BL: The NFL & NBA & Me… & You… & America

NFL NBA
BobLee
October17/ 2017

The NFL & NBA and Me… and You… and America

My coulda-been title for this column was:

Why Sunday @ The Masters Is Not Must-See TV in Harlem.

I’m going to say some things over the next 1,000+ words that, taken OUT of context, could have this column “go viral” but not necessarily in a good way. Taken IN context might speak for you and more than a few “you’s”… or not.

I found this on-line definition of “culture”…

a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies.

Culture

There is nothing in that definition that is qualitative in terms of “good” or “bad” or “acceptable” versus “unacceptable”. A comparison of “cultures” such as Amish versus New Guinea Tribesmen gets into wide variations of cultural differences but good, better, best is in the perspective eye of each beholder.

With that as our guiding parameter we revisit an observation first made on this website 4-5 years ago…

Gladiators VS Spectators

The Evolution of Football & Basketball in America.

I do not have The Reason that young African American men are increasingly dominating the rosters of college and professional football and basketball teams in America.

Pop socio-anthropologist author Malcom Gladwell has advanced a few “Whys” and I’m sure there are some “doozies” that involve post-Neanderthals chasing lions across the equatorial plains of The Serengeti with sticks and rocks.

Put all the legitimate and crack-pot theories in a blender and hit puree.  What emerges is that the most astute judges of athletic talent for the top college and pro leagues opt for individuals of the Afro-American persuasion.

Current NFL rosters are around 75% AfAm. Current NBA rosters are over 85% AfAm. Both leagues %s are trending upward each year.

College FB/BB rosters are slightly less AfAm dominant, but the better talent advances to the pro leagues which favors the AfAm athletes.

Throughout recorded history… when cultures mix, the culture of the majority will invariably dominate. Ask the Apaches… and the Incas… and Heteros in San Francisco. Why should NFL / NBA locker rooms be any different? They aren’t.

Every national census statistic has African-Americans at less than 15% of the total population… but, as noted, over 75% of NFL / NBA rosters.

Why is it surprising that AfAm “culture” has become dominant in both The NFL and NBA?

I don’t know when The Tipping Point was reached… but it has Tipped.

“Culture” is manifested in all manner of obvious / not-so obvious aspects. Hair styles… dress… colloquialisms… music… art… political points-of-view… attitudes towards other cultures… social/family structure… end zone celebrations… ad infinitum.

I am a product of not only White Folks culture but also Baby Boomer and Protestant and Southern sub-cultures. I am comfortable within that cultural stew pot.

My curiosity may lead me to “dip a toe” in other cultures such as with food or music, but I am most comfortable with “me and mine”.  Everyone is entitled to their personal preference / comfort zone.  It is not a “fear of” but rather “preference for”.

America being a cultural melting pot, it is necessary, by law, for each of us to develop a civil tolerance of other American sub-cultures as we go about our daily lives outside the privacy of our own homes. Ours is, by Law, a multi-integrated National culture.

We do not have to embrace other cultures but we must / should show a “civil tolerance” of them… and they with us.

That polite tolerance of other cultures does not mandate how we spend our discretionary time and $$$. We choose which restaurants we frequent. What music we listen to. How we wear our hair. What books we read… What forms of entertainment we seek.

AfAm sales of Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood music is understandably minimal.  No argument.

I have… in recent years… decided that The NFL / NBA have a definite “dominant cultural aura” that I don’t share.   Ergo, I don’t direct my time / money to those enterprises.

I am NOT “mad at” The NFL  or The NBA.

I have NO RIGHT to dictate the “dominant cultural image” of those sports in any way.

Nor… do I have any obligation to support them with my time or money.

Nor… do I believe in the concept of undying loyalty to “where I went to college”.  A hot topic for another day.

I appreciate that there may be, apparently IS, an on-going conflict between labor and management ownership of those two leagues as to the optimum “cultural image” for the ongoing financial prosperity of those businesses. That is not a debate I have a voice or vote in.

NOTE: NFL stadiums and NBA arenas spectators tend to reflect the census statistics… actually even a lower AfAm %. I don’t know about TV viewer ethnic %s.

If asked to be in a focus group on that issue, I would be glad to offer my opinion… otherwise I am just fine with the current status quo.

A true story I’ve told before. Ten years ago, standing with NFL Legend Emmett Smith at the Emmett SmithStart/Finish Line at Bristol Motor Speedway. Emmett perused the 140,000 NASCAR spectators packing the stands and observed … “Not too many brutahs up there…” To which I politely replied … “Nope.”

Why Emmett himself was there made no sense either which I think he must have been thinking too…

Every April as long as I can remember I have watched Sunday At The Masters. Probably the most consistent “Must See” sports event on my annual calendar. Even when my overall interest in “golf” is at an all-time low.

Is Sunday At The Masters on Emmett Smith’s Must-See calendar?  How many TVs in Harlem or South Central LA or Southeast Raleigh or East Durham are tuned to Sunday At The Masters? I bet very few if any. Especially with Tiger no longer a factor.

There is no “Law” governing individual conduct when the National Anthem is played. There has been an assumed civil conduct that was generally accepted until recently; but never a “You Must” as far as each individual in a stadium / arena.  We have all witnessed various casual attitudes prior to Kaepernicking.

The Kneeling Kaepernickers are not breaking any “law” with their conduct regardless of “why” they are doing what they do. As to their agreement with their employers, that seems to be The Question.

There has never been a “Law” in America about having facial hair. When I went to work for Hyatt Hotels I was told I could not sport “facial hair”.

No one with Hyatt asked “Why” I wanted to wear a beard. They simply said I could not do so AND be employed by them. So I was clean-shaven during those two+ years.

Of course… that was 30 years ago.

Times have changed in America. … Times ARE always changing in America.

###

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ultraviolet
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ultraviolet

At some point the left will have to start calling others racist for not wanting to watch the NFL or NBA. Should they get control of Congress or the presidency or both, they’ll probably pass a law requiring we must watch. In fact, I prophesy that, verily and forsooth.

TheCowdog
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TheCowdog

I guess that I find myself fortunate to have been raised culturally homogeneous to a certain degree, pretty much based on my dad’s profession.

As I grew, I found myself actively indulging the flavors of different social environs. While understanding the contexts of others’ , said comfort zones, I do find most zones rather narrow.
…Not a judgment, just observations through a lifetime.

JP
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JP

Humanity can be divided into three distinct groups:
Those of us that are qualified in submarines;
Those of you that are not, but are tolerable company;
Those of you that are breathing my air.

Wolfdon
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Wolfdon

Several years ago my family and several other friends and families were visiting EI for a week. One caucsian family , as we all were, had an AfAm son in law who was much younger than me and a very likable guy. . I was walking down the beach one morning and Rick who was also a very athletic guy called out to me and remarked that I had a very cool walk . Being an old man even then, I took his comment as tongue in cheek as I stumbled on amused at his comment He insisted then as… Read more »

bobh
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bobh

Bob, I think your essay would be better had you compared and contrasted ‘culture’ and ‘mores’. Culture has always implied an element of uplifting qualities as in attending ballet and symphony concerts as cultural events. Mores the other hand were defined by Margaret Mead decades ago to remove the element of value from the behaviors of different groups.

There is a definite and distinct difference if you adhere to the refinements inherent in the English language.

ncsu1987
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ncsu1987

I abandoned the NFL and NBA about 10 years ago or so…not sure why, just seemed I wasn’t interested in the product any more. Interesting as I think about it that it happened for both at about the same time. . Every year, I feel less and less attached to college sports as well. Don’t know it’s because (a) I’m getting old(er), or (b) the product again is changing, or (c) all of the above. . I truly enjoy the spectacle and pageantry of a fall football game at a college stadium. But said pageantry has been steadily declining, because… Read more »

BOG Guy
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BOG Guy

It will be just fine with me if pro sports goes the way of the Dixie Chicks. Barely watch the Packers any more, and am even having a hard time keeping excited about my Redbirds in baseball. I have not watched A SINGLE GAME of the baseball playoffs. I follow Connaught in the European Rugby league and that’s about it for pro sports, along with the occasional golf tournament (Master’s and The Open Championship, particularly). If pro sports do follow the Dixie Chicks, at least all those Carolina FB/BB players will get the lesson in Economics that they were seemingly… Read more »

Doug
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Doug

One result of pro sports going away would be what to do with facilities -IPF’s too- that have been built to lure athletes to a program in hopes of making it as a pro. Very few athletes in the modern era go to a program or school for any of the reasons passionate alumni and fans follow the school. The days of just wanting to play for the red & white are mostly over with for the foreseeable future. . I’m an unbeliever that pro sports is ruining college athletics. Sorry, don’t believe it. The NCAA, agents, athletic apparel makers,… Read more »

Doug
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Doug

Apologies if this is slightly astray from your main points. I’m not sure the races are as divided as we are told we are but I do think many just feel more comfortable being around “our own” most of the time. Churches, to some degree, barbershops, and funeral homes to an even greater degree. At least in the rural south these three institutions appear to me to be natural, happy, free of governmental interference, and segregated. There are some exceptions. I have been curious about the why for the barbershops and FH’s for sometime and never really asked why but… Read more »

UNCBlue
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UNCBlue

One of the greatest paradoxes of our time. We are all the same and yet multicultural.

NCSU68Grad
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NCSU68Grad

What is the famous phrase that the CEO’s and such, when faced with less than stellar results, utter….PRESUMABLY to fiend on the follow-up and embarrassing probing questions? IT IS WHAT IT IS….and we are working on it. I have weaned off the pro sports….was starting to like the NBA again until Stephen Curry opened his mouth. That was as repulsive as what Tiger Woods was hiding….and to me….the same result. NOT MY CUP OF TEA. Today, CBS got downgraded due to an EARNING MISS….and a projected FUTURE ONE…it is down 15% or so since mid August. Folks don’t boycott (unless… Read more »

Robedixon
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Robedixon

That post about Gladiators and Spectators I have thinking about a good bit the past few days as pro football has recently reflected just that point. One has to wonder how long it will be before the college game gets some of this action since the players there are many of the same ones that will playing on Sundays soon. Will college sports fans, even the rabid ones, react the same way fans and television viewers have dropped pro football? How will the NCAA and college administrations handle the situation when it happens?