Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones misses the point of the criticism. : ThyBlackMan.com

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Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones misses the point of the criticism.

August 8, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

(ThyBlackMan.com) If you have not been keeping up with track & field, one of the more popular Olympic sports, then you missed the much publicized American track star Lolo Jones’s failure to obtain an Olympic medal in the women’s 100-meter hurdles in her second try. However, Olympic athletes like Lolo Jones do not have to win a medal to cash in if they are willing to show a little skin and the right hue. That is what some in the sports world have been pointing out.

Days before the big Olympic 100 meter hurdles event, New York Times writer Jeré Longman wrote a piece critical of Lolo Jones’s fame and increasing fortune as a media darling charging it is based on nothing but her looks and not how she performs on the track.

Longman pointed out that,

“Women have struggled for decades to be appreciated as athletes. For the first time at these Games, every competing nation has sent a female participant. But Jones is not assured enough with her hurdling or her compelling story of  perseverance. So she has played into the persistent, demeaning notion that women are worthy as athletes only if they have sex appeal.”

Longman then went on to write about how willing Jones is to take her clothes off for the camera while citing her hard luck upbringing and proclamation that like Tim Tebow, she is also Christian and a virgin. Tebow is another sports media sensation that many believe had not achieved anything on the football field to warrant all the national coverage while ignoring the record breaking season of Cam Newton.

Jones, in a tear filled morning after interview about her loss, was asked about Longman’s column responding,

“I think it was crazy just because it was two days before I competed and then the fact it was from a U.S. media” outlet, she said. “They should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes.

Many were asking that same question about why Alex Hall, an American  sports writer for Bleacher Report wrote an article predicting Serena Williams would lose in the gold medal women’s tennis match to Russian Maria Sharapova.

Lolo Jones misses the point however and to be fair, Longman, a member of the U.S. media was blaming the media for elevating her star above those more deserving who worked just as hard, had just as compelling live stories and had resumes that are more impressive.

The only thing Longman did point out in plain terms was that the two more deserving American female hurdlers were Black women who do not measure up to the false beauty standards of corporate media. Lolo Jones should focus less on her and think about the broader context of Longman’s article.

While Lolo Jones may have a Black father, she took mostly after her mother European ancestry in the looks department. He is saying that women should be celebrated and rewarded base on their athletic achievements and not because of a false corporate beauty standard. It is not a personal knock on Lolo Jones and what she has achieved to this point, it is, in this writer’s opinion, a knock on the white supremacist underbelly of America manifesting in this case through corporate sports sponsorships, endorsements and media coverage.

Many were asking the question about whether or not Gabby Douglass would receive the big endorsement contracts afforded to many of the past American gold medal-winning gymnasts. Cereal maker Kellogg immediately came forth with a huge endorsement contract for Douglass but that has not always been the case in the past. The fact that the question was in the back of the minds of many just shows the people are aware of these past bias against Black athletes.

Dawn Harper, who was the defending Olympic champion in the 100-meter hurdles, took silver this time around but did not shy away from calling the media out in an interview recently.

“I feel I had a pretty good story — knee surgery two months before Olympic trials in 2008, to make the team but 0.007, not have a contract … working three jobs, living in a frat house, trying to make it work. Coming off running in someone else’s shoes getting the gold medal. Uhhh, I’d say I was pretty interesting. I just felt as if I worked really hard to represent my country in the best way possible, and to come way with the gold medal, and to honestly seem as if, because their favorite didn’t win all of sudden it’s just like, ‘Were going to push your story aside, and still gonna push this one.’ That hurt. It did. It hurt my feelings.”

And there it is.

Staff Writer; Scotty Reid

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Comments

14 Responses to “Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones misses the point of the criticism.”
  1. Tom Hadfield says:

    What I was more impressed about was how beautiful it was to see how gracious the medal winners were to each other. A white girl from Australia, the winner in Olympic record time two wonderful black women from USA.

  2. Aisha68111 says:

    What do you do when the athletes won’t even take advice from Jackie Joyner Kersee?

    Jackie Joyner Kersee made the most sense on this topic — she told HLN: “Everybody wants sponsorship, everybody wants to be marketed, but not everybody is marketable.” She told Harper, “Just get the job done. Don’t worry about who’s getting attention or not getting attention. Get out there, focus on your lane, execute, and what’s going to come your way is what’s going to come your way.”

    Seems like if Harper and Wells would have heeded that advice, none of this would have blown up in the first place.

    http://www.hlntv.com/video/2012/08/10/lolo-jones-jackie-joyner-kersee

  3. Johnny says:

    Out of curiosity how much ‘black’ does a person have to have in them to elicit sympathy in the black community? Why is it even an issue? I always thought MLK’s goal was to be treated like an equal MAN not an equal BLACK man. Her teammates did better than her and because the narrative is about Lolo they throw her under the bus? If you won a medal and your teammate didn’t you can afford to be magnanimous and support her in this disgusting vicious hit piece. I mean President Obama is half white but all the black community recognizes is his black ancestry. I’m sorry but I don’t get the point of skewering Lolo Jones and I DEFINITELY fail to understand the petty jealousy exhibited by her team mates

  4. Orville says:

    I agree with the author of this piece Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells are two talented black women and they WON Olympic medals yesterday the silver and the bronze. However, when I turned on NBC who did I see on the Today show? Well no surprise, it was Lolo Jones crying like a baby about the NY Times article.

    Jones is also an American corporate dream because she has the Eurocentric looks that Madison avenue favours.

    Jones is indeed another Anna Kournikova a woman who used her looks to make cash but in the end didn’t have the results.
    I won’t be fake I don’t like Lolo Jones because I resent women like her that use their sexuality to get ahead and can’t be honest about it.The world doesn’t need to know Jones is a virgin. Jones did not win yesterday. At least Sally Pearson the Olympic champion from Australia got her due from the Australian media. But where is the praise for Dawn, Sally, or Kellie in the USA press? It is disgusting and sexist that Lolo Jones is getting all this damn media attention when she did NOT WIN when it MATTERED at the Olympics!

  5. James says:

    @ Scotty:

    I’m a 2-timeblack combat military veteran as well however; REALITY IS REALITY!!!!! The white media conglomerate is controlled by white america and will continue to off shoot ALL positive references to black athletes, black celebrities, and so on; look at the attacks on President Obama & his family.

    I was raised in a little red neck town called Metter, GA. so, none of this shocks me; what shocks me is that our black leaders will not come forward and defend these and other black athletes for their achievements in life, within the black community, etc. etc.; (don’t just focus on sports).

    My main point is that regardless whether a black man or black woman exposes their personal life in the media; as long as ratings keep going up for specific media outlets, the $$$$$$$$$$$$$ will ALWAYS be the bottom line, no matter how anyone tries to dress up the dynamics. WAKE UP!!!!

    My personal afront to this whole olympic drama about our sista’s is that $$$$$$$$$ talks and bullshit walks; no matter if it’s Lo Lo, Carmelita, Candace, Gabby, Serena, etc. etc. etc. etc. The negative attacks will keep coming out of “fear” by white society that black athletes control almost every Professional Sport except Hockey ***(until we get more black owners, front office executives, and more in key positions in ALL Profesional Sports’ then, white attitudes toward successful black athletes, bankers, businessmen, movie stars, and other black entities will not change; regardless if we have an ALL BLACK white house or not)***

    Yes, pretty sistas like Lo Lo, Gabby, and others will be attacked for their failures and public status, and not be applauded for their achievements so, if the white man sees a pretty sista half naked; he only sees $$$$$$$$; and not talent from WITHIN………

    I agree with Lou because his points cover every essential aspect of being black that we as black folk’, are either in denial about, afraid to face OUR TRUTHS (not white America’s truths), do not discuss critical issues within our communities so yes, white folk’ will attack us because we rarely talk about issues affecting the black community yet, white, hispanic, asian, and other cultures discuss their issues, find solutions, and put those solutions in action to uplift their communities and, they also put $$$$$$$$ in their community pockets by creating businesses and thriving from that.

    Can the black community do the same wholistically and individually???? HELL YES however, with all the beef, jealousy, and back stabbing then, I can see to a point why white folk’ just sit back and laugh at us, while they continue to make $$$$$$ and so on.

    Thanks.

    James.

  6. Umm Yeah says:

    Scott, I am not going to dig into you but I don’t think this is a very strong article by you in general. I am going to dig into Longman though, because he is being a hypocrite. He is engaging in exactly what he is criticizing the general press of engaging in. Exploited Lolo Jones to get shine and ratings. Think about that for am minute and you will see what I am talking about.

    Remember, athletics ultimately is about entertainment and we could discuss numerous athletes whose charisma exceeds their performance. But before I dig in I want to talk about false corporate beauty standard BS by Longman. I could name 15 women pretty quickly in the Olympics that conform more towards the ‘ideal’ in America that Lolo. His whole piece is ridiculous and a big ad hominem attack on the girl.

    There is a reason NBC shows so many human interest pieces in their broadcast replays, it is because they recognize that to add value to the athletic product people have to connect with the athletes positively or negatively. People connect through stories, athlete idiosyncrasies, and controversy. Dude, you know that. Some people stick out more in the public eye than others. That is why Lolo got play, because of her idiosyncrasies and a little bit of controversy. That is the business.

    But to further dash Longmans ridiculous argument, how “light” is Usain Bolt? How light is Allyson Felix? How light is Gabby? How light is Team USA? Gabby’s story shut down every other story in gymnastics and almost the olympics she is of a darker hue. Again, that is the business. We buy stories that are unique and connect to us positively or negatively.

    I understand why the sister who mentioned her story was compelling is upset from her view point? But really, how many times has the public heard similar stories? Compare that to a Tebow like, proud virgin in public with charisma and logic tells you more what the public is going to want to eat up because of —>the story, the idiosyncrasy and the controversy.

  7. ALB says:

    If the author truly believes there is a “white supremacist underbelly” in America – the same country whose mostly white voters elected Barack Obama – then any point he is attempting to make is completely negated.

    Your premise is so ridiculous it barely warrants a response, but I can’t help myself, so I’ll address the subject of Lolo’s looks: first, where do you think these “false beauty standards of corporate media” originate? In other words, who decides on this “standard”? The answer is the Consumers. Media companies spend billions to research the consumers perception of beauty, and tailor their advertising accordingly. By your rationale, these companies are purposefully supporting a white girl because she is white. Now ask yourself this: are these consumers the media companies are researching only white people? Furthermore, I hope you are not insinuating that only whites can find beauty in the “European ancestry” displayed in the beauty of Lolo Jones, or that Black and Hispanic men do not find white girls “willing to show a little skin” attractive.

    Sex sells, and whatever sells will be sold. Beauty is beauty; it doesn’t attach itself to any one color and if you think it does then you are part of the problem.

  8. Scotty says:

    @ Lou Christians do not conform to the world in the pursuit for filthy lucre, just because others did it, makes it alright doesn’t it. Selling sex is selling sex. Just because people do not like the fact that two Black women spoke out on White Supremacy means nothing to me. They were asked a question, they gave an honest answer without naming names.

    @Matt Like Lolo, you seem to need to brush up on your reading comprehension. The point is, not that she is Black enough for me, she is white enough for America to make a buck off of where the best in the field got shunned for being to Black.

  9. RealHarsh says:

    I don’t like Lolo Jones at all and I agree with cutting her down with the same tools that brought her fame. It’s a part of the game. She lost and that’s the consequences of being a loser in a sport where only winning matters. It must be irritating for competitors in her own sport who are better than Her but get overlooked because of the attention she gets and obviously covets, so I am not surprised that they’d be critical of her. Pretty faces get a lot of advantages in life so it’s nice to see them getting some mud slung their way once in a while, just to be fair. Love to see them cry when they for once don’t get favored. Hehe.

  10. Matt says:

    While Lolo Jones may have a Black father, she took mostly after her mother European ancestry in the looks department.

  11. Matt says:

    “While Lolo Jones may have a Black father, she took mostly after her mother European ancestry in the looks department.” ….so in other words she is not “black” enough. according to who? You? She was treated unfairly plain and simple. Period. Yet she deserves the unfair criticism because she looks moe like her white mother than her black father. Ehat a bunch of moronic crap from the writer.

  12. Lou says:

    @Scotty
    Their interview speaks for itself. Check the various message boards and you’ll find that 80-90% of America is finding their comments ungracious. I’m not in the minority on this. As for your comments about Lolo:
    — She posed for the ESPN body issue, as did Candace Parker and Serena Williams and Tyson Chandler and Carmelita Jeter and alot of other black athletes; not a sexual thing, but an artistic and scientific display of the human body; Carmelita even addressed this very point when asked why she posed nude for the body issue
    — Telling people she’s a Christian and virgin is something that should be upheld in the black community, not sneered at; we have the highest rates of HIV/STDs, we have the highest rates of out-of-wedlock births, our sexual behavior is destroying our community and role models like Lolo should be applauded; she’s not the first athlete to publicly comment on this issue — look up A.C. Green and educate yourself on his celibate journey

  13. Scotty says:

    @Lou [I’m a retired, black military veteran who grew up in the segregated South and am so sick of our people not taking responsibility for inappropriate behavior.]

    And so what, I am a Black military vet who lives in the south and your point of mentioning that is? And what bad behavior did these two Black women engage in? Taking off their clothes for ESPN, posing in a skimpy dress in a way to suggest they are not wearing any panties? Telling everyone I am a Christian and a Virgin while taking off their clothes? Oh wait, that would be Lolita Jones.

    I’ll wait to see what dirt you come up with on these two Black and beautiful Olympic medal winning sisters. I won’t hold my breath.

  14. Lou says:

    What a bullshit article you just wrote. Why don’t you just fess up and admit that Kellie and Dawn came across as ignorant, jealous, small minded women. I’m a retired, black military veteran who grew up in the segregated South and am so sick of our people not taking responsibility for inappropriate behavior. Seems like these two young ladies need a lesson in a few areas — first, what does the Bible say about coveting what your neighbor has; second, how would people who have come before you and paved the way for you to enjoy the life you have feel about your actions; third, are you taking the platform you currently have to promote peace and love and fellowship, or are you tearing others down to lift yourself up? These women are wonderful hurdlers, but a disgrace to the African American race at this point in their lives. Someone really needs to teach them about African American history, because they seem clueless as hell.

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