Saturday, February 25, 2006

It's Geography, Stupid!

Sportscaster Bryant Gumbel must’ve left his brain at home when he commented on the air that the Winter Olympics tend to exclude black athletes from competing. “Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity (adj. dearth, scarcity) of blacks that makes the Winter Olympics look like a GOP convention,” he stated at the end of the February edition of his HBO program Real Sports.

Mr. Gumbel’s comment was probably meant to reinforce the idea that blacks are persecuted and should give money to the NAACP, or that all blacks are Democrats and should vote thusly, but his logic was terribly flawed.

In the first place, the majority of those in the African-American community could care less about winter sports, just the kind of apathy Mr. Gumbel exhibits. It’s just a cultural thing. Most of them would rather play a real sport like basketball or football than cross-country ski or ice skate. And while some of them do play winter sports, very few are determined to compete at the Olympic level.

But the fact that the nations with the largest black populations aren’t competing in the Winter Olympics is just plain geography. Presumably, actually having a winter would be helpful to a country trying to compete in the Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, since most black-populated nations are in the continent of Africa, (which to my knowledge, doesn’t have a winter), many black nations are going to be horribly and unjustly left out of the Winter Olympics. There’s nothing the Olympic Committee can do about that.

Black broadcasters such as Mr. Gumbel may be trying to do the right thing by lifting up the oppressed races, but they would do well to get the facts straight before playing the oft misused race card. Dismissing the Winter Olympics as simply an all-white event is a good way to ensure that future black athletes won’t be interested in participating.


Jim the 3rd said...

A shortened version of this editorial was submitted to the Democrat & Chronicle for publication.

ckhnat said...

I was wondering what Gumble was up to these days.

Rachel said...

You go, boy! Sounds like a good editorial!