By Alexander Douglas |Community & News Editor|
Racism within sports has always been an issue and although progress has been made, it is still prevalent in today’s society.
During the early years of sports in America, players were predominantly considered “white.”
This was also during a time of segregation so that there were bathrooms and other such instances where they were separated from “whites.”
In 1947, before the Civil Rights Movement occurred, Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color barrier by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Some of his teammates didn’t approve of the Dodgers decision and preferred to sit on the bench than play in the same game as Robinson. Along with his teammates, members of other teams threatened not to play in games against the Dodgers if he did.
Opposing players, coaches and fans made a point of yelling racial slurs at him, with one taking things as far as cutting open Robinson’s leg with the spikes on his shoes.
Although sports are more inclusive, there are still many problems that see today.
Baltimore Orioles outfielder, Adam Jones heard Boston Red Sox fans yelling racial slurs at him, including the “n” word and one fan was even reported to have thrown peanuts at him, on May 2.
Since the incident, the fan has been identified and received a lifetime ban from Fenway Park, the home of the Sox.
Other less recent examples highlight that racism in sports is still a problem, despite the barriers that other players had broken.
NFL Giants player Nikita Whitlock had his house robbed and vandalized with swastikas, “Go back to Africa,” and “KKK” all written in graffiti.
Golden State Warriors forward, Draymond Green has also cited multiple examples of fans calling him racist names.
With this said, there are more people in the industry that are trying to stand up to these prejudices.
Football free agent quarterback, Colin Kaepernick for instance, knelt during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against people of color.
Kaepernick’s actions inspired several players from other teams and sports to follow suit and raise awareness of their cause.
Cleveland Cavalier forward, LeBron James, among other basketball players also spoke up against police violence against people of color at the ESPYS.
Colleges are also taking an active role in preventing or fighting against racism.
Members of the wrestling team at Columbia University were suspended in 2016 for sending racist and sexist text messages.
Schools such as ours require students to take courses that talk about racism and sexism during the beginning of school to help prevent these events.
Although these things may seem small, it’s a step in the right direction to prevent racism from spreading.
While some of these people and schools are taking a more active approach, there can be a lot more done to help prevent these racist incidents.
More programs need to be implemented to our nation if we are to truly be a “land of the free” both in professional sports and in our daily lives.