Tag: football

Both Mason Randolph and Myles Garrett Should Get Same Punishment

By Michael November 16, 2019 Off

Although the rules of the game today have taken a great deal of the aggression off the field, football remains a violent sport. The guys in the trenches, the gladiator, are bigger and stronger than those playing the skilled positions.

Inevitably, there are disagreements between the gladiators and the smaller offensive players. When they clash, the “root for the underdog” American ethos kicks in and comes to the aid of the skilled player over the so-called “brut.” read more

Tuskegee’s Woes On Display At Football Game

By Michael September 4, 2016 Off

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, Cascade Press,Tuskegee’s administrative woes were on display at a Saturday night football game against Clark-Atlanta University. A Tuskegee graduate, Carl Trimble, clad in psychedelic pants and a white polo shirt hoisted a banner outside the main gate of  Panther Stadium on the historic CAU campus, as fans of both schools streamed by on their way to witness Tuskegee defeat Clark-Atlanta University 36-13.

Tuskegee’s football program has won more collegiate football games than any other Historical Black  College or University.

Trimble’s sign read “Tuskegee on Academic Warning…. “Probation?”

Trimble, an Atlanta architect, said he wanted to raise awareness that Tuskegee’s accreditation could be in jeopardy because of a warning notice issued to the university by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Last year the university was placed on warning status by SACS. When SACS reviewed Tuskegee’s status this year, Tuskegee failed to satisfy SACS requirements for removal from this status. The university was continued on warning notice for an additional year.

“Are you aware of this?” Trimble, pointing to the lettering on the sign, asked a group of young women wearing Tuskegee paraphernalia. The group paused long enough to shake their heads, “no,” in puzzled bewilderment.

“Do you know what it means, Trimble inquired?”

“No,” the group mumbled, hurrying past Trimble holding his sign.

Undaunted, Trimble yelled to a man with salt and pepper hair wearing the legendary insignia of Tuskegee University, “Do you know about this?”

“Yes,” he said,continuing his saunter toward the entrance gate of the stadium.

“Do you even care, Trimble asked?”

“Yes, I care,” the man said, not breaking his stride.

“You don’t care,” Trimble said.

The man stopped to challenge Trimble’s assertion. By that time, Trimble had focused on other Tuskegee alumni; so the man said to a reporter, “Tell him, I do care, but I don’t like what he is doing.”

“Why,” the reporter asked?

“It’s my choice,” the man said, rushing inside to cheer the Golden Tigers.

Inside the stadium, a Baby Boomer wearing a hat with Tuskegee University embroidered on it, sat down next to classmates and showed them a flyer he had received at the entrance gate.

“Man, they’re out there with a big stack of these flyers, passing them out,” he said to his classmates.

The flyer had a picture of the university’s first principle, Booker T. Washington. The headline asked: “Tuskegee Alumni Did you know? Tuskegee University Needs Us! …Now!”

A discussion ensued. His friends conceded they were aware that the university was under a  SACS Warning Notice.

“I don’t think they should be out there passing these things out,” the man said to his friends.

“But something has to be done about this,” one of his classmates replied.

The group seemed to agree that something should be done to redirect the “trajectory” of Tuskegee University. They mentioned firing President Brian Johnson, getting rid of the Board of Trustees and they discussed the fact that all HBCUs need money and are under the gun to prove that they are still relevant.

Their last point was poignantly on display during the halftime show. CAU has temporarily disbanded its marching band due to a financial pinch. The Stockbridge High School Marching Band performed in their stead.

Tuskegee’s administrative problems have crept into the pre-game discussions held by alumni at its football games.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round; and the host of Beyond the Law with Harold Michael Harvey. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.



Cam “The Black Man” Newton

By Michael January 29, 2016 Off

Cam “The Black Man” Newton, in case anyone had any doubts, is a Black man. One could say that he is unapologetically a Black man.  Cam Newton was unmistakably a Black manchild, when he played little league baseball out of a DeKalb County, Georgia Park in a prominently Black community.

He was undoubtedly proud to wear the jersey of the Birmingham Black Barons to honor a team of Negro baseball players who played in a segregated league because Major League Baseball owners refused to permit Black baseball players to compete alongside white baseball players.

The 26 year-old Newton was definitely a Black student in the predominantly Black West Lake High School in College Park, Georgia, where he learned the quarterback skills he now displays on Sunday afternoons.

Hardly anyone believe that Newton was anything other than a Black young man when he was run through the campus judicial system at Florida State University.  I’m willing to bet 9 will get you 10, that everybody knew Newton was a Black quarterback when  Alabama Alums ran Cam and his dad through the ringer over the methods Auburn used to recruit him.

There was no question when Newton accepted the Heisman Trophy in 2011 that he was a Black man on the brink of making a whole lot of money.

I had not paid much attention to Cam Newton prior to an October 2012 football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons. I had been aware of his exploits as a budding little league baseball player and of his prowess as the quarterback at West Lake High. I dismissed the rumors that he had stolen a computer at Florida State.

The allegations smelled a bit fishy to me. After all, Newton’s dad was a well respected minister of the gospel in the metropolitan Atlanta area. He came from a middle class home and would not have a need to steal an electronic device.

Also, I dismissed the Auburn allegations involving his dad and the recruitment of Newton. I know how easy it is to get people to believe the worst when you toss in the possibility that a Black man is the culprit. Essentially, I believed that Newton did not deserve the bad rap he was getting, but he was not on my radar as a person that we would be hearing more from at a later time.

On this particular Sunday afternoon in 2012, I was in Naples, Florida working as a Precinct Captain for the reelection of President Barack Obama. My precinct office was in the home of a white family who had in previous elections voted Republican. However, they had a grandchild who had contracted cancer. The family at the beginning of this century had lived a life slightly above middle-class.

By 2012, they like most Americans, had seen their income and savings evaporate as a result of the George Walker Bush economic meltdown in 2008. The family was unable to obtain insurance to properly care for this grandchild because of the pre-existing condition rule followed by all insurance companies prior to the Affordable Care Act.

Before his death, the grandchild had made the grandmother promise, that she would support President Obama, because he had done the research and found the only way for him and others in his situation to obtain the health insurance they needed was for the implementation of ObamaCare.

For this reason, they opened their home to me to use as a satellite office. They fed me well and often threatened to sic their huge German Shepherd dogs on me, if I did not show the proper respect for their home, whatever, that meant. I took it to mean that I  may be working to reelect the President of the United States, but I was indeed a Black man in their eyes.

On this particular Sunday afternoon in October the television was turned to the Carolina vs Atlanta game.  Newton was working his trade, throwing bombs, scrambling, dancing and prancing, or as the kids say, doing the “dab.”

Suddenly, the white woman of the house exclaimed, “I hate him! I just hate him!”

“Why,” I asked?

“I hate him,” she bellowed, blood rushing to fill up her cheeks, eyes bulging!

“Why, what is it about him, I queried?

“I just hate him,” she said emphatically!

“What did he do,” quizzically I asked, while focusing on the television screen to see if I could discern what had caused her outburst?

“I just don’t like him,” she intoned in a white woman’s snarl.

At that moment, I had no doubt that in the mind of this white lady, Cam “The Black Man” Newton was indeed a Black man playing quarterback on a high level in the National Football League. And those taunts about sicing the dogs on me were a real possibility. After all, I sauntered  in a bold intellectual “dab,” like the free Black man that I am, throughout a white household, where the dogs had been trained to attack Black men who approached the premises.

As Black men we have to perform our jobs expertly in spite of the hatred that is hurled at us, usually behind our backs, by white people. At the end of the day, like Newton, I had a job to do in Naples, Florida, and that was to improve Obama’s vote total in Collier County, Florida from the eight percent he received in 2008 to ten percent. Mission accomplished, I flew out of town. I’m awaiting Newton’s performance next weekend.

So when Newton told reporters during his weekly media session at Bank of America Stadium., “I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing they can compare me to,” he spoke nothing but the truth, about how white Americans , some of whom he has never met, feel about him.

I applaud Newton’s unflinching declaration that he is a Black man playing a white man’s position better than anyone (Black or White) has played it up to this time. Given Newton’s cultural upbringing, why should he sublimate his identity just because he will quarterback his team in Super Bowl 50? Why should he pretend that America is a post-racial country and that white people are not afraid of black men whether they flaunt a “dab” or no “dab?”

Perhaps, race relations would improve for the better, if more black athletes, entertainers and politicians were as unapologetically Black as Cam Newton.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com



Tuskegee Honored at Hall of Fame

By Michael February 25, 2015 Off

Tuskegee honored at Hall of Fame.  The crimson helmet of the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee is on display as part of the College Football Hall of Fame’s “Helmet of the Week” feature.

It is an appropriate designation as the month long celebration of Black History draws to a close next week. After all, the legendary football program at Tuskegee has won more games than any other Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the history of college football.

The school, located in East Alabama, began playing football in 1894 under the tutelage of  James Washington. Coach Washington was the brother of the school’s first principal, Booker T. Washington. He organized the first football team with the assistance of William Clarence Matthews, a student-athlete who had learned the intricacies of the game of football.

Matthews did not play on the football team. He helped Washington coach that first team to an 0-2 season. Matthews was a member of the Tuskegee baseball team and would later go on to play baseball for four years at Harvard, where in 1905, he was described as the ideal black person to re-integrate major league baseball.

When the baseball owners were slow to act, Matthews abandoned the idea of playing professional baseball. He enrolled into law school at Boston University. He would later represent Marcus Garvey and serve President Calvin Coolidge in the Justice Department as a Senior United States Attorney General. Until the appointment of Eric Holder by President Barack Obama in 2008, he was the highest ranking black person to ever serve in the Justice Department.

Since that maiden 1894 season, Tuskegee’s football program closed out the 2014 season with 637 wins under its belt. Their nearest competitor is Grambling University with 535 wins. Ironically, Grambling University was founded in 1901 by  Charles P. Adams, son of Lewis Adams, who founded Tuskegee University in 1881.

On a recent visit to the College Football Hall of Fame, I pointed out a video presentation to a visitor of the Hall and said, “Here is the winningest black college football team in history.”

The other person replied, “Who is that, Grambling.”

“No,” I replied, “Tuskegee!”

“I would have thought that Grambling would have won the most given all those games won by Eddie Robinson,” he said.

It is easy to see how this gentleman could be mistaken over this fact, because the HOF honors both Eddie Robinson who coached at Grambling and Jake Gaither who coached at Florida A&M.

However, there is not a display of the exploits of Cleveland “Cleve” Leigh  Abbott, the Tuskegee Coach who amassed 202 wins from 1923-1954. Coach Abbott is the dean of black college football coaches. He won national championships in 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, and 1930.

According to Kristin Couch, spokesperson for the College Football Hall of Fame, “This February we’ve featured HBCUs as our Helmets of the Week in honor of Black History Month. The Hall of Fame has a great display on the history of HBCU football and artifacts from many of the schools including Tuskegee.”

“When you enter the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience, you are greeted by the Helmet Wall Presented by Southwest Airlines, featuring helmets from  every Div. I, II, III and NAIA school that has a football team – 768 helmets! 

When visitors register their entry badge and choose their school, their helmet lights up on the wall. At the end of the day, the wall is lit with helmets from schools all over the country. It’s really a sight to see,” Couch said. read more