News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 27, 2018: This week’s episode brings back ……
Barack Obama center stage to slug it out with Donald Trump over a long dead African-American mega sports hero, the Legendary Jack Johnson.
Also, Dear Readers since this is an episode about sports in Trump’s America, I will use it to also to addresses the hypocrisy of the NFL owners currently on display after covering the Jack Johnson matter here.
Yes, I know; so much value for FREE in Trump’s America every week!
Everybody knows the story or should, but it’s always worth telling again as master documentary film maker Ken Burns did a few years ago. And so many others do and remain passionate about pardoning Johnson.
Most of all, why might President Trump do what President Obama refused to do? It’s complicated and not complicated at all. It does not make President Obama look good at all. Will President Trump end up looking better?
Even more as we dig deep as I do here in Trump’s America. This issue can even shed light on why Donald Trump is President at all. Sadly.
First to Jack Johnson himself …
Rather than rewrite history, here is the story I wrote 14 years ago, July 4, 2004, for Black Athlete Sports Network, about Johnson and the pardon he deserves and still has not received, not even from President Barack Obama:
Jack Johnson has waited far too long for Justice. It is another stinging rebuke of American society that he has had to wait at all. And until he was long Dead. Our job, all of us, is to never forget how outrageously any society can act when we allow the forces of Bigotry free rein.
Why would the greatest boxer of his day, the first Black heavyweight champion, rather than being hailed by American society, be subject to governmental harassment early in the 20th century that would ultimately land him in jail, them force him into exile? Because that was reality in America and in the South for generations after the end of Slavery.
Johnson’s sin (sic) was that he flaunted his freedom and his success by associating with, worse dating and marrying who he chose, admittedly even to the consternation of some African-American leaders of his day.
But it was white society in the guise of the U.S. Justice Department that had it in for him. And the Feds received no resistance from national political leaders who might have reigned them in. Instead the Justice Department made use of the then virulent Mann Act in the early decades of the 20th century that made it illegal to take a woman across state lines for purposes of prostitution – concocted charges against Johnson for his affairs with white women.
Johnson, a native of Galveston, Texas. born March 21, 1878, was convicted under the Mann Act in 1913, and fled to Texas while appealing his conviction. When he returned to the U.S. in 1920, Johnson was forced to serve a year in prison.
The federal government’s vendetta against Jack Johnson was a tremendous detriment to his famous career. Once under assault by the Feds, he never regained his earlier championship form, which had made him king of the boxing world and the talk of American society.
Johnson held the World Heavyweight Crown from 1906 until 1915. He won 80 of 114 pro bouts, 45 by Knockouts. It is Johnson’s success in the ring that began the quest for and the origin of the term “The Great White Hope,” which became the mantra of many in white America who were outraged that a Black man was Champion of the World in a sport far more prominent in the public consciousness back in the early 20th century.
All of which led to what some call the most significant and far reaching boxing match in all of American history, and on of all days, July 4th in 1910, when Jack Johnson fought the white opponent James Jeffries, the most famous white fighter of the day, who carried with him the highest expectations of ending Johnson’s Reign.
Johnson stopped Jeffries cold, which led to race riots across the country by rampaging infuriated whites.
Johnson’s biggest win of his career, on Independence Day 1910 in San Francisco probably more than anything else led to Johnson’s pathetically unjustified prosecution and conviction as few years later.
That remains a dark mark on America’s sports consciousness.
END OF STORY … from July 4, 2004.
Still NO posthumous pardon!
Assuming we had not entered an Alternative Universe 4 years later when something happened in 2008 that seemed inconceivable in 2004, an African America “no one” had ever heard of early in 2004, became President Barack Obama in 2008, and with it, tremendous support for pardoning Johnson among Congressional leaders and so many others you would have expected …
that President Obama would have rushed to his Presidential signing pens in his desk the Oval Office. and before a large thankful Black & White audience in The White Hose, signed the pardon for Jack Johnson.
WRONG. In 8 years as President, regardless of repeated requests from the Powerful and the NOT powerful at all, Barack Obama REFUSED this highly symbolic pardon for Jack Johnson. WHY??????????????????????
All of you who read Obama’s America for 313 consecutive episodes know exactly why; because there was the “myth” of Barack Obama everyone wanted to believe most of all African Americans, and there was the REAL Barack Obama who was very different than the “myth” he cultivated
If you like, call it the Tiger Woods syndrome, since this is a sports episode of Trump’s America. Put another way: “yes my skin is Black but ……. ”
The fact is, unlike Jack Johnson, President Barack Obama was NOT the Great Black Hope. Obama carefully cultivated the image like Tiger Woods, that he was for everyone and color was and is not the issue. They are for “everyone.”
President Obama cared about ALL Americans, which meant not showing any special favor to African-Americans, even if African-Americans were and are abused as a group or an individual Black American like Jack Johnson.
So the Clueless, who did not read Obama’s America week after week, just assumed there must be a good reason Obama did not pardon Johnson.
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! THERE WAS NO GOOD REASON.
President Obama was and is concerned first and foremost about Barack Obama and providing a “meaningless” purely symbolic pardon to the long DEAD Jack Jackson would have been Big News about President Obama giving special attention to a famous African American showing “favoritism,” which did not comport with the image Obama wanted for himself.
Really, you think I am wrong? Do you believe the lame excuse The Obama White House gave again and again because he was concerned about pardoning the living not the dead?; as though he had a specific number of pardons he was allowed to give out and could not go over his “limit?” There is NO limit!
Even on his last day in Office, President Obama would not pardon Jack Johnson for being convicted of a so called federal crime based on a completely UN-Constitutional claim that Johnson associated with White women.
Because Barack Obama was still cultivating his color “neutral” image.
So what will President Donald Trump, who loves to try and prove he is so very different from President Barack Obama, do? Trump could pardon Jack Johnson, EXCEPT he may not.
Because Trump is a total hypocrite who uses race to motivate his base. And all the bigots Trump relies on for support, who are not his entire base but a significant part of it, will not be happy with him pardoning BLACK Jack Johnson.
And so, writing about hypocrisy in fact quite logically does bring me to the NFL owners here in Trump’s America – an issue in the news right now involving the NFL owners and Donald Trump ….
highlighted this week in media partner The New York Times – or as its known in The White House -The Fake New York Times.
… but NOT here in Trump’s America where we often rely on The Times to do our leg work.
This is The Times article on April 25th titled … “Inside the Confidential N.F.L. Meeting to Discuss National Anthem Protests” revealed just now.
“N.F.L. owners, players and league executives, about 30 in all, convened urgently at the league’s headquarters on Park Avenue in October, nearly a month after President Trump began deriding the league and its players over protests during the national anthem.”
“It was an extraordinary summit; rarely do owners and players meet in this manner. But the president’s remarks about players who were kneeling during the anthem had catalyzed a level of public hostility that the N.F.L. had never experienced.”
The Times article goes on …
“The owners were intent on finding a way to avoid Trump’s continued criticism. The President’s persistent jabs on Twitter had turned many fans against the league. Lurie, who called Trump’s presidency “disastrous,” cautioned against players getting drawn into the president’s tactics.”
Let me get to the point this episode is getting long ….
The NFL owners are portraying themselves call it what it is “spinning” that they are unlike President Trump that they are in “solidarity” (sic) with Black players rights and the grievances of all African-Americans.
I am going to call it what it is – BULLSHIT. These owners are as much BS as is Donald Trump. They are just worried about their image while keeping their anti-Black fans watching the NFL.
Here is the Litmus Test the NFL owners failed miserably. These sanctimonious – where else but here do you get to read the word sanctimonious – again these sanctimonious NFL owners, all of whom have BLACK listed players at the center of the Anthem controversy, will give not give the talented BLACK Quarterback Colin Kaepernick. a try out let alone a contract to play in the NFL even though many NFL teams need either starting or backup Quarterbacks with Kaepernick’s talent.
The NFL owners have conspired to END Kaepernick’s NFL career because he had the audacity to stand up, or rather kneel, for abused African Americans, and these Billionaires are worried about losing some income they don’t need if some fans stay away if they hire Keapernick.
Colin Kaepernick in his own way is in fact a Jack Johnson for our time. A Black athlete OPPRESSED for expressing his views as an African American, differently than Jackson, but with a similar kind of result, both victims of racist White views among the rich and powerful and their “base.”
So let me end this episode right here with useful advice …
President Donald Trump PARDON Jack Johnson right now!
NFL owners STOP refusing to let Kaepernick play in the NFL!
If neither Trump or the NFL owners do the Right Thing here it is clear and present proof of Racism on their parts. If so, shame on ALL of them!
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(This entire series is dedicated in honor of the late Liu Xiaobo)