Jemele Hill: Somebody Will Always ‘Remind Black Athletes That Their Humanity Is Disqualified’

Jemele Hill
Getty Images/Emma McIntyre

In an interview with Complex Sports, former ESPN host and current Atlantic writer Jemele Hill, said that there will always be “somebody” who seeks to disqualify the humanity of black athletes.

Hill, who left ESPN under a mutual agreement so she could write more freely on political and social issues, insisted that there is a “power structure” which is “invested” in keeping blacks “silent,” Newsbusters reported.

“I think people feel like sometimes because black athletes are making more money than they ever have and are amassing power and wealth and influence in ways they hadn’t before in history,” Hill told Complex. “I think one of the consistent things during this documentary, regardless of money or position, or power, there will always be somebody there to remind black athletes that their humanity is disqualified.”

Atlantic writer continued by saying, “there is a power structure that is very invested in keeping you silent. … there was this theme that black athletes did not have the right to want more — whether that was more money, more power, or more respect.”

In another segment, Hill also noted that even as the NFL is being called the sport of blackballing, the NBA has also blackballed players in the past.

Hill said that the NBA is generally seen as the “more progressive, inclusive, and encouraging league,” but the sport has baggage.

“But this is also the same league where Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Craig Hodges were blackballed,” Hill continued. “As much as people like to think Colin Kaepernick has the trademark on being blackballed, it’s happened in the NBA a few times already. Those are important lessons for people to remember and to use as context as we talk about what we’re seeing today.”

Speaking of Showtime’s upcoming LeBron James produced Shut Up & Dribble three-part documentary, Hill concluded by insisting that the midterm is the ideal time to fight:

It’s a good reminder, with all the violence that’s gone on in this country, we need to understand with midterm elections right around the corner is that the fight for the soul of this country is ongoing. And so we need to decide in very critical moments who we are. When good people stay silent, bad things happens. This documentary is a perfect placement and backdrop to everything we’re seeing today.

Complex Sports Senior Editor Adam Caparell claimed that the Showtime documentary “chronicling of the social and cultural evolution of the NBA player is the perfect example of why sports and politics shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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