Editors Note: Whether sporting events like NBA Basketball or FIFA Football should be important to the masses of our people is highly questionable. But the fact is that they are. Hence, they deserve some sort of African Revolutionary spin or explanation to them. The effort by blackfood.org to address this question is commendable.
I’M NOT an expert when it comes to sports. But I know this to be true. Every human has the right to make what s/he feels is the best decision for her/him. Last night, when LeBron James decided that he would leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat, he did just that. And I commend him. His critics, however, – who, by the way, were his avid supporters just yesterday – have called him every name in the book and have even predicted his demise. What this yet again reveals is that whenever people of African descent exercise an act of self-determination, in whatever realm, we’re deemed “disloyal” and, yes, even “dangerous.”
Dan Gilbert, majority owner of the Cavs, in an open letter to fans, reveals how warped the mindset of some white people is. “I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels,” he writes. “This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow-up to become. But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.” And Cavs fans – grown adults – have joined in the mêlée; they’ve been shown on TV crying publicly and even burning LeBron jerseys.
In an era of bling-bling where young people are drunk with capitalism and the notion that we should sell ourselves to the highest bidder, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosch – all relatively young players; none older than 28 – have opted for less money in order to fulfill a desired objective. Three young African men have united for a common purpose and it appears that money alone wasn’t the deciding factor. I like that.
It’s also been reported in the media that the advertising proceeds, some $2.5 million, from the live, hour-long special on ESPN TV and radio – “The Decision” – where LeBron revealed his team choice last night will be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. I’m not sure of these players’ politics but it seems like they’re attempting to move in a somewhat principled manner; and there’s nothing “heartless” or “callous” about that.
What is beyond callous, though, are the actions of Dan Gilbert. He has gone so far as to reduce the price of LeBron James wall graphics from $99.99 to $17.41 via his sports memorabilia company, Fathead Inc. (Yet, capitalists would dare tell us that price is determined by supply and demand). His attempt at destroying LeBron is proof that those with capital have unchecked power.
And as all of this basketball drama has unfolded, the news of another African man who more than just took a beating but literally got taken out by this filthy system got little attention. Yesterday, it was announced that the police officer who killed 22 year old Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day in 2009 would only be convicted of involuntary manslaughter and not murder.
Grant, who was unarmed, was shot in the back by policeman Johannes Mehserle while lying on the platform in a railway station. In the You Tube video of the killing, Grant was obviously facedown with his hands behind his head moments before the shooting. One officer present reportedly called him a racial epithet before the gun was drawn. Mehserle claimed he had thought he had his Taser in his hand rather than his gun.
The jury, which included no Africans, deliberated for less than six hours, and passed down a unanimous decision that, according to media reports, carries a two-to six-year sentence.
The cold hard reality is that Africans live in a world that is at war with them. LeBron, Wade, and Bosch are able to escape some of the day-to-day battles because of the money that they’ve amassed. But this basketball episode has exposed where true power lies and, more importantly, how incredibly dangerous encounters with and affronts to white power are. In the case of LeBron James, Dan Gilbert came out in full attack mode; writing a nasty letter and making financial power plays. For marginalized African youth like Oscar Grant the outcome is routinely deadly.