Sports Exploitation

Sports Exploitation: Million Dollar Slaves

This is the third and final section within the topic of TV Imagery.  This discussion will focus on the trials, tribulations, and admiration of the Black athlete and how their treatment both positively and negatively impact the Black Community.

The 3 Questions

1. Do you believe Black athletes are exploited, why or why not?

2. Do you believe Black athletes have to be role models, particularly outside of the field of play, why or why not?

3. Should We petition great Black high school athletes to go to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)?

FRONT STREET

The speed, power, agility, and stamina are the perfect traits one would look for in a hardworking slave…or athlete.  Often times, the difference between the two is as slight as the description used to define a good one.  I know, seems pretty dramatic.  But I ask you to consider how much money is made off the Black athlete.  How many jobs are dependent on the greatness of a Lebron James, or the skills of a Cam Newton.  How much colleges and universities benefit from the Zion Williamson, with no guarantee of a future in his sought after profession on the field or in the classroom and yet the school will sell his jersey for $25 a head.  Does the Black community, in general, believe one of the only ways out of the desperation of poverty is the biological lottery?  Yes, the sports business can be a dirty game, but does this exploitation of the Black athlete add to the destruction of Our community?

Please write in and response to our 3 poll questions or post some questions that you would like to see asked.  These question and more were addressed on 1/24/2021.

Sports Exploitation [unedited]

9 thoughts on “Sports Exploitation”

  1. 1. All athletes are exploited, especially black. Lured into with a promise to get out of poverty, they are easily controlled and when talent fades, discardable.
    2. No, its good if they are but thats the parents job.
    3. Yes, for the good feeling but we must protect it so that the institution doesn’t start being as exploitative as the PWI.

  2. 1. Do you believe Black athletes are exploited, why or why not?

    I believe most of the better than average athletes are exploited, blacks a bit more than other races, mainly because of the stereotypical background of being from to hood and willing to do whatever to make it out. Some of these athletes don’t even recognize that they are being exploited and many frankly don’t care, as long as they are getting paid. But they fail to realize that they are worth much more than what the industry is paying them.

    2. Do you believe Black athletes have to be role models, particularly outside of the field of play, why or why not?

    Yes I believe black athletes are under much more pressure than the average black person. Simply because they are publicized because of there status or position and therefore criticized on everything they do. White America will not hesitate to crucify a black athlete and the rest of black America if he doesn’t something negative. White America will be quick to label us as thugs, ghetto or uncivilized people.

    Such is the case with Michael Vick as compared to a Ben Rothlisberger.

    3. Should We petition great Black high school athletes to go to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)?

    We should bring awareness to these black athletes to support and be a representation of their black community. What better way to do so than to choose to attend a HBCU especially when they have a choice to do so.

  3. 1. Do you believe Black athletes are exploited, why or why not?

    Yes and No. Not only black but all college athletes are exploited. The major college programs are making millions off of the back of their “students” while not paying or allowing them to profit off their own fame at that time. I do believe black athletes are cheated out of being required to not only excel in sports but in the classroom. They aren’t told to prepare for both going pro or entering the professional world if they don’t make it. Especially if they are injured, the school goes on to the next player and discards the other.

    2. Do you believe Black athletes have to be role models, particularly outside of the field of play, why or why not?

    No, they just need to be who they are. We all aren’t expected to be role models because of our jobs why should they? Your income shouldn’t require you to be a role model.

    3. Should We petition great Black high school athletes to go to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)?

    I think we should explain to them how they can help those institutions and how in the past they were only allowed to go to HBCU’s. The percentage of black athletes at PWI’s are usually in the upper 80 percentile while black enrollment is much lower. Its evident black athletes are only expected to be money generators and not students.

  4. 1. Do you believe Black athletes are exploited, why or why not? Yes and no. I believe they are exploited in that they are not paid what they should given they are the backbone of the product. At the same time I say no, because they agree to these amounts and many are paid exorbitant salaries that most of us couldn’t fathom.

    2. Do you believe Black athletes have to be role models, particularly outside of the field of play, why or why not? No, they don’t have to be but it would behoove them to do so bc the advertising dollars exceed the sports salaries in most cases. Tiger Woods was making $125M while only making about $10M on the course. Like Tiger Woods, what people do off the field only affects advertising money, he could have still won $10M in the years he was a pariah for adultery. If I were him I’d have said one time, “This is my personal business and I will never comment on it. If anyone asks me again I will never speak to the press again.” The end. Instead he acted like a sucker and threw away good years to nurse his image, but that image was more valuable than his work ever was. To me, it’s a choice. Do what you want but reap what you sew.

    3. Should We petition great Black high school athletes to go to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)? I go back and forth on this. On one hand the unity would do the HBCU’s good. On the other hand I’m not sure that helps the individual as much as it helps the group. In time, it would but it would take decades to build the notoriety that current exists for Div 1 sports. Another issue I have with HBCU’s in general is that no matter where you go in the world the board rooms are full of people who are not poc and you need to be comfortable in that world. I pray the board room will eventually look like the streets in front of our homes but that’s not going to happen in the next 3 generations. Lastly, there are folks putting up tremendous numbers in HBCU’s and the NFL/NBA hardly looks at them as they don’t see the level of competition as the same in the NCAA Div 1.

  5. There’s a disconnect between the cultural and economic power that black athletes wield and the way they are treated and it’s time that they ignored critics and leveraged that power to boost black communities.

  6. 1. Do you believe Black athletes are exploited, why or why not?
    Absolutely! Look no further than college Black athletes! Whether Reggie Bush or Terrell Pryor, whenever a Black athlete is a star player at a university the school sells millions of jerseys with their numbers on it, tickets, food, parking, and other items associated with the Athletic Director of a program. The athlete, if lucky may get access to 3-4 meals a day a few light perks that will help them stay healthy enough to make the school money. If a player is like Zion Williamson, 1 and done, the university goes to greater lengths to milk the cow and ensure that they maximize profits off of the player.

    At the professional level this happens as well but because players are compensated, it is discussed a lot less than it should. How many jerseys does Nike sell because of LeBron? What about the local restaurants and bars when he was a player for the Cavs? This is why when he made the decision to take his talents to South Beach, they were burning his jersey and the racist owner (Yes I said it) Dan Gilbert penned that pitiful and disgusting letter slandering LeBron. And for what? Utilizing free agency as any of us would. He was angry and lashed out as if LeBron was a prized slave that got too uppity and left the plantation. So Dan Gilbert knew he would not sell out season tickets, nachos, nor other items associated with the arena.

    2. Do you believe Black athletes have to be role models, particularly outside of the field of play, why or why not?

    I do not think Black athlete have to be role models but should at least consider being one on surface level. Although parents should be the role model for their children, we all know that is not the sole influence on them. If I see LeBron and he is in South Beach outside of the court partaking in activities that would cause most to look at him differently, that is/was his business. I’m not here to be the morality police nor should anyone else. Being an athlete is what they do, not necessarily who they are…..I will always have conflicting thoughts here but ultimately deflect to the old phrase: to each their own….

    3. Should We petition great Black high school athletes to go to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)?
    Yes. The power is with the athlete. Imagine if Grant Hill had gone to Hampton University or if the UNLV running Rebels squad with Stacey Augmon and Larry Johnson were at Howard….the ESPN coverage would have no choice but to follow the stars. Also this would increase the dollars at HBCUs and lead to better training facilities, coaches, quality of life. Stop making PWIs wealthy and bring that money back home! Of course go to whatever school you wish, but I have had this conversation as part of a forum with prominent folks in the sports industry…and surprise….Black professionals you see on TV support this measure, just not openly on TV…….another discussion for another day.

  7. 1. Do you believe Black athletes are exploited, why or why not?

    By definition, exploitation is the act of unfairly taking advantage of another person because of an inferior position for one’s own benefit. Athletes, especially Black athletes, from high school to college and at the professional levels have been exploited for decades based on their ability to run faster, jump higher, or swim further than others. These qualities not only bring fame to the individual, but fortune to the sponsor organization. At the non-professional level, athletes are exploited to the extent that they do not receive any financial remuneration in a multi billion dollar industry where the institutions/colleges make fortunes. Unfortunately, many do not graduate, and some of them lose their scholarships if they attain an injury. The exploitation of athletes is systemic and will take a national effort coupled with local activism to make any substantial changes.

    2. Do you believe Black athletes have to be role models, particularly outside the field of play?

    We all should be role models to our families, children and communities. However, this is not reality. In the case of athletes, I feel that they have a responsibility to those who look up to them to be the best version of themselves. Many come from environments that are not conducive to success where they struggle to survive and succeed. Once success is attained, many of these athletes work hard to give back. These men and women continue to provide funds, time and energy to their families and communities. I truly applaud their individual and collective efforts. If this is a definition of a role model, then I believe that there is an inherent responsibility for all of us, especially those of us fortunate enough to be successful in our life’s work. This is particularly true for professional athletes who have a forum to do so.

    3. Should we petition Black athletes to go to HBCU’s?

    I remember the time when Grambling University had more players in the NFL than any other school including Norte Dame or Southern California University. Those were the ‘Golden Days of HBCU’ football. I also remember when the CIAA all star basketball team beat the ACC all stars two years in a row, and the ACC stopped playing the game. Deion Sanders has made the decision to go to Jackson State to coach the football program. So there is a move in the direction to have not only more black athletes go to HBCU’s, but also more famous coaches and administrators.

    Although I believe that the decision to go to an HBCU should be left to the individual athlete, I would encourage each of them to take a very hard and serious look at the HBCU before they make the final decision.

    We are in a diverse society, so once we leave the cocoon for our family and friends, each person needs to be ready to move seamlessly to the next level in life. HBCU’s provide quality education across the board as witnessed by the vast majority of the black professionals in this country. Black athletes should be able take every opportunity to succeed including starring on the HBCU campuses across America.

  8. 1. Do you believe Black athletes are exploited, why or why not?

    I believe black athletes are exploited just speaking from a youth level looking at AAU sports, some of the pressure I see parents put on their children at the age of 9 – 10 years old is insane. The way coaches and parents have a “sell to the highest bidder”mentality a child can be on a team with no intentions of getting better or helping the team get better just to look good to end up on a higher profile team or organization. Not surprising when kids take money down the line or at least don’t see a problem with it.

    2. Do you believe black athletes have to be role models.

    Absolutely not they can choose whatever path they want to. I personally think you should want become a positive image for kids to follow but it’s important to have both sides of the story, this way I can clearly show my child where hard work and discipline can take him and also when doing the wrong thing and complacency can take him. There’s a reason Lebron James endorses darn near everything and no one has rang JR Smith’s phone image is important.

    3. Should we petition great Black high school athletes to go to historically Black Colleges and Universities?

    Yes because of the power they hold financially to change college sports. If kids knew their same freshman year at Howard or Jackson State would get them to the NBA just as it would at Kentucky or Duke and more kids would be willing to take that chance. Major networks would have to cover games because that’s is what america would want to see if Mikey Williams, Lebron James Jr and Emoni Bates all end up at NC Central ESPN is not airing Iona vs Niagara.

  9. 1. Do you believe Black athletes are exploited, why or why not?

    Absolutely. Especially in the two money making sports, football and basketball where the majority of the team consist of black athletes. Furthermore, the higher performing black athletes are used by the program to appeal to booster, sponsors, marketing, tv ratings, commercials, apparel and to lure future black athletes into the factory mill ** i mean program.
    So when the likeness or images of these black athletes results in MILLIONS of dollars to the school, to the coaches to the local economy but NOT the athlete themselves, that’s the definition of exploitation.

    2. Do you believe Black athletes have to be role models, particularly outside of the field of play, why or why not?

    Yes. In general, athletes are already put on a pedestal by society. Thru middle school, high school and eventually college they are given “special treatment” and often times put in the limelight. Their personal lives are constantly under a microscope. Their social media constantly watched. Any tiny misstep and they are vilified. Also with this treatment comes admiration from younger followers. So it’s ideal for an athlete to provide a positive impact for those who are looking up to them or following in their footsteps.

    3. Should We petition great Black high school athletes to go to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)?

    Yes. Imagine the fab 5 at Howard. Or Lebron and Carmelo Anthony at Morgan St. or even some of the Alabama crimsontide’s 2nd string at Hampton. Just imagine the impact that would create for the school and the local community.

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