Panama and Champ Talk Racism, Sports, The South, and History
Champ: You know, the Iron Bowl—and the SEC (Southeastern Conference) by extension—capturing the country’s attention is put in a different perspective when talking to my dad and uncles, their friends, etc. because none of them f*ck with SEC schools. At least not rooting wise. They all still remember that those schools were the last to have black players.
PJ: Real talk…even my father hates Alabama b/c of that reason; which is why he pulls for Auburn.
PJ: But that’s kind of a bad argument. Shoot, we all root for former racist sports teamsand you’re mad because one of those professoinal teams was the last to integrate?
Champ: For him, it’s weird to see black people rooting for teams like Alabama and the Red Sox.
PJ: If you’re going to hate something because of integration you kind of have to hate it all. Somebody has to be last.
Champ: Well,I think certain terms were specifically known for being racist, or lead by racists, rather.
PJ: That much is clear,but that also changed.
Champ: The Red Sox, Alabama football, Kentucky basketball, etc.
PJ: And those racists are no longer there. Sh*t, Indiana basketball may not be “known” for it as much, but they all had the same policy. All of them.
Champ: I can understand not letting it go, though.
PJ: Some were just more upfront about it.
Champ: Especially if you lived through it.
PJ: Southerners are just more honest about their racism. Yeah, I can understand that. I’m just saying that if you lived through that, then you lived thru a lot of racist sports. So if you root for anybody, you’re still rooting for a team that at some point practiced de facto racism. I suppose in some ways, i can understand why you’d root for the first teams to integrate. I’ll say this; if you root for all the first teams to integrate and hate all the last ones to integrate, it makes sense.
Champ: Yeah, but there’s a difference between someone who might have been racist and someone who happily defined themselves by it.
PJ: Because one person said it and another lived it? I don’t really think there’s much of a difference if you only changed because you couldn’t afford not to; which, lets be real, was the case with most sports franchises, college or pro. How does that make it any better? Saying “they weren’t defined by it…” doesn’t mean they were not racist. it just means they didnt go out of their way to state it. They still operated quite happily under those circumstances. I’m not even sure why I’m arguing this; I get it. I can’t blame anybody for hating the Kentucky’s, Alabama’s, or especially Boston sports. But I do stand by the fact that most schools were happily racist for quite some time.
Champ: That’s true.
PJ: Pro teams as well.
Champ: But some were specifically known for being that way. It doesn’t make them the “most” racist. But it does make them the ones black people are least likely to f*ck with.
PJ: Old black people. But yeah, I feel that. Like I said, thats why my father hates Alabama. It helps that he grew up very close to Auburn, but the hate is palpable. Interestingly enough, I think that’s why I tend to have to toss a lot of that hatred to the side…for certain institutions. Remember, many stores didnt want us shopping there, period. Now we happily patronize those stores. Race creates complicated relationships.
Champ: It does.
PJ: You know whats most telling…Kentucky football was the first one to integrate in the SEC and Alabama wasn’t even last. LSU integrated after Alabama did. I’m looking at this chart and Alabama and Auburn integrated a year apart.
Champ: Alabama matters more, though, because Alabama was Alabama; Bear Bryant and sh*t. (Paul “Bear” Bryant actually claimed he couldn’t recruit Black players because he wasn’t allowed to. When he finally was able to, he opened the flood gates.)
PJ: And sh*t…the Redskins were the last pro team to integrate, but every n-wrod in America rooted for them because of Doug Williams.
Champ: From Grambling State University (HBCU in northern Louisiana)
PJ: Right. My point is…the Redskins were a notoriously racist team that refused to sign black players. Defiantly so. This probably explains why we have so many Cowboys fans in DC.
-PJ and Champ