In 1969 Curt Flood challenged Major League Baseball’s reserve clause, which kept players bound to the team that they had originally signed with for their entire career, despite satisfying the provisions and terms of their contracts.
Flood sued Major League Baseball and changed the game forever, and today he is considered a hero and has been featured in books and documentaries championing his life. However, during his legal battle Flood was blackballed by owners, hated by most fans, and even received daily death threats at the height of the controversy.
The following year (1970), pitcher Jim Bouton published "Ball Four," his personal diary highlighting a season of Major League Baseball. Bouton was vilified by fans, players, and even some members of the media, because his book revealed that players cursed, drank, and caroused while on the road, yet by today’s standards the material in "Ball Four" is far too tame to evoke a discussion amongst middle-schoolers.
Today, both Curt Flood and Jim Bouton are considered groundbreakers and regarded as heroes not only in sports, but culturally and politically as well.
Presently, we have a reality show president who regularly demeans opponents, women, the media, and pretty much anyone who stands in his way, yet when a professional athlete of great accomplishment chooses to quietly display his political beliefs during the National Anthem, Donald Trump propels it into a faux media circus.
When Colin Kaepernick first chose to kneel, it was a controversial statement, but not one that evoked the huge public outcry that exists today. Until Donald Trump — like a heel in a professional wrestling match — decided to throw his hat in the ring. Rather than focusing on political issues — like healthcare — that he promised to fix, Trump diverted attention to a professional athlete and demonized their cause. This petty behavior continues to further divide our country at a time when we are desperately in need of a leader to unite not only our country, but the world.
Colin Kaepernick and Nike will be remembered as heroes in the not too distant future while Donald Trump’s presidency will be seen a blotch upon the history of our country and the world.
Rob Taub has enjoyed an eclectic career in film, television, radio, and journalism. He has interviewed everyone from pop stars to presidents and he has written more than 250 articles for People Magazine, FoxNews.com, SI/Cauldron, The Huffington Post, and Thrive Global. Rob is a respected Diabetes Advocate and Obesity Ambassador, writing and speaking regularly about Type 2 diabetes and health. Follow him on Twitter @robmtaub or at www.RobTaub.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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