You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” – Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight
For many, Jim Brown is considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all time, and arguably the best football player to ever lace up a pair of cleats.
But to those in the African-American community, he’s been much more than that.
He’s an icon.
From the football field to the big screen to being a voice for the culture as a civil rights activist, Brown has a legacy like none other.
But that was then, and this is now.
And it’s time that we stop lying to ourselves about who and what Jim Brown was, and currently is.
Brown has been in the headlines recently for some things he’s said, and his quotes have raised some eyebrows because they don’t line up with the image he’s portrayed for decades.
“I should be criticizing Trump on every level because he does certain things that call for criticism,” Brown said Tuesday on the JT The Brick Show on Fox Sports Radio. “But when I look at television I see all these announcers become experts and they’re pointing the fingers and they’re not doing a doggone thing but pointing their fingers, I find myself really pulling for the president.
“Now, that would make me very unpopular in the black community, very unpopular with a lot of Americans,” he continued, “…but I think that there are certain good things that are coming out of this presidency because we’ve never seen anything like it.”
Earlier this month, Brown proved to us that he has no idea what the peaceful protests that are taking place in the NFL are actually about, and has fallen victim to the thinking that they are about disrespecting the flag and not about bringing awareness to racism, inequalities, and police brutality.
“I’ll never kneel and I will always respect the flag,” he told reporters before the HBO premiere of “Hard Knocks,” that is following his old team, the Cleveland Browns, during training camp.
“I am not going to denigrate my flag and I’m going to stand for the national anthem. I’m fighting with all of my strength to make it a better country, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Because what is the top side? Are you not going to stand up? This is our country, man.
“We work hard to make it better and that’s my attitude, so I don’t relate to this issue because it’s newsworthy because where are your superstars? And where are they at? Aren’t they making comments?”
After the 2016 Presidential Election, Brown was one of the puppets that Trump used as a publicity stunt from the black community when he accepted an invitation to speak with him at Trump Tower.
“When he goes through what he went through to become the president, he got my admiration,” Brown was quoted as saying.
It’s as if Brown has indeed turned into the fictional character of Harvey Dent / Two-Face from Batman.
In 1965, Brown was the first African-American to announce a televised boxing match in the United States.
In 1967, he was the organizer of the famed Muhammad Ali Summit that took place in Cleveland, in which some of the most famous black athletes of the day came together to support Ali in his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War.
“I felt with Ali taking the position he was taking, and with him losing the crown, and with the government coming at him with everything they had, that we as a body of prominent athletes could get the truth and stand behind Ali and give him the necessary support,” Brown told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2012.
In 1988, Brown founded the Amer-I-Can Program and has worked with youth across the country and gang members in Los Angeles, bringing peace to countless communities of color.
Between sports and society there hasn’t been a barrier that Brown has broken down for black people.
But yet, he’s always been a problematic figure.
In 1965, Brown was arrested for assault and battery against an 18-year-old girl before being acquitted.
In 1968, he was charged with assault with intent to commit murder against a model – the charge was later dismissed.
In 1969, assault and battery charges were brought against him from a road rage incident, though he was found not guilty.
In 1985, he was charged with raping a woman, though the charges were dismissed.
In 1986, he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend, but charges were later dropped.
In 1999, Brown was arrested and charged with making terrorist threats toward his wife. He was found guilty of vandalism later that year for smashing up his wife’s car with a shovel.
Alleged abuser of women.
Social rights activist.
Brown is all of these things.
I will be the first to say that I’m not perfect, and my intent is not to come off as if I’m shaming Brown from some moral high ground. But when men who choose to be leaders act like heroes in public but are in fact criminals in private, (i.e. Bill Cosby) the damage that they can cause is limitless.
I don’t know Brown and have never even been in the same room with him. But as a child, I, like many others, idolized him.
They say you should never meet your heroes because they’re sure to disappoint you.
Brown has done that without an introduction.
Because all I had to do was pay attention to his actions and do some research to figure out he’s never been the man he’s fooled us all into believing he is.
SOURCE: NY Daily News – Carron J. Phillips