There was a "Town Hall Community Meeting" about Candlestick Park a few
weeks ago. Entrepreneurs and activists want to keep the stadium open for two more years to book concerts, soccer matches and other special events to bring money into the area. Lennar and others want to tear it down but they were denied a permit to blow it up, so far. If you search the Internet you'll see some of the stories. It's amazing how sterile some of the reports are, given the Bayview's overlooked and underserved population that has dealt with health hazard after health hazard from Pacific Gas and Electric to the Navy's Toxic Nuclear Dumpsites. Some of the media reports have an ignorant tone of "the natives are restless again" in the Bayview. Yet community activists like Shirley Moore Vice President of the Bayview Hill Neighborhood Associationare undaunted and are calling for action as seen in this petition campaign to stop the implosion of Candlestick .
In what often seems to be the Tales of Two Cities within San Francisco, The Golden State Warriors are planning to build a new stadium in San Francisco they say will bring revenue to the city. With the Warriors sporting the best record in the NBA momentum is flying high. They did call the city home years ago playing at the Cow Palace and at Civic Center.
A T & T Park
Lets take a look at some of the historyaround sports stadiums in San Francisco. Before Candlestick, Pac Bell and AT&T Park (Home of 3 World Championships), there was Seals Stadium. In 1931, the Seals were a minor league baseball team based in San Francisco starting in their playing field at the corner of 16th & Potrero, now the Potrero Center with
Safeway, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Petco, Chase, Ross, Lane Bryant, Vitamin Shoppe etc. Seal Stadium was the Giants home for two years until Candlestick was built in 1958. Kezar Stadium was the first home of the San Francisco 49- ers and the Oakland Raiders for one season only. (My dad, a World War II Veteran, would take me and
John Riley Brodie
otherneighborhood kids to the games there all the time. That's where I met face-to-face famed stellar quarterback, John Riley Brodie, Number 12. Why isn't he in the NFL Hall of Fame yet? Kudos to Arif Khatib for honoring Brodie as the first Euro-American in the African-American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame). The much-loved Kezar preceded memory packed Candlestick Park (The Catch, I, II & III, Final Beatles Concert and fans who survived the weather) and the new Levi Stadium. Kezar is still alive and kicking as it is now going through a $3.2 million dollar make over.
In the early 20th Century bicycle racing was a top sport and the Polo Field located in Golden Gate Park was the venue. A velodrome was constructed in
Marshall Taylor "Black Cyclone"
1906 and it became the Polo Field and the most popular place for racing on the West Coast from the 1900's well into the 50's. Then bikes had one gear, no freewheel plus no brakes. The accelerating and decelerating of the bike came purely from the cutting and the strength of the cyclist. ( Marshall Taylor of Indianapolis, Indiana was a World Champion at the turn of the century, a winner of major races in the U.S. and Europe.Now people still bike, run, play soccer, frisbee and picnic there. Of course the number one thing it is known for would be concerts. The "Outside Lands Arts and Music Festival" (Named so because at one time it was considered way on the other side of San Francisco like the Sutro Baths) hosting International Stars like Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Al Green, Kanye West, Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers, Dave Stewart, and many others.
The importance of sports and societal change is discussed in this short clip with Ambassador Ambassador Andrew Young, whose role in the Civil Rights Movement is most recently featured in "Selma."(See write up about the LBJ Controversy.)
Ambassador Young and Jacquie Taliaferro talk about the Impact of Sports on Social Justice at past press briefing for the Barbara Lee and Elihu Harris Lecture Series.
The new Warriors Arena will be built and get old just like Seal Stadium, Candlestick Park, Kezar, Wrigley Field in Chicago, Ebbetts Field in New York etc... With the impact of Blacks in fueling the sports economy, the question is, "where will Black contractors and businesses be in the planning and building of stadiums?"
Rendering of New Warriors Stadium
Fred Jordan, President of (SFAACC) San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce and one of the top contractors in the state says, "People come to town and ignore African American companies. My company had to fight to build the luxury boxes and other construction at Oracle Arena. These outside companies do not pay any dues in this city; however they go straight to City Hall and cut deals that put money in their pockets at the expense of local citizens that have been working in the City for years, plus they get on-going tax breaks, like Twitter, Goggle and Facebook. We shouldbe at the table from the very beginning."
Reverend Dr. Amos Brown, President of the San Francisco NAACP adds, "The Warriors must come here (SanFrancisco) with peace and goodwill to all. Black folks pay taxes like everyone else and must be awarded the same opportunities as others. This means economic opportunities for all, not just those Black men running up and down the court."
What is the mindset behind the sports teams? A Letter from the NAACP, following the sterling comments from Donald Sterling, gives a point of view. Months before the NBA season started my company La'HiTz*Sports contacted the Warriors to co-host a community event and provide player panelists for "Youth & Sports Day" to include sports related films. Additionally, I requested press passes to cover some games. With all of the bad publicity around some of our top athletes many of us in Entertainment & Sports Media think working with Black companies is very important and the lack of interaction with Black businesses is evident in creating today's climate.
Local experience gives yet another indicator of the mindset of sports executives. I recently ran into one of the new Warrior's public relations team members on 3rd street in front of the Bay View Opera House, Theo Ellington, who previously worked for City Hall and deemed as one of the up and coming Black leaders. I asked him what's going on with the Warriors. He told me in front of another person,"I am going to keep yours and others Black owned businesses from doing business with the Warriors." I was shocked at what he said so I asked him, "what did you just say" and he said it again. I think he had no idea I would write about this although he knows I own a media company.
The experience with Ellington brought forward to me the "crab in the barrel" phenomenon that plagues Blacks in corporate America, instead of leveling the playing field for people they supposedly represent because of the color of their skin, they instead block and pull down the ones that look like them. I also saw visions of Stephen in the film "Django Unchained," so delusional because of the limited power he was given (to control the other Blacks for "Massah"), he thought he was White.
Samuel L. Jackson as "Stephen" waits on "Calvin Candie" played by Leonardo Di' Caprio in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained."
Additionally, one of my colleagues expressed an unbelievable moment at of all places, the San Francisco Foundation Center a few years back. (Kudos to the Foundation Center for developing panel on the workplace environment. It should not be held responsible for comments by its guests). When the person who was the representative Black on a panel was asked among several professionals about the role of diversity, the young man said "diversity has nothing to do with racial distinctions anymore. It goes beyond that. Do you bring diversity in language? Do you speak Russian or are you an Indian from Southeast Asia?" That type of corporate whitewashing of the brain has resulted in African Blacks being hired over Blacks in America, the sons and daughters of former slaves who built this country with blood, sweat and tears. As a result of that mindset, America is still handing Blacks, the sons and daughters of former slaves," an insufficient check and some Blacks are helping to write it. In the spirit of "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," one Black African in America, truly an African American (ironically the term can apply to a White African immigrant also), says Black Africans who come to the U.S. should not be so smug in their degrees, dress and demeanor. Moji Akinde says "They Will Kill Tunde As Quickly As They Kill Tyrone."
Those in corporate America that stand on the backs of those who labored for
A young J. Edgar Hoover
Civil Rights, should be supported in their positions as long as they do their jobs with excellence and don't forget the ones that paved the way and the ones they were supposedly hired to represent. It is time to stop parading out Black faces in times of Crisis, especially when those Black faces don't represent a substantive difference from White Faces and racist policies. Black faces/White faces, throw in the complexity of people like infamous FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, a Black man passing as a White man, whose self-hatred put him on a path of obsession to destroy Black leaders, you realize it's the heart of the matter that matters. Beyond color, the motivation of the heart and mind must be brought to the forefront.
We must all take a note from Ted Tuner as he started TBS (which now broadcasts NBA games) and eventually created CNN. You must just keep moving pass those who do not see your POV
(Point of View) and/or vision.
A. Jacquie "Jac" Taliaferro is Dir. La'HiTz*Media & NAACP SF Media Chair
Additional Articles by Jacquie Taliaferro
"SAY IT LOUD R-E-S-P-E-C-T" Needed at "Get On Up" Screening