Sports Influencers in the 70s

Sports Influencers in the 70s – Black History Month Series Part 2

It is February and we are going to continue celebrating Black History Month if you have never heard about it. So, we will tell you that it is an initiative that borns in the United States of America in the past century. It borns as a way of remembering the importance of figures and events in the African American community. Thus, today in this Black History Month Series Part 2 we want to talk to you about sports influencers in the 70s.

In its initial phase, this activity intended to promote the teaching of the history of the African American population. It was in public schools and was supported by the departments of education of the states of North Carolina, Delaware, and West Virginia. Moreover, other states like Baltimore and Washington D.C. promote this project.

In 1970, Black History Month is a propose by black teachers at Kent State University’s Black United Students. To clarify, in February 1969 Black History Month was a celebration for the first time in the state of Kent. Subsequently a year later, from January 2 to February 28, 1970.

So we want to talk to you about sports influencers in the 70s. Because it was a transcendental decade. For the black athletes and the African American community.

Sports Influencers in the 70s, a little bit more of the history of this celebration month

In 1976, Black History Month was a celebration across the country, in academies, black culture centers, and community centers. So, ex-President Gerald Ford recognizes Black History Month during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial. Plus, Ford requests the general public to pay tribute to the accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history.

Because of ex-President Gerald Ford’s request, we want to pay tribute to sports influencers in the 70s not only in the United States. Today, as you may know, Black History Month is a general celebration. In places like Canada, Europe, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

For us, it is important to celebrate Black History Month because in many minds an imaginary has been built. That is to say, many people think that black people have not contributed anything significant.

Black people have been so overshadowed throughout history that there is even a widespread belief that the history of Black people begins with slavery. So, as a form of reparation, it seems very appropriate to value all the black people who have been and they are so much relevant.

It also seems important to us because of how their representation matters. Moreover, Afro-descendant children and youth need to know that there were sports influencers in the 70s. Black influencers that can inspire them to be great athletes or important people in the future.

As their sports achievements, are even heroic in many cases. So let’s go over some of his exploits.

Sports Influencers in the 70s, who were they, and what did they achieve?

Talking about sports influencers in the 70s. It is so much important to put an eye on those that seal history forever.

Arthur Ashe (Tennis Player). He was the first African American player to represent the United States in the Davis Cup. Moreover, he was the only one to have won a championship at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.

In 1975 he was recognized by the ATP as the tennis player of the year. But five years later after a heart operation. Ashe announced his retirement in 1980. Because of that surgery eight years later Arthur found out that he was HIV-positive. It was due to transfusions that had been performed on him during heart operations. This news was made public by him in 1992 and after that, he created the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. To help to prevent inappropriate health treatments. He passed away on February 6, 1993, due to HIV-derived pneumonia.

Magic Johnson (Basketball). is considering one of the best basketball players in history. He also was the winner of the MVP of the season. Moreover, he wins MVP of the finals, and MVP of the All-Star Game on several occasions.

In the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, he was part of the Dream Team and won a Gold medal. Through the Lakers’ medical examinations, Johnson found out that he was HIV positive. So he decided to make the news public two weeks later. His statement was broadcast live on CNN and ESPN. Besides, it demystified many of the beliefs that were held about this disease.

Of course, these histories of Magic Johnson and Arthur Ashe are unbelievable. So go ahead with more sports influencers in the 70s.

Sports Influencers in the 70sThe incredible history of Howard Gayle

Firstly, Howard Gayle – England (Footballer) was the first black player to make his debut at the Liverpool Soccer Team. It was after 85 years of Liverpool history. He was proud to represent the black community in his city. Also, he became a symbol of the fight against racial discrimination.

Howard Gayle also played for Birmingham and Sunderland teams. Gayle had to endure many xenophobic attitudes throughout his career. When he retired, he joined an NGO called ShowRacismTheRedCard, which fights for anti-racism education.

Secondly, the UK gave him the distinction of ‘Member of the Order of the British Empire’ but he rejected it. “I am British, I was born here and my children were born here. There is no doubt about my patriotism. But the empire is something that oppresses the black people”.

Among sports influencers in the 70s, there are groups too. Let’s go over the joint participation of this decade.

The joint participation in black history month

Laurie Cunningham, Cyrille Regis and Brendon Batson “The Three Degrees” – England (Footballers). They were some of the first blacks to play for a team from England. They played for West Bromwich, the first English team to line up three black players in their starting lineup. Thus, they began to call them The Three Degrees. Taking as a reference the Soul group made up of three black women.

Leading West Brom, they managed to star in one of the best matches of the English first division. It was against Manchester United, with a final score of 3-5 in favor of West Brom. At that time and especially in England, racism was very strong. As a result, Cunningham, Regis, and Batson were constantly receiving death threats.

Brendon Batson, in the book ‘The Three Degrees (The men who changed British football forever)’, by Paul Rees, recalled what the situation was like while they were in the stadium. “The noise and the level of the insults was incredible. Sometimes it was like surround sound on the lawn, but since it happened regularly, you ended up getting used to it.”

This trio at no time allowed themselves to be provoked by racists “We learned to channel anger and motivation by showing how good we were.” The Three Degrees’ talent was instrumental in the fight against racism in English football and an inspiration for future athletes.

Do you know more incredible black sports influencers in the 70s?

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