Curt Flood in the Media
Baseball, Race, and the Demise of the Activist Athlete
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
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This book owes its largest debt to the people I encountered at the University of Minnesota, where as a student in the Department of Communication Studies I was fortunate to be surrounded by extraordinary colleagues and mentors. First and foremost, sincere thanks go to Kirt Wilson, whose...
1. Curt Flood and the Demise of the Activist-Athlete
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The contrasting images featured in the 1990 U.S. Senate race in North Carolina could not have been more pronounced. The Republican candidate was incumbent Jesse Helms, whose racist and reactionary politics had helped him secure reelection since 1972. His chief opponent was...
2. Curt Flood’s Public Case
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When the Cardinals traded Curt Flood to the Phillies in 1969, he was disgusted not just by the trade itself but by his treatment that day. Flood received an unceremonious telephone call from Cardinals office assistant Jim Toomey, a “middle-echelon coffee drinker,” just before dawn on a chilly...
3. Jackie Robinson and the Rhetoric of the Black Press
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One theme that persists in the contemporary retelling of Curt Flood’s story is that sportswriters working for major U.S. newspapers in the early 1970s pandered to baseball owners and helped codify the claim that abolition of the reserve clause would destroy baseball. After having seen what was written in newspapers such as...
4. The Disappearance of Curt Flood’s Blackness
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Recent scholarly interest in Curt Flood has generally taken the form of revisionist history targeted at disclosing the dimensions of his challenge to the reserve clause that were influenced by race. Working from various assumptions, including the idea that Flood was vilified in the national press, these...
5. Race, Slavery, and the Revolt of the Black Athlete
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Ebony’s March 1970 editorial on Flood was as brazenly self-congratulatory as it was enthusiastically supportive in defense of his cause. The same magazine that had discovered Abraham Lincoln “in the person of Curtis Charles Flood” and described baseball as restraining its players in “plush fetters” took the space (the opening words, in fact) to document...
6. Race and Memory in Sport’s Public Sphere
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“Activism has helped the black athlete get where he is today. That’s what sets him apart from the white athlete in this discussion. Activism by Curt Flood and John Mackey, pioneers in free agency, made baseball and football players rich.” So says Newsday’s Shaun Powell in his recent book, Souled Out? an exegesis of the selfish amnesia of contemporary athletes. Never...
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Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Race, Rhetoric, and Media Series