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La Liga de Las Americas

Highly Paid Slaves? African American Athletes


CLEVELAND: William Rhoden, sportswriter with the New York Times since 1983 and columnist of Sports of The Times for more than a decade, will speak about African Americans in sports media and his new book Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete at noon on Monday, November 27, at The City Club of Cleveland.


In Forty Million Dollar Slaves, Rhoden gives a political and cultural analysis of African American athletes using the plantation metaphor to describe a modern sports industry defined by white ownership and black labor. Rather than seeing rags-to-riches stories where underprivileged athletes reach the Promised Land by way of their skills, he casts the system as one in which those athletes are isolated from their backgrounds, used to maximize profit, and instilled with a mindset that no amount of money can change the status of a “slave” controlled by the “owner.”

Rhoden was an associate editor of Ebony magazine (1974-78), and later spent more than three years with The Baltimore Sun. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors. Rhoden was the writer on the documentary “Journey of the African-American,” which won a Peabody Award for Broadcasting. He was a consultant and guest on ESPN’s Sports Century Series and has been on the Sports Reporters show for 14 years.

Rhoden’s articles have appeared in a wide range of publications, and he is currently working on a documentary for ESPN on African American athletes. Rhoden attended Morgan State University where he was a three-year starter on the football team.


This special program is organized by The City Club New Leaders, which develops significant opportunities for civic involvement and freedom of speech among young professionals under the age of 40. It is in partnership with The National Association of Black Sports Professionals Inc. Cleveland.


Tickets for this City Club Special Program are $15 for members and $25 for non-members. Lunch is included. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance of the event. They can be purchased by calling The City Club at 216.621.0082 or visiting the website at www.cityclub.org.






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