In 1964, Cassius Clay, then only 22, brashly boasted that he would upset 7-1 favorite Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight championship. “I am the greatest!” he shouted. In retrospect, Clay clearly was the greatest. Why did his outbursts upset so many white sportscasters and fans?
In 2000, San Francisco 49er big personality and wide receiver Terrell Owens was hit with a one-week suspension and a $24,000 fine for twice placing the football on the opposing team’s mid-field logo after scoring a touchdown. The claim was that Owens incited the crowd and disrespected his opponent. Did he?
Many similar incidents later, in the Dallas Cowboys 2008 opening game, Owens was hit with a 15-yard penalty for dropping into a sprinter’s starting position and emulating Olympics gold medalist Usain Bolt after catching a second quarter touchdown pass. The NFL has a rule against excessive celebration. Why? Continue reading “Rule Book Racism: Can a Black Athlete Celebrate?”