If anyone thought we are living in a post-racial era in the U.S., click here and then read below.
A NASSS colleague sent an email this morning about a new basketball league (All-American Basketball Alliance) for White Americans. To be admitted and eligible to compete in the league one must be “natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race”. What?
In the story are many outrageous quotes by Don “Moose” Lewis, the commissioner of the AABA, who claims the reasoning behind the league’s roster restrictions is not racism. “There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.” Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of “street-ball” played by “people of color”.
To see the local TV station news broadcast click here.
Even more interesting are the readers comments at the bottom of the story and the video.
Discussion in the Tucker Center this morning was very lively around the topic of Serena Williams’ U.S. Open semifinal outburst, fine, and subsequent apology via her blog and Twitter account (also see picture here).
I have a few other thoughts on Williams’ ill-timed and ill-fated outburst.
1. From a sport psychology perspective one cannot control the calls made by the umpire or referee, regardless of if a “bad” call occurs on match point or the first point of the match. Let it go. An athlete can only control his/her reaction to the call. This particular reaction showed a lack of mental toughness. In her blog Williams wrote, “We all learn from experiences both good and bad. I will learn and grow from this, and be a better person as a result.” I’m sure it will also make her an even better competitor than she already is.
2. How has social media changed the way athletes interact with fans and the media? Even though Serena lost control of her emotions on the court, she took control of her “brand” off the court by quickly posting apologies using social media tools. It left us wondering if these tools existed when John McEnroe was in the heyday of his outbursts (which were much more frequent, prolonged and arguably egregious), would he of used social media to apologize? (NOTE: In a Google search for “John McEnroe apologizes” I found one result for apologizing for bad behavior, and one story of an apology for bad play.)
3. Then it got me thinking how race and gender intersect with the outburst issue. Do we expect female athletes to apologize more frequently than we do male athletes? We certainly expect female athletes to act “ladylike”, refrain from grunting loudly, not throw tantrums or have outbursts. How much of the criticism leveled against Serena Williams has to do with the fact she is African American? Would the public react similarly if the outburst came from a White female tennis player–for example Maria Sharapova? After perusing one of my favorite blogs–After Atalanta–it seems I am not the only one who noticed or is thinking about these issues. What do you think?
I’m going to jump contexts for this blog as I can see a trend unfolding. That trend would be overt and covert sexism against women in positions of power. It was present when Hillary Clinton ran for President (read here, here and here), it was present when Pat Summitt got her 1,000th win this winter, it occurred when Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness, it is present in the new Star Trek blockbuster movie, and it is starting up with President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. For example, today in the New York Times, in an article titled Sotomayor’s Sharp Tongue Raises Issue of Temperament the reporter wrote “Ms. Sotomayer’s sharp-tongued and occasionally combative manner — some lawyers describe her as “difficult” and “nasty” — raises questions about her judicial temperament and willingness to listen.” Would a reporter write the same verbiage to describe a male Justice? I have never heard a man have “a sharp tongue”, this is sexist language at its finest. I know I’m not the only one who has noticed this emerging trend (read here, here, and here). Keep an eye out for continued sexism surrounding Sotomayor’s nomination and confirmation hearings….all the way through the summer!