More Than Just A Game

Dr. Dick Barnett

They remain the linchpin of emotional and psychological possibilities in the Black community, and this muted relationship of the Black professional athlete and the Black community has remained in vogue.

The new century has brought change at every levels of American society. Transportation, medicine, communications, education, per capital income, religion, and the matter of race relations, expanding the sphere of the Black professional athlete.

The gallery of economic transformation has projected the Black professional athlete to the top of the economic pyramid in the Black community. The compensation for Black professional athletes have become massive, and concomitantly, the wall of silence is threaten. The question of the limitations of the Black professional athlete is being challenged. Still, the Black community is reluctant to break the emotional and psychological bond and start viewing the Black professional athlete from another perspective. The personhood of the Black slave is no longer the overriding issue.

The political landscape has become the microcosm of progress as part of and manifestations of rights and privileges as part of a more equitable democracy. In this unrecognizable environment from centuries past, time has ushered in a new mindset and social agenda. The Black community is beginning to relinquish the deep seeded declaration of solidarity and request more from those in which more has been given. That request calls for leadership and tangible realization and practical demand that the Black professional athlete, in the lead, develop a strategy, beyond personal self aggrandizement, a plan of action for the collective billion dollar cadre that permeates professional sports.

The 100 million dollar contract is becoming commonplace. A good performance is no longer the defining criteria. The Black professional athlete has assumed an isolated and privilege place in American society. Even though, as Black males for the most part, even as part of the privilege class, still experience the conditions of discrimination and racial animus in a race conscious republic. With money and resources exceeding all predictions and expectations, the growth of wealth and disassociation with the masses in the Black community has jeopardized the doctrine of silence and emotionalism that has composed the thread of support and approval of the Black professional athlete, and their contributions beyond their participation in athletic competition. The Black professional athlete is being challenged to assume leadership positions, pool their considerable wealth, undergo a decisional process for involvement and community regeneration that include cooperative affiliation with business, churches, entrepreneurs, and grassroots social activists. It is also necessary for the Black professional athlete and the Black community to start understanding the predicate of power, ownership, and defined legacies that provide inspiration and guidance for the future.

Black professional athletes, by way of their economic potential and association with the entrenched power brokers, not only in America, but globally, must be pushed, coerce, cajoled, and socially ostracized, to encourage a different action, and leadership in a power laden nation. Any less demand would not fit the gigantic economic potential and promise of the Black professional athlete. Let’s break the conspiracy of silence.