Jake Sherman: Imus shouldn’t be the issue

The real issue in sports is not Don Imus calling a group of women on the Rutgers basketball team “nappy-headed hos.” Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson shouldn’t be calling for Imus’ head. Instead, it may be a good idea to look into what’s really wrong with the social aspects of sports today.

Imus’ comment was stupid and irresponsible. I was brought up listening to the shock jock and not many people said anything when on Nov. 30, 2006, he called Jews “money-grubbing bastards.”

Sharpton and Jackson are concentrating on the wrong things. Instead of Imus, who runs a ranch in New Mexico for sick children, Sharpton and Jackson should drop their crusade against the First Amendment and focus their energies on some other issues in sports and media.

How about Adam Jones? The Tennessee Titan, who prefers to be called “Pacman,” was suspended for the entire upcoming NFL football season for conduct detrimental to the league – throwing money at strippers and helping to cause a gunfight. He announced he was going to appeal the suspension, telling an ESPN reporter that it was “a little bit harsh.” He also said he is being made the “poster boy” for the NFL. Instead of telling Imus that he should be fired, maybe the reverends should help the NFL crusade against this knucklehead, who is giving all athletes a black eye. If Sharpton and Jackson are really worried about the image of blacks in the media, they should devote as much energy to having the contract of 50 Cent, who has a song called “Surrounded by Hoes,” canceled.

Sharpton and Jackson are tired and ineffective voices for Black America. They seem to hop on any issue and make it into a racially driven mess. A worthwhile and smart voice came to Jack Morton Auditorium Thursday night. Frank Robinson, 72 years old, told a group of students in Vice President Mike Freedman’s class that he’s spending five days a week playing golf but it seems as though he’s done more to advance the black agenda than the revolting reverends.

Robinson, who received the first Jackie Robinson Award by the Jackie Robinson Society, is an old-school guy. When he was at the helm of the five MLB teams he led, he demanded the most from his players. Run the full 90 feet to first base. Don’t talk back.

Frank Robinson is a real leader for blacks. In his day, he played in baseball games in South Carolina where racial slurs were hurled at him all game. After one game, Robinson said he wanted to pick up a bat and chase the people down but was restrained by his teammates.

Robinson followed in Jackie Robinson’s mold to advance his race by becoming the only player to be named MVP of both the American and National leagues, by winning the Triple Crown in 1966 and by eventually becoming the first black baseball manager. He combated real issues but did so by pressing on and staying the course.

Sharpton and Jackson’s ideas are stale and offensive. In 1984, Jackson called New York “Hymietown,” a reference to the large Jewish population in that city. Sharpton lambasted the Duke lacrosse players who were recently exonerated for allegedly raping a black stripper.

Frank Robinson was right. He wanted to accomplish great things with race on the back burner. Listening to him speak about baseball and Jackie Robinson Thursday night reminds us how far we’ve come as a nation. Jackson and Sharpton show us how far we still have to go.

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