FIERCE411: Jesse Jackson, Boyce Watkins, Marc Lamont Hill Talk Olympics

August 17, 2008

 

Today on Keep Hope Alive with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Boyce Watkins (Syracuse University) and Dr. Marc Lamont Hill (Temple University) spoke about the Olympics.  The topic of conversation involved the perception of swimmers and gymnastics athletes vs. those involved in Track and Field.

Dr. Watkins, who specializes in Sports Finance and Race, made the following observations:

1) Madison Ave. knows it is easier to make Michael Phelps into the Great American Hero than an African American athlete – this leads to his over exposure during the games.

2) While there should be suspicion of doping in cycling, track and swimming, most of the doping suspicion for US athletes has been cast upon African Americans, such as Marion Jones, who was called immoral by a judge as she was sent to prison.  Watkins argues that it is not uncommon that each year there is some black athlete who has been vilified by the American media: Marion Jones, Barry Bonds, Michael Vick, Ron Artest, Terrell Owens, Latrell Sprewell and others are examples.

3) Most of the racism in sports comes from the NCAA, where there are rules applied to basketball and football players (predominantly black) that are not placed on baseball and hockey players (who are predominantly white).  For example, the basketball and football players have professional age limits that keep them from going pro early, where hockey, tennis and baseball players have no such limitation.

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