Washington Post Forces Racism Into The Mayweather/McGregor Fight

Jena Greene | Contributor

The Washington Post’s recently discussed a topic that some just can’t seem to put down: racism in sports.

The article, “Racial Conflict Sells Boxing Matches. Mayweather And McGregor Are Its Latest Pitchmen,” is hardly a sports piece. If I didn’t know any better I’d think it’s a history lesson given by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Writer Adam Kilgore drones on for a couple dozen paragraphs, reprimanding Americans — especially white Americans — for basically just enjoying sports.

He alleges that Mayweather and McGregor “have concocted a racial rivalry in a climate ripe for exploiting it.” He goes on to say that this just isn’t the right time, since everybody in the country is “still wracked by the recent horror of Charlottesville.”

Please no. Can we please — for all that is sacred — please go ONE day in sports without referencing what happened in Charlottesville? We’ve already lost poor ESPN reporter Robert Lee because he had the same name as a dead Confederate general from 150 years ago.

What happened in Charlottesville was a disgrace. But can somebody remind me how it involves sports?

It’s obvious that Mayweather and McGregor are different races. And yes, most people know that America has a history of racism and oppression. But for the most part, sports used to be isolated from these issues. It’s partly why they’re so popular in this country.

Jackie Robinson played through the Civil Rights movement. Yao Ming didn’t care that he was one of the only Asian basketball players. Talent is talent, and the games continued.

But The Washington Post has made the false assumption that sports exploit racism. They continue to sell the same redundant theme of racism to inflame readers to generate buzz.

NYU history professor Jeffrey T. Sammons told Kilgore that he’s “sure McGregor probably has a lot of white supremacists that are rooting for him.”

Screenwriter Ron Shelton went even farther, saying, “if this was a black UFC champion and Mayweather, I don’t think they’d sell a ticket.”

Now I’m not one to make baseless claims like the two men above, but I kind of doubt that the millions of viewers projected to tune in for Saturday’s fight are all racists. I think people will watch because they like sports and it’s a good matchup. Even if both fighters were black, I still think they’d sell tickets.

It’s cute that The Washington Post thinks we need history professors and screenwriters to explain sports to us. The average red-blooded American sports fan could probably embarrass these out-of-touch nerds on stats and real facts when it comes to sports.

Much to The Washington Post’s probable dismay, sometimes sports really is just about sports. Now get back to those textbooks and screenplays. Who let you out in the daylight, anyways?

Jena Greene

Contributor

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