Johnny Manziel, The Fab Five, LeBron; & The Race Issue In Amateur Sports

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Racism still alive they just be concealing it – Kanye West “Never Let Me Down” feat. JAY Z

Timeless quote from the artist formerly known as Kanye West. But today we present a story where “concealing” is anything but the case. “Overt” is what Swish Genius used, and that fits the bill perfectly.

Pictured above, you see our guy Johnny Football(a Swish favorite, despite the tone of this rant) on the cover of Time Magazine. The storyline he presents is being accused of taking money. And based on the media’s overall negative sentiment of him, because of his arrogance, his controversial statements, they will lead you to believe this is true. Although, it has not been proved.

But those same factors make him ill to us, he’s by far the most polarizing figure in college sports right now. He stands for everything that we respect on this site, acting how you want, wilding out, enjoying life, and being unapologetic about it.

So this isn’t about him, as much as it is using him to present issues that need to be brought to the forefront.

The issue begins with the title Time Magazine chose to run with, and trickles down from there. “It’s Time To Pay College Athletes” Paying college athletes is all the way just in my eyes. So let’s focus on the “It’s Time” part. And the main thing that must be asked to Time, as well as sports media as a whole is, “When did ya’ll SUDDENLY decide that the “Time” is now?” Or maybe the better question is “How?” Because, unless I’ve been unconscious these past 7-10 years of my life, this EXACT same plot has played out 4-5 times over….just with black amateur/collegiate athletes as the main characters.

I’m 24, so for me, it starts with Chris Webber & Michigan’s Fab Five. Five young black kids, essentially acting the exact same way Manziel is now. All from the inner city, all in situations where the money due to them in 3-4 years, could be used at that exact moment to improve their families’ quality of life. So Chris Webber took the bait, and took some money in advance, resulting in all of the Fab Fives banners and records erased from history. Equally as unfair of a ruling as it would be to suspend Johnny Football for taking money for signing autographs. But it wasn’t “Time” for college starts to be paid then.

USC’s Reggie Bush, similar scenario, took and advance money to give to his Mother. And for that, the NCAA erased one of the top 5 college football careers ever. Even in a situation as unjust as that, it wasn’t “Time” yet. A High School LeBron James, sold millions of magazines by putting his likeness on the cover of Sports Illustrated, was suspended the entire second half of his senior year for buying his Mother a new car with an advance of money he took. Why wasn’t it “Time” then?

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Is the answer “money”? We know how this world works. Time ran this title on it’s cover to do what magazine companies are supposed to do; sell magazines. But they could have ran a cover on the Syria issue and probably generated the same sales right? So no. Is it because Manziel alone, has grossed more than the other athletes mentioned above, making it a bigger story? Being that Nike owes residuals off of every single pair of black socks its ever sold since 1992 to Chris Webber & The Fab Five, I’d estimate not quite.

Capitalism is getting paid your market value right? Which is exactly why the word “amateur” is bull____ in sports. There’s no such thing, not when Nike can sell LeBron’s high school jersey, and not when you still see number 4’s & 5’s on Michigan Wolverine basketball jersey’s even today. In fact, ESPN’s Jay Bilas went on an epic twitter rant exposing how the NCAA rapes college stars.(If you haven’t seen it please google) And not to imply that my man Jay Bilas is a racist at all, because he tweets Jeezy lyrics daily, so he is anything but. But again, my question is, why was it “Time” to speak out on this issue now?

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Since we are keeping it 100, Manziel is a prototypical white superstar. Sort of a Christian Lattener, from his look(PAUSE) to his demeanor. Who was at risk of losing his final season for breaking the “amateur” code. Bottom line, is that popular media’s sudden switch from “College kids taking money is wrong” to “They deserve to be paid their worth” is because it happen in popular media’s own backyard. I’m not sure who the Editor of Time Magazine is, but I’m pretty sure they look at what happened to Johnny Football, and think, this could have been THEIR son. So now there’s an exigence, a call to action, a motive, an issue that needs to be solved.

So in conclusion, if somehow the question I’m posing to Time, and the media at large could get around to them. I’d love for the answer to keep it funky, the “Time” was now because it had never happened to “Us” before. It woke us up to an issue that had happened to “you guys” many times over; mistake acknowledged. Honesty like this, accepting that race will always play a role in our decision making would be a step forward. And not a step to “defeat” racism, because that’s an impossible task. Let’s just accept that race will always be around, and from there, just make a concerted effort to improve it. Honest discussion, and accepting mistakes will undoubtedly do just that. Maybe I’m wrong  and it’s not that simple. But maybe I’m right, and it’s just that easy to wake each other up, and if so, hopefully this can act as your alarm.

SWISH

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