April 30, 2015

There's the Pennant Race, and Then There's Just Race: On the Pics from the Empty Orioles Game

Wow, this post at Vice Sports on the fan lockout at yesterday’s Oriole’s game is a brilliant example of writing with blinders on. Fourteen paragraphs lamenting the elitism of professional sports in terms of the rich catering to the rich (“BALTIMORE’S EMPTY STADIUM IS JUST THE BEGINNING”), and there’s not a word about race.

After alluding to the fights that broke out at the Cardinal’s stadium after the death of Michael Brown, the article expresses concern for the league’s ability to engage the public “in a future where citizens continue to fight, sometimes violently, for their individual rights.”

And which citizens might you be referring to?

If the aggression exhibited outside the Baltimore stadium the other day was reprehensible, it’s painful to see it was largely instigated by people supporting Freddy Gray and marching against police violence. At the same time, it stands to reason that the disparity in income when it comes to the consumption of quality entertainment (in this sports-obsessed culture) has a part to play in that tension.


Yesterday, the photos of the game going on without fans (a set published here at HuffPost) went completely viral. The action drew praise for the concern for fan welfare (not to mention, the league’s shiny brand) while sending a statement, too, about how the show must go on.

Is it significant, then — in a city that is 63% black — that the photos of fans beyond the gates (really, like in prison?) aren’t all that racially balanced?


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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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