October 9, 2017

HATING BLACK ATHLETES IS A TRADITION:

After Forty-four Years, It's Time Brent Musburger Apologized to John Carlos and Tommie Smith : When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists at the 1968 Olympics, they were called "black skinned stormtroopers" by a young journalist named Brent Musburger. It's past time for an apology. (Dave Zirin, JUNE 4, 2012, The Nation)

In 1968 Musburger was a restless, ambitious young sports writer looking to make his name. He found his opportunity when Smith and Carlos made their stand. Musburger didn't see a demonstration. He saw a target.

"One gets a little tired of having the United States run down by athletes who are enjoying themselves at the expense of their country," he wrote. Musburger then infamously called Smith and Carlos "a pair of black-skinned stormtroopers."

The above quote has been disseminated in books and articles for years but Musburger's full column is a difficult find. With an assist from Professor Jules Boykoff and an old-school tool called microfilm, I found it, and if anything, it's even uglier than the above quotes suggest. The headline is "Bizarre Protest By Smith, Carlos Tarnishes Medals." Despite seeing what they did as "bizarre," Musburger doesn't once address why Smith and Carlos did what they did or quote them directly. He does however find time to mock them repeatedly. He describes Smith and Carlos as "juvenile", "ignoble," and--this actually is bizarre--"unimaginative." Musburger calls Tommie Smith "the militant black." In describing a scene of Carlos trying to defend their actions, Musburger writes, "Perhaps it's time 20-year-old athletes quit passing themselves off as social philosophers."

And then there are those words that still singe the eyes: "black-skinned stormtroopers." You almost don't believe it until you read it.

As for the actual stormtrooper-sympathizer, Musburger refers to Brundage as a kindly old grandfather and with great affection and addresses him as "Avery". No mention of course that many of the athletes called him "Slavery Avery."

Posted by at October 9, 2017 9:59 AM

  

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