The Black players on the University of Missouri’s football (gridiron) team — a team in the national title hunt just two years ago — went on strike against racism on November 7. The players demand was simple: they would not play until school president Tim Wolfe resigned over his inability to address a series of racist incidents on campus.
LeBron James. If there was ever a moment that signalled how little Black lives mattered to people in power in the US, it was in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf of Mexico — especially devastating the city of New Orleans — 10 years ago. This fact was called out in real time by New Orleans residents, racial-justice activists around the country, and Kanye West's off-script and utterly true comments that “George Bush doesn't care about Black people”.
On the weekend that marked the one year anniversary of the police killing of Michael Brown, another disturbingly similar case made the social media rounds: another unarmed young Black man was shot dead, on August 7, another police officer on administrative leave holding the smoking gun, another rush to convict the dead.
The St Louis Rams players braved even greater hostility by entering with their hands raised in support of the Ferguson protesters and their “hands up, don't shoot” slogan. The police killing last August of unarmed 18-year-old Black man Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent protests have sparked a new Black freedom struggle and forever changed this country.
“What we do matters.” “We are many, they are few.” “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” These phrases are what people trying to effect change often say quietly to avoid slouching into despair. Today, they are what crews of Bostonians are singing to one another over rowdy, joyous toasts, confident that their actions just beat back the most powerful plutocrats in town.
Serena Williams has won 21 Grand Slam titles — the same number every other active women’s player has collected combined. There are many articles — terrific articles — defending Serena Williams against the racism and sexism that have long stalked her career. But we should be similarly aggressive in stating factually just who Serena is becoming before our very eyes.
Gaelle Enganamouit (right) led her team to a dominating 6-0 victory over Ecuador on June 8. With the football world still exhaling after a thrilling Women's World Cup, won 5-2 by the USA on July 5, it is worth taking a moment to look back at the tournament.
My son goes to a sprawling public school that provides the majority of players for our local soccer (football) league in Washington DC. He plays on a team of boys and girls where, as is often the case with six-to-eight-year-olds, the girls frequently dominate on the field of play. In addition, his awesome classroom teacher played soccer at the most legendary women’s collegiate program in the United States.
Fans at a US college football match. It is a rare day when we wonder what National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) coaches are saying about racial justice and social change in the United States.
I fanatically loved the critically acclaimed Baltimore-based television drama The Wire, which ran for five seasons from 2002-08. It is difficult to even imagine my pop-cultural brain without the presence of Omar Little, Stringer Bell, Bunk and “McNutty”. When I started doing my sports radio show eight years ago, I scheduled interviews with as many of the actors as I could for no other reason than I wanted to breathe their air. Talking to Michael K Williams about the method of Omar's “long game” while he aggressively chewed on a sandwich will forever remain a career highlight.