Randy Smith: Battling Racism In Sports

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
This week the University of Cincinnati voted to remove former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott's name from the school's baseball stadium. At the same time, officials at Florida State University in Tallahassee are looking into removing Doak Campbell's name from that school's football stadium. It appears the " Black Lives Matter " movement is really beginning to take hold. Marge Schott's blatant racism is well known and well documented and Cincinnati is doing the right thing in removing her name. And former FSU President Doak Campbell, who guided the school when the transition was made from Florida State Women's College in 1947, was a well documented segregationist when the school was renamed.

These moves may seem like a small drop in the bucket, but they are part of a much bigger picture that could eventually help lead to the end of racism.  It's not going to happen overnight however.
Opponents of all this change are saying, "But it's our heritage."  No, it's not. It's part of a dark, dark time in our history.and it's not something we need to hold on to. You can't really erase history but there are parts of our history that shouldn't be honored.

In the past several years some universities have changed their teams' nicknames to become more politically correct. On the professional stage, groups of Native Americans have been pushing for years to change the names of the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians but to no avail. Maybe it's time. Each and every day groups in the sporting world are making changes for the better. NASCAR took a big step last week when the Confederate flag was banned, and the organization went further when it publicly supported Bubba Wallace, its only African-American driver. 

Changing a few nicknames and removing racist names from sports venues solves just a small part of the problem. Next comes more African-American head coaches, front office people and more equal opportunities for minorities and women at all levels.

Society is moving in the right direction, away from racism, and it could be the sporting world that leads the way. At least as of today, it appears to be that way.

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Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com


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