Something Else That Grinds My Gears in Sports: Playing The Race Card

Bryan FlynnAnalyst ISeptember 20, 2009

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 16:  Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. appears during the final news conference for his bout against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino September 16, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two will fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 19 in Las Vegas.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

"But I wouldn't change my life for nothing in the world. There's nothing like being young, black and rich. But there are certain things you think about. If Floyd Mayweather was white, I'd be the biggest athlete in America. The biggest, the biggest. I know that for a fact."

The quote above is from an interview with reporters by Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Tuesday before his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Mayweather made other comments as well; you can read some of them here.

The remarks by Mayweather are part of an ever growing trend in the world of sports that grinds my gears. No matter if real or if perceived more and more athletes are playing the “Race Card”.

If a player is not getting paid enough, or sufficient pub in the media, or on the field incidents they use race for why they have been slighted. It does not matter the sport either on whether the issue of race is made.

Even the media plays the “Race Card” as an excuse for a player’s actions on and off the field. After LeGarrette Blount’s punch of a Boise State player, certain media writers wrongly tried to make race an issue.

Race was injected into Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring case. In seeming every negative story about sports injects race in the discussion.

For the start of this growing trend, one only has to look back to 1994 and the O. J. Simpson murder trial. Instead of making this a trial about murder it degenerated in to a trail about race.

Simpson’s Lawyer Johnnie Cochran made the case a racial issue by saying his client was framed by the Los Angeles police department. Simpson would be acquitted and the rush to play the “Race Card” was born.

Now 15 years later in every aspect of American life, no matter how small, has race injected into it. The issue of race is slowly holding this country hostage.

Race has become an easy card to play because of the movement to become politically correct started in the early 1990’s. Because of the politically correct movement, two things have happened.

A feeling of “white guilt” as white Americans try to atone for something that happened over two hundred years ago and only less than 20% of the population had anything to do with. There is no question slavery of any form is wrong and should never happen.

Even though it did happen in the American past it does not give license for the second part of political correctness. This has been the ability to use the “Race Card” carte blanche by black or minority athletes.

Before you get up in arms let me say this: Yes, there is at times racism in sports and it should not be tolerated. The problem with using the “Race Card” so much is that it gives “the boy who cried wolf” to real situations of racism.

This country has had more than its share of past problems with race. So has every other country in the world as well.

To Floyd Mayweather let me say that there have been many athletes who were the biggest sports stars in America. From Joe Lewis to Muhammad Ali to Michael Jordan to Tiger Woods, black athletes have been more than respected in this country.

So, can we please stop using the “Race Card” for every little perceived slight, to make headlines, to sale newspapers, or to forward ones own agenda. Sure sometimes racism does happen but it is in reality few and far between the reports in media.

Sports is a great way to unite people as seen by the way countries come together for the world cup or championship boxing fights. Stop taking away the good things about sports with the constant used of the “Race Card.”