Jamie Mayes, AOE

Posts Tagged ‘football’


In Uncategorized on October 23, 2013 at 9:16 pm

At last…it took me a while to muster up my opinion on this pressing topic, but I was doing my best to get to it! Dear old Grambling State University, you are in the limelight and it’s not too flattering from this angle. There have been many comments about the Grambling State football team walk out and most of them critical of the moves made by these young men. I thought quite a while before drawing a conclusion. I played the devil’s advocate to my own thoughts and placed myself on the same side of the fence as the administration who is struggling due to so many government cutbacks. Still, I must say, I support the GSU football team.
Not only do I support their recent movement, I think that our ancestors would support their movement, too. For many years, I have wondered if there was anything the young generation would stand un-moveably for. The walk-out assured me that there are still young people of character and morals who will take a stand against injustice and remain steadfast even when it’s unpopular. This act is what brought about changes such as Brown vs. the Board of Education, Loving vs. Virginia and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. While we embrace and applaud the changes wrought forth from such significant movements, many of us gave the side eye to a modern day cause just as important as the others- the health and safety of college athletes. The deplorable conditions of which these players were subjected were bound to continue unless someone was courageous enough to publicize the problem and stand for change.
Let me regress for a minute to specifically address the complaints of the players which were verified through credible sources like Sports Illustrated magazine and its writers. In addition to their disappointment regarding the mid-seasoning firing of Coach Doug Williams, GSU players were tired of the ill treatment they received and deplorable conditions they were being forced to play and practice in. Complaints of a dilapidated practice site, inadequate or hardly any food when traveling, and traveling more than 700 miles by bus to play in a game were just a few of the complaints heard from players. In the news a few days ago, excerpts from a letter talked about staph infection being present in the locker rooms and unclean uniforms being issued for players to use. Feelings of disgust came over me as I considered so many factors that anger me regarding this situation. I thought one of my schools where I used to take care of letters and paperwork for the athletic department. After each game, the coaches would wash uniforms, dry them, and spray some type of concoction to help prevent infection in the locker room. They would perform a clean out at least twice a year and get rid of torn up pads and ruined uniforms. I then thought about being a student at LSU and how much care was shown towards our athletes and how I never felt any envy towards them because they had such a demanding job. They had to attend classes and practice daily and they had to perform at their best for every game. If a game was won they were gods and heroes on campus, but if a game was lost, they were given the side eye, cold stares and nasty comments all over the city. I could only imagine the feeling of being a player under so much pressure and having to perform in such deplorable conditions. I keep trying to understand how GSU has built and remodeled so many campus facilities over the past few years, but it seems that athletic department has reaped none of it.
Lastly, undoubtedly, the conditions in which the players have worked in do not collaborate with the dream sold when they signed to play for GSU. There was a completely different promise laid before them, one that has not been lived up to by the university. Some players signed to GSU as an only option, some signed because of their parents’ encouragement, some signed because of loyalty to the HBCU family…still the came because they wanted to. Now, they are being mistreated.
While it is understandable that the schools faces much difficulty because the state has cut more than fifty percent of the school’s budget, why did it take such a drastic measure for people to become aware of what is really going on? My friends and colleagues who are GSU alum have long complained about the lack of feedback they’ve received about projects for the university. My god daughters and their friends have expressed the constant delay in aid processing and constant changes with lack of information in regards to why. Perhaps, it is a part of our cultural struggle to not be open about things when we need help; instead, we put on the “good” face and perpetrate an image that does not exist while struggling to maintain the bare minimum. Even more upsetting is that nothing has been said by our great governor and I doubt he will approach the subject, and neither will the good black folks of Grambling State. Thus, the suffering of GSU’s finances, specifically athletics, will get worse before it gets better.
Therefore, I said it once, and I shall say it again, HATS OFF TO THE GSU FOOTBALL TEAM! While it is most unfortunate for the school to be in a negative light, this problem did not began a few years ago! It’s been going on. At last, someone, well some ones decided to stand up. And I, for one, am certainly not mad at that. I guess it’s just part of a tiger’s blood…

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