David J. Leonard

Recent Articles

‘Colorblind racism’: Language of sports filled with barely disguised bigotry

A memorable scene from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing is Lee character’s argument with a White man over the latter not recognizing the Black players he liked, such as Magic Johnson, as being just as Black as Lee is. The late Kirby Puckett was hailed a Minnesota hero but once he was charged with — but later cleared of — a crime, he suddenly became Black and virtually remained that way until his death. This is “colorblind racism,” which exist among non-Black fans. “It does exist,” admits author and Washington State University professor David J. Leonard. “It is embedded into our language, our system [and] our institutions. Continue Reading →

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New book examines race and the NBA after ‘Palace Brawl’




Selling the NBA to a White fan base historically has been a challenge. First it was seen as second class to college basketball. Then came Black players in the late 1950s. Later, the growing Black rank-and-file were being seen as nothing more than drug users during the 1970s. Then came Earvin Johnson and Larry Bird in the 1980s; that temporarily brought new “team-first, me-second” notoriety to the NBA. Continue Reading →

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