Sports column: Black athletes defy stereotypes

Lebron James' instagram post stating," I am more than an athlete."
Photo credit: Lebron James

After an emotional loss for Serena Williams during the U.S. Open final, a cartoon spread over social media that portrayed her as a masculine, monstrous character with oversized features. The disgusting image resembles images from the Jim Crow era when Black people were not considered “human.”

The caricature creator, Mark Knight, said the image had no relation to Serena’s race, but her actions at the U.S. Open match. Clearly, the saddening image was related to race.

Black athletes are no strangers to the stereotypes that label them as animals and unintelligent.  It appears their race and ability to perform at higher levels makes them easy targets, which should not be the case.

Joshua Butler, a biology pre-med student at FAMU and a track and field athlete, spoke on how he thinks society views Black athletes.

Black athletes are seen as “people who have superior genetics … who are good at sports and not academics,” he said.

Entertainment blinds some viewers’ ability to recognize that athletes are human. They are able to comment on political matters and build platforms outside of what they are known for.

CNN anchor Don Lemon asked LeBron James questions about President Donald Trump during an interview, in which James gave his honest opinion.

A short time later, Trump tweeted: “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest guy on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”

The distasteful tweet about the three-time NBA champion was uncalled for. It showed how unprofessional Trump can be.

James is one of the smartest athletes in today’s society. He uses his image and popularity to bring awareness to NCAA corruptness, police brutality, immigrant children being separated from their families, and more.

Black athletes are breaking stereotypes that label them in a negative way.

Florida A&M’s football co-captain, Terry Jefferson, is one of many players who are defying the odds. He graduated in three years at FAMU with his health leisure and fitness degree. Now, he is working on his master’s in sports management with a goal to become a college football coach.

Jefferson commented on what he thinks Black athletes should do regrading being stereotyped. “Let’s prove everybody wrong who are making the stereotypes,” he said.

James also responded to Trump’s degrading tweet.  “I am more than an athlete,” he said, to which a Fox host told him to “shut up and dribble” earlier this year.

Black athletes are more than entertainment and what society labels them as. They are able to dominate any sport and anything else they put their minds to.