by John Walters

Walk Off

What if Lamar walked off?

I’ve been thinking about writing this for the past two weeks, but 10-hour days at the diner every day (we’re located almost within an Instagram photo of the Rockefeller Center tree) have precluded any deep dives. But anyway, as we deal with a White House that seems increasingly emboldened to disregard laws and no longer even pretends to disguise its favor for Americans who are white supremacists, the thought came to me:

What is it that racists are completely able to overlook when it comes to their distaste for minorities? And the answer is, of course, sports. You’ll find thousands of racists attending and/or betting on sports events, particularly football games. Millions more will watch on television. Whatever they happen to think of black people in private, they have no problem tuning in to watch a bowl game or five NBA games on Christmas day.

And so it came to me that if Black America ever really wanted to effect change in American culture, its athletic leaders have a very powerful tool at their disposal. A mass walkout. Think about not only how many billions and billions of dollars flow through the system due to sporting events (both in local economies and through television networks and advertising) but what a giant part of the weekly diet it is for so many of us.

What if LeBron walked off?

What if African-American athletes, en masse, were to simply go on strike until whatever specific change they hoped to effect (and that’s the rub here: you’d have to state something specific you wanted changed; and before you go down the Colin Kaepernick road, can you really hold a league hostage until one team puts him on its roster? That’s an entirely different question)? And they could invite their fellow white athletes to join them if they believed in the cause.

It would cripple the sports industry. And that’s no minor economic or cultural blip.

Now, sure, Luka Doncic is an MVP-caliber player, but I don’t think American fans want to see a league strictly comprised of Luka, Kyle Korver and Frank Kaminsky. And while Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees are superb, who are they going to throw to? Cooper Kupp and Julian Edelman all day?

There’s no other part of American life in which African-Americans play such a vital role as they do in team sports (never mind the Olympics). If a change is ever gonna come, this would be the most profound and quickest way to make it.

The inspiration for this finally being put down on paper (internet paper) is two-fold: 1) finally have a day off and 2) what took place during the Chelsea-Tottenham match in London on Sunday. Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who is German but of African descent, was subject to racist jeers for part of the match from the Tottenham crowd.

Tottenham is in London. It’s not a backwoods, redneck precinct. In the aftermath of the incident, Sky Sports analyst Gary Neville, a former Premier League player, noted that viewers and fans need to take a closer look at where fans are getting the feeling of empowerment to so boldly behave this way—even in London. Neville then went on to say that he would support players if they were to walk off the pitch in a mass protest.

Sadly, Sky Sports host David Jones cut in and felt compelled to remind viewers that these are the opinions of Neville and not Sky Sports. So David Jones just added his name to the ash heap of history when documentaries are made about what a sad era this was for the western world in terms of bigotry and racial intolerance. Well done, David.

Twas A Jake Tapper Thread

Five Films: 1980

  1. Airplane! I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley. I tweeted this a few weeks ago and I mean it: my life can be divided in half, the person I was before seeing this film and the person after. And in a film that just stuffs as many jokes and gags as possible, I still chortle when the pilot’s wife tells the horse she’s sleeping next to to let himself out. 2. Raging Bull: The original Robert De Niro & Joe Pesci buddy film from Scorcese. Siskel & Ebert considered this the best film of the decade. 3. Caddyshack: Written in a cocaine-induced stupor by Douglas Kenney, the same man who gave us Animal House. He saw Airplane! three weeks after this was released and was inconsolable because the Zucker brothers had made a funnier film. A month later, at the age of 33, he was dead. 3. The Shining: Jack in the box 5. The Empire Strikes Back: Simply the best of the—how many have there been now, seven?—Star Wars films.

I really wanted to put Breaker Morant in here, and to a lesser extent Atlantic City, but which film in the top five to push out? So here’s a nudge to see these two films if you haven’t already because I’m sure, like me, you’ve already seen at least four of the above five multiple times.

3 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. “Workin’ 9 to 5,
    What a way to make a livin’
    Barely gettin’ by
    It’s all takin’ and no givin’
    They just use your mind
    And they never give you credit
    It’s enough to drive you crazy
    If you let it”

    Well, TODAY I’m only workin’ 8:30-12:30 but Nine to Five is one of my fave 1980 films. Not a great film but I do love when we women “stick it to the man”, so to say. 🙂

    I agree that Empire Strikes Back is probably the best of the Star Wars movies & I laughed-snorted my way thru Airplane! so much that I almost CHOKED on a popcorn kernel & possibly why I don’t think as highly as you on the movie. Yep, ‘life or death experiences’ can do that to you. 🙂

    Other faves : The Blues Brothers, Coal Miner’s Daughter (Sissy Spacek was fabulous), Urban Cowboy only for the soundtrack & some of the dancing & FAME, strictly for the dancing. 1980 actually began an era for me where I was so desperate for a movie musical, that I went to many “dance” films looking for my fix. Electric Boogaloo, anyone?

    Finally, I also enjoyed the romantic fantasy “Somewhere in Time”. Partly for the film , but mostly because of this memory – at my 1st job at my company, I worked with a group of women (about 6-7) doing some kind of clerical task (no longer remember what exactly) & one day we chatted about our fave movies & one woman brought up this movie & we all put our 2 cents in & this one girl, who had just started working with us pipes up & says she “liked it & all but didn’t think it was very realistic”. The rest of us stopped what we were doing & just looked at her, each of us trying to decide if she was of course, kidding. (The male lead GOES BACK IN TIME because of his attraction/obsession with a woman in a photo). She was NOT kidding & the rest of us tried to stifle our guffaws & not be flat-out rude. (How would YOU have responded, jdubs?!) For YEARS after, “not very realistic” became an inside joke amongst this group & we’d try to wedge it into our conversations whenever we ran into each other. 🙂 🙂 This happened in 1983 or 84 & I still remember where I was at the table & looking up at the girl, trying to discern if she pulling our legs & having a laugh or actually serious. And no, her name was not “Shirley”. 🙂

    Well, I will be away from a computer until Friday, so MERRY CHRISTMAS to all at MH (& Mamadubs & Katie) & to all a ‘good afternoon’. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *