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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?

Nobody Really Cares About Racism?

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If you are a Native American, if you are an American, if you are a person–isn’t racism always racism?

We all share one home, earth, and one race, the human race. It is time for everyone to respect everyone. Change ALL team names that are of a “race” of people, all mascots and logos that depict “races” of people. We can and really should find new and exciting ways to enjoy supporting our teams.

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Racism Is Racism Is Racism

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Boston, how far you have fallen. After the Bruins were defeated in a Stanley Cup playoff series game on Thursday the Twitterverse lit up with racism. From the Boston fans. Because the Canadiens player P.K. Subban has dark skin. His parents moved from the Caribbean to Canada decades ago. P.K. was born in Canada.

Boston has a proud history of racial equality and a shameful history of racism. The response to this week’s events by the NHL is positive yet weak. Hoping there will be change, labeling racists as racist, classless, and ignorant is an important step. The next step requires action. What will the Bruins actually do now? What can they do?

They can contribute directly to educational programs in Boston city schools. They can work with the other major sports teams, the Red Sox and the Patriots to develop school programs for all of Massachusetts’ schools, public and private, preschool through university level teaching the history of racism in sports. Only then will their words have meaning.

“I share the thoughts of Cam and the organization. It’s just poor judgment, poor taste, and we don’t associate ourselves with people like that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “People who act that way are not what we call our fans. They may think they are, but we certainly don’t support that. It’s a shame that this is still going around in this day and age that people are still thinking that way. For us, it’s a shame. As I mentioned, it’s certainly not getting our support on that one.”

Boston left winger Milan Lucic also commented:

‘It’s very, very disappointing to hear that,’ he said. ‘It’s really sad that people do something like that… To criticize someone about something that has nothing to do with hockey on an issue like that is very ignorant and stupid if you asked me.”

A good beginning. Only a beginning.

 

 

 

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.