By John A. Jaksich
Curt Flood played for three teams during his Major League Career: Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Senators. He would have been regarded as Hall of Fame status in some circles. However, Mr. Flood is presently regarded as a Civil Rights figure that was many years ahead of his time.
You see, Curtis Charles Flood is responsible for challenging how baseball players were regarded by their owners. Curt Flood protested the trade that would have sent him to the Philadelphia Phillies. He refused to be regarded as property– he sued MLB and shortened his playing career. However, with his actions, he set the stage for future players to be paid salaries that they felt were deserving-of. His actions allowed Reggie Jackson to become a New York Yankee and not play for the Oakland Athletics.
Mr. Jackson, at the time. was a premier player with the Oakland ballclub. The team owner was Mr. O’Finley. He paid the players lower wages than they felt they deserved for the time. The team had won 3 world championships and the players felt they deserved better salaries. The city loved their team– its citizens could not have been prouder. But, behind the veil of ownership was a tight-fisted businessman. Whether he viewed his players as property is not known, however- his players wanted better.
What Does It All Mean?
Further examination of Mr. Flood’s actions should lead many of us to question how we regard our own loyalties. Many of us have careers and jobs that we enjoy; and in some ways, many of us don’t have to worry about being “owned by our employer.” Many times, we are free to choose how long we can continue to work at a particular employer. However, much of what we do and say in the era of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the others, is subject to scrutiny.
Much of what is being scrutinized is our First Amendment rights in the US. While the Internet has no real borders, to many US citizens- losing our Civil Rights is a big deal. What many whites don’t understand — it is privilege that minorities don’t quite enjoy as well as they do.
If you look at close enough, much of the backlash of Social Media is a bad reflection of how many minorities have lived. Let me indulge the reader: One must live an exemplary and extraordinary life just to be online. Many minorities have lived in that manner — just to be accepted by the powers-that-be (white men who hold purse strings).
A Step Further?
If a non-minority had broken the law or stepped out-of-line with the police– there was no fear of potential violence against them. Whites, as a rule, can get away with some of the crimes that they commit after paying their debt to society. Many blacks, hispanics, and many others don’t get the luxury. It was taken away from them by a white ruling class that based its principles upon “so-called Christian ethics.”
The gospel of compassion was not on the minds of the white ruling class. We ‘white people’ felt our God was as white as our so-called souls -however, little did we know the truth.
God has no boundaries nor questions the love he gives. Pure love has no boundaries and sees no color (whatever it maybe)!
Not only that: True Compassion is Color Blind. (The real bigger truth).
While many of us stated emphatically that we felt no guilt because of what transpired beyond our cozy apartments and homes, we were and still are complicit in what has transpired during our own watch. If we claim Christianity as our anchor, then we need to be compassionate and question personal motives everyday. From sunrise to sunset, we need to acknowledge that we have failed ourselves and our neighbors. We need to heal the wounds of our own divisive ways.
However, there was a time when not everyone had that luxury. That time was not more than 40 years ago. While the 1960s are celebrated for the advances in Civil Rights, much needs to be addressed. Not only does Jim Crow Esq. affect minorities, it makes cowards of many of us whites. We don’t want to lose our jobs because we spoke out against racism and indignity. Not only athletes –but all of us need to stand up against racist dogma.
The Take Away?
While many of us do what we can on a daily basis, we are too complacent. Many of us need more backbone-
And it may take some time…. time that many don’t have…. our brothers and sisters who lose parents at the border because the US once represented freedom ….. 😦
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy