Cartoon of the Week
To Be Equal
Black Quarterbacks Leading More Teams In NFL
The NFL is entering the golden age of Black quarterbacks.” —Jason McIntyre, writing in “The Big Lead”
“Sports” is one of the most race-neutral meritocracies in America. From the record-shattering feats of Jesse Owens to the transcendent accomplishments of Serena and Venus, there is no doubt that African Americans can excel at the highest levels in any sport if given a chance. Historically, that chance has rarely been given to aspiring Black professional quarterbacks. For decades, the prevailing view seemed to be that while African Americans made good runners, blockers and receivers, they did not possess the ability or intellect to be quarterback—the on-the-field CEO—of a National Football League team. At one time, a Black NFL quarterback was as unthinkable as a Black American President. But, what was once a rarity is now becoming the norm.
In 1920, Frederick Douglas “Fritz” Pollard became professional football’s first Black quarterback, leading the Akron Pros to victory in the NFL’s inaugural championship game. It wasn’t until almost 50 years later on the first Sunday of the 1969 regular season that James Harris, playing for the Buffalo Bills, became the first Black professional quarterback to start on an opening day—and subsequently the first Black NFL quarterback to be a full-time starter at that position. From 1969-1977, with the exception of a six-game start in 1974 by Joe Gilliam for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Harris was the only starting Black quarterback in the NFL. In 1988, Doug Williams became the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl. A stellar few have joined them in the modern era—Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Steve McNair and Donovan McNabb come to mind. But according to a 2012 article in Pro Football Weekly, “Surprisingly, based on the overwhelming majority of black players in the league, only four, or 12.5 percent, of the 32 starting QBs in the league on the final day of the 2011 regular season were black.” The 2013 season has seen that number more than double.
The third week of this year’s NFL season saw nine starting Black quarterbacks take the field for their teams—the most in history. They include: Robert Griffin III (RG3) in Washington; Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks; Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders; Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers; EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills; Geno Smith, New York Jets; Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles; Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; and Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers. The trend is accelerating, and the new class of Black quarterbacks is making history. Jason McIntyre, co-founder of The Big Lead, a popular sports website, predicts that “It is conceivable that by week one in 2015, half the 32 NFL teams will have a black starting QB.”
This is not to imply that we should only root for black quarterbacks. I began this column by noting how sports is largely a color-blind meritocracy. I still root for Drew Brees on Sundays, and most of the Black NFL quarterbacks will tell you themselves that race doesn’t matter. Their only goal is to compete and win. But as we celebrate 50 years of African American progress, I cannot help but note that another barrier in sports is falling. More Black quarterbacks are getting a chance to excel on the field and earn the dignity, big salaries and endorsements that come with their success. That is good for football and good for America. Think about that as you sit back and enjoy another weekend of NFL skirmishes. And may the best man—the best team—win.
Marc H. Morial is president and CEO of the ?National Urban League.
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BY WILLIAM REED
Look Who’s Stuck On Stupid
Some phones were ringing; others were “on-hold” as Real Christian Radio’s midday host was well into his 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. program set. The subject was “Is minimum wage enough to live on?” and syndicated radio personality Lonnie Hunter’s job was letting the audience “have their say” on the issue.
Actually, the subject had come up earlier on “The Yolanda Adams Morning Show” when the show’s co-host asked listeners to “speak up” let him know whether minimum wage “is a livable wage” and could they survive on $7.25 an hour. All morning long stations in the “Praise” network urged listeners to: “Say what you want to say” about whether minimum wage is a livable wage.
So, as they say in the business, the subject “already had legs” by the time Hunter stepped to the microphone. Christian Radio’s midday host Hunter is a minister, musician, artist and producer who got misled into taking an “on air” position advocating flawed economic concepts. Sadly, Hunter doesn’t know, or see, the socialist philosophy the issue is based upon. Though he never cited himself as an economist, but amid the tweets, Facebook messages and contest challenges, the high audience involvement Hunter achieved that day, was based on bogus subject matter and theme.
The whole idea and discussion of wage legislation is politics run amuck. Many liberals, still widely accept the view that minimum wage laws are needed to provide the working poor with a fair wage. Hunter unwittingly took sides in a misguided issue that labor unions have been pushing for years. People proposing minimum wage legislation have the rose-colored glasses’ view of government that promotes redistribution of wealth and marketplace intervention.
Labor unions have held lofty status in the Black political agenda of recent years. Supporters of the minimum wage claim it increases the standard of living of workers, reduces poverty, reduces inequality and boosts morale. Actually, such rules and legislation increase poverty and unemployment. Sixty percent of the jobs lost in the last recession were middle income. Most new positions are in expanding low-wage industries such as retail, food services, cleaning and health-care support. By 2020, 48 percent of jobs will be in those service sectors.
The economic evidence shows Blacks haven’t yet mastered capitalism. Most show a gross lack of understanding of how it works. An example of our participation in misguided social engineering goes back to Chicago in 2006 when the Chicago City Council rejected a proposal from Wal-Mart to open a store on the South Side. Subsequently, that Council approved an ordinance requiring Wal-Mart and other "Big-Box" stores to pay much higher minimum wages than their competitors. All to which Chicago unions and community groups cheered, not fully grasping the fact that such targeted legislation tarnishes a city's reputation as a place to do business.
A free market economic system is one in which prices and wages are determined by unrestricted competition between businesses, without government interference. Politicians in the nation’s capital moved to center stage buffoonery with a new “minimum wage” chicanery. The D.C. Council has moved to raise the local minimum wage for employees at major retailers and requiring “Big-Box” stores to pay their employees 50 percent more than the existing District minimum wage. At its core, the city council measure is all a plot to tell the world’s largest retailer “how it should operate.” The "Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013," would require retailers with more than $1 billion in annual revenues to pay employees making less than $50,000 a year at least $12.50 per hour. Ironically, D.C.’s minimum wage is $8.25 per hour.
The belief that increasing the minimum wage is socially beneficial is a delusion Blacks need to delete from their economic lexicon. It’s time such buffoonery ceases and Blacks think and act in ways that illustrate a realization of where we live and work – an economic and political system in which trade and industry are based on private ownership for profit. “Minimum wage” is antithetical to how “laissez-faire” works.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.orgMove up http://i.forbesimg.com
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Our Rotten Prison System
In the name of “full disclosure” let me say that I have a bachelor’s degree in Correctional Administration (School of Sociology, University of Wisconsin). During the summer of 1969, I did my required internship at the Wisconsin School for Girls located in Oregon, Wisconsin. These were underage offenders who were found guilty of petty crimes or “bad behavior”. My ambition was to change bad human behavior into honorable behavior. The curriculum I was reading promoted the best models of rehabilitation. I was so pumped but the internship showed me the reality of our system of corrections.
None, I really mean none, of the girls in the reform school were evil or bad. They all had a messed up family life. The overwhelming majority had no fathers and their mothers lacked a work ethic (welfare dependence). Role models were nowhere to be found. For those three months I basically became their father (whites, Hispanics and Blacks alike). The supervisors were elated as the girls quickly started changing from bad girls to nice girls with ambition. I enjoyed them and even named my oldest daughter after one of them. My lament was that they would eventually go back to those environments. I would go to Milwaukee and Chicago and visit their households. It was so depressing and showed that their progress would be short-lived. My ambition started to move towards a career in business.
Another reality was that the Correctional Industry, in comparison with my text books, had no ambition to rehabilitate anyone. Incarceration was a business and mass imprisonment meant business was good. What I didn’t know was that “business” was about to take off northward at an exponential rate. Various drugs were imported into poverty stricken communities. The epitome was the Crack invasion. Drugs cause addiction and addiction leads to criminal behavior along with the trafficking of the drugs themselves. Prisons started to fill and recidivism (returning to incarceration) was rising at a hopeless rate. Rehabilitation had become a thing of the past.
It appears that the whole thing was a conspiracy. Prison guards unionized and the unions started lobbying for more prisons, stiffer sentencing and anything to grow the prison population. Some entrepreneurs saw a great opportunity and lobbied elected officials. Then President Ronald Reagan did a very awful thing. He announced the “War on Drugs”. As David Simon, the writer of HBO’s The Wire stated, “In effect this was a war on Blacks that evolved into a war on both Blacks and Hispanics”. This brought on a new form of slavery.
The first privately managed prison was established in Hamilton County, TN in 1984. The contract went to Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). CCA currently owns 65 facilities all over the nation. It is the largest prison management company and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (CXW) with revenue and assets totaling well over $1 billion. The industry continues to grow at a rapid rate and has much power in lobbying. Things like “three strikes and out”, more funding for new prisons and the courting of judges who seem to be issuing longer sentences. The longer the sentence; the more the money for private prison companies. Obviously the Crack Invasion was a financial boon for all of these private prisons.
With new fast and big cash comes corruption. An example is Pennsylvania Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. He and his partner Judge Michael Conahan received millions of dollars from a private prison management firm for their “Kids for Cash” sentencing. Over 5,000 youths received extreme sentences and were sent to a private prison in exchange for cash from the executives of the company. Judge Ciavarella sent a ten year old to two years incarceration for accidentally causing minor damage to his mother’s car. This was typical of these two judges.
Judge Ciavarella has been sentenced to 28 years. Judge Conahan has pled guilty and will be sentenced shortly. 5,000 children whose lives will never be the same. These victims were sent to PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centers. The company or companies have kept their names out of the press which shows you how sophisticated their crisis management firm is. This example is one of many and I am certain much corruption is taking place at all levels and in all geographies.
Their lobbying firms are powerful too. They got Congress in 1997 to dictate that the Department of Justice should do a test on privately run prisons. The new federal prison was located in Taft, CA. The contract went to Wackenhut (now called The GEO Group, Inc). The test was declared “successful” and federal prisons started becoming privatized ever since.
We have a rotten prison system. If we would legalize drugs perhaps the prison population (predominantly Black and Hispanic) would start to fade away and private prisons will be a thing of a horrible and ugly past. Next week – “Our Rotten Probation system”.
Mr. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.