January 14, 2009

Sports 1st in Social Change

As the Inauguration of our 44th President approaches I started thinking of the various social milestones in our country’s history. The more I delved into my research the more I found that it was sports that were in many cases years ahead of the rest of society in embracing change and tackling injustice. Baseball was integrated in 1947 (17 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and the first female Olympic champion was in 1900 (20 years before women were granted the right to vote in 1920). So as much as we appreciate sports for their entertainment value, I thought it was important to also remember the contributions of our sports trailblazers towards social change. So I’d like to take this time to say a thank you to: Jackie Robinson, Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King, Bill Russell, Charlotte Cooper, Arthur Ashe, Alice Coachman, Doug Williams, Arturo “Arte” Moreno, and the countless others who made great sacrifices and aided in ridding our society of discrimination. While we may still have a long way to go, I truly believe one day that the race, sex, age, or sexual orientation of our political candidates will be just a footnote in history and not the headline. Just as in sports today the only color that matters is that of the uniform and not of the participants.