BL: The NFL & NBA & Me… & You… & America

    NFL NBA
    BobLee
    October17/ 2017

    The NFL & NBA and Me… and You… and America

    My coulda-been title for this column was:

    Why Sunday @ The Masters Is Not Must-See TV in Harlem.

    I’m going to say some things over the next 1,000+ words that, taken OUT of context, could have this column “go viral” but not necessarily in a good way. Taken IN context might speak for you and more than a few “you’s”… or not.

    I found this on-line definition of “culture”…

    a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies.

    Culture

    There is nothing in that definition that is qualitative in terms of “good” or “bad” or “acceptable” versus “unacceptable”. A comparison of “cultures” such as Amish versus New Guinea Tribesmen gets into wide variations of cultural differences but good, better, best is in the perspective eye of each beholder.

    With that as our guiding parameter we revisit an observation first made on this website 4-5 years ago…

    Gladiators VS Spectators

    The Evolution of Football & Basketball in America.

    I do not have The Reason that young African American men are increasingly dominating the rosters of college and professional football and basketball teams in America.

    Pop socio-anthropologist author Malcom Gladwell has advanced a few “Whys” and I’m sure there are some “doozies” that involve post-Neanderthals chasing lions across the equatorial plains of The Serengeti with sticks and rocks.

    Put all the legitimate and crack-pot theories in a blender and hit puree.  What emerges is that the most astute judges of athletic talent for the top college and pro leagues opt for individuals of the Afro-American persuasion.

    Current NFL rosters are around 75% AfAm. Current NBA rosters are over 85% AfAm. Both leagues %s are trending upward each year.

    College FB/BB rosters are slightly less AfAm dominant, but the better talent advances to the pro leagues which favors the AfAm athletes.

    Throughout recorded history… when cultures mix, the culture of the majority will invariably dominate. Ask the Apaches… and the Incas… and Heteros in San Francisco. Why should NFL / NBA locker rooms be any different? They aren’t.

    Every national census statistic has African-Americans at less than 15% of the total population… but, as noted, over 75% of NFL / NBA rosters.

    Why is it surprising that AfAm “culture” has become dominant in both The NFL and NBA?

    I don’t know when The Tipping Point was reached… but it has Tipped.

    “Culture” is manifested in all manner of obvious / not-so obvious aspects. Hair styles… dress… colloquialisms… music… art… political points-of-view… attitudes towards other cultures… social/family structure… end zone celebrations… ad infinitum.

    I am a product of not only White Folks culture but also Baby Boomer and Protestant and Southern sub-cultures. I am comfortable within that cultural stew pot.

    My curiosity may lead me to “dip a toe” in other cultures such as with food or music, but I am most comfortable with “me and mine”.  Everyone is entitled to their personal preference / comfort zone.  It is not a “fear of” but rather “preference for”.

    America being a cultural melting pot, it is necessary, by law, for each of us to develop a civil tolerance of other American sub-cultures as we go about our daily lives outside the privacy of our own homes. Ours is, by Law, a multi-integrated National culture.

    We do not have to embrace other cultures but we must / should show a “civil tolerance” of them… and they with us.

    That polite tolerance of other cultures does not mandate how we spend our discretionary time and $$$. We choose which restaurants we frequent. What music we listen to. How we wear our hair. What books we read… What forms of entertainment we seek.

    AfAm sales of Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood music is understandably minimal.  No argument.

    I have… in recent years… decided that The NFL / NBA have a definite “dominant cultural aura” that I don’t share.   Ergo, I don’t direct my time / money to those enterprises.

    I am NOT “mad at” The NFL  or The NBA.

    I have NO RIGHT to dictate the “dominant cultural image” of those sports in any way.

    Nor… do I have any obligation to support them with my time or money.

    Nor… do I believe in the concept of undying loyalty to “where I went to college”.  A hot topic for another day.

    I appreciate that there may be, apparently IS, an on-going conflict between labor and management ownership of those two leagues as to the optimum “cultural image” for the ongoing financial prosperity of those businesses. That is not a debate I have a voice or vote in.

    NOTE: NFL stadiums and NBA arenas spectators tend to reflect the census statistics… actually even a lower AfAm %. I don’t know about TV viewer ethnic %s.

    If asked to be in a focus group on that issue, I would be glad to offer my opinion… otherwise I am just fine with the current status quo.

    A true story I’ve told before. Ten years ago, standing with NFL Legend Emmett Smith at the Emmett SmithStart/Finish Line at Bristol Motor Speedway. Emmett perused the 140,000 NASCAR spectators packing the stands and observed … “Not too many brutahs up there…” To which I politely replied … “Nope.”

    Why Emmett himself was there made no sense either which I think he must have been thinking too…

    Every April as long as I can remember I have watched Sunday At The Masters. Probably the most consistent “Must See” sports event on my annual calendar. Even when my overall interest in “golf” is at an all-time low.

    Is Sunday At The Masters on Emmett Smith’s Must-See calendar?  How many TVs in Harlem or South Central LA or Southeast Raleigh or East Durham are tuned to Sunday At The Masters? I bet very few if any. Especially with Tiger no longer a factor.

    There is no “Law” governing individual conduct when the National Anthem is played. There has been an assumed civil conduct that was generally accepted until recently; but never a “You Must” as far as each individual in a stadium / arena.  We have all witnessed various casual attitudes prior to Kaepernicking.

    The Kneeling Kaepernickers are not breaking any “law” with their conduct regardless of “why” they are doing what they do. As to their agreement with their employers, that seems to be The Question.

    There has never been a “Law” in America about having facial hair. When I went to work for Hyatt Hotels I was told I could not sport “facial hair”.

    No one with Hyatt asked “Why” I wanted to wear a beard. They simply said I could not do so AND be employed by them. So I was clean-shaven during those two+ years.

    Of course… that was 30 years ago.

    Times have changed in America. … Times ARE always changing in America.

    ###

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    BobLee
    • ultraviolet Reply
      1 year ago

      At some point the left will have to start calling others racist for not wanting to watch the NFL or NBA. Should they get control of Congress or the presidency or both, they’ll probably pass a law requiring we must watch. In fact, I prophesy that, verily and forsooth.

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        Trying to figure how liberals will act in any what-if situation is next to impossible for us not-liberals. It’s like trying to figure how a cannibal might season a missionary before having him for dinner… unless you’ve eaten a missionary, you have no frame of reference.

    • TheCowdog Reply
      1 year ago

      I guess that I find myself fortunate to have been raised culturally homogeneous to a certain degree, pretty much based on my dad’s profession.

      As I grew, I found myself actively indulging the flavors of different social environs. While understanding the contexts of others’ , said comfort zones, I do find most zones rather narrow.
      …Not a judgment, just observations through a lifetime.

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        I think that applies to most people… and over a lifetime one is a composite of all the various circumstances one encounters. I chose to leave Downeast NC at 18 and spent 25 years in a series of metropolitan areas as diverse as San Antonio and Boston including six months in Mexico. When I return for HS reunions I find classmates who chose to stay “close to home”. We are all products of our choices.
        .
        Again… I am not admonishing the NFL or NBA for what they have become or saying either should “change or else”. I have, personally, moved on to other entertainment interests. My choice. What you or anyone else chooses to do with your discretionary time / $$$ is your choice. I have never considered myself “in the mainstream”. Or had that as a goal to attain. From what you have shared of your life, I suspect you don’t see yourself as “mainstream” either. I bet we are both OK with where we are…

        • TheCowdog Reply
          1 year ago

          Yup. Always preferred little creeks and tributaries.

    • JP Reply
      1 year ago

      Humanity can be divided into three distinct groups:
      Those of us that are qualified in submarines;
      Those of you that are not, but are tolerable company;
      Those of you that are breathing my air.

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        OK.

        • JP Reply
          1 year ago

          Race, gender, sexual orientation, and what you do in your spare time all fall by the wayside in a nuclear-propelled sewer pipe, drilling holes in the ocean. You’re down there for months at a time with 110 of your closest friends. Until you qualify, you’re a NUB. Non-Useful Body, and your ignorance of systems and procedures is a positive hazard to everyone around you. A qualified submariner is the fire department, and no one is leaving the building. We talk a lot about race, and gender, and a bunch of other meaningless crap when what really matters is getting qualified. Anyone who makes an issue of their skin color, or who they like to sleep with while our house is on fire is just sucking up air and is best ignored.

          • BobLee Reply
            1 year ago

            I can honestly say “being in a submarine” has never been on any bucket list I’ve had. Right along with working “high steel” on skyscraper/bridge construction.

            • JP
              1 year ago

              Service on a sub gives one a certain perspective. No TV, no phones, no email. It allows for a kind of focus and deliberation that is hard to come by in this world. It is a meritocracy with a very steep learning curve and no room for failure. Lying or stealing can have grave outcomes. Life boils down to three things; the boat, the crew, and the mission. No wife or mother can even come close to knowing you as well as the guys who serve with you. If we, as a country, spent more time holding up our respective ends of the social contract than worrying about the failures of others then we might make a go of this grand experiment once more. Like US Submariners, we’re considered the A-Team. Maybe we should try getting qualified to live up to that title.

    • Wolfdon Reply
      1 year ago

      Several years ago my family and several other friends and families were visiting EI for a week. One caucsian family , as we all were, had an AfAm son in law who was much younger than me and a very likable guy.
      .
      I was walking down the beach one morning and Rick who was also a very athletic guy called out to me and remarked that I had a very cool walk . Being an old man even then, I took his comment as tongue in cheek as I stumbled on amused at his comment He insisted then as he does today that iit was so.
      .
      About three weeks later I got out of my truck back home to walk into the library and sitting out front on a bench were an AA young couple who eyed me as I approached, the same shuffling old man. Hey, that is a cool walk ! they said as I passed. To this day I know they had to be kidding.. but two independent sources from the AA community can’t be wrong can they?
      .
      All my white puzzled friends think so cause they have seen me walk …. could this just be a black thing?

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        WD… I would have to see you walk myself to have a worthy comment. Maybe “you have a cool walk” is some sort of black hipster jive expression. Beats me… 🙂 … say “thank you” and shuffle on along.

        • wolfdon Reply
          1 year ago

          My wife of 55 years who recently passed never said anything about a cool walk, all she ever said was “stand up straight when you walk!”😊

          • BobLee Reply
            1 year ago

            She probably knew you better than the two dudes on the park bench… 🙂

    • bobh Reply
      1 year ago

      Bob, I think your essay would be better had you compared and contrasted ‘culture’ and ‘mores’. Culture has always implied an element of uplifting qualities as in attending ballet and symphony concerts as cultural events. Mores the other hand were defined by Margaret Mead decades ago to remove the element of value from the behaviors of different groups.

      There is a definite and distinct difference if you adhere to the refinements inherent in the English language.

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        BH, are you implying I do not have a “high brow” audience of refined intellectuals? May God have mercy on my soul if I ever thought these Buddies & Babes fit THAT description. … Customs / Mores Whatever… it all comes down to funny haircuts and whether they wear socks with their Weejuns.
        .
        I know for a fact that very few NFLers or NBAers have ever owned a pair of “Weejuns”.

        • bobh Reply
          1 year ago

          You would be surprised what those old Weejuns go for. I sold a 40 year old pair a few years ago for $150.

    • ncsu1987 Reply
      1 year ago

      I abandoned the NFL and NBA about 10 years ago or so…not sure why, just seemed I wasn’t interested in the product any more. Interesting as I think about it that it happened for both at about the same time.
      .
      Every year, I feel less and less attached to college sports as well. Don’t know it’s because (a) I’m getting old(er), or (b) the product again is changing, or (c) all of the above.
      .
      I truly enjoy the spectacle and pageantry of a fall football game at a college stadium. But said pageantry has been steadily declining, because attendance is down, because younger fans don’t give a damn about pageantry, or for a myriad of other reasons. And, as you astutely point out, I have no right to dictate what other people should get out their experience, but mine is on the decline.
      .
      I honestly don’t give a damn what other people do during the playing of the national anthem. If I’m there, I will take off my hat, I will stand, I will place my hand over my heart, I will remain quiet and respectful. And, if I’m feeling generous, I will hum along quietly rather than subject my neighbors to the atrocity of my singing. But that’s really just me, and it’s really based on what I was taught in my father’s house. I don’t care what someone else does, moved beyond that years ago. Really, really don’t understand why anyone gets their panties in a wad when someone else doesn’t do what they think they should. Again, that’s just me.
      .
      Here’s an idea for a future column, and it’ll cost you the same that you charged for your advice for my alma mater in a recent column: why do we play the national anthem at sporting events? Now THAT would make for some interesting comments from your broad and thoughtful readership…

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        Until “recently” America has been a VERY patriotic nation in many “traditional ways”. Eight years of Obama changed a lot of that. Surprised we still have a 4th of July.
        .
        Most of “us” really like SSB and “fly overs” but a select few decided those are bad… so they are being not-so-slowly removed. Who gave “those few” the right to decide for the rest of us ???? Who Indeed!

    • BOG Guy Reply
      1 year ago

      It will be just fine with me if pro sports goes the way of the Dixie Chicks. Barely watch the Packers any more, and am even having a hard time keeping excited about my Redbirds in baseball. I have not watched A SINGLE GAME of the baseball playoffs. I follow Connaught in the European Rugby league and that’s about it for pro sports, along with the occasional golf tournament (Master’s and The Open Championship, particularly). If pro sports do follow the Dixie Chicks, at least all those Carolina FB/BB players will get the lesson in Economics that they were seemingly deprived of during their college experience.

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        I still watch my MLBaseball but thats it. Just enough College FB to have opinions here. ZERO NFL and NBA. Last year I could not name Roy’s Starting Five until March. This year I may not at all. I REALLY don’t like that man.

      • Doug Reply
        1 year ago

        One result of pro sports going away would be what to do with facilities -IPF’s too- that have been built to lure athletes to a program in hopes of making it as a pro. Very few athletes in the modern era go to a program or school for any of the reasons passionate alumni and fans follow the school. The days of just wanting to play for the red & white are mostly over with for the foreseeable future.
        .
        I’m an unbeliever that pro sports is ruining college athletics. Sorry, don’t believe it. The NCAA, agents, athletic apparel makers, handlers, runners, crooks, and many schools are doing a perfectly good job of ruining sports on their own. Many of the newer NCAA rules that limit coaching contacts with perspective players are really just a smokescreen for letting more and more unsavory elements do the dirty work with recruits behind the scenes in hopes that coaches will fly undetected under the radar. Well that was the plan until the FBI showed up last month with other ideas.

        • BobLee Reply
          1 year ago

          Any modification of the labor pipeline to “the Pros” doesn’t really effect either The NBA or NFL. If college players are “paid” or given class credits for practices or not required to even attend classes has no effect on NBA NFL. There is no SAT / ACT to play in the Pros.
          .
          Now… IF enough kids stop playing FB at the Youth Rec League level THAT will ultimately have an effect. A few canaries are dying in the coal mine already about THAT.

          • Doug Reply
            1 year ago

            If pro sports goes the way of the Dixie Chicks as BOG Guy suggested, it won’t matter if kids quit playing at the rec level or not. Triangle FB and MBB can go back to playing at the Riddick Stadium or the Tin Car. Heck, Wallace Wade Stadium crowds are already there. Think field hockey, soccer, or, perish the thought, WBB and WNBA type crowds. Teams full of pre-med and engineering students. Southern Ivy’s. 😎 NCSU’s practice hangar becomes a hog parlor. UNC’s IPF becomes a processing center for snowflakes and “Dreamers.” Yikes!

            • BobLee
              1 year ago

              Not sure any of those Cultural Tsunamis are likely in our lifetimes… but ya never know. 🙂

            • BOG Guy
              1 year ago

              I really like all things pork, so maybe that’s not a bad idea.

    • Doug Reply
      1 year ago

      Apologies if this is slightly astray from your main points. I’m not sure the races are as divided as we are told we are but I do think many just feel more comfortable being around “our own” most of the time. Churches, to some degree, barbershops, and funeral homes to an even greater degree. At least in the rural south these three institutions appear to me to be natural, happy, free of governmental interference, and segregated. There are some exceptions. I have been curious about the why for the barbershops and FH’s for sometime and never really asked why but everyone involved seems to be perfectly ok with it.

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        Excellent pondering points. Since the CRA in the late 60s, A LOT of “zigs” have taken place that maybe shoulda been “zags” but here we are. I’m fine with The NFL / NBA being “how they are”… so long as I have an option to watch / not watch. Which I currently do have.

    • UNCBlue Reply
      1 year ago

      One of the greatest paradoxes of our time. We are all the same and yet multicultural.

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        Indeed…

    • NCSU68Grad Reply
      1 year ago

      What is the famous phrase that the CEO’s and such, when faced with less than stellar results, utter….PRESUMABLY to fiend on the follow-up and embarrassing probing questions?
      IT IS WHAT IT IS….and we are working on it.
      I have weaned off the pro sports….was starting to like the NBA again until Stephen Curry opened his mouth. That was as repulsive as what Tiger Woods was hiding….and to me….the same result. NOT MY CUP OF TEA.
      Today, CBS got downgraded due to an EARNING MISS….and a projected FUTURE ONE…it is down 15% or so since mid August. Folks don’t boycott (unless the Revs that want to blackmail the companies tell them to…). They just “vote” with their pocketbooks. Natalie Maines of the ill-fated “Dixie Chicks” took her stand. She even had a custom rhinestone beaded T that read “FUTB”. TB stood for Toby Keith…
      I guess the fact that there are NO PLANNED DCX 2017 Tour Dates on their Website and Natalie is almost “non-existent” speaks volumes.
      The Jaguars have issued a PUBLIC apology for their London “KNEALING”. Fans are flying banners over the games….calling them out. They can’t even sell or give away tickets…
      A wise investor would SHORT CBS and probably come out ahead. Trump’s tweets were probably a bit “above” the bar….but the press has hit him so hard with cheap “below” the belt punches that I can’t fuss.
      Distance yourself from your market….you suffer. Seems to me that you, being somewhat “versed” in NASCAR demographics and marketing and such FULLY understand that and could write a Harvard Business School Thesis paper on same. It should be titled…”How to LOSE your Red Neck Fans”. One could pen (click) a similar one next spring about the NFL.
      Michael Vick did the NFL a lot of harm….more so than all the “felons” and such about “abuse”. You don’t get pet lovers to watch sports where there is someone that abuses animals. This little fiasco is going to be marked with an asterick on the “viewership ratings” charts…..for a LONG time.

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        Each successive week with low viewership bodes UNGOOD for NFL. As folks realize they won’t grow hair in the palms if they don’t watch … they won’t. Breaking the NFL habit takes about two weeks…

    • Robedixon Reply
      1 year ago

      That post about Gladiators and Spectators I have thinking about a good bit the past few days as pro football has recently reflected just that point. One has to wonder how long it will be before the college game gets some of this action since the players there are many of the same ones that will playing on Sundays soon. Will college sports fans, even the rabid ones, react the same way fans and television viewers have dropped pro football? How will the NCAA and college administrations handle the situation when it happens?

      • BobLee Reply
        1 year ago

        I predict college fans in general would respond in similar fashion. That said, IT (Kaepernicking) has not progressed to the college level YET so perhaps it won’t… but the Cultural Dominance is already there.

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