After a long time away, I’m finally back with a podcast.
But not just any podcast, but a mix to my grandson J-ICE.
Old-school hip-hop heads know that bouncing with some hard beats is always a challenge, even with rap pre-1995. My son likes to roll with tunes that were out when he was still in a car seat, and is now facing that challenge when he’s rolling with my grandson.
I’ll post up the playlist pretty soon, but for now, just turn up that bass, grab the kids, grab your bible, and lets ride…
Between 1918 and 1919, 136 blacks were lynched.
They included women, children, and at least 10 veterans, several still in uniform.
The next time someone questions the patriotism of black folks in this country because we criticize the actions of this country, remind them of such facts…and challenge them to name some other people groups and cultures that would still be willing to take pick up arms and fight for a nation that has never treated that same group as equal.
Those actions prove we are probably the most patriotic people on this planet, and have a right shed by the blood of our ancestors and those fighting in uniforms today, to criticize and hold this nation accountable.
Very impressed with the truth and footage released by the History Channel! To my full and partial homeschooling folks, there’s even a classroom guide that can be used for discussion points with the kids!
When I was in my early 20s, there was one non-professional athlete that impacted my worldview like none other. The man, Dr. Harry Edwards. I was always interested in sociology and of course I loved sports, and when I learned of this field created by Dr. Edwards called Sociology of Sport, it was love at first sight. While God by His sovereign grace has me where I am today, if I could do everything over, I’d head to a school with a Sociology of Sport program to earn the academic credentials and attack the profession like Mike Tyson in the ring during his prime. I remember telling my mentor that I wanted to become the next Harry Edwards when I first went to see her about transferring into sociology and out of sports medicine. However, she knew what I would later find out, yet she didn’t crush my enthusiasm, and that was the fact that I’d never be worthy to even tie up his shoe laces, let alone fill his shoes.
I wish I could meet Dr. Harry Edwards. Whenever I find out that he’s done and interview somewhere, I’m on the hunt and all ears because I know I’ll become wiser after listening to this man. Now I just wish that we could hear more from him in our digital era, as it would be so much easier to have access to his knowledge. But then again, I wouldn’t be as proud as I am to have three of his great books, Sociology of Sport, The Revolt Of The Black Athlete and The Struggle That Must Be.
While we are proud of the stand the athletes like Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Reggie Bush and others are taking as they protest African-American men being gunned down in the United States by the police as if they were being caught in a Sundown Town of the 1940s, the protests are now being compared to that organized by Dr. Edwards at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The Black Power salute by John Carlos and Tommie Smith set the bar high, created a new path, and must be something our children (especially those that play sports) never forget. My kids do not, as they have the poster right above the computer in our living room. My two oldest boys were given the John Carlos Story as Christmas gifts right after it hit shelves and when I worked with young athletes as a strength and conditioning coach, I even encouraged them to not just carry a ball, but carry a message. When you carry a message, you carry yourself with more responsibility as well. It’s a responsibility to hold tightly to the opportunity that’s been afforded to you.
I could go on and on, but that’s what made me feel encouraged about the discussion at ESPN by Jemele Hill, Chris Broussard and Stephen A. Smith. The discussion was on Athletes and Activism.
First, just the fact that one black woman and two black men can sit on a major network and discuss and frame what the black athlete is doing is quite an accomplishment. Yes I’m aware, as Smith and Broussard know first hand, that if they go too far out, the dominant-society will take them out to the woodshed. But just to at least be able to talk and teach, that’s progress and that is the kind of talk we have in our homes and at family gatherings.
Why? Because in 1968, here was the response by Brent Musburger (yes, that one), as described by David Zirin (if you don’t listen to the Edge of Sports podcast, you should) in The Nation in 2012:
“In 1968 Musburger was a restless, ambitious young sports writer looking to make his name. He found his opportunity when Smith and Carlos made their stand. Musburger didn’t see a demonstration. He saw a target.
“One gets a little tired of having the United States run down by athletes who are enjoying themselves at the expense of their country,” he wrote. Musburger then infamously called Smith and Carlos “a pair of black-skinned stormtroopers.”
Second, the athletes of our past dawned the “Scarlet P” for protester, called trouble-makers, said to have had bad-attitudes or received labels like above and were considered uppity negroes. In the case of John Carlos, he lost relationships that money could never replace. Yet, I’m hopeful that some of today’s athletes understand their power, prestige and privilege. Their brand is the trunk of the tree, and now they can have multiple branches (i.e. revenue streams) to feed that tree. So they are no longer beholden as much to the league or owner that believes if he lets him go for not being a “good boy”, that another owner won’t break the code and pick him up.
That said, I hope that athletes of today protesting are doing more than just sporting t-shirts, but I hope they are writing checks as well. I understand that a grown person can spend their cash any way they would like, but money gets movement in our Land of Milk and Honey. So if athletes can show all the bling on Cribs, I’m hoping they can put some skin in the game as well with some dollars.
So we’ve come a long way and I’m happy to see my kids take a strong stance on civil right issues at the age of 25 down to the age of 8. They know whether they carry a ball or not, I expect them to carry a message, and it’s those messages that I know will out live me and provide hope for so many of my upcoming generations as I have a feeling that they will still need to put on their gloves and continue to fight for justice years from now.
I met with some clients a couple of weeks ago from South Korea. We talked a little baseball, and one of the gentlemen stated that one of the teams had no Korean players on the team, so he was going for the other. I laughed and told him these days, I’m struggling to find African-Americans on any baseball team either!
This years Fall Classic featuring the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals looks like nothing like your father’s baseball teams.
Thirty- years ago in 1983, here’s the opening day line-up I remember shuffling around. My boy Damon and I battled each other daily at the strike-box we made on the side of the building imitating the batting stances and characteristics of the following players:
Four of the nine were African-American, or perhaps we could say they were batting .444, which was very good!
What about the Red Sox?
One of the nine would at considered African-American, or perhaps we could say they were batting .111. Well, Boston was the last team to integrate in the MLB and it’s been said that African-American’s would rather cheer for the opposing team than for the home team (sounds like me actually).
St. Louis, doing well, Boston,…not so much. The Red Sox have always had problems with their racist past (passing on Willie Mays because of his color) but were trying to change things, at least they were 10 years ago according to this article in 2002 (click here).
So how much has actually changed?
The following is an article from the Boston Globe seems to indicate that perhaps the 1983 Red Sox were ahead of the “changing demographic” time. I’m glad that some are still calling attention to the fact that African-American’s are becoming extinct in the National Pastime. Why is that a problem? Because the train will not be returning to the station to pick up the passengers left back. As legendary Father of Sports Sociology Dr. Harry Edwards pointed out in a recent interview, without African-American ball players, baseball is experiencing record profits (check out why Forbes feels it’s more than about ticket sales here). So with the money rolling in, why should that be a primary area of focus for MLB? Bob Costas, appearing on Dave Zirin’s Edge of Sports podcast (listen here), points out that the problem is beyond the changing demographics of teams, but the game itself could face overall irrelevance with future generations. As Costas duly noted, the NFL makes sure that its most important games can be seen by everyone. However, with MLB, the early rounds of the playoffs are nearly impossible to find (in some cases like Detroit vs. Oakland, the game was not on television at all in Detroit!) and the World Series comes on late and lasts long after the bedtimes of its future fans.
Therefore, beyond the extinction of African-American baseball players in the game. Baseball needs to be careful that its current prosperity isn’t the final rally before the Closer (i.e. NFL) comes in to put them away in the game.
Check out this article below from the Boston Globe by Gary Washburn.
Feel free to leave comments below!
World Series shows MLB’s dearth of black players
When Adron Chambers was left off the Cardinals’ World Series roster Wednesday to create a spot for the team’s RBI leader, Allen Craig, Red Sox utility outfielder Quintin Berry realized that he was the sole African-American representation on baseball’s grandest stage.
This exemplifies an issue Major League Baseball has been grappling with for the better part of two decades. The participation of African-Americans has been dwindling to the point where there is not one black starter or front-line player in this year’s Fall Classic.
Berry, 28, who was acquired by the Sox from the Royals in August for his speed, is unlikely to even get an at-bat in the Series. It’s a stirring testament to the decline of baseball’s popularity in the African-American community.
MLB records show that just 8.5 percent of players on Opening Day rosters were black. And now, just one of the 50 players participating in the World Series identifies himself as African-American.
Berry, whose father is black, said he is fully aware of the declining numbers and that many athletes of his generation chose to pursue basketball or football, more fast-paced and popular sports.
“Especially being from the neighborhood that I’m from, you don’t see a lot of guys playing this sport,” said Berry, who went to Morse High School in San Diego. “You see them playing football and choosing that alley.
“But I had to go where my body type and my ability was going to allow me to. It was weird, because nobody in my family knew much about baseball. My father was a football player.”
The problem is not a lack of effort by Major League Baseball. It has implemented RBI programs — for “Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities” — throughout the country to encourage young African-Americans to embrace the sport. But MLB in general has done a terrible job of promoting its sport, let alone to African-Americans who admire athletes such as LeBron James and Adrian Peterson.
Major League Baseball has long struggled with self-promotion, and the past 20 years have been a public-relations disaster considering the scandals involving performance-enhancing drugs. Seven-time MVP Barry Bonds was perhaps the most talented player of his generation, yet baseball wants nothing to do with him because of his association with PEDs.
While the NFL and NBA are busy ushering their all-time greats into the Hall of Fame, baseball wishes Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and Sammy Sosa would disappear.
Part of the issue is that baseball is a classical sport caught up in a hip-hop world. The games last well beyond three hours. The pace is slow. The commentators analyze the game as if they were detailing the government shutdown and not talking about a kid’s game. The sport takes itself much too seriously, and for the casual fan — which most kids are — that translates like organic chemistry.
With the sport considerably less appealing than basketball or football to the novice fan, there isn’t the eagerness for parents to register their kids for Little League. A generation ago, it seemed Little League was a staple of every community. Even if you didn’t like baseball, you played on the local park team. Now? Those kids are playing basketball, football, and soccer, or have become part of the X Games trend.
Former major league outfielder Chris Singleton, now a commentator for ESPN, believes the issue expands beyond the playing field.
“I’m looking at management positions in the game,” said Singleton, who is African-American. “I know we’ve had an issue with the declining number of African-American players on teams, whereas you had teams like Minnesota, which had one player, Aaron Hicks, and then when he got sent down, they didn’t have an African American player, which is kind of a first in a long time.
“You can even look at broadcasters if you want to and say there’s 30 teams and there’s one black full-time play-by-play announcer [Dave Sims in Seattle].”
There has been an influx of African-American talent such as Matt Kemp, Jason Heyward, David Price, Adam Jones (Berry’s high school buddy), and Andrew McCutchen, but many of those players would go unrecognized by the casual sports fan.
Also, one current African-American major leaguer said there’s a perception among African-American major leaguers that the game isn’t as welcoming to them as it is to others when their physical skills begin to decline.
A fundamental problem is that baseball didn’t have to emphasize its greatness, its beauty, and its allure to previous generations.
It was America’s Game. The national pastime. That is no longer the case.
Baseball has to restate its worthiness to a new generation, one that didn’t grow up breaking in new gloves with plenty of oil and a couple of nights under the bed post — for those who don’t remember Bo Jackson scaling an outfield wall or Dave Parker throwing out Brian Downing at third base on a bullet from right field.
Otherwise, the sport is simply selling itself on history and tradition, and as with many other genres, that isn’t good enough for the young folks.
“When I go home and tell my buddies what the game needs, they need guys with speed and athleticism and the role that I am doing,” Berry said, “hopefully that will help them or their kids down the line, maybe push them to try to get them into this sport.
“I am happy I am able to do this and hope people follow in these footsteps.”
Today, my 14-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter were baptized.
While baptism alone does not save one’s soul, it is still a tremendous moment in the life of a Believer as they follow the example of Christ in Matthew 3:13-17 and his command in Matthew 28: 19-20
3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
What impressed me at our current church is that kids just can’t get baptized by saying, “I asked Jesus into my heart and now my life is super-cool and people love me…”.
Yes, I’ve heard my share of those testimonies in past churches and all I can think is, “Just wait kid, when the pull of the world (e.g. premarital sex, illegal drugs and getting drunk) comes knocking hard…Jesus may be in your heart, but you better know him as the keeper of your salvation during those times!
But my kids had to articulate the gospel and share their testimony weeks before getting baptized. I tried to stay out of the whole process and let them say/write their own confession of faith. What they wrote really made me proud and this was truly the best Father’s Day gift I could have heard and received. I will share with you My Lexi’s testimony, and I’ll post up the Large Professor’s soon as well.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, as some things are truly worth crying about:
“Hello my name is “My Lexi” (changed for this blog post of course). Life before I believed in Christ was okay, but I did not understand what they were talking about in church. I wanted it to be broken down for me. So I woke up almost every morning, and I would have Bible study with my brother and my dad before he went to work. I learned a lot about God every time we had Bible study, and we still do it today. Then one day, I was in the car with my dad, and we were talking about God. Then I decided to become saved. So I prayed to God that he will forgive me of my sins, because I know that I’m a sinner, and I know that Jesus died on the cross to cover my sins and rose three days later. That was when I was 9 years old, and now I’m 12, and God has helped me since then. Now I want to get baptized, because I want to show people that I want to follow in Christ’s footsteps.”
Now, I also grew up listening to The Winans as they were on my dad’s approved music list. My close friend’s father used to pick us up in the Ford panel wagon LTD and she’d have a Winans tape jamming every morning on the way to school. When my family heard the song Tomorrow before I did, I remember them telling me, “We know you’re going to love that song” and they were right. To this day it’s still one of my favorites.
So it bothered me to hear that Marvin Winans was now a victim, especially knowing that he has tried to make a difference in the city.
I’ve listened to some on the radio that criticized him for stopping at a station with a Rolex and a purple Infiniti SUV. But knowing that his QX56 only gets 16 mpg, I’m sure he’s stopped at gas stations in Detroit numerous times without incident.
But not this time.
Plus, is it now THAT bad? It wasn’t THAT bad in the ’80’s. Back then, we watched a Fiero get stripped right across the street in a few minutes in the middle of the afternoon. But I don’t remember it being THIS bad. I’m I wrong or do I have those “back-in-my-day rose-colored glasses on”?
Also, just the week before, this incident happened and lets just say my man certainly didn’t look like he was displaying a Rolex to fake Ludacris you see in the video. (Note: That old-head got with phony-Luda and it’s sad he had to get a bunch of his “boys” to help him buck with a guy twice his age…and the punks hit an older woman too…those fools are hard right there.)
But the gentleman in the video above did everything right. He didn’t look scared and even spoke to the dudes respectfully and didn’t even call them niggas, like I’m sure they call each other. What did he get in return, a beatdown that could’ve been much worse and thankfully it was not for him and his wife.
Are things just THAT bad?
If we say that they are, then what?
My prediction? At the current progression, two scenarios are likely to play out.
1.) Drastic measures will not be taken until someone of European-descent gets beatdown or killed as the national outrage will cause leaders to speak up and the negative attention will reach past the Michigan border.
Does anyone remember the fireworks brawl that got caught on tape in the early ’90’s (and remember, that was before Youtube)?
2.) Notice the event happened at another gas station. Fuses are getting real short on gas stations as they aren’t calling police on crimes taking place on their property and if you do something that effects them, they shoot you. Lack of police response and growing animosity against the police are all making for fumes that could ignite with one “minor” incident.
Does anyone remember 1967?
Back in the day, we knew who Marvin or at least The Winans were because we went to church.
Dad, when was the last time you did THAT with you kid(s)?
I’m not even talking about whether your church is good or not, but at least it puts the moral compass in the right direction.
An atheist sees me and my boys (friends) crewed-up with hoodies, Kangols and Adidas on at night. Why would he/she breath easier seeing us with Bibles in our hands as we walk from the Mission instead of the gas station up the street?
(We may look bad outside the Mission at night, but trust me, we’re harmless)
Why? Because they know that “religious fanatics” have a moral compass and they are glad about it, because if we didn’t and just believed that now is the only reality and there are no consequences for our behavior, then they may be stretched out on that sidewalk and not make it back home that night. In other words, I’m sure the atheist would be glad we hold the fanatical worldview and not their view in that situation.
Now Dad, do you know where your children are?
Whether living with you or not, are they hanging out in the street, doin-dirty?
I was going to write something new for Mother’s Day but quite honestly, I think it’s a good time to revisit a post that I made at the beginning of the year. However this time, I want you to deeply consider whether your mom knows how you feel about her?
As men, many think we spend so much time trying to keep emotion inside. This is not entirely true. Our society only considers it okay to express emotion in certain situations such as sports, certain romantic situations or war. Athletes cry over a game that means nothing to the world, a man can cry at a wedding or tears of sorrow can be shed over a fallen comrade, but to cry at any other time is not considered very manly.
So today as you are remembering your mom, I ask that you read my A Living Eulogy for My Mother (click the title) post, and if you have never TOLD your mom how much you appreciate her, I beg that you do so.
As dad’s we are often under-appreciated. So you know how it feels, so please make sure your mom knows how much you appreciate her because no Hallmark card can express the way you feel.