Just a note to say how pleased and grateful that I am that you placed a photo of Kevin Ollie on the cover of the Journal. Collegiate and professional sports activities have changed, and are continuing to change the culture of the United States.
This is especially true in the Southern States. Please consider the following examples:
- The Texas Rangers, a major league baseball team, has an African-American manager.
- The University of Texas and Texas A & M, both have African-American head football coaches.
- Florida State University, has an African-American head basketball coach.
This has all happened within the last 10 years. Prior to that, it would have been almost unthinkable. The interest in the excellence of sporting activities has in many cases, overwhelmed racist and religious bigotry.
The people who enslaved our ancestors, and who later lynched and segregated them, considered themselves to be very religious. Those who would not hire any African-American for any leadership position, because they did not have the necessary mental capabilities. Or, as Al Campanis, stated on television, "They just do not have the necessities."
Campanis was fired by the Dodgers for making that statement. However, he was saying what many of them believed to be true. However, at this point, almost any university in this country would be happy to hire Kevin Ollie, if they could do so, and they would be grateful to have him.
He is likely to receive at least a five-year contract from the University of Connecticut. I suspect the salary will be at least $4 million a year, with additional incentives. They will offer him this kind of contract because they are grateful. In addition, if they wish to keep him, they may have to offer him even more, in order to meet the competition.
Every African-American coach will not be as successful as Kevin Ollie. However, opportunities which were not previously available to any African-American, may now be open. It is regrettable that our culture is the way that it is, but it is changing for the better, in most cases.
People who practice racial and religious bigotry are usually pleasantly surprised, when they work or interact with people that they had previously hated. This is especially true in the military and on athletic teams. The differences in race and religion become secondary issues to many of them. Most often they become "teammates" or "brothers." In their lifetimes, this will never change. An example of this was shown in the movie "Forest Gump." Forest became a close friend of would-be shrimp entrepreneur, "Bubba."
While they were in the Army fighting in Vietnam, they were ambushed. Forest managed to escape, but after he was safe, he could not find Bubba. So, he risked his life by returning to the battle in order to find his friend who had already been killed. This is what often happens, when people really get to know each other. Sports activities is one of the important ways that allows people to get to know each other. They help, in many ways, to make this a better country.
Respectfully, John Randolph Rogers
P.S.: Sports has also enabled hundreds of people to make hundreds of millions of dollars. More than most of them ever dreamed of earning.