For years there has been much discussion about black people and playing sports. This has been something I am interested in, as a kid I wished I could go to university to play sport, then do a profession at the same time.
This was in line with playing football (soccer), but I went to university in the UK (twice – Undergraduate and postgraduate). Now I would not encourage black young people to go to university unless they were going to become a lawyer or a medical professional.
Recently the person who protested was brave and honourable but as many have said if it wasn’t for the football players getting involved then he probably would have been left to starve or given up as there would have been little support.
This demonstrates there is much economic weight behind the people who fund sports in the west. Black people are exploited in going to play college sport and academy sport in the UK. The question I have is whether or not they are encouraged to look at alternative careers.
I remember as a young man always thinking if I became a sports person I would get some education as I heard too many stories of people knowing only sports and when they were dropped out of the sport they went into drugs and crime.
The way I see it is people should look at playing sports like Tennis or Cricket where they can get a qualification and they have to work during the off season if they are not the best to keep an income coming on, it keeps you honest. For men you can pick up a trade – Electrician, plumber or carpentry, even set up your own business. For women it could be health and well being or just setting up a business which allows you flexibility between playing your sport.
Many of times I see sports trying to take you away from real life when you play for them yet when they have finished with you they will drop you like a hot coal.
These sports people in america (and the west) should be looking towards setting examples like with the hunger strike but setting up or working with black support groups who can provide counselling and advise in relation to what alternative/back up careers you can look at if things do not work out.
Much of the time the institutions are only interested in what you can give them at that time and any external ideas or approaches are seen as a threat to them, rather than thinking only 1 in a 100 will make it through so lets prepare them for life after this sport. We must do it ourselves with organisation, planning and preparation.