“Policing Black Athletes: Racial Disconnect in Sports”
Vernon L. Andrews, Ph.D.
“Why isn’t sport played the way it used to be played, when football was for men who loved America, who saluted the flag, and who respected our men in blue and our troops by standing—and not kneeling—for our National Anthem!”
This sentiment permeates American football today, and represents the feelings of many fans who can appreciate they Black heroes, but find the issue of “Blackness” via the two extremes of celebratory expression and protest, regressive. “This should be about sport, not politics,” many feel. The author concurs. As much as we may wish the sporting arena didn’t have to be one of the last battlefields for Civil Rights, here we are.
This book explores how conflicts over diversity, culture, inclusion, exclusion, protest and control have been played out over the years in various sports and institutions. Are there lessons to be learned from our overlapping—though at times, separate—cultural histories of Black and White? This book is about how we learn to act when in public and when playing sports. Infused in this conversation is the ever-present policing of Black bodies in sport and society, and the disconnect we have as citizens living in the same country perpetually divided by race. Interwoven throughout are solutions for moving forward.
“Others around the world revolt. Frustrated citizens in some countries overthrow the King or kill the ‘Strongman.’ Still others bomb buildings and assassinate random government officials. Here in the USA, athletes from 2016–2020 kneel during the national anthem.”
In “Policing Black Athletes: Racial Disconnect in Sports,” Dr. Vernon L. Andrews takes readers on a fascinating journey through Black and White cultures in America, exploring ways they have overlapped and remained separate throughout generations, and how they have unmistakably collided on sports fields.
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GEORGIA (VOTERS) ON MY MIND
Let’s be clear about this: there is no way Georgia is going to get away with stealing people’s votes.
I guess I can say nice try, but I’d just be lying. If you want to steal people’s votes you do it at night in the dark away from the bright lights and where nobody sees you. Doesn’t the Republican Party know its own history? I mean, if you want to start the steal — to put a twist on a recently popular GOP catchphrase — you don’t have Gov. Brian Kemp sign a racist, Jim Crow 2.0 bill into law in front of cameras so the world might bear witness. And you definitely don’t do it with a painting of a slavery plantation as the backdrop.
But it appears the GOP has dispensed with the dog whistle in favor of the bullhorn in once again sending Black people the message that they do not matter. Georgia’s voter-suppression law makes it loud and clear.
Truth is, Republicans know all too well that the opposite is true — Black people DO matter, and the only way the GOP can make them not matter is by stealing their votes.
Already three federal lawsuits have been filed to challenge the law, and more are likely to follow.
But this fight shouldn’t be isolated in the court of law. We ordinary citizens have the clout to pressure businesses, including the sports and entertainment arenas, to force Georgia to do the right thing. We need to hit Georgia where it hurts most — in the coffers.
So far Georgia-based companies such as Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Home Depot, and AFLAC have been silent on the issue. Boycotts of these companies could help them find their voice.
Tell Coca-Cola that when it’s time to quench the thirst of Georgia voters waiting in line at the poll station, we can defy state law by showing up with 24-packs of Pepsi. Remind Home Depot that Lowe’s also sells paint and poster boards that we might use for our picket signs.
Dr. Andrews is available for an interview, to write a commentary, or to serve as a guest speaker. Digital or hard copies of “Policing Black Athletes” are available for review.