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American Sports and Racial Discrimination



Introduction

Annually all the Americans are required to file all their tax returns for verifications. However, the day is memorable for all Americans in the sports arena as it’s the day Jackie Robinson took to the field to compete with Brooklyn dodger in the baseball, 1942 .As he was the first black-American to play the game in major league and he did it during a time activists and blacks- American human rights defenders were at their toes to align the rights of all American. Historically, this followed after the national basket league was formed in the American sports and it integrated both African and white American players. Most of the young men joint the military services in the World War II during the period between 1941 and 1945. However, demand for basketball players was at higher notch and white American players couldn’t meet the demand, hence, black players such as Jackie Robinson found their way to the game. Players from most of the black teams for example the New York renaissance popularly known as Rens and even Harlem Globetrotters began to play for the national team in the NBL game.

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In the year 1949, the Detroit Gems team was abolished due to lack of adequate players and, thus, a black team, New York Renaissance took over in the Net Basket Ball and amazingly the team went further under the steering control of Jackie Robinson to be the first ever NBL black world champions. The essence of the game was a kind of an ignition to the black American civil activists on their journey to fight for the black American rights. They used the victory to show that black-Americans were capable of taking America to higher heights and, thus, given equal rights and just like the stayees they can marvelously excel in all social economic and political arenas.

In 1950, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) merged with the National Basketball Association and during that season an African-American known as Earl Lloyd of the Washington basketball team made a marvelous performance which gained him respect of the Americans which made it easier for the activists to convince the American authority to accept equal rights for both black and white American communities. However, among the big number of the athletes who have ever played baseball, nobody ever did the civil activists and all the black American activists proud just like Jackie Robinson. Thus on one occasion Earl was interviewed about his complexion to Jackie where he was quick to admit that folks can’t be compared to college mates such as Jackie.

In this paper we commit ourselves to analyzing some of the key athletes within the United States sport arena that helped greatly the civil rights activists such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King in their fight against racial segregation of the black Americans, racial discrimination and unnecessary mockery from the pure American authority and the entire American fraternity. The paper will look keenly on Jackie Robinson, the first American black basketball player of the national basketball team and who did great in the game enhancing the convincing bargain power of the human activists on the fight against racial segregation.

As the American were dumb founded on the exemplary performance of the black American on the pitch, we are going to look further on the positive and negative resultants of the black American participation in all the games in general. Moreover, in the conclusion stage we shall briefly analyze the future of the black American sportsmen who in recent London Olympic in 2012 scoped numerous gold, silver and bronze medals for the United States to become position one in medal standings. Moreover, we shall look at the ways the sports are currently shaping the relationships between the white and black Americans in the various states of the USA.

Discussion

A Focus on Key U.S. Athletes Such as Jackie Robinson

From 1942 to around 1975, the United States experienced the civil human rights activists era . During this era popularly known as civil rights movement period, aimed at eliminatingof the outlawed racial segregation and racial discrimination, leveled against the African American by both the American authority and white American, African- American athletes such as Jackie Robinson came to lime light in the base-net-ball game. Secondly, the activists such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were greatly on their toes to ensure that the African-American were granted voting rights.

Thus, to begin with the coincidental collision of the African sportsmen popularity and the human rights activists’ regime became a progress on the race to eliminate racial discrimination and inequality on public services such as schools and hospitals. There was a boost on the civil right activists’ movement struggle on the harmonization of the specific legal frameworks and absolute abolishment of the private and public acts on racial and resource discrimination against the African-Americans and other vulnerable groups by the pure Americans. This problem was eminent in the southern parts of the United States where population of the African-Americans was increasing.

In their struggle for the African-Americans to be granted racial dignity, freedom from oppression, political self-sufficiency and equal economic resources distribution such as education, sports, transportation housing and even the medical service provision, civil right movement had a smiling bargaining power thanks to such people as Mr. Jackie Robinson whom the activists used as an example that they would do marvelously in the political, social and economic progresses of the country given an equal opportunity.

Jackie Robinson is one of the greatest African-Americans baseball player of the mid 1950s . He was the first black American baseball player to break the major league baseball’s (MLB) color based barrier by joining the national baseball league (NBL) and at the same time become the best player of the year after winning the world baseball championship league in 1947. This was a turning point for all the black American as they were now seen as resources for joy and economic growth to the United States economy. Most of the activists such as Paul Robeson, who was a singer, activist, athlete and advisor became the first ever African-American to address the MLB basketball team owners on the need to have integration.

At the meeting, Robeson argued continually that the MLB as a national baseball game had a higher obligation to ensure that segregation and inequality do not become the national pattern. It is worth mentioning that white American players never showed any signs of discrimination against Jackie Robinson on the pitch. Thus, the Americans and African-Americans should learn a lesson that through cooperation, the country can go to higher heights on condition that the economic and voting rights of all races are followed and valued.

After the meeting, the MLB commissioner Sir Mountain Landis stated that there were no rule in the book that singled out the black American from participating in the league meaning he had stood out personally to accept integration, although the government seemed to turn be indifferent to the problem of the African Americans. However, his death in 1944 significantly influenced the integration of the African Americans into the game, as he was later accredited as a major factor on the race to blaze up the trail of Mr. Jackie Roosevelt Robinson into entry in the game four years later.

On 15th, April 1947, Robinson amazingly broke the MLB series racial barrier by signing a contract with a Brooklyn Dodgers team headed by Branch Rickey. As the first ever African American player to break the champion ship league title, Robinson came immediately as a key target for malicious verbal utterance and abuse. Robinson retrogressively described the abuses he was subjected to during the first season in the team Brooklyn Dodgers, how his Autobiography was severally abused by the white Americans and how, on the other side, the black Americans applauded to his success.

He occasionally found himself unable to withstand the waves of abuses leveled against him and he broke out silence to defy his reputation as a black man player by calling the white Americans who called him black man as” haters”. Interestingly, his popularity among the white American came to a great decline. Fortunately regardless of heating back on them and igniting more rivalry, Robinson was named the league’s most valuable player of the year in 1949, silencing all his contenders and criticizers.

Amazingly, seven years later, in 1956, he enhanced the confidence of black Americans stay in the country by receiving a place at the Baseball Hall of Fame before retiring in 1956 . After that awful progress in the pitch and proving that African American citizens can do better than the pure Americans, he turned on to the civil rights promotion. As a human right advocate and having garnered adequate popularity from all the Americans, his message was as the following: racial integration in every side of the Americas society will see a breakthrough in strengthening the economy, social and political framework of the country just like in the baseball field. He had a special message communicated through a letter to any American president who came to power between 1956 and 1972, expressing various forms of racial criticisms for not performing enough to resolve the cause of human civil rights . Robinson was a firm and highly non-negotiable man who only measured any president’s commitment on civil rights through the actions. He courageously approached any president to express his discontents.

In addition to that, the civil human rights movement ended with a victory over racial discrimination. However, most of the players saw the leagues business relationship as another form of indirect servitudes. Though most of the African-American players discussed it at lower tones, there was another elegant player, Curt Flood, who came to break the silence .Flood was one of the major league player who did spend most of field time playing for the St.Louis Cardinals team. As one of the outstanding defensive basketball players, he led the club four times in to victory and two times to clinching the national league title. He did win seven gold glove awards and battled in the games for over three hundred times for his country. He criticized the league by saying that they were reluctant to allow players to act on their own.

However, he saw his career successfully come to an end, though he was an ever achieving and diligent player, in 1969 at an age of 31 when he decide to challenge the reserve clause of the major league in baseball that protected the rights of the owners of these clubs. In 1969, he was sold by his former club to Philadelphia Phillies where in the same year in December, he wrote a confidential letter to baseball commissioner, Bowie Kuhn rejecting the reserve clause and terming it as a form of indirect slavery. He claims that he has a right just like the other international players and that it sounds immoral to be traded. He claimed that all players should have free agents and, thus, he is free to relocate to any baseball club. Kuhn rejected the request and Flood got angered before moving to the court to sue the federation.

In the court, he claimed that the reserve clause had violated the antitrust law and the 13th amendments which condemned the slavery and involuntary interferences of the rights of citizens. In August 1970 the court issued its verdict according to which he lost to the owners. At this time, his career had already ended, however, his loss was a victory later to all players in United States. In 1975, arbitrators succeeded in eliminating the reserve clause in baseball and all players’ salaries set based on the demand, thus, Curt Flood became a hero. To sum up, the civil right movements gave an opportunity for various athletes such as Jackie Robinsons and Curt Flood to challenge the baseball authority. This has enabled the current African-American athletes enjoy as professional sportsmen while at the same time enjoy heavy salaries.

Positive and Negative Effects of U.S Baseball on Civil Human Right Movements

The African Americans living in the United States have been subjected to various hardships in their country for a long time. These individuals have been suffering abuses because of struggles, unequal treatment and also the hardships they have endured in their stay. This situation has resulted in many Americans engaging in activities that will ensure there is equal treatment to all individuals in the country. The African Americans in particular have always worked to ensure that social justice is implemented in the society. There are many individuals who have influenced the society by their achievements and contribution to its development and rise throughout the 20th century. These individuals have contributed considerably towards the civil rights movements and organized activities and forums that promote justice in the society. The field of sports has been a substantial avenue through which the goal of achieving social strides is accomplished.

The American baseball is one of the sporting activities that have much impact in the achievement of social strides in the American society . Sporting activities do, however, play a critical role in ensuring a society is socially cohesive. Sporting activities bring together people from various backgrounds who get the opportunity to interact on a common platform. The inherent nature of competition brought about by the sports encourages social engagement among the individuals from different backgrounds. The sporting public arena in America gives a chance to the African Americans to achieve success and move from one social position to a more prestigious one. This arena provides a platform for these individuals to interact and become acceptable within the society. These events help in breaking of the social barriers that exist towards racial and social equality.

Active participation and engagement in these sporting activities is a key towards breaking the bonds that hinder the existence of an integrated community. Active participation helps in growing and enhancing the efforts of the civil rights movement. The existence of the division among the different races in America resulted to racial discrimination in most of the instances. During the 19th century, the Africans living within the United States were being prosecuted on the basis of racial discrimination and inequality. Sporting activities and especially in the field of baseball have been the factor that fostered slow integration of the African Americans to the American society with equal rights and opportunities by breaking the norm of discrimination and avoiding segregation of the various races living in America. The efforts have been made through the sporting activities which hold incredible appeal to the majority of African American citizens. Discrimination in regard to school attendance started to fade away, and the African American citizens would join learning institutions. This increased the chances and opportunities of this race within America as they started recording upward strides in their lives.

Civil rights movements would organize sporting activities to bring together all the races of the United States to become engaged on a common platform. According to Martin Luther King junior, the contribution made by the sportsmen who happened to be the pioneers of civil rights is significant in achieving a society that is more just and all inclusive. Sport is seen as a tool of upward social mobility of the African Americans throughout the period of the 20th century. Jackie Robinson has played a great role in the civil rights movement in ensuring the society views each other as one and not divided by races. The great sportsmen in the United States played a vital role in championing an integral perspective of equality for all the citizens of America. This perspective of sports is held by all champions to create one cohesive community and ensure proper correlation among the individuals. In this regard, the sportsmen organize various sporting activities to bring people together.

The contribution of Jackie Robinson in the effort of breaking the color line in most of the major baseball league of 1947 is highly appreciated in the civil rights movement. This sportsman should be mentioned in any discussion regarding civil rights movement due to his contribution in ensuring American society integration. Several efforts had been put towards achieving a cohesive society even having a myriad of court cases. It was, however, the entry of Jackie Robinson that put the concept of equal rights in regard to American citizens into the limelight for the nation’s consciousness. Luther King Junior described Jackie as a pilgrim who walked in lonesome towards the freedom road. He was described as a freedom rider who sought to ensure that every member of the American community had their freedom at their disposal.

Jackie Robinson never reacted violently to the hatred, and chants of racists. The sportsmen would receive threatening letters for his effort to ensure that American citizens were treated in the same way regardless of race. The bus boycotts for about ten years since the baseball color line was broken was a major impediment to the achievement of a cohesive society. The entry of Jackie into the baseball caused visceral reactions which made the nation get face to face with the issue of racial injustice in a society where all citizens are created equal. Jackie had to endure all these humiliations and impediments in achieving the objective of having one nation not governed by divisions and injustices.

The sportsmen went forth to establish civil rights game which is played even to date in the United States. This was an initiative by Jackie Robinson in ensuring that sports play a critical role in ensuring one nation. Robinson’s family supports this initiative and continues to actively participate in these activities of uniting people and advocating for civil rights. The major precursor towards the civil rights movement is the cracking of the color hurdle. The breaking of this barrier was an effort of Jackie Robinson . This movement is even recognized by the major league baseball and, hence, a greater stride in ensuring the promotion of social justice. The existence of civil right games enables the United States to move forward while still acknowledging the changes that have occurred in America. The success of this initiative is highly appreciated by all in America and, especially, by the Robinson family who feel that this aspect of civil rights movement and the role of sports in it should be taught to the upcoming athletes.

The contribution of the major league baseball to the civil rights movement has been pivotal. The major baseball league usually honors the civil rights movement activists. This creates a sense among the sportsmen that movement for civil rights is an issue that should be held dearly by all in the society. When such appreciation happens in the sporting field it creates a sense of appreciation of sports, especially by individuals who support the campaign for human rights. Sporting arena has an upper hand in the promotion of civil rights since this is the platform where individuals from different races meet. Sport can, thus, continue to be used as a platform for channeling human rights movement.

Baseball is seen as a crucial tool in understanding the American society. According to Jaques Barzun, anybody seeking to understand the mind and the heart of America should rather do it through baseball. This will be learned by knowing the realia and rules of the game. Baseball is seen as a symbol of mending the tearing and ranging society and establishing a cohesive base for all. The integration of baseball in the major league sets center stage for political and legal landmarks of the civil rights movement. There are several major leagues that have sprung from baseball all over the states of America, which brings people together on a similar platform. This unites people from different several races as it is skill and talent that matters in sport not color of the skin. Baseball grew to become a national sport in the United States with a large fan base from even other countries.

One of the vital roles played by baseball is the integration of the disparate elements of American in a mainstream culture. Most of the social historians see baseball as a power tool in molding marginal and new groups. These are integrated as one nation and there is an assimilation of American values towards creating a common identity. This game played a significant role in uniting the citizens of America after the period of civil war. Despite the location of the major league in the northern side of the state, all the advertising agencies even from the south were seen to report the occurrence of the events with the same enthusiasm. As waves of immigrants were recorded in America, they found it easier to integrate into the society through sport. Baseball became ubiquitous for all the youths across the United States whether springing from slums or big cities or even from the farmsteads. Most the major league players developed into icons and role models.

Initially, some states would hinder the blacks from participating in baseball. However, there was no written statute that barred the blacks from participating in these events. There only existed universally accepted rule that was not written and manager of the club was bound to abandon. This ban in the today's society seems counterproductive and irrational. It was observed that most of the black players would have helped their teams to win the league. It is unexplainable why the ban persisted for so long as it was nothing but pure prejudice. Most of the club owners have come to recognize the essence of blacks in their teams and this helps in ending the social prejudice depicted in the community.

Inclusion of all members into the team has raised the respectability of the managers and created a positive perspective of the club in the community. The integration of the community through the sporting activity was not wholly welcomed by all the citizens in the state. Especially, in the black community not every person was pleased with the decision to integrate. The integration of the different races resulted in the collapse of the Negro leagues. These leagues had started at the time when the blacks were discriminated and were not welcomed to the national league. Most of these teams were owned by the local businessmen who happened to be the blacks.

These leagues and clubs were termed as the largest businesses owned by blacks within the United States. They offered employment opportunities to most of the black Americans living in the United States. Collapsing of these leagues, therefore, meant that these individuals would automatically lose their employment. Games were seen as a focal point, especially, for the black Americans due to its emergent in the middle class. Negro leagues had grown to be enormously popular to the extent of outshining the white leagues. Some of the innovations by the Negro leagues became later adopted by the major league. This includes the use of artificial lights to play games during the night. The integration of these communities and the abolishin of the Negro leagues meant that most of the opportunities held by the blacks in these leagues would cease.

Before the full actualization of integration, sporting activities would result to humiliation, especially, for the black players. The chants of hatred and racism that was profound during the sporting activities could not auger well with the blacks. This would raise the tension among the two communities, thus, enlarging the division that existed. It took the effort of major sportsmen like Robinson to overcome all these humiliations and fight for a united society. These efforts led to the creation of civil rights movements whose role has been evident even in today’s society. There were still other efforts calling for integration among the communities. The political class sent messages for integration and required that all the agencies should work to achieve the goal of integration. This sufficed the efforts generated by the sportsmen in ensuring a peaceful and cohesive society living and working in harmony.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the role played by Jackie Robinson and other sportsmen is critical in ensuring a cohesive and integrated community. Most of the black leaders including Luther King have acknowledged the role of Robinson in the civil rights movements. The presence of Robinson and that of other black sportsmen in baseball made it simpler for the white community to conceptualize the issue of integration. This also acted as an example to other black Americans that peaceful integration is possible in a field that has been previously segregated. Although the whole campaign against segregation was launched and supported by great number of people and the results were achieved by relentless activity of the thousands of people all over the country; baseball integration made the movement more successful. The sports played a pivotal role in supporting integration of the whites and blacks. This in turn helped to eliminate the social and racial discrimination in the society. The integration of baseball created a genuine moral of high mindedness and economic self-interest. This is the epitome of America’s spirit since the foundation of the country.

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