Olympic legend Michael Johnson has recently made some claims that he certainly believes is true. He says that athletes of African American and African Caribbean descent possess a “superior athletic gene”. He also says that it is currently being researched to see how much of a factor being descended from slaves contributes to athletic ability. Michael Johnson recently found out he is descended from West African slaves. The 2008 100-meter finals had eight participants, and those eight participants are believed to be descended from slaves. This claim is also believed to be taboo in the United States. Let’s take a look.
Johnson is wanting this topic to be more openly talked about. When slavery was prevalent, the slaves underwent a “selection process”. Only the strongest and fittest slaves were selected. That is apparently true for Jamaica, as the strongest and most aggressive slaves were selected to go there. If a slave was not “deemed” fit or strong. they were not taken from Africa. The slaves who were not taken were basically left to fend for themselves, and many died in the process. I can see why this is certainly a taboo subject. But, is there any truth to the claims?
Let’s look at the major sports league’s of the United States. The two major sports league’s are the NBA and the NFL. The NBA is about 78 percent black, while the NFL stands around 67 percent. Baseball and hockey’s percentages are around 8 and 4, respectively. Now that is a large percentage of the NBA and NFL that is African American. The question is, do these statistics give any validity to the claim of African American superiority?
While those stats may be a little staggering, there are many black athletes who are just better at their sport than whites. Who do many consider to be the greatest basketball player of all time? Depending on who you ask, you might get the answer of Wilt Chamberlain or Michael Jordan. Both are African American. What about boxing? Probably a unanimous answer of Muhammad Ali. Many of the legends of the NFL are African American. Same goes for MLB. Tony Gywnn is regarded as one of the greatest hitters ever. While alot of these legends are African American, does it support a claim of a superior athletic gene? I don’t know if it does or not.
This issue may come down to just what you believe. But maybe, the answer is not a superior athletic gene. Maybe the answer is that blacks are just better than whites at sports. Sometimes it is what it is. Sometimes, whites are just not good at sports. We don’t devote the time to the sport that a black athlete does. Ever heard of you get what you put in? Black athletes just put in more time than the white athletes.
Maybe, just maybe, they have a better work ethic than whites. Has that answer even been considered before?