File Photo: Gary Franklin instructing his Los Angeles based California supreme AAU team.
Last year it was Adidas engulfed in a federal probe that sent shock waves through the world of collegiate basketball.
The FBI case that is still ongoing had all of the scandalous under coatings of a John Grisham novel. Shoe company executives doling out hundreds of thousands to teenagers and their families, through a scrupulous agent and coaches at some of America’s most high profiled educational institutions.
In the background was the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); the guard dog of the multi billion-dollar monopoly (college basketball) and on the peripheral was the other monopoly the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Men who have minor if no scrapes with the law were now chronicled as criminals who prostituted Black ball players to their financial benefit.
The big wheel shoe moguls were white of course and the college basketball coaches were predominantly Blacks, in most instances trying to secure players for their white [head coaches] bosses at these universities.
Most recently, publicity hound celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti was arrested by the Feds in New York after he allegedly tried to bribe the Godly shoe giant Nike to the tune of some $20 plus million if Nike did not want to suffer the humility of the similar fate that has be felled Adidas.
Instead of trying to muzzle the garrulous Avenatti, the lawyers at Nike decided to essentially entrap Avenatti and call the Feds, actually exposing itself to a more devastating fate.
Avenatti was tipped by Los Angeles California Supreme AAU basketball director Gary Franklin who had just had his cash deal stripped from him by Nike after having being a good lil boy playing by the rules for a decade or more.
Now, Franklin is embroiled in one of the hottest mess that could have a rippling effect throughout the grassroots basketball community that is for the most part operated predominantly by Blacks.
In the meanwhile, college administrators in athletic departments are holding their collective breaths anticipating when the next Air Jordan might drop.
All of this during March Madness, when the NCAA’s billion dollar cash cow is rolled out, with cute story lines disguising its rotten underbelly.
Am I to believe that the FBI is the solution to a problem where there is no real crime, unless one might consider subsidizing poor black kids and their families while they continue to pursue a professional career in basketball as a crime.
Am I to believe that the NCAA’s real mission is to make sure that these so-called student athletes get a well balanced college education that will serve most of them well if there are able to achieve that.
I know the cost of a college education I am still paying tens of thousands for a loan I got for my son, but often times for those who have to pay the debt that mounts on the loan for all the years you are pursuing a job you majored in.
Let us all be honest with each other here. Black talented basketball players have a significant value to the shoe companies, the NCAA and to a lesser extent the NBA.
Since we all know the odds are not favorable for many of these players to cash in on an NBA contract, then when and where to they cash in?
The grassroots coaches have the most difficult tasks, because they will be the ones to make sure that these players who come from improvised communities have the bare necessities to survive in the abyss.
In many cases (some of these guys are flat out pimps) they serve as the guardian to a fatherless child, their motives are pure in making sure the kids has a shot at life, giving them an option over joining gangs or selling drugs.
Then there are those cases like Franklin that began like the latter, but then evolved into money, power, greed and prestige.
Without these shoe companies there would certainly not be the financial resources for these grassroots programs to survive, and while they too are bent on greed and product brand pushing, they are not criminals in the definition of a criminal.
So, you might ask how can this be fixed? It can’t!
College boosters and wealthy college alumni have been buying players to attend their school since the advent of collegiate sports.
The sports that haul in the big bread are football dominated by Blacks and basketball dominated by Blacks (less the coaches). Have you seen the crowds in women basketball or white dominated sports such as baseball, volleyball, lacrosse, soccer, and swimming?
The greatest coach in the history of college basketball John Wooden benefited from the same pay for play scheme.
If the NCAA really wants to solve what is a societal crisis, then all they have to do is compensate talented black poor kids you recruit to your prestigious universities.
Unless as some conspire the NCAA is orchestrating a scheme to limit and minimize the opportunities for Blacks. Try that and let’s see then how many people will watch March Madness with your Becky cheerleaders and Opie shooting threes and nobody on the team to dunk like Zion Williamson.
We can have a conversation about what corruption in sports really is, but I am one to believe that while there are some bad actors that take advantage of Black kids and their families, Adidas and Nike are no more to blame than the NCAA is to blame for not paying “student/athletes.