Wednesday, January 6, 2010

College Football - the Opiate of America

Why is it that SBPDL spends so much time discussing college football? A cursory glance at our archives would undoubtedly pull up more than 10 posts that deal exclusively with college football and Black people.

Why though, do we expend this energy? One reason: we have stated time and time again that without sports, there wouldn’t be any positive images of Black people in this country. Sports have helped create illusions in America about race and worse, given birth to nasty stereotypes about Black people, athletic ability and intelligence:

“Are performance disparities between black and white athletes really a function of fundamental differences in physique and physiology, or are they a result of environmental and cultural contingencies?

Contrary to what some may argue, an objective examination of these issues attempts to fairly examine the evidence, and to challenge beliefs held and conveyed by individuals such as Al Campanis and Jimmy ‘the Greek" Snyder. In the end, we may find that these individuals, like many others are not really bigots, but simply misinformed about what really is known about race and performance.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in one of his early Sherlock Holmes novel, had the eponymous character state:

"I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

The world we live currently exists thanks to the shaky foundational pillars of egalitarianism. However, when utilizing data and facts present to us in the 2010 United States of America, a murky picture is painted that portends to those pillars crashing down soon.

College football is a wonderful control sample for such endeavors into looking at quantifiable data to come up with interesting theories about human biodiversity and the athlete-students who participate in these contests represent an interesting cross-section of the United States population in our controlled experiment.

College football fans and alumni of major colleges are overwhelming white. Major colleges field teams that have almost 50 percent white and 50 percent Black players upon them, save Air Force and BYU.

Black people, a mere 13 percent of the United States, represent 14 percent of the millennial population (18-29):

The diversity of this generation is as impressive as its size. Right now, Millennial adults are 60 percent white and 40 percent minority (18 percent Hispanic, 14 percent black, 5 percent Asian, and 3 percent other).

Interestingly, more Black males are in jail than attend college, so this makes those Black people eligible for scholarships to major colleges to play football an even smaller percentage:

More than three times as many black people live in prison cells as in college dorms, the government said in a report to be released Thursday….

Blacks made up 41 percent of the nation’s 2 million prison and jail inmates in 2006. Non-Hispanic whites made up 37 percent and Hispanics made up 19 percent.”

Yet, watching college football games, one would get the impression that the United States is an overwhelming Black nation. This is not the case however.

Worse, with the unbelievable amount of money spent on educating and tutoring athlete-students to stay eligible, the numbers of Black people receiving degrees ( as compared to white athletes) belie a most distressing reality:

But there still is the issue of the differing graduation rates for white and African-American football players: of the bowl-bound teams, 21 (31 percent) graduated less than half of their African-American football student-athletes, while only two schools graduated less than half of their white football student-athletes.

Richard Lapchick, the director of the Institute and the author of the study "Keeping Score When It Counts: Assessing the 2009-10 Bowl-bound College Football Teams -- Academic Performance Improves but Race Still Matters" said the academic reforms enacted by late NCAA president Myles Brand have been effective but there is more work to do.

This year, the graduation success rate for African-American football student-athletes is 59 percent, which is the same as 2008-09. The GSR for white football student-athletes went from 76 percent in 2008-09 to 77 percent this year. This resulted in a 1 percent increase in the gap (17 to 18 percent).

The overall football student-athlete GSR improved slightly from 65.3 to 65.7 percent.

"The academic reform package hasn't solved the problem of the gap between African-American and white student-athletes although both groups are doing better than they have been," Lapchick said. "Part of it is not the responsibility of college sports. Part of it is such a huge percentage of African-Americans are coming from urban school districts where the education available is nowhere near the education in suburban areas."

Stories of star Black college athletes getting easy grades to stay eligible are so common they have become part of the accepted writ of passage an athlete gets at college.

Have you seen the film, Invictus? What brought about the end of apartheid in South Africa? Sports and rugby would be the answer, for rugby is the opiate of the white South Africans:

John Carlin, author of "Playing the Enemy," said Mandela used the World Cup final to win the allegiance of a group of people who had largely applauded his 27-year imprisonment, and threatened to push South Africa into a civil war.

"It was on that day [the day of the Rugby World Cup final] that white South Africa finally, categorically accepted him as their rightful president, the president of all South Africans," Carlin said.

Afrikaners are the descendents of the Dutch pioneers that settled South Africa in the 17th century. They became the primary enforcers of apartheid, a brutal system of racial segregation.

In his book, Carlin described Pienaar as the "big blonde son of apartheid," a 6-foot-4, 240-pound man who grew up worshipping the violent sport of rugby, an obsession for many Afrikaners. Rugby is known as "the opium of the Afrikaner," says Carlin."

College Football is the opiate of white America and the door to success in America for Black people. As we pointed out with Michael Oher, however, facts about Black people in college football aren’t always positive.

Take for instance Terrance Cody, a behemoth of a Black interior defensive lineman for the University of Alabama. Were it not for football, it is difficult to envision what he would do for a living since he seems to have difficulty ascertaining what his major is at the school he plays for, as at a press conference before the BCS National Title game against Texas, he had this to opine:

So as the Crimson Tide’s 6-5, 354-pound nose guard met with the media on Sunday, it’s no surprise that his corner of the ballroom at the Newport Beach Marriott and Spa was usually filled with the most laughter…

Later, Cody was talking about being on track to graduate in May and said he still needed two more classes. Somebody asked him what his degree was in. He paused, stammered for a few seconds, looked up and smiled and then muttered something under his breath.

“I keep forgetting it … consumer science, I think,” Cody said.”

For those unaware - like Cody - Alabama doesn't offer a major in consumer science. It must be stated here that Cody had an upbringing much like Michael Oher:

“Cody had played only two years of high school football, as a freshman and a senior, because of a combination of factors. He said he struggled academically, had to help take care of his seven younger siblings and ended up “running with the wrong crowd.” It was why he ended up in junior college.

Cody said he grew up poor, not always having shoes that fit his size-18 feet. His mother worked two jobs, as a traveling nurse and a bus driver, to care for him and his siblings. His parents were not married, but his father, a construction worker, was a big part of his life until he died in a car accident. Cody was 11.

At the end of his junior year of high school, Cody moved in with the family of a high school teammate, Jason Milliken. The stability was important.”

And how could Cody not get amazing academic help at Alabama, considering the school invests heavily in keeping these athletes eligible to play:

“One of the secrets behind the academic success for current Tide athletes is Alabama’s Center for Athletic Student Services (CASS), headed by Jon Dever. In April 2005, a $10.3 million renovation of Bryant Hall was completed, transforming the former athletic dormitory into the Paul W. Bryant Academic Center, a state of the art academic center benefiting more than 425 Crimson Tide student athletes.

The 52,300 square-foot building is among the finest in the country. It houses a 48-seat computer lab, a math lab with 18 laptop computers aiding athletes when they travel, a reading lab with six computers, a writing lab, two 50-seat classrooms, a 140-seat classroom, and 32 individual study/tutor rooms.

The Bryant Academic Center serves not only as a functioning full-service academic facility but also as the home for the CASS staff and the Champs’ Lifeskills program. Moore calls the center “the crown jewel in the Alabama athletic department’s Crimson Tradition Fund facility enhancement campaign.”

He might be an All-American, but he is curiously absent from the 2009 ESPN Academic All-American team, led by Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow and a nearly all-white supporting cast, including white Michigan State receiver Blair White, who plans on being a dentist after graduation.

Sadly, many of White’s Michigan State teammates – all of whom are Black - can’t say the same, as they were suspended for a brawl prior to the teams bowl game with Texas Tech (they won). The all-Black suspended “band of brothers” were engaged in a friendly WWE-style battle royale with a Black fraternity:

“Eight members of the MSU football team were suspended by head coach Mark Dantonio on Monday following the ongoing results of an investigation by MSU police into a Nov. 22 altercation at Rather Hall.”

We already did a long essay regarding Black college football athletes inability to stay out of trouble, but this story was yet another example of a recurring pattern at college campuses as diverse as Knoxville, TN and Boise State, ID.

Who is it that riots at college football games? Who hates losing to Boise State? Why is there only one Myron Rolle?

The answer is simply another addition into the growing tableau of Stuff Black People Don’t Like.

The opiate of white Americans is football. College football and the National Football League (NFL) offer the masses entertainment and pleasure, much as rugby did the South Africans.

Whatever happened to South Africa? That is yet another reason why sports matter here SBPDL.


healtheland said...

"One reason: we have stated time and time again that without sports, there wouldn’t be any positive images of Black people in this country."

Benjamin Banneker
Carter G. Woodson
George Washington Carver
Richard Allen
Phillis Wheatley
Percy Julian
Mae Jemison
Garrett Morgan
Samuel Massie
Lewis Latimer
Daniel Hale Williams
Booker T. Washington
Charles Drew
Norbert Rillieux
Donald Watkins
Richard Parsons
Kenneth Chenault
Crispus Attucks
Frederick Douglass
Granville Woods
C. J. Walker
John Johnson
Lemuel Haynes
Earl Graves
Benjamin Carson
Russell Honore

And so on. Do you propose that these people are not black, or that they are not positive?

In The Bleachers said...

I'm not 100% sure of the goal of the post but I got fed this article by a guy on my website and I gave it a look. I agree that football does provide an unrealistic look into the world since there clearly is a skewed ratio of black players on the field as compared to in America as a whole.

Regarding black players and graduating I would draw a couple of conclusions:
1)A lot of players (black and white) wouldn't be in college without football. A larger number of these players are black players. Do to cyclical poverty, broken homes, misplaced priorities and the like sports is the only way a lot of kids make it to college.
2)In this same vein kids aren't equally prepared for college, regardless of all the tutoring and academic aid. An upper crust kid from a prep school will have an upperhand on a kid from a rural OR urban low income high school.
3)This same ideal applies to the aforementioned academic all-american team. Kids like a Tebow or the Michigan St kid come from a home and were high achievers in the classroom; pushed by parents. When a kid is lucky to sneak into college keeping him eligible is as monumental a task as a kid like Blair White going to dental school.

In other words, an non-prepared guy like Terrence Cody on track to graduate, regardless of the major, is a monumental feat.

Anonymous said...

A non-prepared guy like Terence Cody on track to graduate is indeed a monumental feat. But at what cost does that feat get accomplished? And who loses when the money and talent and work is apportioned to keeping individuals like Terence Cody on a playing field every Saturday for 3 months out of a year?

InTheBleachers said...

Anonymous, I don't follow what you're alluding to when you say "who loses when the money and talent and work is apportioned..."

To me, I see a kid using football to be exposed to a part of society that he'd never see without the game. The book learning is great, graduation is great but in the end the fact that; as Michael Irvin said in the documentary "The U"
"so where I live is not the whole world. It's not all poverty and sirens all night. There is more"
is the best part about offering this chance to guys.

If you're alluding to football taking away from the academics of a university or a more qualified student I'd have to show my football roots and beg to differ.

Anonymous said...

How dare you question the effects of racism on the victim race to use sports as a way to get a degree! Next thing you will be quesioning the black athletes ability to read and write at a fifth grade level while struggling for their master's degree. If it was not for whities racism they would be able to study and learn far beyond the third grade level. What is next? Would you expect race quotas from affirmative action to be abolished

Anonymous said...


You are threading on dangerous territory. This is not the place for reason and rationality. Where did you get all of this information? Books? You can only find the truth about blacks and anything else from TV, rap lyrics, and the movies.

-Black guy

Anonymous said...

Well, if the fate of the USA is similar to the fate of South Africa, I don't get why that and not prattle about football does not get center stage.
Talk about a bloodbath. The actual history of the USA seems to confirm a brutal secessionist movement and no accomodation.

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

BG and Healtheland,

Those Black people are from one hundred if not two hundred years ago...

Name positive Black people who work for POSITIVE images of Black people (Bill Cosby is one such man)...

They can't deal with sports, entertainment or movies. Go.

Anonymous said...

More hate facts.
Name positive Black people who work for POSITIVE images of Black people
I can smell the little brains frying way up here in the great white north

Anonymous said...

Name positive Black people who work for POSITIVE images of Black people.
Al Sharpton
Jesse Jackson
Kwalme Kilpatrick
David Paterson
Rosa Parks
Marion Bary
John Conyers
his wife Monica Conyers
and I know you said entertainment but
and Michelle Jackson

Anonymous said...

How about the invention of peanut butter? that was some black guy wasn't it?
Also, I believe they invented toilet paper. It was the next viable invention, since how much corn cobs can you go through without plugging the plumbing. No toilet paper and peanut butter made the world safe for democracy.

Anonymous said...

anon 1/8/10 11:40,

George Washington Carver did not invent Peanut Butter. Sometimes you guys make this way too easy. I guess we can credit a public school education for that.

-Black guy

Anonymous said...


I agree with you 100%. There are no blacks that work for the positive image of black people. Today's Negro is more concerned with living amongst whites and being accepted by those same people that hate his guts. In my opinion the most negative representative of a black man is living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

I'm more of a follower of Malcolm X's philosophy than that of the paid shill known as"Doctor" Martin Luther King. He was nothing more than a lackey and an apologist for white aggression. He helped to create a generation of weak and dependent Negroes. So, as far as positive images go, I'll stick to my family and friends.

-Black guy

Anonymous said...


Charles Drew 1904-1950
John Johnson 1918-2005

One hundred? Two hundred years ago? These are the only two I knew off hand. I'm sure a few more on that list are more recent than you would believe. Also since February is "Black history month" all of the dates can be confirmed at that time.

-Black guy

Anonymous said...

"This is not the place for reason and rationality. Where did you get all of this information? Books? You can only find the truth about blacks and anything else from TV, rap lyrics, and the movies."

oh man. good stuff.

unfortunately, incorrect...

the only place to find the truth about black people is this blog. based on the many comments you have posted which contradict the author's assertions of truthitude provided herein, i must advise that you re-read each and every post so that you may learn how to be black. you are lucky that someone with such a stranglehold on the black pulse is willing to share his insight with you.

Compte Maurice de Salnegtupue said...


SBPDL : Great site, but really disappointing comment section very often.

PLEASE MODERATE YOUR COMMENTS SECTION BETTER (it's really a huge drag to read the stupid comments that are so out of touch with the ethos behind this blog).

Trent Kyben said...

"Heathland" presents a list of the usual suspects. Unfortunately, when you examine the truth behind the fame of most of those on the list, their stories are exaggerated and in some cases outright lies.

Yeah, I agree with Compte Maurice de Salnegtupe - get rid of the whiny marxists and brainwashed lapdogs looking for approval from their alien (to Western Culture) masters. They have their say 24/7 everywhere else.

Anonymous said...

100 YEARS from now people in America will think we were insane to cheer and support the black thugs who have swarmed college sports. They will think us fools and they will be right!