Kevin Lewis is a retired NFL linebacker.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where would MLK belong in today’s sports world?

Would it be in the NBA, where the Hip-Hop culture has produced CEO’s of their own brands who won’t be able to reap their benefits because of violence, drugs or plain stupidity? No one will step up and begin to mentor “Grown Men,” no one has a voice. Everyone just wants to, “do them.”

In the NFL where the same sort of hood mentality lives in the minds of some of our most talented athletes, it’s shameful that none of the guys speak up. Whether it’s been Dexter Manly or Lawrence Taylor who have just repetitively lived “crackhead” lifestyles, or Sam Hurd, Travis Henry, and our own Nate Newton who had grandiose visions of becoming a bigger King Pin than Pablo Escobar. The situation should just plain make us cringe with discuss. Where are the great motivators? Be like MLK motivate fellow players to win in the game of life.

Maybe the continued decline of black players in MLB should be a cause of concern to us and its players. In a league where only seven of the managers, General Managers and/or Presidents are black and Hispanic, someone needs to speak out. The MLB’s own commissioner Bud Selig has spoken out about it. Who else will?

Is there a MLK? In the NHL, where it’s easy to see next to the white blinding ice the lack of minority players that exist? The few that do and have played in the past, seem to always be able to recall banana’s being thrown at them shortly after racial slurs hitting them like bricks. Surely, MLK should be found here. But of course, these incidents are always overlooked and the larger problem of minority inclusion is never addressed. Funny thing is we seem to think of Hockey as a “white man’s” sport but, the North American Indians were the founders and a widely untold truth in history doesn’t but should give blacks credit for modern day hockey being a derivative of style and speed blacks played with in the early 19th century.

NASCAR seems to be moving in the right direction. The MLK here would be Max Seigel, who has developed a diversity (D4D) program which attempts to bring diversity to a white southern sport. Since its inception in 2008, NASCAR continues to develop promising young minority talent that we should see in the winner’s circle in the coming years.

Why don’t athletes be the Jackie Robinsons, Muhammad Ali’s or Jim Browns of our times. The issues still exist, so the fight is still needed. These earlier sports heroes were imperfect men who sa w a need and a way to effect change. I believe in staying in our own lanes, but if there is no one drives then that lane will remain empty. MLK believed in driving and we must all take that same initiative.

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