knapplc wrote: Art Vandelay wrote:
knapplc wrote:Gumbie's actual point was that the athletes at the Winter Olympics should not be classified as "the greatest athletes in the world" because by and large they are not Black.
Defend that and we have a conversation on our hands.
No, he wasn't saying they weren't the best in the world because they aren't black, he was saying it's silly to have a competition of the best in the world when half of the world is exempt from competition because of geography.
The facts of Gumbel's statement do not fit your interpretation:
Bryant Gumbel wrote:"So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention."
I see nothing in this statement that relates to geography. If you have further quotes from his statement then I'm eager to read them, but I think it's pretty clear what he's saying here.
What I'm saying is that people are not going beyond Gumbel's actually words to see the point that is made by them. People stop at his inflamitory language (and I think we can all agree that he defintiely could have used better language) to see that he has a point. Anyway...here's an excerpt from commentary about this that I saw on http://www.commondreams.org
, this basically says what I mean, only better than I have been saying it:
Let's look at Gumbel's comments again. "So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the winter games look like a GOP convention." Patrick told his listening audience that Gumbel was "playing the race card" by claiming whites couldn't be good athletes -- when in fact Gumbel was hardly saying anything so shocking, or even that new. The fact is -- and Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly confirmed this -- that the athletes and the audience in Torino are almost entirely white. This isn't because Black people aren't comfortable in the cold, but because of access to the types of sports on display at the Winter Games. In fact, the Winter Olympics are such a Snow White affair, it became international news Saturday when Shani Davis became the first Black Olympian to win an individual gold, not only in the 2006 Olympics but the entire history of the Winter Games. Davis knew it himself, saying, "I'm one of a kind." For Davis, his special status was heightened by messages he received on his personal web site, revealing, "they hoped I would fall, break my leg, using the n-word." [Maybe Davis is "playing the race card," too?] In the history of athletics, anytime African-American athletes have had access and opportunity they have excelled. Sports that require thousands of dollars of equipment, country club memberships and trips to Vail will continue to be as segregated as New Orleans.
Gumbel's comments on winter sports are not different from what John McEnroe and Andre Agassi have argued about tennis. They have both said, with no backlash, that there are potentially incredible tennis players in the inner cities of the US that we will never see because of an absence of public tennis courts and basic infrastructure. It's not different from the lament of Negro League baseball players of the 1930s like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and Buck O'Neal who didn't understand how Joe Dimaggio and Dizzy Dean could be called "the best" baseball players when they didn't even have a chance to compete. Yet Gumbel is a target for stating the obvious.