Rob Long: We Have A Race Issue In Sports, Because We Have A Race Issue In Society

Last week I wrote a blog indicating that what Baltimore Oriole outfielder Adam Jones experienced in Boston was the uncomfortable truth. That’s what the truth often does. It exposes things we don’t want to come to grips with. It sometimes tugs at us and makes us examine either ourselves, our surroundings and often both.

MMQB’s Albert Breer’s comments after Jones’ confrontation in Boston embodies America’s stance on racism. “Is it horrible to want some proof? I dunno. I’ve probably been to 200 games at Fenway in my life. Never heard a slur yelled at a player.” Breer tweeted out. Maybe not horrible but it screams “If I don’t experience it, I don’t believe it.”

Since Breer has never been victimized by racism he can’t fathom the effects that it has. There are lots of things I haven’t experienced but I can at least sympathize and even acknowledge these things happen. Breer’s stance is often taken by people who will never walk in the shoes of Adam Jones or other black Americans who’ve experienced senseless racism regardless of their social status. I know, he has enough money to NOT care. He’s “arrived” he doesn’t know what racism is, right?

I once went to a social gathering and came across a man who was the loudest person in the room. He made fun of nearly everyone, including me. The majority of the people there laughed at his jokes.

Well, I grew tired of being the butt of the joke and I started firing back. This brought negative attention towards him because I was as brutal as he was. His face turned red. All of a sudden he wanted to “calm down…this is getting personal.”

Wait, when he had the upper hand, “getting personal” was not an issue but when I fired back the situation had the potential to get out of hand.

Now that there’s pushback on racism we seem to want to move on. You can’t just move on. It’s something that has to be addressed. You cannot “just talk sports” because racism is an issue there too. Just ask Adam Jones, or David Price, or the other black athletes who have addressed this. It still exists even though Albert Breer and others haven’t witnessed it.

Let’s put this is sports terms. We are running a race. You and I are clocked at the same speed but you get a head start on the race that equals half the distance. On your mark, get set, go. I’ll never catch up with you. I didn’t get the benefit of the head start that you received. The race is not fair from the very beginning. That’s what “moving on” does. It just picks up where we left off and never addressing the head start.

If we’ve truly moved on anyway would Adam Jones have experienced the verbal assault that took place in Boston? Would we experience such discomfort by discussing it? Would it be acceptable for you to say Balmer for Baltimore but if I say I’m from “Norf and Bentalou” instead of “North” I’m uneducated. No, it’s the same term of endearment you have when saying Balmer. My comment is out of ignorance. Yours is embracing your heritage.

We have a race issue in sports because we have a race issue in our society. It’s not going away. We have swept it under the carpet so much that now it’s bulging and we are tripping over it. The reason Albert Breer and people who think that way want proof is because they don’t have to address it until they have proof. The truth is if it stared them in the face they’d make an excuse for it. You know why? It doesn’t effect them.

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