THE: controversy that has been in the news in the U.S.A., is whether in the field of sports there exists racism or not. A few weeks ago during the basketball playoff in Boston between Celtics and Pistons some angry remarks were exchanged. rodman and Thomas of Pistons alleged that Bird, would be just another good player if he was black. Now the fact of the matter is that black or white is not the question. Bird is a good player who happens to be white and “Magic” Johnson the MVP this year happens to be black.

Now that L.A. Lakers have won the N.B.A. championship does it mean that they are the best team, simply because their coach Pat Riley isa white or that their team is composed mainly of blacks? Or is it the other way around that the Celtics lost because their coach K.C. Jones is black and the team is majority white?

The issue of race and colour in sports raised its ugly head more than a decade ago. It is a tragic irony of our times that blacks who dominate the major sports like Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Athletics in this country are ignored at the administrative level.

Aaron the V.P. of Atlantic Braves is one of the few blacks who occupies the top position. According to him “blacks” have been completely ignored. “No matter what level, they look for whites and Ueberroth is the Commissioner of Baseball and he has never played an inning in his life”. On the other hand NFL Commissioner Rozelle says there is little he can do to force teams to hire blacks. Elsewhere the old issue of cricket and South Africa is alive yet again as India and Pakistan prepare to host the World Cup later this year. West Indies has proposed that players who maintain links with South Africa be banned. Some countries like Australia are objecting to that and the world cup could end up in another bitter controversy. India forfeited its right to play in the Davis cup a few years ago as it refused to play Israel. The Olympics have been boycotted by the powers far too often making a mockery of the sports organizations of this world. If blacks can be good players why can’t they be good administrators and furthermore like they say “you are innocent till proven guilty”. Blacks have to be given a chance to prove themselves at this job. It is heartening to hear Jesse Jackson the black politician leading the fight. A country like U.S.A. which represents the best in the world as far as humanity and law are concerned cannot ignore the issue any longer. Some of the best names in sports here are blacks and their earnings can mean a lot for the black cause. Walter Payton of Chicago Bears, who is black has already hinted at becoming the first black to own a NFL franchise.

The point to be noted is that no matter what colour you happen to be, if you are good you are good. Colour and race has dominated sports off the record, but now that everybody is aware, it augurs well for the future of sports, which has been sadly dominated by politics whose actual victims are sportsmen.

Let all sports people become colorblind to the issue. Some win, some lose but winning and losing is not because you are black or white, it’s so because you happen to be that good or that bad in that particular sport.

Till Next Week Sportingly yours R.S.

Article extracted from this publication >>  June 26, 1987