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WHY DON'T MORE ATHLETES TAKE A STAND?
GARY SMITH
July 09, 2012
PARDON ME, I'd like to interrupt your regularly scheduled programming and introduce you to America's rarest athlete: Wonman Joseph Williams. His first name's a Korean word that means full harmony, but you don't need to check his papers. He's a defensive back on a Division I football team. You know, a student-ATHLETE.
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July 09, 2012

Why Don't More Athletes Take A Stand?

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Carlos and Smith, acting on a far larger stage, were immediately suspended from the U.S. team and banished from the Olympic Village, then received death threats at home and watched one door after another close when they applied for jobs. Carlos took a claw hammer to his furniture in the middle of the night to use as fuel to keep his family warm. "It was like I had cancer," he says. The FBI worked up a 3,500-page dossier on Edwards, some of it coming from informants placed in his sociology classes. Joseph? He just takes a cyber-beating.

SCbigtime: What an idiot. If this cause is so important to him, he should organize charity events to contribute to those he feels are in need rather than attack job creators.

toby21155: Excuse me while [I] throw up ... another brainwashed progressive.

Matthew055062: Sounds like he needs to fast for playing time, this fool sucks b---- and he knows it!

cvillepsufan: Who cares? There will still be a college game on Thursday.

Bronco-force doesn't take this lying down: Honestly ... how can some of you people sleep at night. He's a young, obviously socially conscious athlete, who is doing something to stand up for what he believes in. Why do so many wish to see the me-me-me athletes of today, while scorning young men of purpose like this one....

Plenty of other fans and media members jump to Joseph's defense. His roommate shakes his head. "If a walk-on player gets this coverage," concludes Peter, "just imagine what a star could do!"

Joseph's girlfriend, Kathy—half Norwegian, half German—can't explain this to her countrymen. "It's amazing in this country how much power sports gives you," she says. "A football player! I didn't think that would be of any importance. A football player!"

And Joseph? He's still a little dazed by it all, astonished by the media storm and the admiring e-mails that came in, one from NFL Players Association president DeMaurice Smith, another from the leader of the Service Employees International Union expressing interest in helping the UVA workers form a union, and yes, even a response from coach Reid saying that he hoped this wouldn't drive a wedge between them and that he still had great respect for Joseph. "I feel more empowered," Joseph says. "It inspired me. I want to commit deeper. This is how it goes with every major change in society. It requires activism. People don't change without pressure. Athletes are so magnified and have such an opportunity to use that, but they don't, and so the focus on them often gets put on the negative. It really works against them in the end. Sports are the main arena that black males are seen in, and there are so many intelligent ones, but they're not heard from on these issues, so all you hear is dumb jocks or violent black men.

"Maybe I'm an idealist, but in a world where people are starving while others are making millions of dollars a year, it's about the will to change it. It's about people who don't care. At the core of all great injustice is greed. It's not an American problem. It's a human problem. If my mother hadn't gotten housing vouchers after my father left and moved us in to a neighborhood with a high school that really cared about its students, it likely would have turned out very bad for me. The teachers in my previous school system were unqualified and unhappy people. How are you going to go to college attending schools like that? That's not a merit system. That's chance."

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