Protestors See Fallen Track Star as Scapegoat in Steroids Controversy
Smiling ear to ear, the American flag draping her back and a world record five medals in hand were lasting images of Marion Jones at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Those images are now replaced with Jones outside a U.S. District Court, with tears and a cracking voice admitting to steroid use and lying to federal agents. Jones was given six months in prison, a sentence that has brought about protest.
The Super Bowl is America’s most watched sporting event every year, but Clyde McElvene will not have his television set tuned into the big game. On the sports industry’s biggest day, McElvene, the executive director of the Hurston-Wright Foundation, and others intend to question the mistreatment of a fallen athlete.
McElvene pointed to the money-hungry attitudes in the sports industry that he says fuels the treatment of black athletes. “Organized sports is the last plantation; people are being bought and sold,” said McElvene, who is spreading word of the protest through the Internet and e-mail. “Marion Jones is a scapegoat; they know exactly what they doing,” said McElvene, referring to an era when performance-enhancing drugs are not unheard of ground. “They act like they didn’t know she was on steroids. To keep seats full, they need stars.”
Lance Armstrong, a celebrated professional cyclist and four-time Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, faced several drug allegations throughout his career. “Jones was stripped of her medals, but they didn’t strip Lance Armstrong,” McElvene notes. “He’s still an American hero.”
Race has been an issue within professional sports for years, as minorities make up a large majority of the players but are not equally represented in management positions.
“When America gets in trouble, they go black,” states McElvene who points to the impact of Michael Jordan, Jim Brown and Tiger Woods on their sports. McElvene says that it is the case with Jones, who was loved when she was breaking records, but jailed when the steroid issue arrived.
“Why are we just rolling over?” McElvene asks. The power of words has kept the Iraq War going on for almost six years, he pointed out. “We can use words; don’t watch the Super Bowl.”