Should Black Baseball and Basketball Players sit the season out in support of Baltimore?
by Dr. Samori Swygert
Either you’re down or you’re not. Point. Blank. Period. Athletes, musicians, actors, and artists have become filthy rich. They accumulate wealth by receiving payments for their talent and skillful performance.
Time and time again, we routinely see these stars enamor our children and garner social affection. People develop a pseudo-personal relationship with these artists, teams, actors, and athletes. You’ll often hear phrases like “That’s my team!,” “Ya boy Jay-Z,” “My girl Rihanna,” “That’s my show,” “That’s my song,” etc.
Subconsciously, we have attached ourselves to individuals that don’t even know us personally. Yet, we buy their albums, buy their movie tickets, buy their jeans, hats, shirts, suits, grooming and beauty lines, the drinks they endorse, buy their team jerseys, patronize their clubs/restaurants, and buy collectible items and paraphernalia. They have become an extension of us, like an extra appendage to our anatomy.
However, what is the return on our investment? We are the dedicated patrons, customers, and consumers that contribute to the propelling of these individuals into stardom and wealth. It’s one thing to have talent and skill, but that’s nothing without a consumer base and fans to fill your concert halls, sports arenas, stadiums, theaters, and other venues of entertainment.
The frightening surge of police killings, brutality, harassment and abuse of power by some bad cops has crippled the trust and respect of the African American community and the citizenry nationwide. It’s solely my belief that these athletes, actors, and artists have a broader platform that is under-utilized. For instance, we’ve seen Money Mayweather light dollars on fire, and a page full of rappers that “make it rain” in the strip club. We’ve seen them “buy out the bar” and go on day and late night talk shows.
THIS IS BASEBALL AND BASKETBALL SEASON
Everybody knows that baseball is one of America’s favorite pastimes. Police brutality has seemingly grown contagious across the country. Do you think professional African-American baseball and basketball players should refuse to play until clear police reform has been established by policy nationwide? I walk around and see men and women wearing New York Yankees, Miami Heat, Lakers, Mets, Atlanta Braves fitted hats and more.
Families take their children to the games for good wholesome entertainment. We even buy video games featuring professional athletes. If you can make hundreds of millions of dollars off your fans, then you should speak out for your fans. Otherwise, your fans will be killed off in a gradual but constant cycle of brutality.
Do they care enough for the lives that support your fame and stardom? If you don’t want people to resort to violence and destruction, why don’t you use your mega media platform to speak out against police brutality and the justice system? Be the voice of your fans that have been ignored. Is your money more important? Speaking out is what made Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, and Tommie Smith iconic. They did not forget about the struggle of the people.
As fans we shouldn’t purchase any baseball tickets this season or purchase any baseball or basketball paraphernalia.
ACTORS AND MUSICIANS
Some of you may be too young to know or remember the multi-artist song “We Are the World,” but this song, made in the 80s, featured megastar artists who came together to make a song that acknowledged the global and domestic disparities that were going on.
I’m not naïve, so I know that singing won’t stop a bad officer that’s hellbent on abusing a citizen; however, as a famed star, your voice can catapult a real message more than “ignored inner city unknowns” that have been begging for justice over decades. I tip my hat to rappers like Wale, Phonte, Big Krit, David Banner, and Talib Kweli that have spoken up about these issues. I also give a big shout out to NBA player Carmelo Anthony for actually marching with the protestors. We need more.
I wonder if everybody held back from subscribing to TIDAL by Jay-Z, would he lend a sustained voice? The millions that circulate and perfuse the entertainment industry by black entertainers could help with the cost of legal aid, community repair, educational assistance, or the food and supplies that cities need if we do engage in a boycott.
I’m also a realist. I can’t mandate that another adult spend their money a certain way. However, consider some of these nonviolent, non-property damaging alternatives as solutions. Your biggest fans have exhausted all nonviolent options. Your fans have conducted sit-ins, die-ins, marches, protests, town hall meetings, prayer meetings, pressured an investigation by Attorney General Eric Holder, met with city officials, and the killings continue by the people we pay to protect and serve us. What else are ignored citizens to do?
“THEY’RE DESTROYING THE BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITY”
Lastly, people that keep saying “They’re [Baltimore protestors] destroying the businesses and community;” I want you same people out protesting gentrification and vulture capitalism because they do the same thing. Gentrification and vulture capitalism destroy Black businesses in your community just the same (it’s just done with contracts, bulldozers, and the removal of you), ask DC residents, and the victims of Bain Capital. Bye Bye 🙂
What are your thoughts??? Should these entertainment icons refuse to play, act, perform and donate to the cause?
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