On Thursday the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture introduced a new webpage and collection celebrating the activism of African American athletes. A story by The Undefeated's Parker Owens declares, "The same athletes who were chastised and told to 'shut up and dribble' are now going to be immortalized as a part of the Smithsonian and chronicled in the story of America."
This news could not come at a worse time for the NBA and other sports leagues whose television viewership is hemorrhaging because of their activism. Let's first look at The Undefeated story, then review the Smithsonian webpage and end by focusing on what is glaring by omission from the collection.
Owens wrote, "The museum aims to give a perspective on why and when Black athletes feel the need to take a stance, and how the outside world plays a role in demanding that stance be taken. It emphasizes not just the athletes themselves, but also the political and social climate that surrounds them."
Damion Thomas, curator of sports at the Smithsonian, said, “Athletes’ activism is at its height when it is connected to a larger social movement." Namely Black Lives Matter.
"Athletes are at their best when they are able to take a conversation that is localized and help nationalize the conversation in a way that Americans and other people can’t ignore,” Thomas added.
Actually, Americans can and are ignoring the blatant politicking that is strangling sports by watching fewer games on TV.
The Smithsonian webpage includes a statement on athletes' commitment to social justice and commits "to preserving, sharing, and highlighting the protests of former and current athletes to help understand how protest and social engagement in sports have and continue to be shaped by the actions of ordinary Americans as well as how athletes' statements and actions continue to inspire."
The webpage opens with a segment about the Milwaukee Bucks' recent refusal to play two NBA playoff games in honor of Jacob Blake, who was shot by police while resisting arrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Also featured is a 1970 story by Dr. Harry Edwards on "The Revolt of the Black Athlete," a commemoration of Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph's achievements at the 1960 Olympics and a photo of the "I Can't Breathe" quote, worn on a t-shirt worn by NBA player Derrick Rose.
Now here's a short list of what's missing.
The NFL Players Coalition, a group of social justice warriors that squeezed $90 million out of the league for political action, should be featured for seeking to end mass incarceration. Since so many members of the "National Felons League" get arrested, it only behooves the coalition to spring them from jail and get them back on the playing field. The coalition deserves a Smithsonian spotlight.
Athletes quickly jumped all over the police shooting of Blake and George Floyd's death through boycotts, helmet slogans, t-shirts, social media and other forms of protest. Then the egg started dripping down their faces when it came out that Blake was in the process of being arrested on a charge of sexual assault. Floyd had gone to prison eight times -- for drug possession, theft and trespass, armed robbery and home invasion. A bad, bad look for activist athletes that shouldn't be ignored by the Smithsonian!
Last but not least, SJW athletes should be exposed by the Smithsonian for supporting a Marxist organization -- Black Lives Matter. BLM isn't serving the best interests of anyone, black or white, with its agenda to disrupt the nuclear family, push the LGBT agenda, form collective villages, abolish police and redistribute wealth. The NBA, WNBA and MLB are all making huge displays of Black Lives Matter, and in a few days the NFL will join them in this folly.
The Smithsonian wants to keep the doors of protest open to future generations, but its collection is a misleading, rose-colored view of athlete activism that doesn't begin to tell the whole story.