TAKING A STAND : Black athletes revive protest in the sports world

first at – http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/freedom-socialist?q=node/4105
Raymond V. Murphy
December 2017

Oct. 29, 2017. After the owner of the Houston Texans called the players “inmates,” the team knelt in protest during the national anthem. Photo: Elaine Thompson / AP

When political resistance erupted throughout the country after Trump’s election, professional athletes were hardly expected to be catalysts for social change, or even on the front lines of protest.

Back in the 1960’s individual athletes expressed dissent — U.S. sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave the All Power to the People salute from the 1968 Olympic podium in Mexico City. Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali rejected the draft because of his opposition to the Vietnam war. They paid a heavy price. So athletes in team sports usually avoided the political fray. Basketball superstar Michael Jordan avoided political positions because he feared losing commercial endorsements. But things are changing!

Since the start of the 2017 season, up to 350 football players, predominantly Black, have knelt, sat down, locked arms, or stayed in locker rooms during the national anthem. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ignited this dissidence in August 2016, when he sat on the bench during the song, to protest police murders of unarmed Black people throughout the country.

Last season, Kaepernick told NFL.com, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me this is bigger than football.’’ He has been blacklisted from the NFL and players who have joined the protest have been harassed, mocked, and received death threats.

In the sports world, backing the Stars and Stripes isn’t considered political. But when players claim Black Lives Matter or defend gay rights, owners squirm in their luxury box seats. The National Football League, the richest and most politically conservative of all the sports leagues, is comfortably wrapped in the flag and leads cheers for the military industrial establishment. Outrageously, the mega-rich NFL was a non-profit until 2015, only giving up the status to avoid revealing executive salaries.

The military connection. The U.S. armed forces has marketing agreements with most of the major sports leagues, and a congressional report revealed that the Department of Defense paid $6.8 million to sports teams for military propaganda at games from 2011 to 2015. In 2013, the National Guard paid the Atlanta Falcons $315,000 to unfurl the American flag at the Georgia Dome, and paid $10,000 for a swearing-in ceremony at halftime of a Seattle Seahawks’ game.

NFL players used to stay in the locker room until after the national anthem. But in 2009 they were ordered to stand on the sidelines. A league source told ESPN, “It was a marketing strategy to make the players look more patriotic.” It also recruits to a U.S. military stretched thin from endless wars.

The face of protest. Initial support for NFL protesters came from female soccer and basketball players, the lowest paid pros. The Women’s National Basketball Association ranks as the most politically active of professional sports leagues. Their ranks are also overwhelmingly Black. Last year, three entire WNBA teams — the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury — wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts in support of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two Black men shot by police in the same week.

WNBA players protested injustice before Kaepernick took the knee. And they still do. At least five WNBA teams stood in protest during the national anthem after an anti-Nazi protester was murdered in Charlottesville in August. At the first game of the WNBA Finals in 2017, the Minnesota Lynx linked arms in solidarity against Trump’s’ “Kick the sons of bitches out!” remarks. The opposing Los Angeles Sparks walked off the court into the locker room. That same weekend, over 300 NFL football players took part in some form of protest.

With Kaepernick out of the league, high-profile players like Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett, who was attacked and threatened by Vegas cops, and Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch have picked up the protest mantle. Bennett publicly asked for, and got, the support of white players, and has been taking a knee during the anthem since last season, and Lynch has been sitting down for the anthem this season. Protests happen each game day across the league. Kaepernick has filed a grievance with the support of the players’ union accusing the league of colluding to keep him out of football.

Billionaire bosses vs. players. Some NFL owners claimed to care — a little — about players’ free speech rights. But in a closed-door meeting about owners’ response to the protests, Houston Texans owner Robert McNair made his position clear: “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” The result? Thirty players on the Texans’ 53-man roster knelt during the anthem prior to Houston’s game at Seattle, on October 29.

At that same meeting, several team owners blamed San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York for the “crisis” by allowing Kaepernick to get away with kneeling in the first place.

Owner reprisals aside, players’ activism continues. There is no solution while teams are privately owned and run for profit and closely tied to the military.

Sports teams should be publicly owned and run, like the Green Bay Packers. Its game tickets are the most desired in the country, in arenas publicly owned and where taxpayers are not gouged to build stadiums for the profit of private owners. All teams should be required to provide health and retirement protections for players and all other workers involved in the sport.

The ongoing political activism by players and fans has already had an exhilarating effect on a public fed up with Trump twitters, and now is the time to help it grow.

Send feedback to the author at raymurphy12@email.com.

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On Arsene Wenger

Labenal's Blog

I’ve blogged about prejudice, racism, politics and the refugees. Now it’s time to take it down a notch and discuss a topic I am no less passionate about, but is (dare I admit it) less grave!

As anyone with any experience of social media knows, Arsenal fans simply rule. We outnumber pretty much everyone (@Arsenal has 6.6 million followers whereas some other random club’s official account, @spursofficial has a fewer than 1.3m followers).

Last night, we gloriously qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the gazillionth year in a row, and we sit nicely just off the top of he Premier League.

But not all is rosy in the red red garden that is North London. Many Gooners are less than 100% satisfied and have been expressing their feelings across social media.

Now I get that we have the most expensive season tickets. I get that we…

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Billie Jean King and Elton John’s Philadelphia Freedom

Let. First Serve.

this article appeared first at – http://www.eltonjohn.com/billie-jean-king-talks-about-philadelphia-freedom/

press play and listen to the song:

Philadelphia Freedom

In February 1975, Elton released Philadelphia Freedom – a song that was not available on any album, and would not be until its inclusion on Elton John’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 in 1977.

The stand-alone single, his second in a row followingLucy In The Sky With Diamonds, entered theBillboard Hot 100 charts at #53 on March 8. Five weeks later it reached the #1 position, where it stayed for two weeks, and spent a total of five months on the chart overall.

Written on the label of the vinyl 45 RPM single were the words, “with Love to B.J.K. and the sound of Philadelphia”. Fans who wanted to decipher the cryptic first part of this dedication would have to go back 17 months to when one of the world’s most popular…

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Procurement of Fruit

unitedindependence

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So exactly two weeks ago, after church class (RCIA), I went to the grocery store to pick up some last minute food items in order to complete my prep cook for the rest of the work week. I typically do this on Sundays, but I had a lazy Sunday after getting into some shenanigans the Saturday before and opted out of my normal prep cooking ritual. I recall being extremely tired as it was almost 9:30pm when I was walking into the local whack ass Food Lion (I was definitely too lazy to drive out of the way to Safeway or Wegmans). I skimmed my list as I darted thru the produce, meat, and frozen food sections. “I just want to get the hell home”, I thought repeatedly to myself. I spent all of 10/15 min gathering my necessities in that bad boy before heading to the checkout line. “Almost…

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The Time Is Now

Insideplaya

10413427_10202269814329149_2418948532480131017_nsecuredownload

In the late ’70s, I had a good friend and upstairs neighbor who was adventurous. Like many of us who’d grown up during the height of the Soul era, he was the type who wasn’t quite content with the Disco thing that had all the kids dancing, at the time, so he searched for more.

He listened to the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and Blondie, leaders of the Punk and New Wave movements, and began attending underground parties, in Queens and Manhattan, at unsanctioned and obscure locations that featured something called rapping. He had great stories. Seemed like he was having fun.

High school days ended all too quickly, and I went on to Boston, to college, to make new friends in the local dance, radio and record communities. In the summer of ’79, my classmate, Jay Dixon, the current PD of New York’s Hot 97, invited me to join…

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Callout for Canadian Contacts!!!

To help with the on-going actions in any way please use the contact information and links from the appeal…
GM Workers 1To give a quick overview, I am a volunteer with the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee in Portland, Oregon. I and a number of individuals from other organizations, mostly in Detroit, Michigan, have been supporting the Colombian workers who were injured while working for General Motors at the company’s Bogota, Colombia plant. The injuries were caused by extremely poor working conditions and GM instead of improving the assembly line, rigged a system to illegally rid itself of injured workers.
The injured workers have been challenging GM through all of the government regulatory processes available to them for a number of years and in August of 2011, set up a tent encampment in front of the U.S. Embassy on the street in Bogota, Colombia.

GM Workers 2Since then, they have gone through a series of 4 dramatic hunger strikes with their lips stitched closed with a needle and thread and have maintained the tent encampment to this day- over 1000 days of occupation. The injured workers have received death threats and been victims of politically motivated crimes.

But the pressure that they have generated has resulted in improved conditions within the plant, including $6 million worth of ergonomic improvements to the assembly line and the opportunity for new hires to organize without the same degree of retaliation. Though GM acknowledged the legitimacy of their grievances by sitting down to negotiate with them, the company offered a pittance of a settlement- it was not even enough to cover the back surgeries that many of them need as a result of showing up to work every day. This is a significant shirking of GM’s legal responsibility to these workers as laid out by Colombian law.

So while GM has refused to settle, the workers, permanently disabled, have been unable to find employment and have been slowly sliding into financial misery. Currently injured worker Carlos Trujillo is facing the foreclosure of his home. Luckily he has connected with a foreclosure resistance group on the ground in Bogota, Victimas de Banqueros and they have gone through his papers and found that Colpatria bank (which is owned by Scotiabank) is carrying out fraud in Carlos’ case. They are challenging it legally, though the Colombian courts are tilted heavily toward the banks, and we are trying to create an international outcry. We feel that the mere evidence of this case gaining international attention will create a significant amount of pressure and might be enough to prevent the foreclosure.

As I said, we are a network of individuals in the U.S. Our Detroit team is located close enough to the Canadian border to be planning a trip to Windsor to deliver a letter and do an action in front of Scotiabank. We are hoping to connect with others in Canada who might be willing to do similar actions in their cities as well as to participate in actions such as faxing the president of Colpatria in Colombia (we have a free way to send an international fax online).

We would very much appreciate any connection you can make for us with individuals involved especially in Latin America solidarity and foreclosure resistance campaigns in Canada, although we would be more than happy to work with anyone who cares about human rights or who is interested in supporting this international foreclosure resistance campaign.

I would appreciate any contacts that you could give me. We would be happy to prepare a communique as well as a list of actions that individuals and groups can take.

Sincerely,

Paige Shell-Spurling
503-601-9290

puppetista@gmail.com

 

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Melbourne Police Make Gambling Arrest for “Court-Siding”

Let. First Serve.

this article appeared first at – http://www.10sballs.com/2014/01/16/melbourne-police-make-gambling-arrest/

“It’s certainly the first time it’s (legislation) been used in tennis in Victoria and I’m not aware of a (tennis) example anywhere in the world where courtsiding has been able to be dealt with in a criminal setting,” Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said.

Bob Larson

January 16, 2014 –  Not that long ago there was a bookmaker’s tent situated on the grounds of Melbourne Park and the on-line betting website Tab Sportsbet was one of the minor sponsors of the Australian Open.

tennisgamblerBut the hard line against gambling in tennis took more force as a British man accused of secretly transmitting scores from courtside in order to help gambling associates beat delays in TV coverage, appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Daniel Dobson was charged with ‘court-siding’ or illegally gambling from the bleacher seats, in what is believed to be the first prosecution of its…

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