Have you ever seen a colored-only water fountain, bathroom or section on a bus? These ugly reminders of our Jim Crow past have something in common with those who today continue to defy safety measures and spread the coronavirus: Privileged people who care about no one but themselves cause trouble for all the rest of us.
It’s been confirmed that college towns across the United States have seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. College students have returned for fall semesters to campuses everywhere. It’s hard to gauge giving credit for wise decisions that save thousands of lives before you have the fatality rate.
We know that 190,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus after over six million positive cases in the United States. Someone said a long time ago that everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die. The potential spread of the virus off campus has deeply affected workplaces, schools, government institutions and U.S. communities.
The mighty Big Ten Conference, the nation’s largest college revenue generator with its enormously successful Big Ten Cable TV Network, decided three weeks ago there would be no fall sports. That means no college football. According to sources, the university presidents in 11 different states voted 12-2 against playing based on the recommendations of science and health professionals.
Gophers Football Coach P.J. Fleck agreed with the decision and polled 30 of his players; it was unanimous not to play, including pre-season All-American quarterback Tanner Morgan. Not everyone agreed with the decision. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields secured a petition with 200,000 signatures wanting the Big Ten to reconsider.
A New York Times survey revealed at least 51,000 coronavirus cases and at least 60 deaths from COVID-19 can be traced to American colleges and universities. Yet no Black man in America has received more letters, phone calls, death threats and blame from the privileged majority than Kevin Warren, Big Ten commissioner. Warren took over officially on January 2, 2020, as the first Black commissioner of a power five conference.
We did not hear about the coronavirus until March 1. The entire sports industry shut down on March 11. The University Minnesota claims they will lose $75 million in revenue with no games. The Star Tribune virtually assaulted Warren in print, brainwashing hundreds of thousands of readers, claiming no transparency, honesty, etc. in the decision. Again the university presidents made the decision because ultimately they assume the risk and responsibility for student-athletes’ health risk.
When 70% of the student-athletes in revenue-generating sports like football and basketball are Black, suddenly White majority privilege turns racially biased. It’s Warren’s fault—don’t blame the 14 university presidents that he works for. It is sad and disturbing how so many could be so careless in their thinking about the wellbeing of these athletes.
President Donald Trump was in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week, Big Ten Country, for political purposes and called Warren. I asked Warren what the President said. “He said what he tweeted out,” Warren replied. Warren has taken criticism from some in the Black community for taking Trump’s phone call.
Nobody is asking the question of the universities why, with all the hundreds of millions of dollars they have made annually, suddenly the bank accounts are all empty. White coaches and athletic directors are making salaries ranging from three to 10 million annually and suddenly the money is all gone?
Remember, student-athletes don’t get paid. They get scholarships, which amounts to receiving a book to take to each class. The non-student-athletes are already in the classes. The miscarriage of information and truth is why in 60 days we have to change the direction of this country.
Truth, honesty, integrity and fairness have to be prioritized. Black people have to count in this country. Right now we don’t matter. The police and privileged parents prove that they care only about themselves.
All people are created equal under God. President Lincoln after the 13th Amendment promised us 30 acres and a mule. It’s time to pay up.