Tag: athlete

Former professional tennis player James Blake subjected to police brutality and racial profiling by NYPD

Tennis is my least favorite sport. Unlike many other sports that a lot of people consider boring, such as golf, curling, and baseball (three sports that I actually like, although my favorite sport is automobile racing), there’s virtually no strategy to tennis, and the scoring system used in tennis can be confusing for those not familiar with the sport.

However, that’s all beside the point.

The point of the matter is that police brutality is a serious problem in this country, and even professional athletes are victims of police brutality. The most recent example of this involves former professional tennis player James Blake, who is black, being slammed to the ground by a plainclothes New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer and four other NYPD officers after the officers mistook him for someone allegedly involved in an identity theft ring:

Blake was in New York City for the U.S. Open on Wednesday when, as reported by Wayne Coffey of the New York Daily News, a plainclothes NYPD officer charged at him, picked him up and slammed him to the ground, mistaking him for a suspect in an identity-theft ring that had been operating in the area.

The Connecticut native and former world No. 4, who retired from tennis at the U.S. Open two years ago, initially thought the officer was possibly an old friend “running at me to give me a big hug.”

Four other cops, all white, soon joined the first officer, handcuffing and detaining Blake for 15 minutes, despite the fact that he showed I.D. and cooperated immediately.

[…]

Blake, an African American who names Arthur Ashe as his idol, admits that racial profiling was probably involved, but was more immediately concerned by the brutal nature of the encounter. His left leg was bruised and his right elbow cut in the incident.

If James Blake were white, I’m almost certain that the NYPD would have not targeted him at all, and they certainly wouldn’t have slammed him to the ground and injured him. This is a disturbing example of police brutality and racial profiling, both of which are far too common in this country.

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I care about women in sports, thanks in no small part to the U.S. women’s soccer team

Last night, the U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) defeated Japan by a score of 5 to 2 to claim the third Women’s World Cup for the United States and the first one for the U.S. in 16 years.

While an estimate of how many people watched the FOX telecast of the Women’s World Cup final, which was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is not yet available, I was among the people who watched the Women’s World Cup final live, although I originally didn’t intend to. The start of the broadcast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from Daytona International Speedway in Florida, which was televised by NBC, was scheduled at roughly the same time as the opening kickoff of the Women’s World Cup final, and, as a big NASCAR fan, I originally intended to watch the NASCAR race live and watch the soccer game late at night via DVR. However, because rain delayed the start of the NASCAR race by over three hours, I ended up tuning into the soccer game live a couple of minutes after the start, right before Carli Lloyd scored the first of her three goals for the USWNT, and I ended up being able to watch the rest of the game live because the NASCAR race ended up starting well after the soccer game was over. I was not disappointed one bit by the soccer game, in fact, I’m absolutely excited that our nation’s women’s soccer team are, once again, the world champions of women’s soccer.

I hope that the incredible success of the USWNT in this year’s Women’s World Cup leads to a greater public acceptance, and a greater level of respect, for female athletes in all sports.

Usually, the only instances where female athletes get any significant level media attention in this country is when the Olympic Games are taking place, when the major tennis championships are taking place, when Danica Patrick runs in automobile races, and…you guessed it…when the Women’s World Cup of soccer is taking place. This is one of a number of reasons why women’s sports have not been accepted by as much of the American public as men’s sports have. I’m fortunate to have an expensive enough satellite television package where I can, during the winter months in non-Winter Olympic years, find women’s bobsled, skeleton, and curling on television. When female athletes do get a significant level of media attention in this country, it’s often in a sexist manner. When the sports media covers female athletes, they often talk about subjects like the athletes’ love/sex lives or whether or not they have kids, subjects that have nothing to do with an athlete’s performance and the sports media rarely talks about in regards to male athletes.

I hope the U.S. women’s soccer team’s World Cup victory leads to less misogyny towards, and more acceptance of, female athletes in all sports.