Nostalgia is a funny thing.
Often people yearn for a yesteryear that never truly existed. Such was the case recently for former Major League Baseball player Aubrey Huff.
Huff took to Twitter to decry the recent addition of political statements in sports.
Watch his plea for an end to this supposed new trend here.
I miss the days when #athletes entertained us with the athletic ability, and didn’t bore us with their political op… https://t.co/19ydQFDtNx— Aubrey Huff (@Aubrey Huff)1557258507.0
But Sherrilyn Ifill—President, Director and Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF)—remembered the past a little differently than Huff.
In a series of tweets, NAACP LDF's Ifill asked Huff to clarify what timeframe he waxed nostalgic about.
"Which days were these? When Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing license for refusing to go to Vietnam? When Jackie Robinson & Larry Doby broke the color line? When Hank Aaron endured death threats b/c he beat Babe Ruth's homerun record?"
Which days were these? When Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing license for refusing to go to Vietnam? When Jac… https://t.co/CjMbCTWzj2— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sherrilyn Ifill)1557492014.0
Muhammed Ali spars with Howard Cosell. GIPHY
"... Or when 1970 U.S. Open winner Arthur Ashe was barred by the apartheid govt from entering South Africa for the SA National Championship? When Lee Elder had to rent two houses to up his chances of surviving death threats to play in the Augusta Golf Championship in 1975?"
... Or when 1970 U.S. Open winner Arthur Ashe was barred by the apartheid govt from entering South Africa for the S… https://t.co/DegQKT0OdQ— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sherrilyn Ifill)1557492304.0
Arthur Ashe GIPHY
And Ifill still had more examples of the "good old days" to ask Huff about.
"Maybe when Jesse Owens, the most decorated American athlete of the 1936 Olympics who faced down Nazis to win at track & field, was not allowed to go visit FDR with the white Olympic athletes when they returned home?"
Maybe when Jesse Owens, the most decorated American athlete of the 1936 Olympics who faced down Nazis to win at tra… https://t.co/BwlRVYnDrl— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sherrilyn Ifill)1557492817.0
Tommy Smith & John Carlos protest racial injustice during the playing of the national anthem at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico. Rich Clarkson/Getty Images
Ifill stated her point by adding:
"It was all so simple then. You could enjoy sports without thinking about the indignities endured by the men & women who dared to defy the ignorance, racism & meannness [of] so-called 'fans.' They speak out now and they spoke then. You just weren't listening."
It was all so simple then. You could enjoy sports without thinking about the indignities endured by the men & women… https://t.co/dJvoP6JZfP— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sherrilyn Ifill)1557492925.0
However she felt one more needed to be added, since the athlete—Heavyweight champion Jack Johnson—actually inspired a change in federal laws.
"One more. Yes the good old days of 1912 when one man - the heavyweight champ Jack Johnson - could help inspire passage of a federal law simply because he openly consorted with white women. He was prosecuted the year the Mann Act passed for taking his white [girlfriend] across state lines."
One more. Yes the good old days of 1912 when one man - the heavyweight champ Jack Johnson - could help inspire pass… https://t.co/9fh7J2MARN— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sherrilyn Ifill)1557493369.0
Ifill concluded by stating it was not difficult to think of examples from back in the day where sports and politics and social issues were intertwined.
"What's crazy is that these examples were the ones I could think of off the top of my head [within] minutes of reading his tweet. It represents a fraction of the story."
What's crazy is that these examples were the ones I could think of off the top of my head w/i minutes of reading hi… https://t.co/Xrlk6sGW6M— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sherrilyn Ifill)1557511457.0
Many others also easily remembered examples for Aubrey Huff to ponder.
@Sifill_LDF @Cubbee_Girl Just a reminder for the folks who might not know... https://t.co/fpmOyZVYUG— Brie Queso (@Brie Queso)1557499521.0
@JoyAnnReid @Sifill_LDF Or that time in 1957 when #WillieMays moved from #NYC to #SF....and couldn’t buy a house in… https://t.co/cDLIeRBEFY— Amy Alexander (@Amy Alexander)1557503027.0
And the examples transcended race.
@delle59 @Sifill_LDF @espiers https://t.co/WUgk3rzJvG— Reginald James (@Reginald James)1557503465.0
It is important to recognize that one definition of privilege is:
when you decide something is not a problem for anyone just because it is not a problem for you personally.
One person commenting directly on Huff's post chalked his comments up to his privilege.
Huff responded to that tweet.
I’m not privileged! I’m just like anyone else. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to catch my first class ✈️ to Arizona… https://t.co/jJmWJiH9It— Aubrey Huff (@Aubrey Huff)1557590139.0
@Sifill_LDF @TheTattooedProf This kind of take happens when really ignorant and really privileged intersect.— Lance Tungsten (@Lance Tungsten)1557496426.0
@NatsBandwagon @Sifill_LDF @JoyAnnReid Oh they existed for them, just not for those that didn’t look like them.— Hank (@Hank)1557532042.0
Whether or not Aubrey Huff heard Sherrilyn Ifill and everyone else who corrected his faulty memory is unclear.
Hypocrisy in Huff's posts however was evident to many.
Huff complained previously because he thought an athlete's political opinions were being silenced.
@LesterHoffa @MichaelRapaport Also, LOL at “80%”— OmarAlexis (@OmarAlexis)1557596143.0
And for anyone who was willing to listen to the message of why athletes kneel, it is appreciated.
I just don't know what to think anymore. #WhyWeKneel #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/ZOukwRIX9e— formerGOPer (@formerGOPer)1557591771.0