Good News on Clippers

Clippers are to be sold, without Donald Sterling’s involvement. This is good news for the team, the NBA and yes(sadly) the Sterling family. It is impossible to know if Sterling faked his dementia although that is a possibility since it cannot be verified until an autopsy is done. He escapes with his excuse for his behavior formally recorded and a huge profit….but faked or not, he is out of the NBA.

Now for all sports to takle all racism. Here is the Native American tradition continuing…..with pride.

Photo: Women in Native American dress

COEXIST

Such An Obvious Concept

Where are the religious and spiritual communities in this conversation? There is no coexist without understanding, no coexist without respect, no coexist without conversation.

Racism, in any form, in all forms is never sanctioned by any religious or spiritual belief. Racism by its very nature of perceived superiority based on birth over another human being or group based on birth fuels arrogance which leads to oppression, then resentment, exploitation, hatred and hatred leads to violence. Connecting these dots is simple, true and obvious. No religion or spiritual practice supports the end result. Yet silence among the religious and spiritual communities reigns–almost.

The United Church of Christ in its Mid-Atlantic Region has voted a formal boycott of the Washington, D.C. NFL team. In Cleveland, where the UCC National Headquarters are located, in the past they have supported outreach to the Native American community. Both steps are positive. More steps must be taken. More leaders can and should step forward. I call on the Roman Catholic diocese of Cleveland and Bishop Lennon to open a conversation with the team owners, myself and other interested parties to find a positive resolution to this longstanding MLB travesty at his doorstep. I know the Dolan family, the MLB team owners, are Roman Catholic, graduates of Notre Dame Law school across generations and active in Catholic Charities. I too am Roman Catholic. It is the right thing to do. For the record I have sent this same request to Bishop Lennon, repeatedly in the past as I did with his predecessor Bishop Pilla  and again this week. To date I have had no response at all.

As I now live in the Boston area I am aware of a powerful coalition of academic and spiritual leaders coming together in an effort to undo the casino endorsement vote through a ballot initiative. The courts have approved the new vote.  It is good to see scholars and spiritual leaders uniting on an issue but perhaps it is time for their expansion of the process,? Uniting FOR human dignity, mutual respect, integrity and decency seems to be the message all teach. This is not a ballot issue, it can be a hearts and minds issue. History, recent history, has shown time and again that racism leads to violence, both local and beyond.

The current Roman Catholic Pope, Pope Francis has prayed with Israeli leader Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbastogether at the Vatican last month and this week prayed with tens of thousands in St. Peter’s Square to end warfare in the Middle East. Hatred, in all its forms, kills. The exploitation of any one group, Native, Indigenous, minority or simply seen as the other mirrors the pattern of exploitation and oppression of all.

“I exhort to all the interested parties and to all of those who have political responsibility at the local and international level to not give up the prayer, nor any effort to cease any hostility and reach the desired peace for the good of all,” the Pope said, according to a CNN translation. He spoke in Italian, from the window of his apartment above St. Peter’s Square.

These same words for peace and universal good-respect and decency-carry for all team identities. Where there are racist team identities in all sports which peace is placed at risk with hostility expanded as the identity of an indigenous people is used by others for profit and personal gain. In time I am certain this will come to be seen as the truth, seen by those currently hugging tradition and old attitudes tightly in their closed hearts. The growth of the global community will make the current team identities, endorsed by their owners and organizations from Cleveland, to Washington, D.C. and beyond and the sports’ fan behaviors worldwide proof positive of vile racism and continued ignorant intentional blindness. This is not a legacy anyone should strive to leave. It is time for a change.

Some True History

Here is a glamorized image but representing some true history. This is why “cute” and “lovable” and “honoring” are not true–they are inaccurate, perpetuating stereotypes while demeaning the descendants of those who kept vulnerable human beings alive through basic human decency and generosity. Compare this to yesterday’s Cleveland MLB picture–wrong name, bad caricature still teaching racism.  Cleveland, MLB–you can be so much better. 

 

 food exchange

 

 

LeBron, Welcome Home–Now What?

LeBron, Welcome Home–Now What?

View image on Twitter

When racism directly hit your league you spoke out. Thank you for that. You rather brilliantly controlled the announcement of your return to Ohio. My question for you Mr. James is this: do you really care about racism, in all its forms, in sports? In all sports?

If so, what is your position on the racism in the NFL and in MLB and in all the other arenas in Ohio and all the cities where NBA teams play involving the Native American team identities? Cleveland is your sport’s home as much as Akron is your family’s home and Cleveland has the most racist team in MLB in the country.

The team name while currently commonly accepted does represent a racist and arrogant mistake by a man determined to conquer an entire continent centuries ago, a mistake never really addressed and certainly not corrected. The logo is the modern version of plenty of ugly racist caricatures no longer accepted as legitimate but in Cleveland it is accepted as “cute”–Chief Wahoo. Will you stand up and call out this racist issue? Or do you only care about racism as it affects your own race?

Is racism in all its forms, against all people important enough for you to take a stand?

Link

Addressing the racism of team identities is an educational and powerful legal step for everyone in sports and all Americans. I am glad to see someone who also says it is not enough. That this someone is a Native American does add power to the message. I have been saying the same thing since I understood the issues. Many others agree. Yet too often we are given choices between one thing or the other when reality is that both are needed, both are important.

Gyasi Ross clearly identifies the realities in Native American lives today and he does not let either the tribes or America as a whole off the scales of justice and judgment. We can all do better and we must. It will not be easy. People readily divide along lines of “them” and “us” and maybe we always will. But in this case we share the same lands and it does not look like any of us are going anywhere. Can we figure out a healthier them and us, a better way forward, together?

Talking about the teams’ identities is only a place to open the discussion. It may be the best place given the intensity of the feelings around the topic. We CAN do this but WILL we do this?

 

Link

Can US Mayors Confront Racism? Will They?

“There can be a meanness,an ugliness” in sports.

Kareem Adbul-Jabbar: “I couldn’t believe that someone could have that much bigotry inside and think that it was OK” when referring to Sterling and his racist comments.

“Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin told the mayors’ meeting he hopes the Sterling drama will serve as a catalyst for positive changes in society.

“We can focus on Donald Sterling all we want or we can be smart about it and focus on what we can all accomplish when we come together as one,”” Michael Irvin said.

Link

Joining other media the Detroit news is no longer using the name of the Washington,  D.C. NFL team. This is good news. In an upcoming post  I will explore the origins of the name of the Cleveland MLB team, the meaning of the word and the topic which is generating heated attention:

Tracking Cleveland Indians' Potential $9B Lawsuit from Native American Group

Robert Roche announced earlier this week a coming $9Billion lawsuit against the team, in federal court. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2109290-tracking-cleveland-indians-potential-9b-lawsuit-from-native-american-group