Double standard continues with Black athletes

Richard Sherman’s post-game rant gets him labeled a ‘thug’

Jason Lewis | 1/30/2014, midnight
Compton native Richard Sherman is at the center of attention during Super Bowl week. The Stanford graduate, who is working on his Master’s degree, has been called a thug over a post-game rant. /Photo by Jeff Lewis

While Black players are criticized for unruly behavior, it is said that White players in the NHL are policing their own by fighting, and it is said that it is just a part of the game. The referees do not stop the fights, and fans thoroughly enjoy them. Ice hockey players are not called thugs or gangbangers for these fights.

Major League Baseball also has a long history of fights, usually in the form of bench clearing brawls. Baseball is still a predominately White sport, so they also get a pass compared to football and basketball.

Back in 2006, the University of Miami and Florida International University had a fight during a football game that made national news, as the mostly Black players threw punches at midfield. Many of the players were from the inner city of Miami, and they were called thugs. After the game, 31 players from both schools were suspended. Typically after a baseball brawl, one or two players may receive punishments, if that, but nobody’s character is attacked.

In the 2009 season opener, Oregon University running back LeGarrette Blount, who is Black, punched a Boise State player after a game. The Boise State player taunted Blount, which led to the one-punch fight. After the game there was national backlash against Blount, and he was suspended for the rest of the season. He was reinstated later that year for good behavior, but he did not see any game action until the final game of the season. If that happened in hockey or baseball, the punishment would have been minimal, and there would not have been any national backlash or racial taunts.

There are numerous cases of Black athletes being raked over the coals for behavior that is frowned upon, but their White counterparts do not receive the same level of scrutiny, and do not have to deal with racial insults from people of other races. While race relations in this country have come a long way from the days of slavery and the Civil Rights Era, it is painfully obvious that all people are not viewed as equal in today’s society.