The Game Of Politics: Should Black Athletes Be Involved In It?

Black lawmakers try to use black football prospects to tackle diversity issues in collegiate sports

By: Taren Vaughan

Despite what people may believe, politics are heavily involved in the world of sports. Politics determine which individuals get the highest paid coaching positions. They also determine which universities receive the most exposure in comparison to others. One of the main groups of people it affects is the actual players themselves. African American athletes in particular are largely affected by the political schemes that are accompanied with playing collegiate sports. Now they are being used by their own people to make a political statement.

In the state of South Carolina, black lawmakers have recently concocted a new plan to address a race related issue. This plan involves the use of black football recruits to fight diversity issues at a local university. They seem to have a legitimate theory behind all this. The University of South Carolina has a Board of Trustees that is made up of 22 members. Can you guess how many are of African American decent?
To no surprise, the number is extremely small. The Board consists of only one person of color. This is not shocking considering South Carolina’s reputation for harsh racism in sports. Noticing this uneven racial make-up, black South Carolina lawmakers looked to towards African American football players to draw attention to the problem. They attempted to influence potential USC football players to look into other universities’ athletic programs.
Although this is the most recent incident, black lawmakers in other areas have used football prospects to make political statements as well. In 2005, black lawmakers in Alabama influenced Auburn University recruits to select a different athletic program to be apart of. This attempt stemmed from the removal of two official positions held by African Americans.
When it comes to diversity issue in sports, some institutions will always run into a problem. Why is this? Well it may be because the school employs high powered individuals who do not particularly care to work with people of color. Of course they can’t come out and say that but it can be expressed non-verbally. Or it may be that we as minorities don’t put forth a true effort to get these types of jobs. There are so many possible answers to this question.
Looking at the overall situation, should black athletes be caught in the middle of all this?

As far as these football recruits are concerned, I am certain that some of them felt pressure from these black lawmakers to change their minds about which school to attend. We must remember that these are grown men we are talking about. Yes, they should care about the diversity issues going on at their respective institutions. But they should not feel pressured to make a political statement. They should be allowed to make their own decisions without the influence of any other party, political or not.

Source: USAToday

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