Think Prop 42, which Thompson called 'racist':
There is even the suggestion that the head Hoya's incessant crowing about the virtues of classwork smacks of the hypocritical, considering some of the less-than-solid students he has enlisted to represent this otherwise impeccable institution of higher learning. And since Thompson's teams are invariably mostly black in a school that's overwhelmingly white, Shapiro must confront the oft-heard accusations that Georgetown is represented on the basketball court by mercenaries from urban ghettos. He also addresses similar charges that ThompsonThompson himself has a pat response to such indictments: It is bigotry, pure and simple. is some sort of reverse racist who refuses to recruit qualified white players.
He boycotted two of his team's games in 1989 to protest the NCAA's passage of Proposition 42, which would have denied financial aid to athletes failing to meet such minimum academic standards as a 700 score (of a possible 1,600) on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Thompson's contention was that Proposition 42 discriminated against the culturally disadvantaged and conspired to deprive inner-city black youths of the chance for a college education.
Not every African-American sports figure agreed with Thompson. Tennis's Arthur Ashe, most prominent among the dissenters, said, "The cultural bias issue in theory makes sense. But it doesn't hold much water because 700 is so low. It's laughable. I don't know any schools in Division I that would have an incoming freshman class averaging 700 on the boards. We're also talking about a graduation rate of less than 20 percent for black athletes in colleges. That's pitiful. We're exploiting so many of these kids. My feeling is that you tell these kids in the ninth grade, 'This is what it takes to get in. If you don't do it, you can't get in.' It's got to start somewhere." But Thompson's position prevailed and Proposition 42 was modified.
Disgusting. Not one of Georgetown's Black basketball players in the history of the school would have gone to Georgetown where they not blessed with the ability to play basketball. The same goes for most Black athletes at major Predominately White Institutions (PWI), whose poor academic transcripts are overlooked because of the belief that only Black players can bring championships to the school.
Right now, only four percent of Black high school students are deemed proficient and ready for college. It doesn't seem that the few Black people at Georgetown, recruited ONLY to play basketball there, were ready for a Chinese basketball team either:
At the same time as Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Beijing in hopes of improving relations between the U.S. and China, another group on a goodwill trip from Washington encountered an unexpected diplomatic hiccup.Let's be honest: without basketball, what would these Black Georgetown basketball players be doing with their lives? None of them would be at Georgetown. None. None of them would be in college probably. The Chinese don't fuck around.
Georgetown had to leave the court during the fourth quarter of its exhibition game against the Baiyi Rockets on Thursday night in Beijing after both benches emptied and a wild brawl erupted between the two teams. None of the Hoyas were seriously injured despite trading punches with the opposing players and having to dodge chairs thrown onto the court and water bottles hurled from the stands.
Here's a great Sports Illustrated article from 1980 on Georgetown, whiteness, and the Blackness of the basketball team:
Without sports - especially access to collegiate sports - there are no positive images of Black people in America. Even with sports, there are only a few positive examples of Black athletes in America.
Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1789, Georgetown is the oldest Catholic university in the United States. Partly because of its location near the seat of federal power, it has always been a politically sophisticated institution. Its departments of law, government, international affairs, language and economics have long been among the most prestigious in the nation. Georgetown has always had a healthy sense of its own importance.
This, in turn, has had a considerable effect on Georgetown athletics. On the one hand, Georgetown was a parochial school and had a ferocious desire to win games, perhaps as a way of cocking a snook at the WASPs. On the other, it admired the gentleman-sport tradition of the Ivies, the concept that young gentlemen without a lot of undignified training could dash out on the field and whale the tar out of their opponents for the greater glory of the dear old blue-and-gray.
Usually, it did badly. Occasionally, Georgetown would pull off a glorious upset, but these triumphs were too infrequent to compensate for all the defeats. Usually, the teams were a bit too slow, a bit too small and, to get to the heart of the matter, much too white.
Georgetown hired Thompson in the spring of 1972. The question arises: Did the university, out of desperation, shrewdness or enlightenment, deliberately set out to hire a black coach? "No," says Charlie Deacon. "No orders to that effect came down from the top, and it wasn't a criterion of the committee's. But there were some obvious reasons why it wasn't to John's disadvantage to be black."
Thompson was given no directives—racially, that is—on the kind of players he should recruit. However, certain changes had occurred shortly before he arrived that gave him more latitude in this area than previous coaches had had. Traditionally, Georgetown has favored students with high college-board scores from largely white secondary schools. As part of the anti-cuckoo campaign of which Father Healy spoke, some academic requirements were lowered for black students, particularly those from the District of Columbia. The university went after black students who would benefit from a Georgetown education and who in turn would benefit the school by making it more representative of the Washington community as a whole. Tutoring programs were set up to help some of these students adjust. Now there are about 400 black undergraduates at Georgetown.
As far as basketball is concerned, if Thompson recommends someone, he is accepted. "We, of course, look over the records," says Deacon, "and they, of course, have to meet at least our minimum standards. If there is any problem, we talk it over, but this seldom happens. It is John's responsibility to find young men who have a good chance of making it here academically. So far, he has done beautifully."
When Thompson took over the coaching job, it was spring and he didn't have time to do much recruiting. He did bring with him three players from his St. Anthony's team, as well as two other local players, all black. A few weeks into the 1973 season these five black freshmen were starting for Georgetown.
I was pulling for the Chinese in this game, as I have pulled for every team the so-called "American"basketball team has played in the Olympics or international tournaments since I have been old enough to watch them.
Without sports, there are no positive examples of Black people in America. Always remember that. The Chinese don't seem too impressed with these student-athletes, probably because the Chinese students at Georgetown are actually there to learn and write back about how it is the Black residents of Washington D.C. that make the city unsafe.