So the world of sport has now become a political platform for social injustice. This is new territory for amateur and professional leagues. Some remain silent, others more vocal.
As a kid I played all sports growing up but as time went on, I narrowed it to hockey and golf. In all the years I played hockey I never had a black teammate. When I played there were not many people of color in Canada, so I guess the odds of me playing with a person of color was quite low. As for golf I played with two guys. Both were very good players. The color of their skin was never really an issue to me. The Club that I play at has Jewish roots, because in the 1950’s Jews were excluded from the WASP clubs. It is a concept that I find mind boggling. I am a member at a golf club that was created because of exclusion, yet I am a member because of inclusion.
Over the last few weeks, I have listened, watched, evaluated, and reflected. I concluded that I do not have the slightest idea of what it like to be a person of color, but what I do have is the values that my parents gave me. In 1948, when my parents married, it was considered a mixed marriage. My Father was Anglican, and my Mother was Irish Catholic. They could not get married in the Catholic Church, so they were married in the Rectory, a point my Father’s Mother often reminded us of. She even wore a black dress to mark the occasion. They made it work for 48 years. My parents taught us about respect, character and the importance of education. These are values I have lived by for 65 years and have passed on to my two children.
The National Basketball Association has taken the leadership role with their boycott of games, followed by MLB, MLS, and bringing up the rear the NHL. These are symbolic gestures to bring attention to the situation, but it seems now that no concrete actions have been taken. Someone needs to step up because the window is closing every day. This is a massive undertaking and requires an unbelievable action plan. The first and most basic will take place in November. It is why women and men like Daisy Bates, Ella Baker, Martin Luther King, and John Lewis marched in the 1960’s for the most basic of rights. The right to vote. If anything is to change it all happens with politics. Make no doubt about it. Get people in office who will make this happen. It is time for professional sports to get this message out loud and clear while they still have time. The election is two months from today, 61 days away. I have not heard one of the major sports leagues send out the message to get out and vote. I do not understand what they are waiting for. The National Basketball Association, MLB, MLS, and the NHL what are you waiting for?
I will leave you with the opening lyrics of the 1969 song Time, by the Chambers Brothers. It is very relevant to what is going on in today’s world.
Time has come today
Young hearts can go their way
Can’t put it off another day
I don’t care what others say
They say we don’t listen anyway
Time has come today
Until next time.
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