Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 30, 2014

BRADBERRY: Sports ... Leveling the playing field, again

Niagara Gazette — Ostracize: to banish a person; to exclude, by general consent, from society, friendship, conversation, privileges, etc.

Like many too young, or too insulated to have experienced real, hard core, in-your-face racist sentiments first hand, most of my adolescent, and a few adult nieces, nephews and their multi-cultural acquaintances were totally outraged and disgusted by the depth of Donald Sterling’s racist remarks; they find it hard to believe that people actually think and behave like him.

They have absolutely no tolerance for the nonsensical ignorance Sterling displayed, albeit privately; they want him OUT!

Now!

Well, trust me; Sterling is likely not alone, unfortunately. Remember the racist rants of cattle rancher, Cliven Bundy last week? I know, that’s a horse of a different color, but it’s the same problem. Years of standing up against racism have succeeded in driving most of the outward manifestations of the scourge underground, but every now and then, as these two gentlemen demonstrate, it bubbles back up.

Ironically, that’s a good thing because circumstances such as these force the rest of us to do more than just talk about race prejudices and DO something; professional sports have historically led the way, not only in America, but around the world; look at what Soccer did to unite South Africa.

Listening to my radio yesterday as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver effectively ostracized Sterling, I recalled Dad’s little green radio, a gift Mom got for him from Eddie Zewin’s furniture and appliance store on the corner of 24th Street and Cudaback Avenue in Niagara Falls; it was always tuned in to the Cleveland Indians baseball games, like the games were the only thing that little radio played.

I never knew why he was so dedicated to that team until a decade or so ago while I was on vacation in Florida when Walter Bulka excused himself from his birthday dinner party and went to his bedroom. He came back to the dining-room table with an original May 23, 1948 Cleveland Indians official scorecard.

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