By Dr. Boyce Watkins
I am not a fan of the NCAA, a sports league that earns money on the par of the NFL and NBA, but has somehow decided that they don’t have to properly compensate their employees or give them standard rights to negotiation. What’s worse is that the NCAA does tremendous harm to the African American community, sucking up kids with hoop dreams and destroying their futures with inferior educations.
When I recently read that the NCAA may be hiring a black president (Dr. Bernard Franklin), the only thing I could say is “whoopty-damn-doo.” While some of us might be tempted to applaud such an achievement, we must fully understand that the disease of racism is sometimes delivered through the hands of a black overseer.
Dr. Franklin, while running around the country applauding his organization for giving one opportunity to one black person, should probably think of the thousands of African American families being used up by the very system he has been trained to manage. The NCAA is, without question, one of the most exploitative regimes in the history of America, right next to slavery and the prison system. Billions are earned each year off the backs of African American families, while the league has worked together with Congress to create a nexus of regulations that keep the athlete and his/her family from getting a piece of the economic pie.
To make matters worse, although half of the college football players are black, only 9 out of 120 college football coaches are African American. So, when black athletes give their all for the NCAA, the universities promptly spit them out in exchange for the next great superstar from the ghetto. African Americans are good enough to run up and down the field, but not good enough to actually coach the team. But even if they were being hired as coaches, that doesn’t excuse the fact that many of their mothers live and die in poverty while head coaches and campuses earns millions from their labor.
If Dr. Franklin is going to impress me, he isn’t going to do it with fancy suits and big titles. He’s going to do it by showing us that he cares about someone other than himself and his cronies at the NCAA. Rising to the top of an exploitative empire does nothing but deepen your connection to activities which ultimately destroy the integrity of your spirit. That is not a job I would want.