The NFL has been in a quagmire as of late. With owners removing their figurative hoods and showing their true colors when it comes to the social injustices that Blacks (which comprise 70% of the NFL’s workforce) face in America, all eyes are on them. First, Dallas Cow the NBA playoff season is upon is. Floyd Mayweather just shimmied his way to another purse bigger than the economy of some third-world nations. Tom Brady and the Patriots were finally disciplined for cheating. It’s safe to say sports is alive and well in America. So in this installment of the Don’s Corner Weekly Read, we present a book that will help us to keep everything in perspective: The 40 Million Dollar Slave by William C. Rhoden.
The 40 Million Dollar Slave is a book that has a misnomer as a title. Although later aspects of the book justify the title, the overall theme of the book is a GREAT lesson in sports history. The book takes us on a journey through the turn of the century and reveals that HORSE RACING was once what basketball and football is today. The book goes in-depth on the sports world through the years and highlights the similarities of today’s games and the plight of its athletes with the athletes and games of yesteryear. There is a particular section that covers the rise and fall of baseball’s Negro League that is sure to spark lots of interest and ideas.
Why is this book recommended reading for Dons?
This book illustrates that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Often times, we grow up idolizing athletes of today and think they have real, tangible power. They do have money, and in certain cases, that does translate to power. However, real power is influence, as we discussed in the politics session of The Don’s Corner. Just as it was during the times of Jack Johnson, it is today – real power comes from the people with the ability to pay the athletes we tend to idolize. As long as we are dependent on those that pay us, we will always be slaves, regardless of how big or small our bank accounts are.
As Dons, we need to shift our focus from the “butter” to the “guns.” 40 Million Dollar Slaves drives this point home. For that reason, it is on the reading list for the Don’s Corner.