There is a love/hate relationship happening between sports fans and black athletes. On one hand, athletes are heralded and idolized for their athleticism and sportsmanship, and on the other, discriminated against because of the color of their skin.
Black athletes have been referred to as gorillas, monkeys, and just about every species of the animal kingdom.
No one knows this better than Serena Williams. She is considered, perhaps, the great tennis player of all time. A dominant force in the sport, Serena has been hailed as the “Queen of the Court”. Yet, the Queen has been subjected to name-calling and racism, by “fans” and even, her peers. Her wins are usually short-lived, when people take to social media to criticize her looks, instead of congratulate her. In the past, Serena had even refused to play at a stadium where she was exposed to racial slurs and abusive language.
In 2008, Lebron James and supermodel Gisele Bündchen were featured in Vogue magazine’s Shape Issue. The cover sparked controversy because of the way in which Lebron was depicted holding Gisele and letting out a fake scream. He was compared to King Kong. Yes! The ginormous gorilla who destroyed Manhattan because of his infatuation with a tiny blond woman.
Others have been subjected to the same treatment, being called criminals, thugs, ghetto, and the list goes on. Black athletes have contributed so much to the world of sports. So why are their accomplishments being overshadowed by the ignorance and prejudice of others?
I believe that racism and intolerance should have no place in society, but even more so, in sports, where fans come together to just enjoy their favorite pastime.
Athletes show up every night to make that possible, so they should without a doubt, be respected.
Why do you think black athletes face so much prejudice and racism, considering the impact they have on sports?
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