SBD/Issue 192/Sports & Society

Jim Brown Criticizes Tiger, Jordan For Lack Of Social Activism

Brown Criticizes Jordan, Woods For Lack Of
Social Activism On HBO's "Real Sports"
Pro Football HOFer Jim Brown criticized both Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods for their lack of social activism on last night's episode of HBO's "Real Sports." Brown: "There are one or two individuals in this country that are black that have been put in front of us as an example, but they're basically under a system that says, 'Hey, they're not going to do certain things.' Yes, that disappoints me because I know they both know better." Brown added Woods and Jordan "both can do better without hurting themselves." Brown said of Woods, "He's a killer. He'll run over you. He'll kick your ass. But as a individual for social change … (he's) terrible because he can get away with teaching kids to play golf and that's his contribution." Basketball HOFer Bill Russell added, "I know a lot of these young guys who are really quite wealthy that have a social conscience. But they see the problem differently than we saw (it)" ("Real Sports," HBO, 6/23).

TIME TO SPEAK OUT? Fanhouse.com's Kevin Blackistone said, "He probably hasn't done a lot for social change, but I'm tired of asking or expecting Tiger Woods to do that. ... Let's forget about Tiger Woods for a moment and maybe focus on those athletes who actually are standing up and doing things." Fanhouse.com's Jay Mariotti said Woods is the "biggest and richest sports celebrity in the world and he should be out and about. He does plenty for charity … but we're talking about leadership." Mariotti: "He could do more socially. As far as Jordan goes, I don't think Jordan thought about it a lot. I don't really want to hear from Michael Jordan on social issues. Tiger Woods I do." L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said Woods' foundation is "one of the biggest, if not the biggest, of any athlete in the world and this guy does it quietly" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 6/23).

UNFAIRLY TARGETED: ESPN's Michael Wilbon said Brown's criticism of Woods and Jordan is "unfair" because "his sense of the world is not going to be the exact same as Tiger's or Michael's. ... They are more private." ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said Woods "has the right to live his life the way he wants to live his life. He comes under this kind of scrutiny from Jim Brown for specific reasons that Jim Brown wants out of Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan. Nobody asks Roy Halladay or Andy Roddick or Peyton Manning what are they doing with their lives" ("PTI," ESPN, 6/23).

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