Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. might not have imagined eight-digit salaries or Madison Avenue sponsorships for American Black athletes, but the social reformer would likely be disappointed by other aspects of today's sporting landscape. In his book "Souled Out? How Blacks Are Winning and Losing in Sports," Shaun Powell starts a national dialogue on the changes of the black sporting scene since Tommie Smith and John Carlos used the 1968 Olympic sports spotlight to enact social change with their legendary black-gloved salute.
A sports columnist at Newsday in New York since 1993, Powell's work has garnered awards from the Associated Press and National Association of Black Journalists. As former president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, he knows the territory he writes about well.
Black athletes' behavior warrants examination, Powell says, because of the power they have to shape young people's ideas about life. "Because of the high status and media visibility we give athletes, their behavior cuts deeper and reaches farther," he states.
"Souled Out? How Blacks Are Winning and Losing in Sports" by Shaun Powell. Human Kinetics, 2008; $22.95 ISBN: 13-978-0-7360-6750-8.