Former U.S. Olympic athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos shocked with black power salutes at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City. They were sent home in disgrace then, but now that the media has a love affair with social justice warriors like Colin Kaepernick, Smith and Carlos are treated like heroes and adorned with honors by the progressive, social justice crowd. The Golden State Warriors saluted Smith during a game Wednesday, and visiting San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich predicted that Kaepernick, too, will become greatly admired.
More than 50 years ago, Smith won the gold medal and Carlos the bronze medal in the 200-meter dash. They went to the victory stand to receive those medals and, during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, both men looked down and raised a black glove in defiance of their country. The shocked International Olympic Committee booted them out of the Olympic Village; the U.S. Olympic Committee suspended them and sent them home in disgrace.
Recently, Tyrone Beason of the Seattle Times, wrote their "stoic salute burned into America’s consciousness while inflaming the sensibilities of many ... They "were branded as hotheaded revolutionaries, and worse, for doing something that shouldn’t be considered militant — promoting basic dignity and humanity." Carlos called it "a moment of triumph and joy turned sour by the 'anger and venom and viciousness' of the crowd, in this case over his raised fist."
But, hey, it's 2019 and social justice warriors are cool now! No apology, no mea culpa are required in the Left's world of low standards. So then, in the far-, far-out world that is the Bay Area, Smith received a jersey from the Warriors in recognition of Black History Month. Marc Spears' story on The Undefeated blog did not say if it possibly could have been a Black Lives Matter or an I'm With Kap shirt.
Popovich, the loudmouthed coach of the Spurs who once called President Donald Trump a "soulless coward," expects that one day Kaepernick, the former 49er quarterback, will also be revered instead of vilified for kneeling for social justice:
“He was very courageous in what he did. He did it for the right reasons. I think the same story will unwind as time goes on.”
Stories do unwind like that in the "People's Republic of California," where San Jose State University boasts a statue of their former student activists, Smith and Carlos. Spears reads way more into Wednesday's festivities, though, by falsely claiming the two are now revered nationally. In progressive circles, yes, but not so much beyond that.
Popovich wasn't stopping with Kaepernick though, far from it. He gets goosebumps as he recalls watching Smith and Carlos on TV in '68, and now he raves about the former sprinters:
“Those are two special people, for all the obvious reasons. To speak truth to power, especially in ’68, was pretty special. I can still remember watching that. It was quite dramatic at the time. They paid for it in a lot of different ways. …
“Now they’re basically being lauded for their courage, which is appropriate. Just like Muhammad Ali, everybody hated what he did in the beginning with Vietnam. So they’re two very important figures in our social history and the history of justice in this country.”
Smith and Carlos later said they were protesting black poverty and the oppression of black people in their own country and around the world.
Beason says today's generation of activists and black athletes are fighting some of the same racial injustices that Smith and Carlos protested against five decades ago. But today's wealthy, privileged, jet-setting athletes don't deserve to be revered just for supporting Kaepernick's disrespectful Take A Knee movement.