Inside Conditions…$50 million chattel

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As far as the recent free agent and trade situations are concerned; I am now retracing the journey of one Anquan Boldin, former Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, now current San Francisco 49ers, wide receiver. Now this intrigues me a bit. For the first seven seasons of his illustrious career, Boldin plied his trade with the Cardinals. He was the man in the clutch. He could go deep, short, across the middle, hey folks he was “Mr. Everything.” However, when former Minnesota Vikings ball boy and University of Pittsburgh wide receiver great Larry Fitzgerald arrived in Tempe AZ, the general consensus was that fiscally as well as from a talent perspective, Boldin’s days were numbered in the “land of the desert sun.” But hold on folks, tell the conductor that we missed a stop because there is more to this than meets the eye. On Feb. 1, 2009 the Steelers defeated the Cardinals to win Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa. Although the game was close and Boldin had a respectable outing, (8 catches for 84 yards) the upcoming 2009 season would be the final season that Boldin would don a Cardinals uniform. It was concluded by many sports journalists’ including a few of the “asinine” bloggers that due to their Super Bowl loss, the Cardinals did not have the market or patience to justify retaining two wide-outs whose initial market value could exceed two hundred million dollars. What the sports world failed to recognize was that no matter how great the man is that has to throw the rock, there are a few more variables involved for the man who has to catch the rock….you dig. So after the 2009 season, Boldin followed the golden spike and took the midnight train to Georgia, oops sorry; Charlie Chan meant the “red eye” to Baltimore where he instantly became the “security blanket” for Ravens “journeyman” quarterback Joe Flacco. What was Boldin’s reward for his contribution to the Ravens victory in Super Bowl XLVII? Well he was shipped off to the team that he helped to defeat. Do you find it ironic that a year after he lost XLIII, Anquan Boldin was allowed to depart the Cardinals for Baltimore after losing to Pittsburgh and less than ninety days after he helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII he was “traded” to the 49ers, the team coached by the brother of the head coach he played for in Baltimore? Can’t you just hear the conversation between 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh and his sibling John, the coach of the Ravens?  This next exchange is merely theoretical and conjectural so don’t go blogging “crazy” or blow up the phone lines at “sports talk” because of it. “Hey John, this is Jim calling. I know,” says John; “your name came up on the caller I.D., what’s up? “Well” Jim replies, “seeing that you had to break the bank with the 120 + million that you had to dole out to Joe “pockets full of dough” Flacco I don’t see how you and Ozzie will be able to afford to sign more than a handful of players. Plus you got yours, so let’s keep the Lombardi’s in the family. Before Anquan gets any serious ideas about getting paid, ship him out West so that we can get that final good year out of him before Roger puts him out to pasture.” They gave the man who threw the ball in Super Bowl XLVII, $120 million along with $52 million guaranteed but the man who made more than 50 percent of the “clutch” catches to get him there was carted off to another conference. “Weel about, an’ turn about an’ do jis so. Eb’ry time I weel about, I jump Jim Crow.” (From the biography of Eddie Robinson) Black athletes have been and will continue to be devalued as far as equal compensation for equal talent is concerned as far as the world of professional sports is concerned. Even though he was possibly the greatest college football coach in history, with all due respect to the late coach Robinson, he was just one of the motors on the “conveyor belts” that as Bill Rhoden so elegantly put it; “brings kids from inner cities and small towns to big-time programs, where they’re cut off from their roots and exploited by team owners, sports agents, and the media.” Black players with less than three years experience unless they are first round or high second round picks receive pitiful sums when compared to their White counterparts. Boldin did all of the right dances and said all of the right things but it did not matter. Anquan Boldon helped Joe Flacco get paid while he was “slay-ed.” Most often when Black players say; “show me the money,” they are unceremoniously shown the door…..later  
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)

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