Posts Tagged ‘Joe Louis’

NFL pounds New Orleans Saints for paying bounties for maiming opponents. Will the NBA, NHL, NCAA, FIFA be inspired?

March 21, 2012

 

I used to be a boxing fan. Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jake LaMotta were boyhood heroes, and the highlight of my week was the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, telecasting fights every Friday night. The program was top-rated until more and more fans—eventually including me—gradually came to understand that the object of the game was to cause brain damage, hopefully temporary but occasionally permanent and cumulative, as happened to thousands, most famously Muhammad Ali.

I became an even bigger pro football fan, until being turned off by the violence—not the inherent violence of the game, but the intentional maiming of marquee players like Brett Favre, DeSean Jackson, and Tony Romo.

It was no surprise when earlier this month the NFL disclosed that the New Orleans Saints had paid bounties for injuring opposing players, with extra money for “cart-offs” –when the injured player had to be carried off the field in a motorized gurney.

But today there was a surprise—a welcome one: the league came down with crushing punishments for the practice: Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season, former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (who apparently initiated the practice) was banned indefinitely (more…)

Lena Horne, battler for civil rights in Hollywood, dead at 92. (Oh, yes, she sang and acted too)

May 17, 2010

Lena Horne died last week at 92. I only knew of two prominent African-Americans when I was growing up in segregated Wilmington, Delaware. One was heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, and the other was singer Lena Horne. I knew she was a good singer, and quite beautiful, but I didn’t know anything else. I’m indebted to Jack Marshall’s EthicsAlarms.com blog for educating me about her groundbreaking role in the civil rights movement.

Marshall called Horne “Ethics Hero Emeritus” for her relentless fight against segregation and her principled refusal to play demeaning roles in the racist Hollywood environment of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Her career suffered, and she finally left Hollywood for Europe, where people didn’t seem to care much about her skin color.

There’s a fascinating PBS Fresh Air program, broadcast on May 14, that replays an interview that host Terry Gross conducted with Horne’s daughter, Gail Lumet Horne, in 1986. Listen to it for an inspiring story of this heroic woman.

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