Today we usher in the month of February, which signals the hallowed focus on the major contributions of folks from the Diaspora into the American cultural patchwork. Due to the tenacity of Carter G. Woodson, who launched "Negro History Week" as a precursor to Black History Month, America as a collective recognizes what should be honored daily, the achievements of its most undervalued and most integral citizens.
Mr. Woodson dedicated his life to researching, documenting, and cataloging Black achievement so that the biased books that taught American history would have balance. It required a deft hand to not only unearth hidden truths about the progenitors of certain inventions and crusaders of unalienable rights, but to also decide what and who is worthy of even being considered.
Enter Floyd Mayweather.
Boxing's former pound-for-pound king is also the king of the cash register and the headlines, but does that make him a candidate for Black History Month inclusion?
Let's start with the positives: Mayweather employs tons of people of color. From his advisor, Al Haymon, who is solely responsible for the upward trajectory of his boxing career and is the Professor X of pugilism, to Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe and the fighters they promote, Floyd is a veritable employment machine.
Gervonta "Tank" Davis is a Mayweather boxing protege and prodigy that was lifted from the rough and tumble streets of Baltimore into stardom and wealth at an early age. Badou Jack, another protege, is a former champion and en route to becoming one of the best fighters ever due to the tutelage and direction being applied by the Mayweather machine.
The Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Foundation, founded in 2007, the same year that he established his Mayweather Promotions business, leverages his star power and is dedicated to empowering and promoting the social development and advancement of adults and adolescents. The foundation is singularly focused on community health and wellness, economic growth and development and impactful youth education. From food drives, a race series, and more, TFMJF provides a beacon of hope worldwide to people in underserved communities, many of which include people of color.
These are old wounds bubbling back to the surface. It's far from anything new, and worse fights have probably happened over the years when cameras weren't rolling. Floyd Jr and Floyd Sr were estranged and not on speaking terms for many years, and there seems to be a legitimate jealousy that Sr has toward his brother, Roger, as far as Jr claiming that Roger made him the fighter he is today.
Still, the popular narrative is that Mayweather is not a good guy for the many other headline-worthy negatives that have occurred in his life. When he and his father got into a heated verbal spat inside of the Mayweather Boxing Club during the first season of HBO's critically acclaimed "24/7" behind-the-scenes series, it was deemed a bad look for the Black family dynamic. Regardless of them eventually making up and his father replacing his uncle, Roger Mayweather for medical reasons, those images of the two in a heated personal debate are forever seared into the minds of the world.
You cannot escape the domestic abuse conviction when mentioning Floyd Mayweather's name. He served a 90-day jail sentence and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, a 12-month domestic-violence program and to pay a fine. The damage was done not only to his child's mother, but also psychologically to the children according to court documents.
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What makes it worse is that Mayweather is very well known for his objectification of women. He routinely parades them around like a flock of peacocks that he disregards just as quickly. It does nothing to help his reputation and dismiss the memory of the domestic violence charge. And with the opening of his gentleman's club, Girl Collection, in Las Vegas, it looks as if he has no issue with how his actions create a negative brand towards femininity.
Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor embark on a four-city international press tour to announce their Saturday, August 26 blockbuster on SHOWTIME PPV.
He is one of the greatest athletes and businessmen of our generation and his place in the historic annals of financial achievement are on par with Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. However, like those other two sports icons, he will not be revered as a member of the storied Black History lore if he continues to neglect the maintenance of his past indiscretions.
When Conor McGregor disrespected black womanhood at the press conference for the "Money Fight", it was the perfect opportunity for Mayweather to verbally chin check the Irishman and make him walk back his comments. With his daughter and one of his children's mothers in attendance along with a myriad of black women, Mayweather missed an opportunity to shine.
For Mayweather, "Money" is the ultimate symbol of success. When you look at Colin Kaepernick's sacrifice this NFL season, you understand why he is already Black History.
Mayweather has labeled himself "TBE" which stands for "The Best Ever", which is understandable based on his athletic and financial achievements. However, Muhammad Ali is "The Greatest" because of his fervent advocacy for underserved communities and social activism.
Ali is now an icon and a true member of the ranks of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and more. Sacrifice and selflessness are the key ingredients to becoming an icon in Black History. Not just the sacrifice of your body in the pursuit of greatness, but sacrificing everything, including your career, for the betterment of others.
Will the Floyd Mayweather in retirement correct the actions of Mayweather the active professional athlete? Only time will tell.