Search

Video: Ex NBA star John Amaechi attacks lack of diversity in sport on visit to UEL

15:25 25 June 2014

Ex-NBA star John Amaechi speaking at the Univerisity of East London.

Ex-NBA star John Amaechi speaking at the Univerisity of East London.

Archant

Former NBA star turned psychologist John Amaechi visited Stratford last Tuesday, to talk to students about the benefits of sport.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s most high-profile gay athletes, “Meech” was speaking at the University of East London (UEL), where he was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts in 2011.

Chatting exclusively to the Recorder before delivering his talk, the 43-year-old spoke of his own experiences, insisting sport can be damaging for many youngsters, if not run correctly.

He said: “Sport is an ideal place to build resilience, but it’s delivered in a way that’s emotionally illiterate, intellectually incurious and deadeningly dull in the way it’s taught.

“There’s a rare few who fit perfectly into the elite track, but the rest are wounded by sport and made to feel inferior. It’s especially damaging that we can create an environment for amateurs that would be so unacceptable anywhere else.

“If a child’s French teacher stood eight inches from their face and was screaming to them about propositions while their spittle was hitting their face, that would be child abuse. If a coach does the same thing, it’s forceful coaching.”

Amaechi made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic when he became the first and only Briton to have his jersey hung in the US Basketball Hall of Fame – just 12 years after first picking up a basketball.

The ex-Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic centre, who once turned down a $17-million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, came out as gay in 2007, a year after leading England to a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.

He launched a scathing attack at the lack of diversity in the upper echelons of the governing bodies of sport, particularly in football.

“I would challenge people to understand that an absence of parts of the community is not accidental,” he added.

“It’s not accidental that the gap between men and women in sport is even greater than normal life or that gay people are apparently absent from male team sports, with one notable exception.

“Things are better than they were, but in much the same way as our criminal justice system is better than in the medieval times – it doesn’t mean it’s good or fair.”

“There are no black mangers. It will change, but the dinosaurs need to die,” he continued. “There are too many people comfortable with the way things are and don’t want change.”

“FIFA are about to make £3bn. If they wanted change to happen, it could take place tomorrow.

“But they don’t want change. If they did, do you honestly think someone like [FIFA president] Sepp Blatter could still run it? Of course not, he’s a dinosaur.”

“Football is particular and special in a bad way, because they exploit the expertise and abilities and skills of minorities and then halt their progress.

“It’s a plantation mentality where football knows where black people re good and that’s on the field, picking cotton, but they don’t want them to come up to the big house.”

Read More

Basketball stars London Lions sign sponsorship deal in Stratford

Stratford’s Olympic basketball arena up for sale for £2.5m

Veteran Paralympian at UEL inspires young to sport

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Newham News Stories

33 minutes ago
Samantha Sutherland wrote and stars in Thisbe

A sequel to one of the Bard’s most celebrated plays is set to shake up our perception of two of his star-crossed lovers.

15:05
Staff Kayleigh Longhurst and Ebony Patterson with Amelia Dobbs, six, and Gioella Williams, four

Pigs, birds and ponies kept crowds of people enertained throughout the half-term at Newham City Farm.

13:47
Isabelle Anderson is chased by a policewoman after walking onto the M4. Picture: Rachel Venables, LBC

A mother who blocked a motorway as part of a Heathrow expansion protest says growing up next to London City Airport had influenced her decision.

University of East London
12:08
David Crompton, cycles the track where a cyclist was killed on February 9. He's concerned another cyclist will suffer the same fate unless more is done to improve the track's condition.

A father using the same route as a cyclist killed in a lorry crash has warned it could happen again.

Newham Council

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Are you in need of a new kitchen? Try our competition and you could win a brand new one!

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Read more
MyOffers H&M Competition

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now