Who Will be Killed Next? Or Is Cleveland, Ohio The Most Racist City in America?

Cleveland is close to earning the title of Most Racist City In America. It starts with the top moral leadership: the Churches, the legal community, the courts and the judges. It is all very broken. Today's decision of a white judge aquitting a white police officer of killing two unarmed black people confirms this. Again. After living most of my life in and around Cleveland I can verify the truth of this. Today's decision is the tip of a very large iceberg. I heard about this killing from friends in Cleveland when it happened and the decision today on CNN. The story is now global with BBC coverage. While the DOJ and city leaders call for change there is one stong and simple step they can take: demand the MLB change the team name and logo or force the ownership out for promoting racism. The NBA did it. There is no pride or sense of right and wrong when a city and a team and the fans are told a team racist logo and team identity are somehow right and decent. 

The main justification is tradition. Traditions change. It is time to start a new one on racism in Cleveland. MLB, Cleveland, are you listening? When the leadership of Cleveland accepts and the fans are shown a racist image and team identity in the MLB team, the people see real, high profile accepted and endorsed racism. I find myself wondering how many Cleveland police officers and their families buy team merchandise, attend games and "love" the home team and what effect this has on their awarness of racism in general. Supporting racism against one group can and frequently is easily be seen as support for all racism. Racism is hatred based on birth identity. It is wrong in all its forms. 

Relief Brelo never gave those he killed. 

Relief Brelo never gave those he killed. 

How they were killed--by police Brelo included and the ruling is "no one was guilty, of anything". The people killed had no weapon and there were no shots from inside the car. 

How they were killed--by police Brelo included and the ruling is "no one was guilty, of anything". The people killed had no weapon and there were no shots from inside the car. 

The judge, John O'Donnell

The judge, John O'Donnell

Timothy Russell Rest In Peace

Timothy Russell Rest In Peace

Malissa Williams Rest In Peace

Malissa Williams Rest In Peace

To most of the people in Cleveland and many of those who I have known for years: you are better than this. The city is yours, the region is yours. Legal technicalities are words that can and must be rewritten. Justice is what rules and laws people are willing to accept and this decision must not leave the system, the words unchanged. 

Hope is needed so I am, yet again, calling on the Larry Dolan and his entire extended family and friends, all those who profit from the team, including staff, managers, players, sponsors, vendors charities and religious organizations, and I include specifically the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland in this call: make a difference. Give the city of Cleveland, the fans of the team, the country hope--by real action. Retire the racist mascot and change the name. How many more people must die before Cleveland leadership and everyone in the area stands together against racism, anywhere, anytime and in all forms? 

End racism today--do not support the MLB any longer Cleveland. Fans, Mayor Jackson--even Dolan family: you can and must be and do better. racism is racism is racism. Silence this racism now. 

End racism today--do not support the MLB any longer Cleveland. Fans, Mayor Jackson--even Dolan family: you can and must be and do better. racism is racism is racism. Silence this racism now. 


Such An Obvious Concept

Where are the religious and spiritual communities in this conversation? There is no coexist without understanding, no coexist without respect, no coexist without conversation.

Racism, in any form, in all forms is never sanctioned by any religious or spiritual belief. Racism by its very nature of perceived superiority based on birth over another human being or group based on birth fuels arrogance which leads to oppression, then resentment, exploitation, hatred and hatred leads to violence. Connecting these dots is simple, true and obvious. No religion or spiritual practice supports the end result. Yet silence among the religious and spiritual communities reigns--almost.

The United Church of Christ in its Mid-Atlantic Region has voted a formal boycott of the Washington, D.C. NFL team. In Cleveland, where the UCC National Headquarters are located, in the past they have supported outreach to the Native American community. Both steps are positive. More steps must be taken. More leaders can and should step forward. I call on the Roman Catholic diocese of Cleveland and Bishop Lennon to open a conversation with the team owners, myself and other interested parties to find a positive resolution to this longstanding MLB travesty at his doorstep. I know the Dolan family, the MLB team owners, are Roman Catholic, graduates of Notre Dame Law school across generations and active in Catholic Charities. I too am Roman Catholic. It is the right thing to do. For the record I have sent this same request to Bishop Lennon, repeatedly in the past as I did with his predecessor Bishop Pilla  and again this week. To date I have had no response at all.

As I now live in the Boston area I am aware of a powerful coalition of academic and spiritual leaders coming together in an effort to undo the casino endorsement vote through a ballot initiative. The courts have approved the new vote.  It is good to see scholars and spiritual leaders uniting on an issue but perhaps it is time for their expansion of the process,? Uniting FOR human dignity, mutual respect, integrity and decency seems to be the message all teach. This is not a ballot issue, it can be a hearts and minds issue. History, recent history, has shown time and again that racism leads to violence, both local and beyond.

The current Roman Catholic Pope, Pope Francis has prayed with Israeli leader Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbastogether at the Vatican last month and this week prayed with tens of thousands in St. Peter's Square to end warfare in the Middle East. Hatred, in all its forms, kills. The exploitation of any one group, Native, Indigenous, minority or simply seen as the other mirrors the pattern of exploitation and oppression of all.

"I exhort to all the interested parties and to all of those who have political responsibility at the local and international level to not give up the prayer, nor any effort to cease any hostility and reach the desired peace for the good of all," the Pope said, according to a CNN translation. He spoke in Italian, from the window of his apartment above St. Peter's Square.

These same words for peace and universal good-respect and decency-carry for all team identities. Where there are racist team identities in all sports which peace is placed at risk with hostility expanded as the identity of an indigenous people is used by others for profit and personal gain. In time I am certain this will come to be seen as the truth, seen by those currently hugging tradition and old attitudes tightly in their closed hearts. The growth of the global community will make the current team identities, endorsed by their owners and organizations from Cleveland, to Washington, D.C. and beyond and the sports' fan behaviors worldwide proof positive of vile racism and continued ignorant intentional blindness. This is not a legacy anyone should strive to leave. It is time for a change.

LeBron, Welcome Home--Now What?

LeBron, Welcome Home--Now What? View image on Twitter

When racism directly hit your league you spoke out. Thank you for that. You rather brilliantly controlled the announcement of your return to Ohio. My question for you Mr. James is this: do you really care about racism, in all its forms, in sports? In all sports?

If so, what is your position on the racism in the NFL and in MLB and in all the other arenas in Ohio and all the cities where NBA teams play involving the Native American team identities? Cleveland is your sport's home as much as Akron is your family's home and Cleveland has the most racist team in MLB in the country.

The team name while currently commonly accepted does represent a racist and arrogant mistake by a man determined to conquer an entire continent centuries ago, a mistake never really addressed and certainly not corrected. The logo is the modern version of plenty of ugly racist caricatures no longer accepted as legitimate but in Cleveland it is accepted as "cute"--Chief Wahoo. Will you stand up and call out this racist issue? Or do you only care about racism as it affects your own race?

Is racism in all its forms, against all people important enough for you to take a stand?

Can US Mayors Confront Racism? Will They?

Can US Mayors Confront Racism? Will They?

"There can be a meanness,an ugliness" in sports.

Kareem Adbul-Jabbar: "I couldn't believe that someone could have that much bigotry inside and think that it was OK" when referring to Sterling and his racist comments.

"Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin told the mayors' meeting he hopes the Sterling drama will serve as a catalyst for positive changes in society.

"We can focus on Donald Sterling all we want or we can be smart about it and focus on what we can all accomplish when we come together as one,"" Michael Irvin said.

Sports Can Build Peace, Someone Important Seems To Think So

"Sport is not only a form of entertainment, but also -- and above all I would say -- a tool to communicate values that promote the good that is in humans and help build a more peaceful and fraternal society," he said. Who is "he" in this statement? In case you can't guess here's a hint: Image  

Interesting Idea here too,--I think he might be smiling from Heaven, don't you?  Image

Racism, Causing Violence?

Racism, Causing Violence?  

Why???Why does racism matter? It leads to violence ultimately. Why does violence matter to you, me or anyone? When people physically attack each other the risk that any individual can be physically harmed grows. When we see violence, when we read about violence, when we know people who have been victims or survivors of violence or when we our selves are physically harmed the likelihood that there will be more violence increases.

It is simple self-interest for each of us to want to see violence reduced. We cannot guarantee that we ourselves will be able to protect ourselves or our loved ones each and every time there is a risk of violence. This is true no matter who we are or where we live.

shadow of person raising a fist

For our own personal safety the far smarter course is to work to increase the support for mutual respect and peaceful means of reducing disagreements and physical conflict. Simple to understand. Not always simple to do. Still worth knowing and still worth doing.

Pre-Incident Behaviors

Racism hurts everyone. It is time for the sports organizations to understand this, discuss it and work to stop it. Cleveland, The Dolan family, all the faith organizations in Cleveland and Cleveland baseball fans everywhere--you can start the process. Change the team name and retire Chief Wahoo. Will you?




Altzheimer's Disease, Sterling & NBA

Altzheimer's Disease, Sterling & NBA Sterling asleepjumpball

Donald Sterling has Alzheimer's Disease. Donald Sterling has sued the NBA yesterday. The first is a maybe, the second is on the record. Shelly Sterling has signed for the Sterling Family Trust to sell the team to Steve Balmer of Microsoft fame and fortune.

If Donald Sterling has Alzheimer's Disease he is facing a future filled with challenges and real hardship, some experiences even his vast wealth cannot protect him from. My heart goes out to him and his family for no matter how vile and hurtful a person may be personal illness and real human suffering are not things I wish on anyone.

But the profits here are real and for Sterling come in at about 15,900%  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/31/upshot/donald-sterlings-remarkable-rate-of-return.html

It is a question of supply and demand coupled with the cash liquidity in the top .1% Without the racism scandal the price was suspected to be $400-$500 million less. We will never know because Steve Balmer is a highly motivated and incredibly wealthy buyer. He is doing the purchase on his sole initiative and not having to justify it to anyone. It becomes a win for the NBA and all team owners--maybe.

Mr.Balmer, while you adjust to the ownership circles in major sports will you pay the fans and the country back by tackling racism in the sports teams names, idenities and logos/mascots? You ahve wanted a team for years and this one came for sale in a way you could never have anticipated--due to horrible racism. If you simply walk into your position without facing this and fully addressing it your wealth will have let you enter circles otherwise closed to you, racism where it is obvious racism is still rampant.

Microsoft, the source of your wealth Mr. Balmer, in the past and most likely still, through stock ownership, reaches everyone. It's products are used worldwide and the team you now own has a global profile. Use your position to confront the hate, stand down racism and bring some real honor to an ugly situation. Or not. Your call--and please, not on the flip of a coin. Do the right thing, face racism down, just like a winning jumpball.


Slovakia Gets It Right, Can MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL et al Ever Get It Right?

Slovakia Gets It Right, Can MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL et al Ever Get It Right? It can be simple: Racism is wrong. Racism in any and all forms will not be acceptable. Racism will not be tolerated. Ever. Period. Slovakia gets it right.

Teams, players, Commissioners, families, owners, coaches, staff, broadcasters, fans--how can you keep looking for justifications for your cowardace? Silence condones the status quo. Speak up. Make the changes, do the right thing, not because you are somehow giving in, somehow doing what "they" say to do, or "they" say not to do but because it is the decent, human, respectful, honorable and right thing to take actioin. Fire racism. Change the names, logos, mascots and all representations that are racist  and associated with any of the teams. Change the owners when necessary. 

Mr. Larry Dolan, Mr. Paul Dolan, Mr. Mark Shapiro--can you give one legitimate reason not to change the Cleveland team name and logo--other than  the unbelievably weak "tradition" or perhaps "profits", or perhaps you personally each "don't see anything wrong with it" or your own individual and maybe joint fear of public or even private social reaction? Really? It is time for a mirror check--you, in your own mirror and the mirror of each of your consciences. 

Tell me, tell the world, tell your children and grandchildren that for the sake of pride, ego, sheer stubbornness you stood down everyone and "did it your way"--do you each really think the world is going to honor that choice and your following generations will be pleased that they have to answer for your intransience, that they have to find the courage you lack to do what you failed to do? It is not the 19th century, the 20th century or even the first decade of the 21st century. Your actions in 2014 are indefensible. The world has, in fact, changed.

It is simple: do the right thing and stop profiting from the name of a race of people(the reasoning behind the name is described elsewhere in this blog and from its origins until today it is wrong, factually, ethically and morally) and a demeaning, degrading and insulting racist caricature. Do not look to find apologists, do not look to poll a committee or a community or a board of directors. Do not look to clergy, academia or marketers for quidance. The clergy are occupied elweshere with their own faiulres and issues, academia is facing the digital evolution in education and marketers will do as you ask since you employ them.

For once take the lead, open a discussion with those of us who have pressed this issue forward for years and start the conversation not with a question as to how you can profit from the change but rather how you can do the change of both name and logo in a way that gives the change truth, respect and dignity for all involved.

I have asked this of you before and here I ask yet again: begin the conversation with those of us formally involved, now.

That question about how to increase profits and the change--check the transcripts from the deposition I personally participated in during the OCRC filing against Gateway and the team, your team--your lawyers asked it of me, just before we adjourned and the transcriptionist should have had it on the record. I had ideas and a plan then and still do have ideas as to how the change can be profitable today. However, I deferred, very deliberately on the answer, as I will here. That is a conversation for an entirely different setting but as businessmen I would certainly think you also have ideas on the subject. The courage to tackle the issue? That I have not yet seen, anywhere, ever, at all.

From Slovakia:

"One of the faces of the public-service RTVS sports desk, Kristína Kormúthová, was sacked after she posted a controversial comment on her Facebook profile on May 16. Kormúthová wrote on Facebook that a man who, according to her, tried to steal the rain gutter from her house at night was “a prematurely born, stinky gypsy” and asked why “us hunters” cannot shoot such people like animals. She concluded, “And let anyone dare call me a racist!”"  She is now fired, because of the statement. More on the link above.

That is leadership and integrity in action. Can we have it here in American sports, in the National Pastime?

Business and Human Rights

Business and Human Rights The United Nations has found  "the use of stereotypes obscures understanding of the reality of Native Americans today and instead help to keep alive racially discriminatory attitudes." Last month the owner of the Redskins was again challenged to reconsider his position on the team name

This week the state of relations between the First Nations and Canada have again come under critical review and been found wanting. This parallels findings to some extent of the Special Rapportuer when he was examining the situation in the USA. He clearly outlined standards: "Private actors also have responsibilities independently of the States' obligation to promote and protect human rights," Mr. Anaya said.  http://unsr.jamesanaya.org/statements/usa-redskins-team-mascot-hurtful-reminder-of-past-suffering-of-native-americans 

MLB teams are in Canada and the USA, both have indigenous peoples still living in communities with rights of self-governance and MLB still continues to claim the name and logo in Cleveland are neither racist nor contributors to racism. Are these claims honestly true?

Nobody Really Cares About Racism?


If you are a Native American, if you are an American, if you are a person--isn't racism always racism?

We all share one home, earth, and one race, the human race. It is time for everyone to respect everyone. Change ALL team names that are of a "race" of people, all mascots and logos that depict "races" of people. We can and really should find new and exciting ways to enjoy supporting our teams.

Racism Is Racism Is Racism

Racism Is Racism Is Racism Subban NHL

Boston, how far you have fallen. After the Bruins were defeated in a Stanley Cup playoff series game on Thursday the Twitterverse lit up with racism. From the Boston fans. Because the Canadiens player P.K. Subban has dark skin. His parents moved from the Caribbean to Canada decades ago. P.K. was born in Canada.

Boston has a proud history of racial equality and a shameful history of racism. The response to this week's events by the NHL is positive yet weak. Hoping there will be change, labeling racists as racist, classless, and ignorant is an important step. The next step requires action. What will the Bruins actually do now? What can they do?

They can contribute directly to educational programs in Boston city schools. They can work with the other major sports teams, the Red Sox and the Patriots to develop school programs for all of Massachusetts' schools, public and private, preschool through university level teaching the history of racism in sports. Only then will their words have meaning.

“I share the thoughts of Cam and the organization. It’s just poor judgment, poor taste, and we don’t associate ourselves with people like that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “People who act that way are not what we call our fans. They may think they are, but we certainly don’t support that. It’s a shame that this is still going around in this day and age that people are still thinking that way. For us, it’s a shame. As I mentioned, it’s certainly not getting our support on that one.”

Boston left winger Milan Lucic also commented:

‘It's very, very disappointing to hear that,’ he said. ‘It's really sad that people do something like that… To criticize someone about something that has nothing to do with hockey on an issue like that is very ignorant and stupid if you asked me."

A good beginning. Only a beginning.




The NBA Has Done a Good Thing, MBL, Your Turn Is Now

The NBA Has Done a Good Thing, MBL, Your Turn Is Now Congratulations to the NBA, Commissioner Silver, Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacremento, Eric Garcetti, Mayor of LA and the entire Clipper's organization for banning, judging and condeming team owner Donald Sterling for his admitted racist comments. The maximum allowable punishments are a god and strong first step. Yet selling his team at a massive profit can still leave Sterling laughing all the way to the bank. The game and the country needs a better outcome. It is about America.

Adam Silver

MBL are you listening? Commissioner Selig, team owners Larry Dolan, family, staff and management, Mayor Jackson, Council President Kelley: in Cleveland you are all, each and every one of you, supporting a racist team with a racist logo, officially.

As I have said before, I am willing to sit at a table with you for a conversation around steps to build change and move away from prejudice, hatred, bigotry into a better future.