all 32 teams, alleging racial discrimination in hiring processes across the league.
In the suit, Flores named the Dolphins, the New York Giants, and the Denver Broncos and cited texts between himself and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. In the suit, Flores alleges that text messages were sent to him by Bill Belichick, while the Patriots head coach mistakenly believed he was messaging Brian Daboll.
Belichick's messages show that Daboll had already secured the Giants' head-coaching job three days before Flores interviewed. Flores contends that his interview with the Giants and an interview he had in 2019 with the Broncos were a sham. The firing of Flores comes after Miami's first back-to-back winning season since 2002.
Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku believes racism in football is at an "all-time high" ahead of the start of the European Championships. as one of the top players in the world, Lukaku plays on the biggest stages. Of course, much criticism comes with the job, but he believes racial matters have become a problem in global football. Notably, he was the subject of monkey chants from fans in 2019.
The beauty of sports is multifaceted. It brings together people of all walks of life, generates conversation and debate, and is an outlet to express our passion for sports.
Regarding football's response to racism, Lukaku also pointed to the formation of the Super League, a proposed restructure of club football in Europe that fell apart as several teams withdrew following intense criticism from fans. Perhaps you love the strategy involved. Whatever your reasons are for loving sports: that's great. However, if I hope people will take anything from this blog, it is this: there must be zero tolerance for racism in any sport.