Today’s athlete more concerned about their brand image rather than the underlying social issues !

Today’s athlete more concerned about their brand image rather than the underlying social issues !

In light of Jim Brown’s recent statements about athletes of today, not being socially involved in a number of politically or socially relevant issues. It had me wondering, why any athlete, who more often than not would rather seek the advice of their agent as to how to carry themselves in public, and what to say on camera, would actually be at loggerheads with someone such as Jim Brown , who alongside Arthur Ashe , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Bill Russell , Billie Jean King and Muhammad Ali , might be the most socially active athletes this country has produced in the past four decades ! Brown was extremely critical of NBA player Kobe Bryant , in saying that the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard is somewhat confused about his culture and background. Personally, I do not believe Brown to be that far off the mark in his presumptions about the NBA star, whose history prior to his legal entanglements in Eagle , Colorado , told us a great deal about Bryant and his disloyalty towards then teammates Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal . The relationship between Bryant would be soured between he, O’Neal and Fox , after the player tried to implicate both , in , and after his own sexual indiscretion , and the alleged sexual assault charged brought against him .

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Granted, Kobe Bryant prior to the incident, was the “face” of the NBA and one the league’s beloved and respected stars. Once those allegations of a sexual assault came to the fore , ” Team Kobe ” were quick to corral the star and sought to protect his image , while seeking to paint his then victim, as a scheming harlot, looking for a large payday. In the end, Bryant would apologize for his actions while embarrassing himself and his immediate family, in the aftermath with his act of contrition . Several years later, Kobe Bryant’s name would become associated with Hollywood actress Sanaa Lathan , whom the player described as a close family friend. The fact that at the time, his wife Vanessa was pregnant with the couple’s second child , the player was being photographed with the starlet at a Prince concert being staged at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California , spoke volumes as to Bryant’s improprieties , his lack of candor and honesty in simply stating that he and his wife were separated at the time. Divorce proceedings were filed, but in the end the couple reconciled and settled their differences.

Courtesy of The LA Times

Kobe Bryant responds to Jim Brown slight

By Eric Pincus , The LA Times

Former NFL running back Jim Brown gave a controversial opinion on Kobe Bryant while visiting “The Arsenio Hall Show” on Tuesday night.

“He threw [Shaquille O’Neal] under the bus and he is somewhat confused about culture, because he was brought up in another country,” said Brown. “[Bryant] doesn’t quite fit what’s happening in America.”

Bryant spent many years of his youth in Italy, where his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant played basketball professionally.

“In the days when we had a summit and we called the top black athletes together to talk to Muhammad Ali about his status with the armed forces, there were some athletes we didn’t call,” said Brown. “If I had to call that summit all over, there would be some athletes I wouldn’t call. Kobe would be one of them.”

Brown’s comment prompted Bryant to reply via Twitter.

[ Kobe Bryant
@ kobebryant

A “Global” African-American is an inferior shade to “American” African-Americans?
? #hmm. that doesn’t sound very #Mandela or #DrKing sir ]

Bryant also addressed the topic after practice Thursday.

“It surprised me in the sense that it just came out of left field. I’ve never even met him,” Bryant said of Brown. “I do think it’s a great opportunity to have these conversations, to have this discussion.”

Why did he choose to respond to Brown publicly?

“If it’s a major issue that involves equality or the perception of racial equality, I feel like that’s something that . . . needs to be addressed,” Bryant said. “Obviously it’s a sensitive topic for everybody but I think the best thing to do is not dance around it.

“Ultimately, the conversation is that it doesn’t matter what color skin you are,” continued the Lakers All-Star. “I think it’s a good place to start, to have a good conversation and try to educate one another and try to improve as a society because of it.”

Would he like the opportunity to sit down and talk with Brown?

“There’s nothing to talk about. We have different perception, different views on it, clearly,” Bryant said. “What I’m trying to do is educate our youth going forward, no matter what color skin you are, African-American, white, whatever the case may be.

“For he and I, there’s no reason for us to have a conversation. We’re completely on the opposite sides of the spectrum. I’m an old dog, but he’s a much older dog. He’s probably a lot more set in his ways than I am.”

Brown’s summit in 1967 with Ali included Bill Russell and future Lakers Hall-of-Famer Lew Alcindor, who would change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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Having amassed an estimated $200 million fortune , Kobe Bryant has been philanthropic , with a number of social causes in the greater Los Angeles area as well in Lower Merion , Pennsylvania, Byant’s place of birth. That being said, like many of his peers , the player has never sought to ingratiate himself with any real deep felt social cause or issue or spoken out on any particular political matter. Needless to say, it is by no means an indicator as to what the player might think about any one particular matter , but if adjudged against the asinine rationale of an idiot such as the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive lineman Jared Allen , then it is perhaps best that we do not often hear an athlete address any type of political or social issue.

Allen prior to the 2008 Presidential election, came out with the rather asinine statement that he would not be voting for the Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama on the grounds that the nominee was simply about hiking taxes and living off the rich. Last I looked, even if Allen , were a noted Republican supporter , surely it could not have escaped his notice, that during the reign of then incumbent President George W Bush , taxes may well have declined somewhat , but the value of the US dollar had declined even more so , forcing the consumer to actually spend more of their income than ever before, even on the most basic daily staples . The economy was in a downward spiral and for a player who at the time was earning in excess of $ 8 million a year , I can only surmise that Allen felt uniquely placed to speak for the masses when his own salary was actually two hundred times that of the ordinary average working American worker . Allen’s education at Idaho State albeit, on a scholarship, was greatly wasted on this ass !

While, it would be easy to be critical of today’s athletes and what appears to be their lack of social awareness, far too many of their actions, are too often dictated by agents , sponsors or even their very teams. And while could state that during the era of Jim Brown , Arthur Ashe , Muhammad Ali , Bill Russell , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Billie Jean King chose not only to be socially active, but also politically . The same cannot be said of today’s so-called pantheons of the sports’ world, whose concerns more often than not, appear to their image , amassing wealth and being seen in public at the biggest social events , when away from their chosen endeavors. Also, when an athlete now chooses to place themselves within the midst of an issue , specifically one that is political , their apparent intelligence also comes into question , as was the case with Jared Allen. One could also attest that times have changed since Ali was a vocal opponent of the war in Vietnam , and while his incarceration may well have been more one of political and racial motivation , by the government . I would suggest that even now, the country has not preceded that far forward, in terms of its apparent social progress. The nation still remains, one that is divided, along not only racial lines, but also economically as well as politically. With the latter inference, coming by way of the two political parties seeking division rather than bipartisanship in dealing with what ails the country.

There have been athletes who have gone about quietly seeking change, but much of that goes uncovered , or rarely reported on, in full by the press , who if anything are just as guilty with their ongoing impudence and lack in-depth journalism on a wide variety of issues, be they economic or social issues . The big story always sought, seems to be one of salacious or sexual intrigue , or shall we attest to the fact , there just seems to real disinterest in many of the topics raised, merely because the journalists believe there happens to be no real story of human interest ?

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Tiger Woods , are perhaps two of the most recognized athletes on the planet, but rarely have you seen either , speak openly on a matter of social or economic importance. Both of these high-profiled athletes apart from being extremely wealthy individuals , as can be seen from their ranking in Forbes’ highest paid athletes , are very much indifferent as to what they believe their legacies are said to be. Mayweather brandishes his opulence, by way of his lavish lifestyle, penchant for fast cars and gambling. Woods for his part, having careers earnings from the PGA Tour exceeding $100 million , with a further $850 million in endorsement earnings , might just be the wealthiest active North American athlete.

The golfer whose off-course issues came cannon fodder for the press, while idiots, such as Christine Brennan sought to ingratiate herself, with her readers by trying to suggest that Woods’ sexual peccadilloes were an outrage. Somehow, it might well have escaped Brennan’s notice, that the player’s actions were not unlawful, just simply repulsive. However, it would appear, that because of Woods’ visibility, the story was worth running with, merely to whet the appetite of the readers of USA Today and provide evidence and further lower what we now know is simply the press at its worst , without ever seeking to be informative or overly judgmental. Brennan , may well be seeking to show that as a woman she can compete in an environment that is uniquely dominated by her male counterparts , but she has yet to show that she can shy away from letting her emotions get the better of her.

Woods and his Tiger Woods Charitable Foundation in conjunction with many of his corporate sponsors have spent countless millions on children’s issues, with the furtherance of their education and well-being . Woods , himself, beyond the creation of foundation , now has several educational facilities in the state of California and nationwide , with monies also being spent abroad to establish similar academic institutions in Thailand , the birthplace of his mother , Kutilda Woods , and on the African continent.

Tiger Woods , like LeBron James , Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, have chosen to remain silent on a wide variety of sociopolitical issues . And while the golfer has let his money and deeds speak volumes as to his actions , by contrast the NBA and its fraternity of players along with their MLB and NFL counterparts have remained mute . Somewhat strange, when you consider that annually the MLB hierarchy annually in remembrance of Jackie Robinson’s integration into the game of baseball and at the insistence of Bud Selig , have sought to exhibit their political activism . Yet today, there has not been one player of note during this era, who has stepped up to the plate to speak openly on any issue of note . The self-absorbed image of the NBA and their egotistical fraternity , as presided over by David Stern , remains one of ridicule narcissism. In the wake of the death of teenager , Trayvon Martin ,whose demise brought a great deal of national outcry, the only action of note from many of the league’s players and specifically those of African-American heritage , was to stand silently before a game adorned in hoodies to express their concern over the teenager’s tragic demise . Even though Martin’s assailant, George Zimmerman was later acquitted of the victim’s death , it has not gone unnoticed, that the former defendant , has subsequently had several more run-ins with the law, with two occasions of Zimmerman having used a weapon to have allegedly threatened his ex-wife and a girlfriend. Speaks volumes, as the justice system within the state of Florida, the lack of intelligence amongst the twelve members of the jury and that of the complete incompetence of the prosecuting attorneys in the presentation of the state’s case.

Kobe Bryant may well have taken umbrage at being targeted by Jim Brown , but the NBA player’s response if anything showed a great deal of naiveté and a lack of understanding . Bryant’s own response if anything, further emphasizes why today’s athlete , has become way too-image conscious and even less involved and dare I say it, even less informed than many of their peers from years past ?

Loves labors lost, as it would now appear with the Los Angeles Lakers (10-11) , as they strive for some semblance of success this season . The very fact that their joint co-habitants at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , the Los Angeles Clippers (15-9) do appear have taken some of the glare off the more renowned of the two LA based NBA franchises , could very much be a part of one of the numerous reasons why prior to the start of the regular season schedule Kobe Bryant was somewhat mystified as to why analysts felt the Lakers would be no better than the twelfth best team in the Western Conference . From my own standpoint, I believe that the analysts were being rather generous with their own analysis of the Los Angeles Lakers as a team and their season’s aspirations in possibly making the NBA Playoffs. A less agile Bryant coming off , off-season surgery , with Pau Gasol’s game now in regression and with point guard Steve Nash not being able to give the Lakers at best no more than twenty minutes per game . I cannot see how anyone could expect to see this Mike DAntoni coached team make a deep run within the postseason , much less make a credible challenge within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.

Coming off a recent narrow six-point loss (114-108) to the Phoenix Suns , which saw the return of Kobe Bryant for his second game of the season , has pretty much summed up the Lakers’ season. Without him, Los Angeles are simply a team, treading water whilst in the middle of the ocean without a life-jacket . His return, makes Los Angeles a far more potent team offensively, but there remains numerous flaws that clearly need to be addressed by GM Mitch Kupchak . The team’s next game does not get any easier, as they meet a highly rejuvenated Oklahoma City Thunder team buoyed by the return of their All Star point guard Russell Westbrook .

Make no bones about it , with Bryant on the downside of an illustrious career and in spite of his recently signing a two-year $48.5 million contract extension . There is a continued belief that unless Mitch Kupchak is able lure away a highly prized free agent this upcoming off-season, this franchise is likely to languish in the middle order of the conference and at the lower end of the Pacific Division , which at present is a clear reflection of the Lakers’ present situation. There may well be a great deal of optimism amongst their fans, as would be expected , yet, the reality has not begun to set in, as to what the franchise’s real future is likely to be without a Kobe Bryant.

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Picture gallery .

In light of Jim Brown’s criticism of Kobe Bryant, do you believe that the former NFL player was justified in criticism of the NBA star ? Do you also believe that today’s athletes are too noncommittal concerning matters when it comes to politically or socially sensitive issues? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your continued support of the site .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Hall of Fame great Jim Brown is seen here during an appearance on the late night syndicated television talk show of host Arsenio Hall . Brown’s comments concerning NBA star Kobe Bryant seems to have caused a stir with the NBA player , who seems to believe that the statements attributed to the former NFL star were unflattering. Courtesy of UPN/Paramount Studios …..

(2) Bill Russell ,left, joined Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Lew Alcindor (among others) in 1963 at a meeting of top African-American athletes to show support for Ali’s refusal to fight in Vietnam. The boxer’s refusal on the grounds of being a conscientious objector to the war , also centered around the social injustices also taking place in America and the civil rights’ movement. . Getty Images / Tony Tomsic ……

(3) Lakers of ’04 as things didn’t go as planned as they were summarily dismissed in the NBA Finals by the Detroit Pistons . Seated from left to right Gary Payton , Shaquille O’Neal , Karl Malone , Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox. That was one of the truly amazing upsets in NBA history as the Lakers were heavily favored in the series which they ended up losing 4-1 to the Eastern Conference based Detroit Pistons. Associated Press / Louis Lattimore

(4) Arthur Ashe, a three-time Grand Slam singles’ tournament winner and a founding member of the ATP , who succumbed to the aids’ virus having received contaminated blood, intravenously . A vocal opponent of the apartheid regime in South Africa , the former world number one spoke put passionately against the regime refusing to play in any sanctioned tournament in the country while many of his fellow professional took an opposing view , citing that playing there would actually bring closer harmony between the minority white populace and the majority black population during the seventies . Upon his contracting the HIV virus leading to full-blown aids , Ashe also sought to aid and educate those contracting the disease. A foundation was set up in the player’s name , which has since raised tens of million of dollars for aids’ research and education . AP / REUTERS/ …….

(5) PGA Tour player Tiger Woods , long seen as the face of golf worldwide . Woods has seen fit to stay away from being political , choosing instead to simply let his philanthropic deeds speak as to his legacy on a number of social issues . Courtesy of PGA Tour .

(6) Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni is seen her with Kobe Bryant , court-side during a game . With the Lakers off to an inauspicious start to this NBA season , it remains to be seen whether or not the team can make it a reality of making the NBA Playoffs . Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez …..

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10 thoughts on “Today’s athlete more concerned about their brand image rather than the underlying social issues !

  1. Kobe Bryant is a certified #sshole who has never been known to address any issue be it political or social in public , but yet when criticized , he tries to suggest that Brown’s statements are a disservice to Dr Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela . Bryant would not be able to tell you Mandela’s prison number, much less , the name of the prison where the now deceased leader was incarcerated . Cried like a bitch and then dumped on his former teammates (Rick Fox & Shaquille O’Neal) , when accused of raping a hotel employee in Eagle , Colorado , Is there anything else that one needs to add concerning Kobe Bryant ?

    Christin Brennan , columnist with USA Today .

    Christine Brennan may well be an award winning journalist , but of late her whining and proselytizing have been about as useful as an enema would be to an individual suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea .

    Nash of the Lakers

    ” This is the best sex I’ve had in years ! Do it again ” Estelle Getty

    Oops ! There goes the Lakers’ season , as Steve Blake is now injured and with Steve Nash about as agile as Estelle Getty during her years on ” The Golden Girls” . There’s nothing at all to relish about the Los Angeles Lakers . Yet , Kobe Bryant was miffed that pundits believed the team to be no better than the twelfth best franchise in the Western Conference . Considering the team’s play , the analysts were not that far off the mark .

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    tophatal …………..

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  2. LeBron James is seeking to emulate his icon in every single way and that includes looking to amass a fortune , while not being politically or socially responsible . James like Michael Jordan has never spoken out about the horrific work conditions that the Nike’s contracted manufacturers’ employees work under , while producing $200-00 to $450-00 sneakers , as paying those employees are paid less than eighty cents a day . Capitalism at its best and its worst and pious the Western consumer and governments simply do not give a ##it .

    A global economy is simply nothing more than the Northern hemisphere being overseer while the Southern hemisphere and Pan Pacific Basin Indian sub continent have become the plantation , where just about everything is produced for the rest of the globe . Could I have out it anymore succinctly than that ? Oops there goes a cricket, as Mitt Romney explains away why having to only pay 15% capital gains tax on his income is good for the country and helps entrepreneurs to reinvest in the nation’s growth. . Romney was never risk taker in any damn business deal he was ever a part of . He has always tail of the dog that’ had to be led to fire hydrant to take a pi#$ . Bill Bain founder of Bain Capital stated that about the former Presidential nominee and company executive . Yet , no one simply took notice of that fact .

    Robert Wood is an @ss because if he had any sense he would know that a bill was passed in Congress, that Romney and many of his minions initiated with a lobbyists’ initiated move with the OK of a clueless House and Senate .

    I’m no admire of either Obama or Romney , as I find both to be disingenuous and deceitful !

    And you wonder why Mitt Romney lost this past Presidential election ? If Romney shoved his finger up his own @ss he would actually find his brain .

    tophatal ………..

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  3. Couple of quick comments
    If I had hair like Nash………….bring on the Gillette razorblades for the bald look.
    Jim Brown is a cool man. Takes no shit and is a good spokesman for his race. Had the pleasure of meeting him during a movie he starred in @the late Dunes Hotel and Casino. He was pre-occupied during a break with couple of hotties. Was a young punk just outta the military trying to find myself.

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    1. Ronbets

      I have no problem at all the comments attributed to Jim Brown , because what he’s saying , is absolutely true . Far too many of today’s athletes, are too self-absorbed with their persona and image in front of the media , that they simply forget where they came , much less try to actually do something positive within a community , even when it concerns an injustice . What has Kobe Bryant actually ever done , other than to make an ass of himself and creating a none existent persona ?

      In that same category , I would also place both LeBron James and Tiger Woods in spite of their philanthropy , of which much of it has been stage managed by their handlers and agents .

      Brown’s deeds are legendary and he has been very vocal on a wide range of issues way beyond what the likes of Bryant , Michael Jordan , LeBron James and even Tiger Woods would be able to actually comprehend . Unfortunately, this runs the gamut of today’s athletes and specifically those of the African American background . One minute, they’re quoting Mandela , Mohandas K Ghandi and Malcolm X , but couldn’t give you an iota of information as to what what all three individuals represented .

      tophatal ………….

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    2. Ronbets

      Lakers’ fans are living in complete denial at present . And Kobe Bryant re-signing with the team for a reputed two year $48.5 million contract , simply indicates how damn clueless both Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak just happen to be .

      The likes of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are not about to opt out of their contracts to test the free agency market , and go to Southern California . Especially when you take a look at how depleted any roster of the Lakers is like to be in 2014, 2015 and 2016 . I mean other than Bryant , who was the last truly productive player actually drafted by this franchise since Jerry West stepped down in his role as the franchise’s best general manager ?

      Kupchak may well have won 4 NBA titles but his draft record has bordered on being absolutely horrendous as a general manager .

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    3. Ronbets

      Steve Nash has been lucky enough to bag and tagged some of the hottest chics’ in Hollywood during his separation from his ex-wife and amongst the ladies in question there was actress Elizabeth Hurley .

      If it’s not Nash’s hair that the women find appealing then it may well be because he’s hung like a horse , perhaps ?

      Elizabeth Hurley in a scene from the Austin Powers’ movie ” The Spy Who Shagged Me”

      Hurley again , looking seductive .

      Hurley also dated British actor Hugh Grant , whose claim to fame was to get caught by LAPD , while a hooker was giving him some “head ”

      tophatal …………….

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  4. Thanks for bringing this up, Al. I hadn’t heard about the quarrel between Brown and Bryant until now.

    Look, you and I have talked about this and debated it for years. The modern African-American athlete generally shies away from such controversial discussion, whether it’s Kobe or Tiger or Michael BUT the times are different. The causes the exist in the 60s still exist today but on a much lesser scale.

    Yes, athletes might shy away from opening their mouths and saying something controversial for fear of losing a multi-million dollar marketing deal, right or wrong. But Kobe’s a smart guy. I have no problem with him backing up his stance and telling Brown where to stick it.

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    1. Chris Humpherys

      It wasn’t a quarrel between Kobe Bryant and Jim Brown , but merely a statement made by the former NFL great where he not only criticized Bryant but several of today’s prominent athletes of various ethnicity’s . The NBA star took umbrage as such, to being singled out in his eyes. Yet , the evidence is there, to suggest that Kobe Bryant has remained silent on an abundance of socially relevant issues . It has been the same also with Michael Jordan and that is in spite of the philanthropic efforts of both players . I mean when have you ever heard either Bryant or Jordan come out and openly criticize Nike for the working conditions under which the vast majority of their apparel line is made under places such as Vietnam , Thailand and India ? The workers there , live under subservient conditions and are being paid under 70 cents a day to produce sneakers that will be sold in the USA for an average price of $300-00 .

      So pray do tell , why in your eyes , Bryant has a grievance against Jim Brown ?

      Brown has spent a great deal of his time dealing with the ongoing gang violence that still erupts between the Cripps and Bloods in the greater Los Angeles area . What the fu#k has Kobe ever been known to do , concerning that issue , much less anything else and that is in a city where he plays for one of the league’s most revered franchises ? What world are you living in ?

      tophatal ………….

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    2. Chris Humpherys

      The causes existed in the sixties are now on a much lesser scale ? You’re kidding right ? Unless you hadn’t noticed racism is alive and well and Central Florida has become the epicenter for it within the state .

      An African American President who’s described in racial terms by bigoted conservatives , and the idiom of free speech is used to hide behind. And even in your own backyard , where re there’s a prominent Arabic American community and population , those individuals are denigrated on a frequent basis . You don’t really take a great deal of note as to what is actually happening around you with any great concern , unless it happens to affect you . That is a sign of complete apathy .

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