Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Slave Side of Sunday: Institutional Racism and Economic Exploitation in Professional Sports

In a post a few days ago, I posed the question “Are Black Athletes Being Played?".  Well, an anonymous reader forwarded the URL for the video clip featured above.  In it ex-NFL cornerback Anthony Prior and sportswriter Dave Zirin discuss the institutionalized racism and concomitant economic exploitation inherent in professional sports which for the most part goes unchecked and unchallenged.  The clip was made in promotion of Prior’s 2006 book The Slave Side of Sunday.  

The Nation published an excellent review of the book if you are interested in finding out more about it.

If you have a few minutes, it’s well worth your time.


Citizen Ojo said...

This is always an interesting question. Some aspects of sports are like a modern day slave auction. But then you factor in the money that they make. Are you going to read the book and do a review? I still haven't read William C. Rhoden's Forty Million Dollar Slaves. I do know one thing. The prestige may be with those players on the field but the people in power sit in those high price boxes at the stadium

blackink said...

Yeah. I haven't read this book (obviously) or William Rhoden's jawn either.

But, on first impression, I think Anthony Prior might want to switch up his delivery. He seems really bitter, which is not to say he didn't earn the right to feel that way.

He makes some great points: parents taking more responsibility for their kids; pushing children into pursuits alongside football; players needing to speak truth to power, etc etc.

However, some of it is lost in his rhetoric. I just ... nah, man. Maybe it's wrong of me to feel this way but I find it somewhat offensive to compare slavery to professional sports, in any context.

I'll definitely cop the book, though.

Max Reddick said...

The analogy to slavery is perhaps a bit overboard. First of all, slavery was forced and involuntary; however, these guys have perhaps worked their whole life to get where they are. But nevertheless, there is a certain level of economic exploitation here. And they willingly give themselves over to it. I'm not sure it's knowingly, though.

The point is almost everyone profits in the longrun but the players. Within the five or so years they are in the league, they live large. But once the glory days are over, they perhaps never receive paydays like that again. And many of them have left college without a degree. Like they say: A fool and his money are soon parted.

Anyway, prior does sound quite angry. He has that disgruntled former employee mien about him.

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