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 .
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
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
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.
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 .
Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
(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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Have her (Jordan Carver) place your balls in the right place .