Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Monday, January 18, 2010

Does the African-American athlete care about the legacy Martin Luther King?

As we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. many things come to mind. I think of the sacrifices he made. I think of his dream of having everyone being judged on the “content of their character” rather than the color of their skin.

Though strides have been made we still have a lot of work to do. How far have we really come as nation along racial lines?

Does the African-American athlete even care about the Kings’ legacy?

The short answer is no.

A year ago the first African-American President of the United States was sworn in. It took a united effort for “the dream” of Barack Obama to manifest. In society African-Americans are experiencing more opportunities than ever before. In professional sports African-Americans are enjoying noted success on and off the field of play.

Just because the latter is true doesn’t mean we are where we should be as a nation.

I have a great amount of respect for MLK. He put his life on the line for something he believed in. He also lost his life because of his “dream” of having a society built on harmony instead of one being ruled by racism.

While King’s dream was noble the time has come to modify his dreams by converting them into goals. Once a goal is established you must construct a comprehensive plan of action.

The plan should be to totally reeducate America based on truth. The plan should be to teach the true development of this country so everyone can be on the same page. The latter would induce us to engage in open honest dialogue to foster potential harmony.

Also, African-Americans have to collectively unite and embrace one another. Those who have platforms like educators, professional athletes, entertainers and our president should lead the way.

With respect to the African-American athlete many are lost. They care little about the sacrifices leaders like King made. LeBron James said of Martin Luther King, “When you look up leader in the Webster’s Dictionary a picture of Martin Luther King should be there.”

What James suggests is true. But largely the African-American athlete remains silent on controversial issues and acknowledging those in society and sports who paved the way for their success. This complicit behavior stems from a lethal combination of ignorance and fear.

If it wasn’t for the likes of King a Tiger Woods wouldn’t be in the position of being the greatest golfer of all-time. If King didn’t “have a dream” it’s likely a LeBron James wouldn’t be embraced as the face of the NBA. Had King not put sacrificed his life African-American businessmen like Robert Johnson wouldn’t have the chance to own a team.

While I don’t totally embrace King’s philosophy on how to achieve harmony and equal rights I respect him to the hilt. He had a cause and stuck to it. He sacrificed his life because he dared to make his dream a reality.

The time has come to stop regurgitating quotes from King. It’s time to make his dream into a plan of action. The time has come to establish a comprehensive blue-print to truly make this country reach it’s potential.

In short, celebrate the man but modify and continue his plan.

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