Leland Stein III

Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

In sports column on February 25, 2012 at 1:42 am
Selling hate – on the back of African-Americans athletes
By Leland Stein III

I think life is passing me by, but on second thought maybe that is okay.
In this reality TV era the lines of civility, right and wrong and self-expression are getting too blurred for me to follow.
Blasting through the media airwaves (radio, TV and print) recently was a poll courtesy of a survey from Nielsen and E-Market Poll Research and their research gave us the 10 most disliked athletes of 2011. Almost every media outlet talked about the poll and scorned the at
hletes on it. Unfortunately nine out of the ten were African-American males.
Starting at the top was Michael Vick, then Tiger Woods, Plaxico Burress, Ndamukong Suh, Kris Humphries, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Terrell Owens, Alex Rodriguez and Kurt Busch.
Wow, what a surprise!
How come I never get invited or asked to participate in any of those so-called polls? Just asking.
On this recent hate poll, who the heck did they poll?
 The sample size has to have been miniscule and segregated, because the internationally known Harris Interactive Poll gave another view. In its Top Ten are first, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Albert Pujols, Hines Ward, Derrick Rose and finally, Aaron Rodgers.
So how can America’s most respected poll differ from this self-serving poll that gave sports pundits all over the country a vehicle to lambast and attack too many African-American athletes.
Funny how the reality generation embraces Labels and tags minorities throughout American history have been fighting to get away from. Too many like to categorize others to make themselves feel better.
For the most part all those callers and bloggers that took this poll opportunity to condemn those athletes, who just so happen to be black, should all look deep into the mirror…now there is another list. Can’t say that the condemners would like what they see, so they go making up or latching on to these hate lists…it makes them feel better.
Who did the hate poll, poll? Well, a couple of athletes on that list are pretty telling about who voted. Those who hate Humphries would rather watch the Style Network than basketball. Those who hate Suh would rather watch flag football or tiddlywinks.
What did Humphries do? His 72-day marriage to the reality TV star, Kim Kardashian, caused people to hate him? What is going on here? A slightly talented women, who gets famous for a sex video, but the brother is the hated one.
And Suh, well this is football. A sport where too many of its former players have brain damage. A sport where giant men collide, try to take each other’s heads off or knock each other’s lights out.
In the heat of the moment Suh did not help his cause when he stomped on Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith arm on Thanksgiving Day. He earned a two-game suspension as a result.
Yeah, that was not sportsmanlike, but in the real world of violent football, that was nothing.
In regards to Vick, he did some vile mess with the dog fighting ring. I have to qualify that I have owned house dogs all my life and have one now that is sitting right next to my feet and I write this narrative.
But, somehow the Tea Party and the religious right do not live up to one of its main tenants – the spirit of forgiveness. Doesn’t Vick deserve a second cha
nce, just like all of us? By all accounts he has changed his life and is in real depth trying to find redemption.
Now Bryant and Woods have never hurt anyone in their lives. Sure both fall short of the glory and have made serious mistakes in their marriages. I surely understand how others could judge men that get caught cheating on their wives.
But, put them in the most hated zone? Come on man! America leads the world in divorces. In fact, a presidential candidate, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, has been married three times, but won the Republican South Carolina Primary. Confusing isn’t it.
From the poll it appears Woods cheating on a white woman is not forgivable. Bryant’s liaison with a white woman was put in the courts as a rape, but the Colorado court system threw the case out, because it had no merit. Yet, many of our brethren I noticed on talk radio and on blogs ignored the facts of the case and say Bryant was a rapist.
What it all relays to me is that people tolerate the fact that in the big two sports – football and basketball – there is a predominance of Black athletes, and, most people just deal with them if it helps their sport or their team, but when given a change to hate, the massesmove like salmon going up-stream in a collective discourse quickly turn on them.
Yeah, all on this list have made mistakes, but they are descent humans and have never beaten up any old ladies, grabbed a purse, killed anyone, or beat their wives. They all, even James, who made a personal choice he legally earned, represent American and its short comings.
Stop the hating!!!
Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII