Sports No Longer A Component Of Racism Solution – Hartford Courant

On an early Virginia night, brought to Emancipation Park by the intersection of UConn football and a passion for our democracy, I look up at an unsightly tarp covering a Civil War general and his horse, Traveller.

The first urge is to break out my Twitter snark and wonder if ESPN announcer Robert Lee is hiding under there. The second is to go on a 140-character Jemele Hill rampage against racism, white supremacy, Nazis and the KKK. The third is to point out, as a once-dedicated Civil War buff, that I’d already visited this bronzed Robert Edward Lee sculpture twice before and that history will remember Lee as a great military officer and brave leader of men.

I will do none of the three. I bury my iPhone in my pocket. I may not be terribly wise, but I am wiser than 14 months ago. I have grown wary of the role of the great umbrella of sport in helping to stop the rain of society’s hate. I have grown disheartened.

With young African-American men and policemen lying dead in our streets, I applauded Carmelo Anthony and other athletes who got involved in effort to stop the spiraling ugliness and confrontation in July 2016. I grew heartened by the Olympic basketball teams, men and women, spending an important day with the leaders of the Los Angeles police department and the community before heading to Rio. Like it or not, athletes in our society carry enormous clout, and the thought of Anthony, LeBron James and other African-American athletes taking determined, specific steps in leading the way to understanding and alleviating fear and mistrust was a wonderful thought.

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