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Why It's Time for Black People to Re-Segregate in Sports

Updated on October 13, 2017
Edithe Estelle profile image

NYC-born Edith has never been short on words. Teacher/Screenwriter/Traveler, her shoes have stepped on many soils & her tongue on many toes!

God Bless Anyone Who Has Their Own

Look how happy this man is!
Look how happy this man is!

What Were We Talking About Again?

With NFL owner and General Manager Jerry Jones recent declaration that if any of “his” Dallas Cowboys kneels during the National Anthem they will be benched, everyone is wondering what players will do now. Other hot-button topics like Nationalism, freedom of speech, social justice, rich vs. poor, celebrity socialism, Black Lives Matter, Trump’s cyber bullying and more have muddied the waters. As people kneel, don’t kneel, exercise, walk out, take a knee, take both knees, boo, rise before the anthem and other nonsense actions the real message has been diluted, misplaced and all but erased.

The Kaepernick Controversy

"Dear Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood." ~ Nina Simone
"Dear Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood." ~ Nina Simone

Desegregation Disintegrated Black Businesses

But let’s forget all of that for a moment and just talk sports! NBA, NFL, MLB , even NHL while we’re at it. Owners? Owners. Hmm, where have we heard that before? Ask any knowledgable and honest historian to identify the point in time where the largest amount of Black-owned businesses existed and you might think it would be modern times, at least beyond year 2000, but you’d be wrong. Jim Crow segregation created a need for the development of establishments that catered to us when no one else would. By the 1920’s there were tens of thousands of black-owned businesses. Insurance companies, banks, record labels, restaurants, book stores and of course funeral parlors, barber shops and beauty salons, with those last three being the few stalwarts that still remain owned and operated in our community today. While World War II and The Great Depression contributed to the shuttering of many of our businesses, nothing hit harder than desegregation.

This was when Black people in droves took their hard-earned money, an estimated $1.1 trillion in buying power, and started shopping it up at all the White establishments that would now have them, significantly shortening the lifespan of dollars circulating in the Black community. Much like Mufasa was trampled by a herd of wildebeest Black businesses were demolished and defeated in the rush to peek behind the curtain, cross the velvet rope and see how the other side lived. Sure, there were always some adventurous Whites dropping a few sweaty coins in the occasional juke joints, but the two-way street of desegregation was and remains largely one-sided. One has to wonder what they were in such a rush to get. Followed around in stores? Disrespected in advertising? Underrepresented among management and ownership?

During Jim Crow Tens of Thousands of Black Businesses Boomed

Just one of many thriving Black-owned establishments during segregation.
Just one of many thriving Black-owned establishments during segregation.

Imagine, It's Easy If You Try

Bring back the Negro Leagues! Yes I said it and no we don’t have to call it that, but less than 2% of college athletes go pro, this means there is a large pool of athletic talent that exists outside the pro leagues. People who came thisclose to being drafted. Why should all of that go to waste? Black Americans are in a decent enough financial condition, with millions, even billions that could be raised among the wealthiest people of color in America and it wouldn’t take that much of an investment to begin. I’m not talking about putting together Black-owned teams to beg for a grain of symbolic acknowledgement by the minor leagues. I’m talking about creating our own leagues, our own sports world!

Imagine, games played in Bronner Brother’s stadium, streamed on Tidal, sponsored by Fenty Beauty with post-game sports analyzation via Jemele Hill. Imagine, the jobs generated that includes players, sports lawyers, transportation, food venders, hotel services and more. Imagine the excitement of watching football games between Jay-Z’s New York Knights and Dr. Dre’s California Backwoods. Or a basketball game with Oprah’s Chicago Truth’s going head-to-head with Beyonce’s Houston Crazies.

What If Instead of Abandoning the Negro Leagues, We Had Improved Them Instead?

Proud baseball players in the Negro League taking a knee and no one can tell them not to.
Proud baseball players in the Negro League taking a knee and no one can tell them not to.

Don't Argue for Rules to Change When You Can Own the Game!

Technology today allows for many viewing options including streaming and pay-per-view and while initially teams may have to be somewhat nomadic by renting stadium time, eventually that will give way to the building of our own stadiums, in our own neighborhoods, generating even more jobs. Black-owned teams and Black-operated leagues supported by not only Black-owned businesses but companies who market to Black people (*cough* Shea Moisture) The social injustice Colin Kaepernick has been trying to highlight is fed by a racist agenda and buffered with economic inequality. Don’t beg for change when you can OWN THE GAME!

With a Little More Than What They Paid to Buy 1.5% of the Nets, Jay and Bey Could Finance an Entire Team

Wonder what they'll name their team?
Wonder what they'll name their team?

Will you attend?

I'll buy a ticket to an all-Black, non-pro game.

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