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.

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

Slovakia Gets It Right, Can MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL et al Ever Get It Right?

It can be simple: Racism is wrong. Racism in any and all forms will not be acceptable. Racism will not be tolerated. Ever. Period. Slovakia gets it right.

Teams, players, Commissioners, families, owners, coaches, staff, broadcasters, fans–how can you keep looking for justifications for your cowardace? Silence condones the status quo. Speak up. Make the changes, do the right thing, not because you are somehow giving in, somehow doing what “they” say to do, or “they” say not to do but because it is the decent, human, respectful, honorable and right thing to take actioin. Fire racism. Change the names, logos, mascots and all representations that are racist  and associated with any of the teams. Change the owners when necessary. 

Mr. Larry Dolan, Mr. Paul Dolan, Mr. Mark Shapiro–can you give one legitimate reason not to change the Cleveland team name and logo–other than  the unbelievably weak “tradition” or perhaps “profits”, or perhaps you personally each “don’t see anything wrong with it” or your own individual and maybe joint fear of public or even private social reaction? Really? It is time for a mirror check–you, in your own mirror and the mirror of each of your consciences. 

Tell me, tell the world, tell your children and grandchildren that for the sake of pride, ego, sheer stubbornness you stood down everyone and “did it your way”–do you each really think the world is going to honor that choice and your following generations will be pleased that they have to answer for your intransience, that they have to find the courage you lack to do what you failed to do? It is not the 19th century, the 20th century or even the first decade of the 21st century. Your actions in 2014 are indefensible. The world has, in fact, changed.

It is simple: do the right thing and stop profiting from the name of a race of people(the reasoning behind the name is described elsewhere in this blog and from its origins until today it is wrong, factually, ethically and morally) and a demeaning, degrading and insulting racist caricature. Do not look to find apologists, do not look to poll a committee or a community or a board of directors. Do not look to clergy, academia or marketers for quidance. The clergy are occupied elweshere with their own faiulres and issues, academia is facing the digital evolution in education and marketers will do as you ask since you employ them.

For once take the lead, open a discussion with those of us who have pressed this issue forward for years and start the conversation not with a question as to how you can profit from the change but rather how you can do the change of both name and logo in a way that gives the change truth, respect and dignity for all involved.

I have asked this of you before and here I ask yet again: begin the conversation with those of us formally involved, now.

That question about how to increase profits and the change–check the transcripts from the deposition I personally participated in during the OCRC filing against Gateway and the team, your team–your lawyers asked it of me, just before we adjourned and the transcriptionist should have had it on the record. I had ideas and a plan then and still do have ideas as to how the change can be profitable today. However, I deferred, very deliberately on the answer, as I will here. That is a conversation for an entirely different setting but as businessmen I would certainly think you also have ideas on the subject. The courage to tackle the issue? That I have not yet seen, anywhere, ever, at all.

From Slovakia:

“One of the faces of the public-service RTVS sports desk, Kristína Kormúthová, was sacked after she posted a controversial comment on her Facebook profile on May 16. Kormúthová wrote on Facebook that a man who, according to her, tried to steal the rain gutter from her house at night was “a prematurely born, stinky gypsy” and asked why “us hunters” cannot shoot such people like animals. She concluded, “And let anyone dare call me a racist!””  She is now fired, because of the statement. More on the link above.

That is leadership and integrity in action. Can we have it here in American sports, in the National Pastime?

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Business and Human Rights

The United Nations has found  “the use of stereotypes obscures understanding of the reality of Native Americans today and instead help to keep alive racially discriminatory attitudes.” Last month the owner of the Redskins was again challenged to reconsider his position on the team name

This week the state of relations between the First Nations and Canada have again come under critical review and been found wanting. This parallels findings to some extent of the Special Rapportuer when he was examining the situation in the USA. He clearly outlined standards: “Private actors also have responsibilities independently of the States’ obligation to promote and protect human rights,” Mr. Anaya said.  http://unsr.jamesanaya.org/statements/usa-redskins-team-mascot-hurtful-reminder-of-past-suffering-of-native-americans 

MLB teams are in Canada and the USA, both have indigenous peoples still living in communities with rights of self-governance and MLB still continues to claim the name and logo in Cleveland are neither racist nor contributors to racism. Are these claims honestly true?

The NBA Has Done a Good Thing, MBL, Your Turn Is Now

The NBA Has Done a Good Thing, MBL, Your Turn Is Now

Congratulations to the NBA, Commissioner Silver, Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacremento, Eric Garcetti, Mayor of LA and the entire Clipper’s organization for banning, judging and condeming team owner Donald Sterling for his admitted racist comments. The maximum allowable punishments are a god and strong first step. Yet selling his team at a massive profit can still leave Sterling laughing all the way to the bank. The game and the country needs a better outcome. It is about America.

Adam Silver

MBL are you listening? Commissioner Selig, team owners Larry Dolan, family, staff and management, Mayor Jackson, Council President Kelley: in Cleveland you are all, each and every one of you, supporting a racist team with a racist logo, officially.

As I have said before, I am willing to sit at a table with you for a conversation around steps to build change and move away from prejudice, hatred, bigotry into a better future.

Here a Racist Billionaire, There a Racist Billionaire!

Today in the accusations that NBA L.A. Clippers’ team owner Donald Sterling is a racist, based on the release of a tape of his alleged statements it was not so much the racism that caught my eye but one other comment he allegedly made: “but don’t put (Magic) on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me.” (Italics mine)  http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/27/us/nba-team-owner-alleged-racist-remarks   

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I find myself wondering–so who has to call him? Sterling is a self-made billionaire according to Forbes. He may be a twisted individual, he may like the ownership and management style, such as it is, in the NBA, he may like the fame in the NBA but that throwaway line is certainly an odd one.

I’d be happy to say it is in Sterling’s head if I didn’t know that the Cleveland MLB team owner Larry Dolan said something similar in a conversation with Oberlin College students when he was a trustee there. He said he would be said to “have given in” to the protesters it he changed the name and logo. Who would be making that particular accusatory statement to him, a lawyer and a billionaire? Is not such a man well enough positioned in the world to be able to make his own choices, do as he pleases, do what he knows in his head and heart is both the good and the profitable thing to do?

Here’s my thought–somehow these owners are not totally tone-deaf to morally right positions BUT they are also very aware they live in society and society for them has a particular culture. More from the tape today, allegedly Sterling talking:

“It isn’t a question — we don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong, we live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture,” the man replies:”

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Evidently for some reason powerful men, billionaire major sports’ teams’ owners see the society and culture they live within as all but endorsing and requiring racism. Still. Today. There is one way for these powerful men to disprove this: they do the right thing, and yes, if done right, the profitable thing and change the name and logo, starting in Cleveland. And in L.A.? I’ll leave that solution in the capable hands of the NBA.