The NBA Failed Legacy
By Patrick Freeman
Special to BASN
BUFFALO, NY: Immediately following the TMZ release of the LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racially charged remarks many NBA players were debating on how to demonstrate their displeasure. They are unlike Bill Russell, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul – Jabbar, Muhammad Ali and many of the great athletes of the sixties who got together as a group to decide how to use their star power to help advanced the civil rights movement.
The modern athlete is controlled by their sponsors and the policies of their respective leagues who frown on the progressive involvement of their high paid servants. Each athlete in the modern era tries to make as much economically as they can during their tenure. There is no blaming them for reaping the benefits of their talent but there has been a major price to pay for having been afforded these luxuries.
Their God – given star power and the right to express themselves freely on behalf of the injustice of a people has been compromised. I concur with New York Times journalist William Rhoden who writes that the modern Black athlete is nothing more than a 40 million dollar group of slaves controlled by the big industry that has to protect their brand at all cost.
Tell me what would have happened if every NBA player stated on Saturday that I will not take the court until Donald Sterling has been removed from this league? Do not forget this individual has a long list of indiscretions much worse than his use of words. He has used economic power to deny the basic rights of people of color many times before now.
If every NBA player stated on Saturday that I will not take the court again until this man is removed from this league the rest of the owners would have gone into a panic on the potential financial losses associated with this class action of NBA players! But once again these modern athletes failed to answer the bell and took the coward’s way out.
In closing, the modern athlete may have more financial opportunities but few are allowed to exercise their moral responsibility to fight for justice here in America.
Similarities of your own Community
It is amazing to hear so many commend the action of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the lifetime ban of LA Clippers owner without analyzing the entirety of this national event as it compares to our own situation.
The LA Chapter of the NAACP was prepared to give Donald Sterling a second-lifetime achievement award. This award was not for his outstanding community service, but for financial donations to the chapter. There was silence about his deplorable housing practices in Southern California. Mr. Sterling was a repeat offender of racist discriminatory practices for many years and continued to get away with it by opening his checkbook.
Well Western New Yorkers, this incident is a microcosm of what is going on here. Yes, this is why you do not hear your leadership address critical issues that could change the landscape of our region.
These contributors donate large sums to politicians and organizations, to either receive political appointments or look the other way in violations of ethical behavior. Most of you have no idea what is holding up a Billion dollar private investment deal on the Outer Harbor Waterfront of Buffalo.
The holdup is political contributors who have gained appointments and use those appointments to shift economic decisions to their favor. What is the difference in what Donald Sterling actions and the holding up 10-15,000 living wage jobs?
These are the same people that have held up the building of a signature bridge, and prevented Bass Pro from locating to Buffalo. These activities will only stop when you finally wake up and realize what needs to be done to promote progress in this region.
Did you know that one man because of political contributions in New York State holds more than 13 appointments to influential economic boards here in Western New York? How could this happen in a democracy based on a government for the people by the people? If we do not wake up and recognize that people standing in front of you have been bought by thirty pieces of silver then we are to blame for the suffering of not only ourselves but our children. Political campaign laws of today disenfranchise citizens by allowing rich contributors to get around the system.
Where are your traditional civil rights organizations on these issues?
Well, once again there is a need to following the money trail. There is a danger that this may end in compromise by way of taking funds from these contributors. This could result in being reduced to taking opportunity pictures rather than protecting the interest of the poor and disenfranchised.
Such practices will not stop until we make the demand for government to change these laws and prosecute these contributors. In the meantime it is our duty to register all voters and mobilize our forces at removing all elected officials who have refused to protect the interest of the irrespective electorate.
The hour is late, silence on this fundamental issue of fair governance must be addressed by every breathing person, or we deserve this modern day servitude that we are experiencing in 2014. Change must be demanded, and then taken by any means necessary!!!
Patrick Freeman, aka “The Mighty O’Ba” is the Sports Director for WUFO 1080 AM “the Mix” in Buffalo – and host of “The #1 Sports Show in the Nation” on Saturdays from 4 – 5 PM EST. Check him out at – http://www.wufoam.com
(Editor’s Note: We at BASN are in total agreement with Mr. Freeman’s assessment of this ongoing issue; rest assured the ramifications of this Sterling morass – is far from over).