This is where you will find all things related to Harold Bell and his landmark and historic YouTube videos.  Click here to visit Harold’s YouTube ChannelClick here to visit Harold Bell’s blog.

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Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–-sports talk radio with classic interviews with sports celebrities, politicians and news makers of the day.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for almost 50 years with the help of his wife Hattie through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official web site.  You can check out Harold’s work on this site by clicking here.

 

Today’s Beat Reporter:  The “House Negro” of Pro Sports by Harold Bell

RON SUTTON
Photo:  The late WHUR sports talk show host Ron Sutton shares a laugh with me at an integrated Bullets’ press table in Landover, MD.

Thanksgiving Day 2018, I took the opportunity to step back and think about how blessed I have been to live to be 80 years old as a free black man in America. Still there is the possibility I could leave my home today and be shot dead while “Driving or Walking Black (DWB) by a cop because of the color of my skin.

Sports have been a major part of my life starting in elementary school, (middle school, high school, college, minor league football) ending with me being a pioneering radio sports talk show host in my hometown of Washington, DC. Those experiences have taught me that pro sports are still the last plantations.

I remember in the early 1970’s, my white colleague Frank Pastor and I were attending a NBA Washington Bullets game at the Capital Center in Landover, MD. Frank was a regular guest on my monthly Inside Sports media round-table show. It was half-time and we were standing at the top of the arena waiting for a break in the action so that we could return to our seats at the press table. I noticed there was a dividing line that separated black media from white media. Blacks were seated on the right and whites were seated on the left of the half court line. I brought it to Frank’s attention. We decided to switch seats and integrate the press table for the first time. The rest of the league followed quietly.

I don’t compare our accomplishment to that of Claudette Colvin who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested on March 2, 1955. This was nine months prior to Rosa Parks famous arrest for the same offense. The press tables in pro sports arenas have changed very little. They are now dressed up in camouflaged credentials. There are so-called “Major Media,” they are folks who work for The Washington Post, USA Today, NY Times, LA Times, etc. They are on their last legs thanks to the Internet. These are the media outlets who foot the bill for their reporters to travel with the home team out of town. They are called “Beat Reporters!” On too many occasions they are the last to know when it comes to identifying who are the alcoholics, drug abusers, gamblers, domestic violence abusers, gun totters, party animals, etc. Most “Beat Reporters” think they are smarter than the guy sitting in the bleachers above them. They don’t understand they were chosen because they are considered “safe.” They will go along to get along. They are often compared to “The House Negro” during slavery.

I have been a freelance writer for the Afro-American, NY Amsterdam, The Washington Times and The Washington Post newspapers and blogged for Bleacher Report (BR). I was one of BR’s most widely read commentators in the beginning. I moved on because I was not considered “safe” and I exposed their Sacred Cows!

In 2009, when Wizards’ superstar guard Gilbert Arenas and his teammates were playing a high stakes card game called “Booray” similar to poker on the planes, buses and in hotel rooms, the “Beat Reporters” were the last to know. They had no idea (or went along to get along) that money was flowing like they were playing Monopoly and some players were in over their heads financially.

The showdown would be between two street dudes in what resembled a Wild-Wild West shoot out in the Wizards’ locker room. Gilbert Arenas who had an annual salary in the neighborhood of $16 million dollars and teammate Javaris Crittenton who had a NBA “Section 8” salary in the neighborhood $1 million dollars. Guess which one was in over his head?

Gilbert would later say, “It had nothing to do with the money–it was the trash talking (egos) that made them bring guns into the locker room.” Arenas was a NBA superstar and he was out of the league in two years. Crittenton, a role player, is in jail for shooting and killing a 24-year old woman. His release date is 2036.

Now many are wondering whether John Wall and Bradley Beal are headed for a similar fate. New comer Dwight Howard is in the news (social media)for all the wrong reasons. “The Beat Reporters” are as quiet as mice. Don’t look for any breaking news on ESPN, CBS, or The Athletic.com until they receive their “Marching Orders” from their publishers, editors and Washington Wizards.

The Beat Reporters and Editor-in-Chiefs are now playing the role of “The Three Little Monkeys” they hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil and therefore they write no evil. Michael Wilbon (ESPN) and Dave Aldridge (TNT) were both on the scene of the Gilbert Arenas’ potential shootout and “Wild West Show” in 2009, but looked the other way.

First, these guys lack common sense and street sense, they think that book sense is the means to all ends. Book sense will not allow you to be a peace maker similar to former player Caron Butler when it comes to calming down the likes of Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton who were locked and loaded. You cannot run to a book and see how to bring peace to this kind of chaos. I have been there and done that, but I was armed with STREET SENSE, COMMON SENSE and I was blessed by the best.

In 2016, without a national platform and armed only with a social media platform I uncovered a scam involving several NBA players. The players were Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, Carmelo Anthony of the NY Knicks, and Chris Paul of the LA Clippers they were being duped into investing their money in a scam documentary/movie titled, “The First to Do It” based on the life story of my friend and NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd. I alerted Coach Greg Popovich and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver bringing the scam to their attention. I received a response from Commissioner Silver (see below).

NBA

The documentary/movie disappeared shortly after the NBA All-Star Game in February 2017. It makes you wonder where were Aldridge, Wilbon, Brown and the likes of Stephen A. Smith? Aldridge and Wilbon both were aware of the scam but ignored my warnings.

On Monday November 27, 2018, I spotted Wilbon in the corner of Capitol One Arena whispering to someone and Dave Aldridge was in the Press Room sitting in his cubicle office in his new role as Editor-in-Chief of a subscription blog called the Athletic.com?  It appears he is “in bed” with the Wizards you can find his by-line on their website!  Wilbon has been called by his Washington Post colleague John Feinstein the biggest “Ass Kisser” in pro sports and Aldridge thinks all pro sports personalities are “Sacred Cows?”

How can you trust what they write or say when there is no objectivity? I have known both of these “up close and personal” since their days are the Washington Post.

DAVE ALDRIDGE
Dave Aldridge is the new Editor-in-Chief of The Athletic.com a subscription blog with a potential for “Fake News”—buyer beware!

I remember Wilbon being a regular on Inside Sports and often turning to me for advice as it related to the DC sports landscape. In 2000, he called me for advice in regards to racism in pro sports relating to a column he was writing on Buffalo Bill DE and NFL Hall of Fame player Bruce Smith. Smith had been traded to the Redskins. Wilbon wanted to know what I thought of Smith’s complaints about racism that he encountered in Buffalo. He was looking forward to coming home to DC (home by way of Norfolk, Virginia) to escape racism. My response, “trying to out run racism in America is like trying to out run the sun.” Wilbon would use my quote in his column. Nothing has change my thought pattern.

WILBON HB MAYS
Photo:  Michael Wilbon joins the late legendary DC athlete Gary Mays known as the one-armed bandit and me during Black History Month in DC.
http://abcnews.go.com/OnCampus/video/recognizing-african-american-sports-legends-13249112

I had a discussion with a staff member of the Wizards’ PR department relating to a visit to a youth center here in the DMV. The purpose of the visit was to take a new Wizards’ player to talk with incarcerated youth. I questioned his selection of media who were going to cover the outing. First, the selection process was bogus and the two media “Beat Reporters” he chose like him didn’t have a clue as it relates to incarcerated youth or the facilities that house them. Neither one had any history working in the the “war zones” of the inner-city or having spend any time working in the criminal justice system with judges, cops, parole boards, the juvenile court system, etc. My life’s work has been working with youth gangs and at-risk children, but still he wanted to leave me out of the process–their motives are personal and racist at the same time. I have a history with the NBA they would rather forget. All I saying is, “Not on my watch!”

CecilTurnerscan0003
Photo:  Former NFL Chicago Bear WR and kick returner DC native Cecil Turner and I host a pass catching clinic with Lorton prison inmates.

CONGRESSMAN HANK JOHNSON & HB0006
Photo:  Native Washingtonian Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Atlanta) and I recently spend time at the DC Youth Center talking to young people about the consequences of their bad behavior.

I could not blame the Wizards’ player for being led to the youth center. He certainly had no clue since he had just arrived in town. The bottom-line:  the victims as always would be our children. The last thing they need is a visit from a group of experts who don’t have a clue of how they got to the youth center. The visit was later cancelled after the star player was hurt and will be out of action until at least February 2019!

This gave me an opportunity to talk with my INSIDERS working in the youth center facility. They saw it as nothing more then a photo opt for the Wizards’ organization who had no history with any of the youth centers in the DMV. I also saw them using the visit as a opportunity to put their own propaganda spin on the organization’s caring spirit for troubled youth in the DMV. I found the first ever half-house for juvenile delinquents on Bolling AFB in 1970. My work with youth gangs and at-risk children in DC is legendary. The problem, I am not a “House Negro.”

POLICE & KIRBY
Photo:  Trying to keep peace in “The Hood.” Officer Friendly Charles Robinson and I talk with a couple of friendly youth in the Shaw/Cardozo community.

David Aldridge is a DC native who knows absolutely nothing about the inner-city, he attended DeMatha HS and American University, those two institutions are as far away from the inner-city as you can get.  James Brown falls into that same category. Michael Wilbon is from Chicago.

JAMES BROWN INSDE THE NFL 001
Inside The NFL and Bryant Gumble’s “Real Sports” sounds like Inside Sports to me. James Brown is and was a contributor on both shows–coincident?

I have no problem with these pro athletes and so-called major media personalities (House Negroes) giving away toys or feeding the hungry but they cross the line when they try to play games with the feelings and minds of our children. My advice to David Aldridge and Michael Wilbon:  “Stay in your lane!”

Brothers like Aldridge, Wilbon and Brown are so safe that when it comes to taking a stand on an adverse condition in the black community, they could jump up and down on a egg and never crack it!

The PR guys in the NFL, NBA, MLB and the NHL are overwhelmingly white. There agenda is to hire black young men and women on their staff and give them a title and assign them players to lead around and spy on them and report back. These brothers have never known the agony of defeat and have never been in a winner’s circle. They are basically, cheerleaders without the pom-poms and short skirts. The PR guys in charge will use these brothers to cover up their racist offenses and will say, “I can’t be racist look at all the blacks on my staff!”

I will wait until all of these charades play out (Wall, Beal, Howard, Kevin Durant, Draymond Greene, Eric Reid, and the Doug Williams and LB Reuben Foster charade) and I will then write my “Inside” story. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Dave Aldridge to give you the Inside scoop on the Wizards. Stay tune!

Image result for bradley beal, john wall, paul pierce
This team lacks the veteran leadership of former Boston Celtic Paul Pierce

Now back to my blessings, it does not help that the envy, jealousy and player hating found among blacks is often the result of a plantation mentality that brought us to America over 400 years ago. We cannot seem to shake that mentality.

There is no economic relief in sight as redlining continues at our banks. In 2018, as we fight for equal pay for women a black man in America is still paid half the salary of a white man, and when there are gains like Affirmative Action they throw us a curve and make a white woman a minority! Since Affirmative Action the people suing for discrimination as it relates to academic admissions process are white women. White women are the biggest winners which means the white man wins “The Power Ball.” He goes to sleep and wakes up with his ace in the hole. The Brett Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court is living proof she stands by her man.

In the meantime; the truth is being assaulted, suppressed and challenged by folks who would not recognize it if it was sleeping in the bed with them.

This Thanksgiving I realized how truly blessed I was, when one of my young men whom I touched along my journey in the byways and alley ways of the inner-city said on Facebook, Harold Bell you are the true example of what God has put on earth to represent his blessings that he instills in a man and woman that lives amonst his people. Congratulations, many thanks for staying the course and continue the journey-stay blessed!!! Those were the words of Rev. Joel Dearing. Which brings to mind I have two other young men in the ministry, Rev. Ricky Williams and Rev. Salim Edwards these two brothers have been truly a blessing in my life. There is also Lonnie Taylor. Lonnie is from the hood, he was the first black hired as a Chief of Staff for a white congressman, Jack Buechner (D-Missouri) on “The Hill.”

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Photo:  Letter of appreciation from Lonnie Taylor

“Whats Going On?” I was further blessed when it was announced that my homeboy and friend the late great Marvin Gaye’s photo will be on the U. S. Postage stamp in 2019. It does not get any better than that! Despite his demons he was a beautiful and caring human being that never forgot who he was and where he came from.


RIP my brother!

 

The Original Inside Sports Where Honesty Has Always Been the Best Policy!

My Walk Through Sports History with Champs & Chumps!

By Harold Bell

Here’s what people are saying about Harold Bell’s new book, “My Walk Through Sports History with Champs & Chumps”

Harold:  Just finished reading your book.  Thanks for the honorable mention in your dedication section.  I really enjoyed reading the book.  There are not too many people on this planet who get to have their life’s work memorialized in such a beautiful and attractive book.  Dr. Harry Edwards was right, “Your work was a major force over the years especially in terms of the struggle to define and project Our Truth.”  I hope that you will think about teaching at a local university or college.  There are a lot of bright eyed and bushy tailed journalism and communications students who would love to receive your direction and guidance.  In addition to what you give the students, the joy and satisfaction you would receive from seeing their faces light up when they understand a point you are making is immeasurable.

Byron Berry is a native Washingtonian and a Administrative Law Judge now living in California

If you get a chance to meet a living legend who is known by the “who’s who” in sports, broadcasting, politics, civil rights and philanthropy, that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.  If you get a chance to work closely with that individual, you are truly blessed.  Harold Bell is a “truth teller,” from Washington, DC.  He has touched the lives of thousands and mentored many of this nation’s black broadcasters, writers and sports personalities.  “My World Through Sports History with Champs & Chumps,” is a book that tells it’s story through photographs.  Harold Bell’s personal archives is “museum-worthy” and he has it on full display in this book covering over 50 decades of history, tragedy and personal triumph.  And through it all, he’s still standing, with a lot more to give.

Gary Johnson – Publisher, Black Men In America.com

The Original Inside Sports Where Honesty Has Always Been the Best Policy!

Book Signing July 21st, at the “Little White House”

My Walk Through Sports History with Champs & Chumps!

By Harold Bell

My Walk Through Sports History with Champs & Chumps as Told Through Photographs

Here’s a preview:

 

By Harold Bell
Book Cost: $30 (plus $6.55 Shipping & Handling)
Total Cost:  $36.55



Click Here To Learn Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About DC Sports Legend Harold Bell

 

The Original Inside Sports Where Honesty Has Always Been the Best Policy!

Posted March 11, 2018

Posted January 28, 2018

 

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–-sports talk radio with classic interviews with sports celebrities, politicians and news makers of the day.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for almost 50 years with the help of his wife Hattie through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official web site.  You can check out Harold’s work on this site by clicking here.

 

Posted March 11, 2018

Posted January 7, 2018

2017 The Year In Review


NBA Coaches Red Auerbach and Gregg Popovich Understood: The Elephant in the Room Has Always Been Racism!

By Harold Bell, The Original Inside Sports.com

The race card that President Donald Trump recently played was a joker, “Fire the sons of bitches” back fired.  The Colin Kaepernick boycott in the NFL had hit a wall, but thanks to Donald Trump he is back on the radar screen and all the credit goes to the leader of the free world, the President of the United States.  His calling for NFL players to be fired for not standing and honoring the American flag was the best thing to happen to the plantation mentality found in pro sports in my life time.

Black trailblazers like Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Paul Roberson, Jackie Robinson, Emmett Ashford,  Curt Flood, Jim Brown, John Carlos, Tommy Smith, Dr. Harry Edwards and Muhammad Ali all carried the torch for human and civil rights. They blazed a path and left a trail that few have followed until “Fire the sons of bitches” was heard across America.  There are so many frauds in pro sports, the Colin Kaepernicks, Richard Shermans, and Michael Bennetts, are far few and in-between.  Too many black athletes are putting the dollar bill first instead of solidifying a future free of racist cops killing their people and love ones.  Instead of a rope and a tree, the new lynching tool is not a rope its a gun in the hands of a racist cop.  Michael Bennett was the best example, his experience after the Floyd Mayweather fight in Las Vegas proves that stardom and money does not make you a free man in America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Athletes Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown and the late Dick Gregory true warriors in the civil rights movement and they had the scars to prove it. 

President Donald Trump’s criticizing black athletes came to a head when he told a roaring crowd of Alabama white supporters how great it would be if NFL owners fire every son-of-a-bitch who didn’t stand for the national anthem.  Sunday September 25, 2016 will go down in sports history as the day when black athletes came out of hiding across the NFL and said, “Hell No!”  The day will rank right up there with the 1968 Olympic Games when sprinters Tommy Smith and John Carlos raised their black fisted gloves against racial discrimination in America.

There are many who say “Politics & Sports don’t mix.”  Politics and sports have been mixing since the early days of slavery.  The first pro athlete was a slave, in the early 1800s slave owners had too much leisure time on their hands.  One day a slave owner saw two of his slaves racing each other back to the plantation and came up with the idea of competing his slaves against each other to entertain “The Master.”

Boston Celtic Coaching Legend Arnold “Red” Auerbach with Bill Russell and in the studio with radio host Harold Bell

The contests would eventually turn to plantation against plantation.  There were heavy wages bet and plantations would be lost and participants sometimes would be granted free slaves and some would lose their lives.

The games would consist of track and field, boxing, and horse racing.  No one understood the peculiar ways of the thoroughbred horses better than the slaves who took care of them.  When the Kentucky Derby first ran in 1875 there were 15 riders and only three were not black.   For close to three decades black riders dominated the Kentucky Derby.  They were the first black superstar athletes in the United States.  Isaac Murphy is considered one of the greatest riders in American thoroughbred history.  He won three Kentucky Derbies and was the first rider inducted into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1968 Olympic stars Tommy Smith and John Carlos shown here with the leaders of SNNC H. Rap Brown sitting on the left and Stokely Carmichael sitting on the right hold a press conference in Washington, DC to discuss racism in America. 

The response to Trump’s threat was swift and heart-warming as players, coaches and owners finally joined arms together on the field of play or stayed in the tunnel during the playing of the anthem in protest of Trump’s misguided efforts to divide and conquer. But there were still owners like Jerry Jones who refuse to acknowledge that Kaepernick’s protest had nothing to do with the American flag or the military.

Jones convinced his players to kneel on the field arm in arm before the national anthem was played to show solidarity and when the anthem was played stand at attention.  My question how does that show solidarity with the rest of the league?  Especially, when you have an owner dictating the terms of surrender?

Colin Kaepernick’s protest was about the shooting deaths of unarmed people of color, but the Jones and the Trumps  are still pretending they don’t understand.

Some media personalities even came out of the closet and aired their opinion as it related to race, sports and politics.  Opinions never so boldly heard on the airwaves since the Original Inside Sports created the format of Sports, Politics and Community Reach Back mix took over the airwaves in Washington, DC in 1970.

Pittsburgh Steeler Coach Mike Tomlin stood alone on the field while one of his linemen Alejandro Villanuena stood just outside the tunnel with his hand over his heart.  Alejandro a former Army Ranger later admitted he had thrown his teammates under the bus “Unintentionally.”  Much like Trump he instantly became a hero to the racist in the country.  His number 78 jersey went to the front of the bus in sales in the NFL it is now a best seller.

The “Talking Heads” on radio, television and in print media didn’t seem to have a clue as how to bring everyone to the table to talk with understanding until Trump added his two-cents.  CNN’s Wolf Blitzer had a panel of experts asking “Is there Racism in the NFL?”

The panel of experts never played a down in the NFL or walked in the shoes of an inner-city black man.  Christine Brennan is a long time Washington Post reporter and now a columnist for USA Today (over 3 decades as a pioneering female reporter), Mike Wise another former misguided Washington Post columnist/talk  show host.  It was the blind leading the blind.

First, it was ESPN television known as Washington Post North it was there members of the Washington Post sports’ department would start their second careers in television media.  The beat goes on the with The Undefeated now the Third Arm of the Washington Post and ESPN–the Fake News and Fake News Reporters are never ending.

Trump’s “Fire the sons of bitches” gave ESPN’s Jemele Hill a stay of execution, because they were coming after her.  She called Trump a white supremacist and he hired and surrounded himself with like personalities.  But now she will be given the “Sportscaster of the Year Award” for having bigger balls than her male counterparts.

On Sunday I used the remote to catch all the highlight shows and I noticed very few black commentators taking a hard position on Trump’s “Fire the son of bitches” outburst, most played it safe with the understanding “I just work here and I will live to give the scores next week.”   

You could also see Fox News political commentator Tucker Carlson and former NFL running back Freddy Mitchell getting into a heated exchange during an interview on Carlson’s show on Sunday.  The exchange centered around Carlson’s condemning NFL players for not honoring the flag and then said to Mitchell “I understand their frustration.”  Mitchell’s response “You don’t understand because you have not walked in their shoes!” He became incensed with Mitchell’s response that he didn’t understand and he turned beet red in the face.

I have always said, “There are some well meaning white folks or we would have never made it out of slavery, but they will never fully understand racism, because they have never walked in my shoes!”

Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones and Trump have the identical same problem.  Their ideology is the same, both keep going back to the disrespect for the flag during Kaepernick’s protest.  The protest had nothing to do with the military or the flag. They all want to deny and claim that race has nothing to do with it, the NFL is 70% black and the players protesting are 99% black and Colin Kaepernick is black = racism.

Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones pulled the wool over the eyes of the players and fans Sunday Night Football and they are still asleep.  There was a rumor that Jones had warned his players several weeks ago that no one on the team would be allowed to kneel during the national anthem without consequences.  Sunday night the Cowboy team nixed plans to join their opponent the St. Louis Cardinals to show solidarity by locking arms with each other.  Instead on the orders from Jones they decided to lock arms with each other and kneel together before the anthem played.  They would them stand together to the playing or the singing of the anthem!

This was not a show of solidarity with the players who had decided to kneel or raise their fist against racism in America.  The Cowboys were dictated to not participate in pregame demonstrations and that is not the definition of a “Free Black Man.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The GREAT ones, heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson, Malcolm X  and Muhammad Ali tough acts to follow in the fight for civil rights for all people.

 

 

I remember Gregg Popovich saying after Trump was elected President of the United States, “I am still sick to my stomach, and not basically because the  Republicans won or anything , but the disgusting tenor and tone and all the comments that have been xenophobic , homophobic, racist, misogynistic.” Popovich later said, ‘And to think I live in a country where half of the people ignored all of that to elect someone like Trump.  That is the scariest part of the whole thing to me.’  When he was told of the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Popovich said, “I feel like there is , a pall, over the whole country, in a paranoid surreal sort of way that has nothing to do with  the Democrats losing the election, this individual thinks he is at a game show and everything that happens begins and ends with him, not our people or our country.”  Popovich’s greatest nightmare is now a reality.

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 40 years with the help of his wife through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official website The Original Inside Sports.com.

Click Here To Visit Harold Bell’s Official Website The Original Inside Sports.com

Jim Vance: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – He Was Not Heavy, He Was My Brother!

Guest Commentary by Harold Bell

(Posted July 23, 2017)

He showed up in Washington, DC in 1969 shortly after the 1968 riots had devastated the town.  Jim Vance was one the first of new media personalities to join the team of Kids In Trouble (KIT), my non-profit organization.  Max Robinson was the pioneer at Washington, DC NBC affiliate WRC TV 4 before Jim arrived but he joined the staff at rival WTOP TV in 1969 and Jim followed him to the Channel 4 News desk.

Media pioneers Max Robinson and Jim Vance

I loved me some Max Robinson, but he was so moody you never knew which side of the bed he got up on that particular morning.  Despite his mood changes he loved his people—there was never any doubt.

The Original KIT Dream Team was made up of my homeboys, TV/Radio Host Petey Greene, Dave Bing (NBA), Willie Wood NFL) and me.  We would later be joined by DC Superior Court Judges, Luke C. Moore, Harry T. Alexander and Bill Raspberry of the Washington Post.  Washington Redskins, Roy Jefferson, Larry Brown, Harold McLinton and Ted Vactor would join the team in 1970 and community give back changed forever.  The NFL, NBA and MLB would follow our lead.

The late Melvin Lindsey, host of “The Quiet Storm” radio show on WHUR and Jim Vance co-host KIT Celebrity Fashion Show.  Washington Bullets guard Wesley Mathews “walks on by.”

Roland ‘Fatty’ Taylor, Larry Brown, Petey Greene and me participate in a NW Kids In Trouble Community Festival 

Jim and Petey had a lot in common, they both had my best interest at heart.   Petey was a radio and television icon and we had been life-long friends.  He and I were already locked into the community.  Petey gave me my first shot to become a pioneering radio sports talk show host in 1970 and in November 1975 Jim made it possible for me to become the first black to host and produce his own television sports special in prime time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4.  My special guest was Muhammad Ali.   The show was titled “Spotlight on Sports” Jim convinced the brass at WRC-TV that the show was worth airing.

Harold Bell and Muhammad Ali

Thank you Jim Vance for opening the door.

Petey, Jim and me would become like the three musketeers when it came to reaching back to enhance the growth of inner-city children in DC.  Jim hailed from the city of Philadelphia known as the city of “Brotherly Love” and he brought the love with him.  He and I became like brothers and no matter what the community endeavor, celebrity fashion shows, tennis tournaments, toy parties or support for the Roy Jefferson Reading Center—he was there.

Jim and Harold at The Roy Jefferson Reading Center on K Street, NW with students

Robert Hooks, Eldridge Spearman, me, Jim Vance and Derrick Humphries hanging out at the Chapter 4 Nightclub in SE DC

Jim, Hattie T and the late and former Redskin LB Pete Wysocki looking good at KIT Fashion Show at downtown DC Hyatt Regency

When a confused Sugar Ray Leonard was still trying to find his way, it was Jim who joined me, Robert Hooks, Sonny Hill and Willie Wood at the Department of Recreation & Parks’ to meet with Director Bill Rumsey asking him to help Ray get a job until he could get his act together.

When Ray got his act together it was Jim who helped me to coordinate a bus trip to Baltimore to support him in his pro debut and the rest is boxing history.

Coach Woody Hayes, Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin and MC Jim Vance during KIT tribute and salute to Ohio State football

Jim loved to play tennis even though he was not that good.  We became partners on the tennis courts, when he found the time in his busy schedule.  I was right handed, but I would play him with my left hand to make the game competitive.  I think that was one of the reasons I never developed a backhand, I would switch to my left and hit a forehand when I should have been hitting a backhand.  The games were fun and great exercise for both of us.

Inside Sports Celebrity Tennis: Jim Vance and the Usual Suspects at Anacostia Park in SE DC

It was easy to like Jim Vance.  He was a people person and everyone was treated like his friend.  His special gift of loving children was understandable.  He was a school teacher in Philadelphia.

My radio show “Inside Sports’ really took off when I started to write my own commentaries.  In the early 70s I was not only playing message music relating to the community, but I also was writing commentaries relating to those same community ills.  “Inside Sports” was “Outta Compton” long before NWA.

Watching Jim on the evening and nightly news was very inspiring, especially when it came to his commentaries.  I would go up to the station in the evenings and sit down and watch him write his commentaries.  He would then read them to me for sound effects.  This was a special skill because his writing reminded me of a definition I learned while working for the Department of Defense at Bolling AFB in the 70s.  I kept clashing with the Base Commander named Erickson, he hailed from Texas and acted like it when it came to communicating with minorities.

The Vice-Commander was really a class act pulled me aside one day and asked to meet in my office the following morning, I said okay.

The next day he came in and sit down and explained to me that I was too important to DOD and the community to keep going up against the Base Commander.  He then pulled out this poster that had a picture of the Devil with a long spear in his hand and it read “The Definition of Diplomacy”,  ‘Being able to tell someone to go to hell and have them looking forward to the trip’ that is how all of Jim Vance’s commentaries read and sounded.  He taught me while writing a story it had to have a flow and continuity.  That was the secret to him being an amazing writer and story teller.Maureen Bunyan, Lark McCarthy and Donnie Simpson all followed KIT and Jim Vance’s lead into the community

In 1988 our relationship went to hell in a hand basket because of his drug abuse.  The drug community in DC is a very small community and if you are using drugs everyone in the streets knows who you are.  I tried to look the other way when it came to Jim, but one evening I could no longer look the other way.

One drug dealer brought a check to me that Jim had written for the drugs, it was then I realized how deep he was in.  The drug dealer gave me a copy of the check and asked me to talk to Jim about getting some help.  He explained that he could not tell him to stop using because this was his business and business was good.  This brother was known on the streets as a selfish and cold dude, but he showed compassion for and confessed he really liked Jim Vance.

The next day I waited for Jim to make his exit from the station after the 11:00 pm news.  We went to a nearby restaurant to have a sandwich and a cold beer.  I didn’t want to spent a lot of time making small talk.  I immediately showed him the check his drug dealer had given me.  He took the check and left the restaurant.

When I told the drug dealer about Jim’s response, he was as surprised as I was that he would react that way to someone who was trying to save his life.  Jim and I were like passing ships in the night for the next two decades because Jim didn’t speak to me for the next 20 years.

I will never forget in 2007, I rescued an autistic little girl off of the subway tracks at the Potomac Avenue subway station in NE DC.  I emerged from a train and saw her lying flat on her back looking up and not moving.  My instincts told me to jump down on the tracks, but an Amtrak employee advised me against that tactic saying the third rail would electrocute me.  Together we laid down flat on our stomachs and reached out to her asking her to give us her hand, but she just stared at us.  Suddenly I looked down and notice the warning lights were blinking, meaning a train was approaching the station.  I broke out into a cold sweat and hollered at the top of my voice, “Give me your goddam hand”.  She reached up and gave us her hand and we pulled her to safety seconds before the train pulled into the station–talking about a surreal moment.

The next evening NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4 covered the story and the anchors were Doreen Gentzler and Jim Vance.  Doreen excitedly read the story saying what a heroic act it was–Vance looked dis-interested making like he never heard of me.  Hattie looked at me and I just laughed.

Doreen Gentzler covers the Potomac Avenue Subway rescue on the evening news and Jim shows his love–like he never heard of me. 

The next time he spoke to me was at a tribute to sports talk show host Glen Harris on the campus of Howard University.  On his entry into the room I was standing talking to several of the guest and he walked by and said, “Hey Harold Bell”, I was surprised and never responded.

The next time I saw him would be at the re-opening of the renovated Howard Theater in 2012.  He was covering the opening of the theater for the news station.  He spotted me and came over and said, “Lets do lunch, give me a call so that we can set something up”!  Hattie and I stopped by the station one day while we were in the neighborhood.  He came out of the studio to greet us and he gave me a date for lunch and never followed up—I let it go.

Marion Barry and Jim Vance had a lot in common–they were leaders in their chosen fields of politics and media, but they were never able to conquer their demons.  The two of them had something in common with me, I tried to warn Marion that the “Feds” were trying to set him up, but he didn’t listen and his final cry was “The bitch set me up.”   Jim ignored my warning and quietly slipped away.  R.I.P. my friends you did it your way.

Pigskin Club: Harold and Hattie T hanging out with Mayor Marion Barry “DC Mayor for life”

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 40 years with the help of his wife through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official website The Original Inside Sports.com.

 

 

 

MUHAMMAD ALI AND EARL LLOYD: “FAKE NEWS” IN AMERICAN SPORTS HISTORY!

By Harold Bell (Posted April 11, 2017)

Black slaves were the first professional athlete, their professional origin took place during slavery when they carried their owner’s plantation’s colors into the boxing ring, on horseback and foot races in the hundred-yard dash and beyond.  There were wages being bet, it was plantation versus plantation.  This was how slave owners spend their leisure time entertaining themselves at the expense of their slaves.  Some slaves won their freedom as a result of these contests and some lost their lives.

The games continue in today’s modern day pro sports where the plantation mentality still exist in the sky suites and on the playing fields and arenas across America.  Today freedom is won through something called “Free Agency!”  And some pro athletes really think they are FREE.

The best example; NFL QB Colin Kapernick is a “Free Agent” but he cannot find a job in the NFL, all because he decided to kneel during the playing of the National anthem to protest the inhuman treatment of people of color.  Has anyone seen my old friends Vince Lombardi (NFL), Al Davis (NFL), Edward Bennett Williams (NFL), Dan Rooney (NFL), Walter Brown (NBA)–I wonder where have they all gone?

Ninety-nine percent of the owners of these teams in 2017 are still all white males with one black face added to the club—Michael Jordan (NBA).

NBA black players are now being ripped off in the name of Black History.  For example; in the NBA there is All-World Lebron James and NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd.  Is Lebron selling out?  Or is he a rich man who is trying to profit from an opportunity?  Lebron  is no different than Michael Jordan.  Michael responded to critics who questioned him for not supporting a black politician in his home state of North Carolina.  He said, “White folks buy Nikes too!”

Since the passing of my friend (now everybody’s friend) Muhammad Ali, everyone is an expert on the trial and tribulations of the Greatest. Lebron James is the latest designated expert chosen by HBO and someone or something called “The Ali Estate!”

Here’s my question:  What does Lebron James know about the life and times of Muhammad Ali?  Answer:  Only what he has read and learned, which may be a “he said vs. she said” situation.  He has no up close and first hand experiences to share with Ali fans all over the world.  This is President Trump’s version of “Fake News!”

I am still waiting to hear Lebron James’ explanation and excuse for selling out Muhammad Ali and why does he think he is an expert on Muhammad Ali!

The group that brought the rights to his name and likeness for 50 million dollars and 20% of the monies generated from the advertising in 2006 are now The Ali Estate.  If you look closely, the group resembles the one-percent, NFL, NBA and MLB owners.

Lebron James is now being called the Greatest basketball player in the world.  He must think that makes him equivalent to Muhammad Ali, nothing could be further from the truth.  If he continues on this path as producer of the HBO documentary as it relates to The Greatest, it will prove he is the fraud several in the sports media are calling him.  It has nothing to do with his basketball skills and everything to do with his qualities as a human being.

There are only a few selected friends and boxing personalities who can give first-hand and up close experiences as it relates to Muhammad Ali.  His brother Rahman Ali, R & B Legend Lloyd Price, boxing promoter Don King, Business Manager Gene Kilroy, NFL legend Jim Brown and yours truly Harold Bell.   Not one of them can provide the sit down one of a kind video (copyrights) interview I had with him after his historical “Rumble in the Jungle” fight with George Foreman in 1974.  It’s the only one-on-one interview he allowed during his entire boxing career with a black eye.

We can eliminate his faithful servant and brother Rahman because of his emotional state brought on by a “dysfunctional family.”  Rahman was responsible for my “all-access” to his brother at the height of his career.  My friend Lloyd Price, I have no clue as it relates to his participation in this HBO project, if I had to guess I would say zero! Don King is persona non grata.  He owes Ali his boxing life and career, his “thank you” was to steal from him.  My man Gene Kilroy was Ali’s business manager and friend it’s anybody’s guess whether he will participate in this venture.  He once told me, “Harold you could have been a millionaire if you had played the game, they would have been calling Howard Cosell the next Harold Bell.”  

To read the rest of the story visit Harold Bell’s official website at:

https://theoriginalinsidesports.blog/2017/04/08/muhammad-ali-and-earl-lloyd-fake-news-in-american-history/

 

An Unlikely Pair: Richard Nixon and Harold Bell – A 60 Year Journey An Unlikely Pair: Richard Nixon and Harold Bell – A 60 Year Journey

By Gary A. Johnson, Publisher – Black Men In America.com

Posted March 14, 2017

Photo 1:  Hattie Bell, President Richard Nixon and Harold Bell (Then)     Photo 2:  Hattie and Harold Bell in the Oval Office (Now)

This is NOT a Fake News Story.  Harold Bell grew up in the projects of Washington, DC.  One day in 1957, while working as a Golf Caddy at a “whites-only, all male, private golf club reserved for Washington DC’s powerful and elite, Harold unexpectedly caddied for then Vice-President Richard Nixon.  That chance encounter led to a bond that would last for decades between one man who would become the 37th President of the United States and the other man would become a groundbreaking and legendary sports broadcaster and talk show host.  Bell was the first black person to produce his own television show at the Washington, DC NBC affiliate.  Harold Bell also was Washingtonian magazine’s Washingtonian of the Year in 1980.

Harold and his wife Hattie recently returned from the Richard Nixon Library.  They were invited to visit the museum.  Harold wrote about his trip in an article (The Richard Nixon Library:  A 60-Year Journey Back When a House Was Not A Home) that he has agreed to share.

I’ve spoken with Harold about his relationship with Richard Nixon for several years now.  I would have NEVER, EVER, EVER, pictured Richard Nixon in the way that Harold has described him.  I don’t think I’m alone in this view.  So let me share some background information about Harold and Richard Nixon before you read Harold’s article about his trip to the Richard Nixon Library.

In 1957, Harold Bell was a student-athlete attending Spingarn High School in Northeast Washington. Bell caddied on the weekend to help his mother provide food and money for their family including his two brothers.

On that day, Bell’s friend Petey Green (who went on to become a legendary local radio and TV personality in Washington, DC), worked with Bell when they carried golf clubs for Vice President Nixon and Attorney General William Rogers.  Both men greeted Bell with a smile and handshakes.  As Bell tells the story, the Vice President asked if he was ready for an “adventure” around the golf course.  Bell said, “Yes, sir.” Later, Bell explained the he did not fully understand what Nixon meant when he said “adventure,” but after three holes, he understood because Nixon’s golf balls spent more time in the trees than most squirrels.  Bell said, Attorney General Rogers was a pretty decent golfer.

Nixon and Rogers played 18 holes of golf.  It was now late into the evening and it was dark outside and needed a ride home.  Here’s Harold Bell’s account of what happened next.

“The likelihood of my getting a ride to town before 10 p.m. did not look good. I would probably end up catching a ride with the help (cooks or locker-room men).  The Vice President and the Attorney General came bouncing out of the clubhouse, and before I could say, “Good night,” the Vice President had offered me a ride into town. It had never crossed my mind to ask for a ride, even though members routinely gave caddies rides into town to catch the bus.  The “adventure” became many more adventures and the development of a lasting friendship with then-Vice President Nixon.  During the evening of golf and the ride to the bus, Mr. Nixon wanted to know where I lived, how many brothers and sisters I had, what school I attended, what sports I played and what kind of student I was.  I was caught completely off guard.  Here was the Vice President of the United States taking an interest in a poor little black kid from a housing project in Northeast Washington.  The one thing that I wanted to brag about was how great an athlete I was. I bragged about how I played three sports and was a starter in all three.  Mr. Nixon turned and looked at me in the eye and said, “That’s great, but how are your grades?”  And I saw Attorney General Rogers peering in the rear view mirror waiting for my response.  All I could say was that my grades were “okay.”  Mr. Nixon’s response was, “Harold, you have got to do better.”

Two weeks later, Bell had their bags again.  It would be 10 years later before Bell would see Nixon again.  Mr. Nixon was now President Nixon, and he was touring the riot-burned streets in the Shaw neighborhood.

Bell was a Roving Leader for the DC Department of Recreation working with troubled youth.  According to Bell, many black residents in the neighborhood were shocked to see Nixon in their “hood” questioning his motives.

Two weeks later Bell received a letter from President Nixon.  Mr. Nixon extended an invitation to Bell and his wife Hattie, to join him and then-Secretary of State William Rogers at the White House for dinner.  In 1969, Bell received a presidential appointment to become the first civilian to head a Domestic Actions Program on a military facility in the United States.  Bell could not remember Mr. Nixon ever asking him if he was a Republican or a Democrat.  Richard Nixon accepted Harold Bell for who he was.  Nixon also cared about Harold Bell as a person and mentored Harold over the years.

For his part, Harold Bell became a legendary radio and television talk show host.  Bell and his wife Hattie have spent over 50 years working with at-risk youth in the Washington, DC area through their organization “Kids In Trouble.”

Photo:  Harold and Hattie Bell at the Richard Nixon Library

Here’s a letter written by the 37th President to his friend Harold Bell

Dear Harold:

It was good to hear from you again after so many years and I am glad to know you have almost completed your college program, and are working here in the District with the Department of Recreation.

Your reflections on our late evening golf at Burning Tree brought back wonderful memories, and I well remember our discussions at the time. Like too many youngsters you had to begin your working career early and were forced to bypass the good times and games that most boys and girls your age were able to enjoy. What makes me very proud of you is that you have returned to the young people whose lives today resemble your own early years, and that you are dedicated to giving them help along the difficult road of life. They sorely need the inspiration and the example that you are able to give them.

It is my prayer as President that the hope for something better will always be with all our boys and girls as it was with you. You may have been suffering, but you were determined not to let it get you down. I am glad you are there to help maintain the spark of hope for these youngsters and I promise you I shall always work to keep that hope alive and to make progress possible for all of our people.

I would enjoy seeing you again and I hope it will not be too long before we have a chance to say hello.

With warm personal regards,
Sincerely,

RICHARD NIXON

[Mr. Harold K. Bell, 1204-42nd Place NE., Washington, D.C. 20019]

Note: The letter was dated June 25, 1969, and released July 11, 1969. Mr. Bell, accompanied by his wife, Hattie visited the President at the White House on the afternoon of July 11, 1969.

Here’s a letter written by Harold Bell to Richard Nixon

Mr. Bell’s letter, which was dated May 12, 1969, and released by the White House Press Office along with the President’s letter on July 11, 1969, read as follows:

Dear Mr. President:

It has been a little more than ten years ago since we last met and there might be some doubt as to my identity. Mr. President, my name is Harold K. Bell, I was your golf caddy at the Burning Tree Golf Course. I remember staying out of sight from Mr. Elbin until you and Mr. Rogers arrived for one of your late evening rounds of golf. I would then pop up, hoping that Mr. Elbin would call me for the bags and he always did. I think he knew what was going on, but he never said anything.

Things were pretty tough for me then and I don’t quite know where I got the strength to keep going, but I am thankful that I did. I think that some of the strength came from our conversations as we rode to catch my bus at Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues, NW. I am saying all this because I feel everyone needs to know that there is someone who cares, whether it be the Vice President or the newspaperman on the corner. Mr. President, I was not at all surprised at your recent appearance on Seventh Street. I expected nothing less, because I know that you do care about the welfare of your fellow man.

Since I left Winston-Salem College in North Carolina in 1963, I have been working with youths. My present position is that of a Roving Leader (GS-9) for the Department of Recreation, serving the Cardozo area. At this time, I need only a semester to complete my B.A. degree and I plan to continue my education this summer at D.C. Teachers College. My career has provided me with many opportunities, but the greatest satisfaction I have had is to be able to show other disadvantaged youths that there is a brighter road, and that there are people who want to help them if they are willing to help themselves. I have firsthand knowledge of this, as I can remember the moments of frustration in my life which centered around the agony of poverty.

Sir, I have never been a backslapper or hand shaker, but I felt an impulse to write and let you know that I am pleased to see you back in the Nation’s Capital as our country’s President. Most Negroes in the United States are not aware of your past, which surely was not a bed of roses. If they were, I am most certain that they would come to realize that you, as an individual, have had time to accumulate more of an insight into America’s problems than any Chief Executive before you.

I am writing this letter, Mr. President, to tell you that if the people give you a chance, and I don’t mean blacks and whites, but all the people, they will find out, as I did what a great person you are. Everyone seems obsessed with this racial thing, and talking about black power and white power, but what we need is people power, individuals pulling together to make this a stronger Nation. So here is wishing you all the luck and success there is in the world.

I have enclosed some newspaper clippings which relate to my work as a Roving Leader.
Respectfully yours,
HAROLD K. BELL

Enclosures

  1. You must be shooting in the low 70’s now (smile) H.K.B.

[The President, the White House, Washington, D.C. 20500]

Citation: Richard Nixon: “Exchange of Letters with Harold K. Bell of the District of Columbia.,” July 11, 1969. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=2124.

Photo:  Senator Bob Dole, Hattie and Harold Bell

The Richard Nixon Library:  A 60-Year Journey Back When a House Was Not A Home

By Harold Bell

In February 2017 I crossed off visiting the Richard Nixon Library on my “Bucket List.”  This visit marked the 60th Anniversary when I first met then Vice-President Richard Nixon and his golfing partner Attorney General William Rogers.  The meeting took place at the exclusive home of the rich and powerful, the Burning Tree Golf Course in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Burning Tree golf outings would lead to a lasting friendship.  I was the product of a single parent home.  Over the years, the Vice-President would become a mentor and father figure to me.  He provided me with a platform to become a pioneer as a youth advocate and a front-runner in radio and television sports talk shows in America. My “Inside Sports” talk format is now copied throughout the world of sports talk radio and television.

In 1969, I received a Presidential appointment.  Richard M. Nixon was now the 37th President of the United States.  He invited me and my wife Hattie to the White House.  Little did he know, that invitation inspired me to be all that I could be.

President Nixon introduced me a man who would be my new White House mentor, the late Director of Communications, Herb Klein.  Mr. Klein and his staff of Mary Ann Snow and Stanley Scott would help open doors for me I never thought possible.

Shortly after Watergate, Mr. Klein was in Washington, DC for a newspaper conference and we met for lunch at Union Station.  He had returned to the newspaper business with the San Diego Union Tribune as its editor.

Herb Klein was a man of integrity.  He was honesty and a class act.  He encouraged me to mail my DVDs (especially, my exclusive one-on-one interview with Muhammad Ali) and my CDs, photos, newspaper and magazine clippings to the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California so that they could be added to the library’s archives.

I had just been named “Washingtonian of the Year” by Washingtonian Magazine.  Mr. Klein also said, “Harold your outstanding accomplishments during and after the Presidency of Richard Nixon should all be on display in the library, I am not aware of anyone in the White House matching your accomplishments in the community and sports media.”

The one thing that President Nixon, Herb Klein and I had in common was—sports.  During his rounds of golf the Vice-President would give me an earful as it related to updates on current events taking place in the world of sports.  I was surprised when I found out that Mr. Nixon was on the football team at Whittier College, he never mentioned that he played the game.

Mr. Klein was just as knowledgeable.  He was instrumental in getting me my first NFL press credential.  He also got tickets for Petey Greene and our wives for the NFL Championship game. It was the historical match-up between the Washington Redskins and the undefeated Miami Dolphins in Los Angeles in 1973.

In 1994, I would receive a letter and invitation from Nixon Library Director John Taylor.  The letter read, “Needless to say, we are honored to have your papers in President Nixon’s library, and although he has surely heard your “Thank you” from his present vantage point, he would definitely direct us to add that this building is not only his “home” but yours to.  Whenever, therefore, your paths lead to the Los Angeles/Orange County area, enabling you to make a homecoming to the Nixon Library, please let us know so that we can have the joy of welcoming you and thanking you again in person.”

In 1994, when I discovered that my mentor and friend President Richard M. Nixon had gone home to be with the Lord, I wrote a thank you column in the Washington Post (click on the link below).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/1994/05/01/he-wasnt-a-great-golfer-but/db96654f-379b-45ed-81b3-b33f3aa1401f/?postshare=7931488045304304&tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.26a96ea1cabc

The first encounter and the memories at Burning Tree Golf Course would stay with me forever, but the Nixon Library was anything but home.  During our visit there in February 2017 there was no trace of Harold and Hattie Bell to found.  The only traces of black involvement, was a Black History Month display in the entrance of the museum.  In a short video introduction there was also a cameo appearance by Robert Brown, who was a Special Assistant to the President.

Arthur Fletcher, the Godfather of Affirmative Action and Civil Rights, served as President Nixon’s Assistant Secretary of Labor.  He served in the Ford, Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.  He was out front and carried the spears during The Philadelphia Plan.  The Philadelphia Plan required government contractors in Philadelphia to hire minority workers.  John Wilks was a also a mover and shaker in the administration.  Another key figure in my association with the President was Rob Odle, who was a Staff Assistant to the President. Rob also continues to serve pro bono as the general counsel of the Richard Nixon Foundation at the presidential library in Yorba Linda, California.

The reality is that my visit to my “home away from home,” was a total blackout!

Photo:  Harold Bell in front of a portrait of his mentor President Richard M. Nixon at the Richard Nixon Library

In July 2007, I received a telephone call from a staff member of Senator Bob Dole’s office inviting me to attend a tribute dinner in honor of President Nixon sponsored by “The February Group,” a group of Nixon White House loyalists.  The tribute dinner would be held in a couple hours, I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”  I explained that I had plans to play tennis and was on my way out of door.  I hung up the phone and as I was looking for my keys the phone rang again, this time it was Senator Dole.

Senator Dole refused to take no for an answer, and said, “Harold, the President’s daughter Tricia is going to be there and she wants to meet you.  She read your thank you column in the Washington Post.”

I remembered Senator Dole had included the column in the Congressional Record.  I relented an agreed.  I arrived late and shortly after my arrival Senator Dole invited me to the podium to speak to the audience.  As I started to speak a wave of emotions came over me. I could hardly get a word out.  The President’s daughter Tricia, embraced me and thanked me as I was leaving the podium.  I’ll never forget that moment.  You can watch me speaking to the audience in the video below:

Photo:  Hattie and Harold Bell at the Birthplace of Richard M. Nixon

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 40 years with the help of his wife through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official website The Original Inside Sports.com.

Feel free to scroll down and post your comments below.

Commentary by Harold Bell: DC Mayor Endorses Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence with Newsham!

By Harold K. Bell (Posted February 27, 2016)

Photo:  DC Mayor Muriel Bowser introduces Peter Newsham as the new Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department

“It is time like this you ask, “Where is the NAACP, the Urban League, the Congressional Black Caucus and our trail blazing civil rights warrior, John Lewis?  Why are unarmed people of color being shot down in our streets by cops who are suppose to be protecting them?” —  Harold K. Bell

serpio-baltimore-cop0003

Michael Wood a former Baltimore cop exposed racism against people of color in the city police department long before the Department of Justice and Freddy Gray.  The Justice Department after the fact said, “Racial Bias Pervasive Among Baltimore Police.”

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s appointment of Peter Newsham as the new chief of police in the nation’s capitol is a slap in the face to “Good Cops” across America and sends the message, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”  Newsham is well known in police circles as a drunk and domestic abuser (wife and girlfriends are on record in court proceedings).  His wife accused him of domestic violence and his many girlfriends all backed her story.

Several years ago he was found lying in a DC street drunk, the department confiscated his gun. Where there is smoke you can bet there is a fire.

This account of his personal problems with alcohol and domestic abuse was aired on TV 5 Fox News in December of 2016.  In the meantime, law enforcement has the highest percentage of domestic abuse in America.  Peter Newsham is their poster boy in the nation’s capitol.  We cannot blame this appointment on our new President Donald Trump (see Fox TV 5 News link on Newsham at http://www.fox5dc.com/news/local-news/221018540-story).

It is times like this you ask, “Where is the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus or our trail blazing civil rights warrior, John Lewis, the Urban League, and unarmed people of color who are being shot dead in our streets by policemen who are suppose to be protecting them?

Peter Newsham has applied for police chief positions in Brandenton, Florida and in Phoenix, Arizona and both places hired someone other than Newsham.  It seems like that would have been a “Red Flag” for DC politicians.  Evidently, they are gluttons for continued punishment at the hands of DC cops.

DC much like Prince George’s County and Baltimore is surely becoming “The Wild, Wild West” and a Police State on the East Coast!  Check out the police departments from Baltimore, Prince George’s County, DC to Virginia—all are corrupt and headed by “Good Old Boys”!

Mayor Bowser and DC Councilwoman Mary Che were not only aware of the report that aired on TV 5 Fox News, but I personally gave them background information of corruption taking place at the DC Police Department warehouse on the watch of Newsham and his cronies before the report aired on our local FOX 5 TV station.

The written information was given to them at a benefit fund raiser for DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton in 2016.  I watched both politicians put the information in their purse.  The only reason I didn’t pass the information on to Congresswoman Norton was because she didn’t have a purse and I didn’t want her to leave it on a table in the restaurant.

There is little doubt that the report on FOX 5 was brought to her attention, and it looks like these three minority women of color decided they would see no evil, speak no evil or hear no evil when it came to Peter Newsham’s appointment as the top cop in the nation’s capitol.

In the report I identified a police officer who had earned Inspector stripes and was assigned to the department’s warehouse.  He uncovered widespread corruption by Newsham and his cronies.  There were police records and other items of evidence being removed from the warehouse without authorized signatures.  He put the involved officers on notice “Not on my watch”!  He was immediately demoted back to Captain by Chief Cathy Lanier and reassigned.  (I also question Lanier’s qualifications on her new job to investigate domestic violence among NFL players when she did a piss poor job in her role as MPD police chief)  But I digress.

My brothers, Robert Bell (U. S. Marshall 20 years) and Sgt. Earl K. Bell (DC Cop 14 years) were 4th generation Washingtonians and were raised in Mt. Airy Baptist Church in NW Washington, DC. Our Great-Grand Father Alfred Johnson Tyler laid the first brick to build the church in 1893.

The Tyler House was built for low income senior residents is located two blocks north of the church and is named after my Great-Uncle, the Rev. Earl Tyler.

“Serpico” the movie was based on the non-fictional book by Peter Maas.  The film follows about twelve years (1959-1971) in the life of Frank Serpico, a NYPD officer who wanted to do the best that he could as a policeman. Working as a uniform patrolman, Serpico completed every assignment.

Later he moves to plain clothes assignments, where he slowly uncovers cops doing drugs, taking paybacks and other criminal actions that fall under corruption. Serpico decides to tell others the truth about this, but other officers made it hard for him to tell the truth and threaten him with termination and other kinds of punishment.

This struggle led to fights in his unit, problems in his personal relationships, a near death experience, and the final meeting with the Knapp Commission, which met to investigate police corruption between 1970 and 1972.  (The commission disbanded before the release of the film).

Frank Serpico’s struggle with corruption in the New York City Police Department mirrors that of a DC cop–my brother, Sgt. Earl K. Bell.
The movie made its debut in 1973 and Earl K. Bell joined the DC Metropolitan Police Department in 1974.

If I did not know my brother I would swear he copied his style of policing from the movie, but I know better because he was raised by our heroes to be an independent thinker. Our heroes were black women, our mother Mattie Bell and our grandmother and the family matriarch, Amy Tyler Bell.  She was affectionately known as “Grandma Bell.”

We were raised in a NE housing project called Parkside in the 40s and 50s by a single mom. My older brother Robert was raised by Grandma Bell. Our heroes were not black athletes, they were black women who could not shoot a jump shot from behind the foul line, throw a football 75 yards in the air or hit a baseball out of a stadium, but they were Superstars in the most important game being played in Black America—The Game Called Life.

For far too long there has been a myth that a black woman needed a black man to properly raise black children—Mattie Bell and Grand Ma Bell proved that was a lie many decades ago.

The lessons of integrity and honesty taught by our mother Mattie and Grandma Bell would later surface during our adulthood, Earl as a U. S. Military Policeman and DC cop, Robert as a tire salesman, grocery store owner and a U. S. Marshall and me as a pioneering radio sports talk show host and youth advocate.

As a Army Military Policeman in Germany Earl led a group of black enlisted men in a boycott to downtown nightclubs that discriminated against blacks.

The July 1969 issue of JET magazine chronicled Earl’s trials and tribulations in the military as he fought for his and other enlisted men’s civil and human rights. The story also insinuated that I was visiting the White House with Richard M. Nixon and playing footsie with the President while my little brother was fighting racism in the U. S. Army.

The truth was his big brother was visiting the White House because during my youth I caddied at the Burning Tree Golf Club in Bethesda, Maryland on the weekends.  It was there the Vice-President who became my mentor.  This led me to receiving a Presidential appointment.  This appointment came from a man who never asked me if I was Republican or Democrat.

During our youth my brother Earl and I carried bags of groceries at the Safeway store for mostly white folks and I caddied on the weekends to help our mother make ends meet.

Our introduction to cops will never be forgotten. We watched cops conduct weekend raids on our house in the wee hours of the morning. My welfare mother hosted card games and cut a dime on every dollar won. She also sold dinners and bootleg liquor to help make ends meet.

My brother Earl and I would sit on the steps and watch as the cops carried our mother out in handcuffs.  The charge was selling liquor and gambling without a license. We would sit there crying our eyes out, but she would look back and promise us “I will be back in time to get you ready for church in the morning” a promise she always kept.

There were other encounters with the police.  There was no such thing as a “Officer Friendly.”  I remember the time when no food was in the house, Earl and I decided to travel to the other side of the tracks to the Safeway to earn enough money to buy some food. This was a weekday and there would be a few shoppers in the store.  As we pretended to roam the isles looking for customers we decided to shoplift for our food.  We left the store with lunch meats, hotdogs and cheese stuffed in our shorts and jackets.  I left the store by the front door and Earl left by the back door.

We were about to cross to the other side of the tracks to our housing project, suddenly a police car jumped the curve and cut us off.  Two white cops got out and threw us in the back seat and sped off. They were calling us all kinds of Niggers and the like. We thought someone had snitched on us and we were in big trouble caught red-handed with the stolen goods.

In the meantime, they forgot to search us.  We took our new found meal and hide it under the seat of the car. We arrived at the 14th Police Precinct on Benning Road NE.  We were pushed into a room where there was a little old white lady who claimed she had been robbed by two Niggers. Without hesitation she jumped straight up out of her seat and said “Those are not the Niggers who snatched my pocketbook.” The word Nigger never sounded so good!

The cops then took us to the back door and told us to stay out of trouble and to walk our black asses’ home. We walked about 50 yards and looked at each other and headed back to the police car and got our food from under the car seat. We laughed all the way home.

In 1958 Earl, me and my younger brother William became homeless after our mother suffered a nervous breakdown.  She had to be hospitalized.  Earl was sent to Cedar Knoll (a reform school for juveniles) and William was taken in by our neighbor Ms. Winnifred Powell and her two sons, Sonny and Gaylord.  I was left to wander the streets sleeping in park cars until my mother’s cousin Doretha discovered me sleeping in her car early one morning.  This led to an invitation to live with her.  I never missed a day of school because of my mentor/father coach Dave Brown and a school of dedicated Spingarn teachers led by our Principal Dr. Purvis Williams understood that it truly took a village to raise a “knuckle headed” child.

One year later my older brother was on his way to college and Earl was released from custody of the juvenile court system.  In 1959, coach Dave Brown convinced Winston-Salem State College coach Clarence Bighouse Gaines to give me a football and basketball scholarship.  It saved my life.

In 1960, Earl hitch-hiked all the way to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to watch his big brother play his second year of college football.  I was a rising star under the critical eyes of “Bighouse” but still a knuckle head.

It was homecoming when Earl arrived on campus out of nowhere only to witness his big brother was never to get off the bench. Winston-Salem State beat Elizabeth City like they had stolen something.  He later discovered his brother’s smart mouth had him in “Bighouse’s Dog House.” Earl caught a ride back to DC with friends.  He graduated from Spingarn High School in 1961 and the next thing anyone knew; he had made the smartest move of his life—he joined the U. S. Army.

Earl ended his Army career after 8 years plus and returned home to DC, but not before leaving his mark as a heavyweight boxing champion, table tennis champion, outstanding softball umpire and the anointed leader of a boycott of a downtown night club that discriminated against black enlisted men.

It became apparent the Army had no use for an outspoken black man who refused to walk with his back bent and head down. A lesson learned from his grandmother and mother.

In 1973, he told me he was interested in a career as a DC policeman.  I had been working in the streets with youth gangs and at-risk children since 1965 (United Planning Organization and DC Recreation Department) and I had mixed emotions about his career choice, but I reluctantly gave him my blessings.

The turn-around of his life was impressive.  As a youth Earl was definitely a juvenile delinquent going to hell in a hurry. His crew included a petty thief by the name of Dave Bing who is now in the NBA Hall of Fame and was the Mayor of Detroit.

Earl’s pursue of a career in law enforcement puzzled many of his former “Boys in the Hood.” He suddenly became ‘The Man’ on their turf with the power to lock them up and there were times he did, but he never crossed the line.  He was known as a stand up and honest police officer.

TOP COPS JEFF EARLPhoto:  Burtell Jefferson, the first black DC Police Chief welcomes native Washingtonian officer Earl K. Bell to the department

Maurice Turner was a black Assistant Chief in the department when Earl first arrived to take the test.  He passed the physical and written exam with flying colors but he received a form letter saying he had been rejected.  When Washington Post columnist Bill Raspberry called to make an inquiry, Police Chief Jim Murray said, “Some clerk in his office sent Earl a form letter telling him that he had been rejected.  A check mark appeared next to a paragraph that said: “Our character investigation reveals sufficient adverse material to disqualify you.”

The “adverse material” according to Earl, consists of two petty larceny charges and a disorderly conduct when he was 14 and charges of yoke robbery and assault on a police officer when he was 16.

“They say it is because one of the crimes involved, a crime of violence was the reason they disqualified me,” he said. ‘But a juvenile court judge ruled that I was ‘not involved in the robbery or the police assault. I was found ‘involved’ in the one of the petty larcenies and the disorderly conduct.’

What it boils down to then, is that he was in danger or being denied appointment on the basic of a juvenile offense of which he was in essence, found innocent.  Fortunately, the case was brought to Murray’s personal attention and the “mix-up” has been straightened out only after Bill Raspberry had intervened. Earl would become a rookie officer next week, Chief Murray said yesterday.

Still unresolved, however, is the question of turning down applicants—-because they have juvenile records. That’s one Murray might want to look into.  (If you believe Lt. Maurice Turner (later Chief) and Jim Murray’s version of this charade I have some property I would like to sell you located around the White House)!

Turner moved up in the ranks to become Sergeant and one weekend while in charge of the cell block, he discovered two cops one black and one white physically abusing black prisoners just for the hell of it.  He demanded they back off and reminded them this was not to happen again on his watch.  They refused to heed his warning and repeated the abuse.

Earl took the abusive officers to his black superiors and homeboys, Maurice Turner, Marty Tapscott and Isaac Fullwood.  They tucked their tails between their legs and ran away from the incident as they far as they could get.  I advised him to take his case to the U. S. Attorney’s Office and the offending cops were convicted.  The black cop Musgrove served time but white cop never got a day in jail.

I never forget where I was and what I was doing on the morning when I got the news of my brother Earl’s automobile accident.  My alarm had just gone off in my apartment in Prince George’s County, Maryland and the telephone rang. It was my nephew Kenny with the bad news that my brother had been in a bad car accident on the way to work.

The accident took place 10 minutes from my residence in Suitland, Maryland minutes from the Suitland Parkway. My route to Southeast Community Hospital took me directly to Southern Avenue where the accident occurred.  Earl’s car looked like a crushed can of soup I don’t know how they managed to cut him out of that car. When I arrived at the hospital I was told by the doctors it didn’t look good.

The Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence caught up with Sgt. Earl K. Bell and when Assistant Chief Isaac Fullwood took him off the streets and assigned him to the Police and Fire Clinic as a way of discipline.  The first morning on his new assignment he had a head on collision with a 16 wheeler after encountering a patch of ice on Southern Avenue crossing over the Suitland Parkway.  The 16 wheeler and the Code of Silence won, he would spin the rest of his life in a wheelchair.  He died August 1, 2014, in a nursing home.

My brother Robert a U. S. Marshall faced the same “Code of Silence and Thin Blue Line” as his brother Earl, but my friend and mentor former U. S. Marshall-in Charge, Luke C. Moore had his back.

MOORE HB HAMILTONPhoto:  Former U. S. Marshall-in Charge and DC Superior Court Judge Luke C. Moore and Chief Judge Eugene Hamilton

I am my brother’s keeper.  The decision by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, DC Councilwoman Mary Che and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to “Rubber Stamp” the appointment of Peter Newsham will set people of color back decades.  Its a slap in the face to my brothers and men and women of color in America.  Medgar Evers, Emmett Till, Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X all must be turning over in their graves.

Wrongful deaths at the hands of Cops and the KKK in the past several years include, Travon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddy Gray, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Akai Gurley, Kajieme Powell, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Michael Brown, John Crawford, Tyree Woodson, Victor White, Yvette Smith, McKenzie Cochran, Jordan Baker, Andy Lopez, Miriam Carey (DC), Jonathan Ferrell, Carlos Alcis, Larry Eugene Jackson, Deion Fludd, Kimani Gray, Johnnie Warren, Malissa Williams, Timothy Russell, Reynaldo Cuevas, Chavis Carter, Shantel Davis, Sharmel Edwards, Tamon Robinson, Ervin Jefferson, Kendrec McDade, Rekia Boyd, Shareese Francis, Wendell Allen, Nehemiah Dillard, Dante Price, Raymond Allen, Mauel Loggins, Ramarley Graham, Kenneth Chamberlain, Alonzo Ashley, Kenneth Harding, Raheim Brown, and Reginald Doucet to name just a few.  The bullet has replaced the rope as a lynching tool in Black America and the cops are using people of color as their targets.

Lett us not forget 31-year old Terrence Sterling was shot and killed while riding his motorcycle unarmed in 2016 on Peter Newsham’s watch.  The officer did not have his body camera on until after the shooting.  Bowser is also in favor of denying full access to the media and public of the body camera when use in police misconduct.

What makes the Bowser appointment all the more alarming is that white police chiefs have stepped to the forefront and apologized for their colleagues and ancestors’ brutality relating to people of color.

Terrence Cunningham former Chief of Police in Welsley Boston is now the President of the International Chiefs of Police, the largest police organization in America.  He recently apologized for his colleagues decades of mistreatment of people of color (see link below).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2016/10/17/head-of-u-s-police-chiefs-apologizes-for-historic-mistreatment-of-minorities/?utm_term=.12404c051ab5

Austin Callaway was abducted by a mob of white men 40 years ago from his jail cell in LaGrange, Georgia.  He was driven to the woods and shot to death.  The city’s current police chief Louis Dekmar publicly apologized for this act of racism that took place 77 years ago. This type of apology is rare in the South.

Peter Newsham’s law enforcement history speaks volumes and he has never apologized for any of his wrong doings.  He has had a long history of both personal and professional scandals. The 1990s and 2000s were plagued with allegations of alcoholism and domestic violence, a history of love affairs, as well as the mass unconstitutional arrest of 400 people at DC’s Pershing Park and a scathing third-party report uncovering the department’s mishandling of sexual assault cases while Newsham was at the helm of the MPD’s Investigative Services Bureau, he cost the city millions of dollars.  Then Assistant Chief Peter Newsham admitted in court he ordered the arrest of almost 400 protestors, journalists, and bystanders during the 2002 World Bank-International Monetary Fund protests at Pershing Park. The Federal District Court and the Appellate Court found the arrests to be “ludicrous.”

The arrests reportedly cost the city more than $10 million to settle a lawsuit filed by those wrongfully arrested. The attorney who filed the class-action lawsuit, Carl Messineo, works for the Civil Justice Partnership. He said officers “hogged tied them to their wrist to opposite ankle and left them in that painful position for 10, 15 hours and left them on the gymnasium floor. Why? Because people were engaged in dissent and they wanted to shut it down.”

The arrests that followed the 2002 demonstration protesting meetings between the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund also reportedly cost taxpayers nearly $3 million just to defend Newsham and then Police Chief Charles Ramsey. Not only did Newsham order the wrongful mass arrest, but he was virtually allowed to investigate himself because at the time, he was also head of the Office of Professional Responsibility—the ethics branch of the police department.

It was ultimately discovered that the log of events that would have certified and documented the chain of command and orders made that day completely vanished. The evidence somehow disappeared in the immediate aftermath of the arrests. Messineo added, “You have the mass false arrest of 400 persons, followed by a massive coverup. Peter Newsham has never apologized, he’s never indicated that what he did was wrong. I believe the facts show he knew it was wrong. The court opinions found that no reasonable police officer could have ordered these mass arrests.”

Politico Magazine published a column in 2014 titled “The Ferguson Next Door.”  The column described the Prince George’s County Police Department.  The department has been under the scrutiny of the FBI for decades and is considered one of the most brutal in the country.

In an email in December 2016 to Pastor John Jenkins of First Baptist Church of Glen Arden, one the largest churches in the DMV, I asked him for his support while trying to find a solution and this was his response:

Bro. Bell,
 
I am aware and concerned about these incidents happening nationwide as well.  I have approached the issue by dialoging closely and personally with the chief of the police department of Prince George’s County. I strongly believe that dialog and accountability is the best strategy to address this troubling challenge. I am also in close relationship with the county’s states attorney. 
 
I agree with your assessment that we have new avenues to speak to injustice in our society. I am prayerful and hopeful that our efforts will address and change the injustices that our communities have been facing. 
 
Pastor Jenkins 
While I believe Pastor Jenkins is playing politics by dialoging with a man who is the “The Problem” he is also jeopardizing the lives of people of color.  For example, in February 2017 a black Prince George’s County Police Officer was seen on local TV FOX 5 News confirming the rampant racism in the department.  He was wearing a hood over his head to conceal his identity.  This is a sad commentary for the entire DMV.  Cops are scared of cops—meaning law abiding citizens stand no chance in this kind of “Wild, Wild West” climate— we have bullies and cowards wearing badges with guns with a license to kill.
In this kind of climate you cannot tell the hoodlums from the thugs, because in many cases they are one of the same!
To make things worst you have leadership like Rushern Baker and Governor Larry Hogan, the blind leading the blind.
I wrote Maryland Governor Hogan a Priority Mail Letter in September 2016 alerting him of Prince George’s County cops riding in packs of threes harassing people of color.  As we head into March 2017 he has yet to respond.
Governor Hogan talked about President Donald Trump like a dog during the election.  He called him all kinds of names and brought his father to the polls making fun of “The Donald.”  He now has to eat crow and crawl up under the the man he so despised (see link).
In August 2016, my charity “Kids In Trouble, Inc.,” hosted a Police and Community Relations forum with law enforcement officers in attendance from all over the region.  It was here the beans were spilled on one of DC’s most corrupt cops, Peter Newsham and that information was passed to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, DC City Councilwoman Mary Che and Councilwoman Eleanor Holmes Norton by me (see link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvmdLzVSf38&feature=em-share_video_user
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2016 Kids In Trouble, Inc Police and Community Relations Forum

Photo:  Jim Brown (NFL) and Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) co-host 2007 Kids In Trouble, Inc., Police and Community Relations Forum in Washington, D. C.

COPS GOOD & BAD

Photo:  Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Bill Raspberry cites the good of Police & Community Relations when cops and Kids In Trouble work together.

   

                                                        

boys in hood & cop

Photo:  Me meeting with Ricky Dargan, Kirby Burkes and Officer Charles Robinson, champions and teammates on a city wide softball tournament.

If the Peter Newsham appointment is approved, we are definitely headed in the direction of a Police State in the DMV.

My 50 years of experience of working in the streets with the Good, Bad and Ugly of police departments in the DMV,  Peter Newsham easily cries “Bad News.”

Michael Jordan 3

Opening Commentary by Gary A. Johnson featuring commentary by Harold Bell

In an essay for “The Undefeated,” a sports blog that focuses on race and sports, Michael Jordan spoke out about the shootings of unarmed black men and targeted police attacks. The Basketball Hall of Famer broke his habit of keeping quiet about divisive political issues, writing that he could “no longer stay silent.”

Michael Jordan’s entire statement is immediately below followed by a commentary by the legendary Harold Bell.

As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.


“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

“To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.

“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”  Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan and Dad

Commentary by Harold Bell

In a recent published column NBA legend Michael Jordan stated “I can no longer stay silent as men of color are shot down in streets across American and cowards ambush police officers who sacrifice their lives everyday”. Evidently, Jordan’s conscience won out, his father was the victim of gun violence. His decision to cross The Thin Blue Line and break his Code of Silence is nothing new for the black athlete. He is finally catching up with today’s out spoken Cleveland Cavalier star Lebron James. Jordan donated one-million dollars to the NAACP Defense Fund and another million to the newly found Police Institute. The donation to the NAACP maybe a waste of money, this has not been my wife Hattie father’s NAACP for decades (President Orangeburg,S.C. Chapter), the Police Institute remains to be seen. The best way to describe Jordan’s donation “Safe bet”!

The names Jack Johnson, Jesse Owens, Paul Roberson, Jackie Robinson and the list goes on and on when it comes to athletes taking a stand. Jack Johnson was the first black heavyweight Champion of the world. He won the title in 1908 and he was free in every sense of the word. He thumped his nose at the KKK and openly dated white women. Olympic sprinter Jesse Owens won four Gold Medals in the 1936 Olympic Games in spite of the cry of white supremacy by Adolph Hitler. He single-handedly crushed the myth in Berlin, Germany with Hitler watching in a private box. Paul Roberson is considered one of the greatest all-around athletes in American history. He starred in football at Rutgers University. He was also a star in both stage and film versions of the Emperor Jones and Show Boat, and established himself as a popular screen and singing superstar. Paul spoke out against racism and became a world activist and was blacklisted during the paranoia of McCarthyism created by Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. The harsh reality of racism took a toll on the great Jackie Robinson after he crossed the color line in Major League Baseball in 1947. In 2016 you need a “Search Warrant” to find an African-American in uniform and there are still no black owners.

The uproar caused by the five NFL St. Louis players supporting Michael Brown in Ferguson again was nothing new when it comes to the black athlete in modern day history. They were not re-inventing the wheel. In the late 50s NFL legendary running back Jim Brown founded the Black Economic Union to encourage black athletes to give back to the black community and establish their own businesses. He was the leading force of the black athlete’s involvement in support of Muhammad Ali’s stand against the Vietnam War. According to former NFL coach and Cleveland Brown front office administrator Mike Holmgren , Jim was nothing but a “Hustler!”

In the 1968 Olympic Games sprinters Tommy Smith and John Carlos won the Gold and Bronze medals respectively. But their actions during the award ceremonies made the world take notice. They both raised their hands with Black Gloves opposing racism in America. Dr. Harry Edwards of San Jose State is the author of The Revolt of the Black Athlete and was the architect of the 1968 Olympic Project for Human Rights. Smith and Carlos were student/athletes at San Jose State. They were both banished from the Olympic Games and until this day The Olympic Committee has yet to issue an apology for this wrong.

Dr. Edwards was once an outstanding athlete on the San Jose State track and field team. He has been a contributor to The Original Inside Sports for over four decades.

When former NBA great and ESPN analyst Charles Barkley’s interview on CNN went viral as it related to his opinion on black men in America/Michael Brown and Ferguson. I contacted Dr. Edwards to make sense of the uproar. I also spoke to Michael Wilbon of ESPN to get his take on his friend Barkley’s views on racism and black men in America. Wilbon has agreed that we can disagree!

He has written two books on Charles Barkley. He said “Harold I didn’t hear the interview but I will see Charles tomorrow and I will get a response!” I turned to ESPN’s PTI to watch Wilbon and his partner Tony Kornheiser, but during that segment of the show there was no mention of Kenny Smith’s Open Letter to Barkley chastising him for his stand so I moved on.

This was Dr. Harry Edwards’ take on Barkley and Wilbon: “I love Charles Barkley– as long as he is sitting on the sports desk at TNT trying to explain why the Clippers will never win a championship as long as their toughest, most consistently competitive player is a 6’1″ point guard. But when he begins to offer jaw-dropping ignorant and uninformed opinions on issues from Obama’s Syria/ISIS policy to the “criminal” predispositions and proclivities of the Black community, I find something more productive to do like taking out the garbage or cleaning up my lawn. And the saddest part of it all is that he apparently doesn’t realize that the networks and interviewers are just flat out CLOWNING HIM!!! It’s a “What crazy crap can we prompt Barkley to say. And all the better if it is an attack on Black people!”

The “guess what Charles Barkley said on CNN” is incentive enough for the networks to persist in presenting and promoting this clown show– long past the time when it is either funny or even remotely engaging. Now both Barkley and the interviewers look like clowns– and justifiably so.”

Forget Michael Wilbon – he is as sick and confused as Barkley. He is the guy who while sitting on a major cable network anchor desk said ” I call my Black friends “Nigger” all the time – and there is nothing wrong with that.” This is a sentiment that Barkley agrees with– until the White boy sitting next to them calls somebody “Nigger” and then they want him fired! So don’t hold your breath for Wilbon to exercise either the balls or the intellectual integrity to challenge Barkley on his bull shit.
Dr. Harry Edwards

Summary:
Jeff Roorda business manager of a white St. Louis Police Association called for disciplinary action against the five NFL St. Louis players whose “Hands Up” gesture was an expression of their Freedom of Speech as they ran on to the field of play. He demanded that the players be punished and that the team issue an “public apology.” Roorda has a history of corruption as a St. Louis police officer.

In the meantime, the black Ethical Society of Police (220 members strong) said, “We completely supports the actions of the St. Louis Rams football players in which they showed support for the family of Michael Brown by entering the stadium with their hands up.”

I had the opportunity to listen to the videotaped debate between Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on Inside the NBA held on Thursday night. The topic, Kenny’s Open Letter to Barkley as it related to Michael Brown and Ferguson. I was further confused by Barkley’s response to Smith for adding the word “Slavery” to the dialogue in his Open Letter, but he found nothing wrong with his friend Michael Wilbon using the word ‘Nigger’ as his word of choice while addressing his everyday buddies? What ever happen to common sense?

My opinion, Kenny had every right to bring slavery into the conversation. There is an old saying “If you don’t know your history you are bound to repeat it.” It is evident to me that Barkley does not know his black history. Shaq O’Neal made a valid observation when he said, “I don’t believe all the evidence is in the Ferguson case” but he was smart enough to leave the debate in the hands of Smith and Barkley. Shaq is a big supporter of law enforcement.

Any objective person no matter the color of one’s skin could easily see that black folks in the town of Ferguson were set-up to fail—they were in a no win situation. Still burning and looting should not have been an option.
First, it does not take a Grand Jury 100 days to reach a decision on whether Officer Darren Wilson should be send to trial. Second, why would the Governor of the state of Missouri put 400 National Guardsmen on standby before the decision is handed down and why is the decision read at 9:00 pm? Why would a responsible leader put the town in danger by giving the looters an opportunity to seek and destroy under a cover of darkness? Where were the 400 National Guardsmen that the Governor put on alert once the burning and looting started—nowhere to be found? Why were there no arrest made on the first night of the looting and burning? Smells like a set-up to me. The same set-up I was an eye/witness to in DC in 1968 when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, TN.

I was working in the U Street corridor when the orders were send down to the police to only moderate the looting and burning on the first day. The next day there were wholesale arrest, much too late for many businesses and residents of the inner-city—they had lost everything! A piece of Black History Charles Barkley knows absolutely nothing about because of his hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil mentality.
Charles Barkley claims without the police many black communities would be like “The Wild, Wild West!” And his most ridiculous observation ‘I don’t think the death of Eric Garner was a homicide.”

Garner was the black man choked to death on a New York street corner while selling loose cigarettes. He died while six white cops wrestled him to the ground, one had an illegal choke hold barred by the NYPD. He said several times to his attackers, “I can’t breathe.” But no one was listening. The Grand Jury freed the white cop.
But there are still claims that body cameras are the solution to police brutality but when the crime was caught on camera the guilty cop still gets a free pass. Something is wrong with this picture!

I have spent 50 years working in the schools, streets, playgrounds and courts here in the DMV. I have seen the Good, Bad and the Ugly in law enforcement. There are some goods cops but they are outnumbered by the bad and ugly. The bad and ugly are usually the cowards who hide behind their guns and badges. In today’s world it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish the thugs from the cops. Some people say, “They are one of the same.”

For some reason beyond me the Powers-To-Be can’t see the Big Picture when it comes to police brutality in this country. No amount of body cameras are going to solve the Ebola like disease of racism embedded in police departments throughout this country. “The Code of Silence and The Blue Wall” was established to protect crooked and corrupt cops are the real problems. Plus, the criminal justice system is overrun with judges who go along to get along with the corrupt cops (Baltimore). Until we can find a way to change the plantation mentality thinking of Charles Barkley and the “Us against Them” attitudes of cops around the country, we are going to continue going in circles while the Jim Browns, Al Sharptons and the Jesse Jacksons are allowed to keep hustling the black community pretending to keep hope alive while our children and men of color die in our streets.

To learn more about Harold Bell click here to visit his blog “The Original Inside Sports.”

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 40 years with the help of his wife through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official web site The Original Inside Sports.com.

Gary J. Head Shot

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC, a management training and consulting company. The company manages a variety of Internet and digital media enterprises including Black Men In America.com, one of the most popular web sites on the Internet. To learn more about Gary click here.

Gary Johnson is a proud member of the NOMMO Speaker’s Bureau.  Visit the NOMMO website at www.nommospeakers.com.

 

 

By Harold Bell

Rahman Ali

 

HE WAS HIS BROTHER’S KEEPER!

Posted July 1, 2016

Two weeks ago tens of thousands of people visited the city of Louisville, Kentucky. On Friday June 10, was the home-going services and celebration of the life of Muhammad Ali.  All eyes were on the speakers and celebrities in attendance.

 

The celebrities included former President Bill Clinton, television broadcaster Bryant Gumble, comedian Billy Crystal, former Heavyweight Champions Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson and actor Will Smith among others.

 

But the most important man in the champion’s life will be paid little or no attention–his only brother and sibling Rahman aka Rudy.  He had Ali’s back and was his brother’s confidant during the height of his boxing career.  Muhammad Ali never could have made it without him and neither could I.

 

I am one of the benefactors of Rahman’s kindness and good deeds.  I met Ali first on the campus of Howard University in 1967.  He was holding court with hundreds of students on the steps of one of the administrations buildings. The topic would be his refusal to be drafted into the United States Army.

  

Shortly after the rally he said to no one in particular “I want to see DC” and I volunteered to be his tour guild.   During the walk down the Georgia Avenue corridor we talked about my work with youth in the inner-city. 

Harold Bell and Muhammad Ali
Harold Bell and Muhammad Ali

 

I reminded him that he had taken a courageous stand against The Powers-To-Be and he reminded me of the stands taken by Jack Johnson, Paul Roberson and Jackie Robinson.  They had faced similar racist acts in America.  Boxing never came into the conversation until we arrived at 7th & T Streets around the corner from the legendary Howard Theater.

 

Harvey Cooper known as DC’s oldest teenager because of his bubbling personality suddenly came of Sam K’s Record store with hands up challenging the Heavyweight Champion of the World.  Ali didn’t miss a beat and joined in the act.

 

 It was a great day for me, Harvey and the hundreds of students Ali met that day on the campus of Howard University.  I cannot imagine how many students on the campus (some only in their minds)are now telling their children and grandchildren, the day they met Muhammad Ali.  Three years later in 1970 I would meet Rahman in Cleveland, Ohio. 

 

DC Attorney Harry Barnett and the late Washington Star newspaper columnist J. D. Beathea would invite me to ride with them to Cleveland for a boxing exhibition for charity.  A Children’s Hospital in the city was in financial straits and Muhammad Ali had agreed to help the city raise money to save the hospital.

 

The trip would enhance my career in sports talk radio and television beyond my wildest dreams.

 

I could hardly get my bearings when we walked into the hotel lobby and there stood Muhammad Ali holding court with the media.  He looked over and saw me and yelled, “Harold Bell what are you doing this far away from home?”

The rest is community and sports media history.

 

It was here I met a man who would go on to become the most popular man in boxing, second only to Muhammad Ali—Don King.  Stay tune that is another story.

Ali2

 

When news reached me of the passing of my friend, I was relieved because I knew he was in a better place.  Three decades he fought the dreaded Parkinson disease but in the end the disease did what George Foreman, and Joe Frazier could not do, it counted him out!

 

I know his brother Rahman is really in a bad place right now, but he knows his brother loved him, despite the tough times and obstacles placed in his path to keep them apart in the twilight of their lives.  Sometimes family can be a bitch and then you die—I have been there and done that!

 

The last time I saw The Greatest in person was at the Verizon Center in 2005.  His daughter Laila was fighting on the undercard of Mike Tyson when he refused to come out of his corner for the 7th round against journeyman Kevin McBride.

 

I had no clue that the champion was even in the building until I accidentally bumped into Rahman heading toward the limo Ali was riding in. He grabbed me and pointed toward the limo and said, “Go stand over there, he wants to see you.”

 

The next thing I knew the “The Greatest” was coming toward me with what looked like the entire Verizon Center crowd following him (Georgia Avenue corridor 1967). 

 

In the meantime, I took some photos of out my brief case that I had planned to show to Laila his daughter.  The photos were of Veronica, me and him at a DC Chamber of Commerce Dinner in 1974 at the Sheraton-Park Hotel.

Ali & Veronica

 

Rahman brought him straight to me.  It was rather awkward when I tried showing the photos to Veronica and the champ tried to sign them, but his hands were trembling so bad I backed off. 

 

Rahman insisted that I let him sign the photos, because he was making every effort to autograph them for me. I left the hectic scene thinking how thoughtful and kind he was to me despite his health problems.  Evidently, he and Rahman had not forgotten who I was and what I was to them.

UNDATED: Muhammad Ali reads about his boxing match in the paper circa 1960's. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

As I look back I pray that The Greatest did not forget his only brother and sibling when his will is read.  Rahman deserves better then what he has received because there were times when he had to carry the champion.  I hope The Greatest remembered he was not heavy—he was Rahman’s brother!

Sports Analytics Sparked by ESPN’s Michael Wilbon

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com

March 28, 2016

The latest buzzword in sports these days has to do with “analytics” also known as “sports metrics.”  Sports analytics is a big deal.  If you listen to sports talk radio or watch sports on TV, someone during the broadcast is going to make a reference to analytics.

ESPN’s Michael Wilbon started a firestorm earlier this week with his article in the ESPN backed magazine “The Undefeated” with a mission to focus on race and sports.  Sports journalist Jason Whitlock was tapped by ESPN to lead the charge of “The Undefeated.” Wilbon’s article is Mission Impossible: African-Americans & Analytics: Why blacks are not feeling the sports metrics movement.”

Wilbon1Analytics5

“The Undefeated” was ESPN president John Skipper’s idea. It was Skipper who hired Whitlock and made him Editor-in-Chief.  The site suffered numerous and sometimes curious delays for over a year and a half.  Whitlock, who was not known for being a manager of people appears to have “shot himself” with a bunch of rants and bad management decisions.  In describing his vision for “The Undefeated,” Whitlock was quoted saying:  “I wanted to build a website, The Undefeated, dedicated to examining the intersection of sports, race and culture because I believe locker rooms, stadiums, arenas, and teams epitomize and best utilize America’s diversity.”

Jayson Whitlock
Jayson WhitlockIn late April, Deadspin ran a 10,000-word story titled How Jason Whitlock is Poisoning ESPN’s ‘Black Grantland,’” which detailed Whitlock’s difficulty attracting talent to the site, and the striking dysfunctions in his management of those who had joined it.

Every major professional sports team either has an analytics department.  Any team that doesn’t have a robust analytics capability is thought to be at a competitive disadvantage.

Everyone is not on the sports analytics bandwagon.  Take NBA great and now TNT network studio analyst Charles Barkley.  Barkley hates analytics.  Listen to what “Sir Charles” had to say:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZf9NFaCQHQ

Stephen A. Smith
Stephen A. Smith

Now check out ESPN “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith talking about Michael Wilbon and his column on sports analytics column.

For a real expert opinion, check out sports pioneer Harold Bell’s column on this subject:

ESPN’S WILBON UNDEFEATED? HIDING BEHIND THE NUMBERS ANALYTICS AND RACISM DON’T ADD UP!

Harold Bell and Muhammad Ali
Harold Bell and Muhammad Ali

By Harold Bell

It does not take a genius to count from zero to two or to understand pro sports and major media outlets are the last plantations in America.

For example, in 2016 the NHL has zero ownership, MLB has zero ownership, NFL has zero ownership, NBA has one black owner and many in the black community thinks he should be designated as “Other.” It is not about jobs in the black community its about ownership.

The NHL is led by a racist by the name of Gary Bettman and this is not based on he say, she say. I was up close and personal with Bettman (NBA Counselor), Ron Thorn (NBA VP) and Horace Balmer (Head of Security) in NY City in 1978.

I was there with John Phillips who was the Director of Basketball Marketing representing Nike.

In 1977 Nike sponsored a trip to the Bahamas, the home of NBA star Mychal Thompson of the L. A. Lakers (son Klay Thompson). The trip was in conjunction with a charity All-Star Game with other members of the NBA that included Magic Johnson.

The league balked at the 1978 game and John was called to New York City for a meeting in the league office. This is where I met Bettman and his henchmen, Thorn and Balmer.

The meeting got off to a cordial beginning with everyone smiling and shaking hands, but once the discussion started, Bettman claimed the game could not be played. When John asked the question, “Why?”  Bettman’s response was, “Because we own the players!”

I jumped up from the table and said “I beg your pardon, are you saying the players are slaves”? All hell broke loose and the meeting had to be adjourned to a later time and place. We never met again and that is how I remember Bettman. He showed his true colors. It was then I understood why Irving Johnson was named “Magic” he disappeared like a puff of smoke leaving me and John Phillips holding the bag.

In 2016, there are no “major media” outlets own by black folks (newspapers, radio and television). The 1% who control all the wealth can be found in their Ivory Mansions and luxury suites in sports arenas throughout America enjoying combat between the lions and their slaves. If you have any doubts that the plantation mentality is a figment of my imagination, look no further then Washington, DC, the Nation’s Capitol—its taxation without representation!

Wilbon, has been called “One of the most respected sports journalist in America and a pioneer”??? He would have us to believe, that the reason behind this country’s racist charade are ‘Analytics’? Come on man!

For example; was it analytics that got winning coaches Tony Dungee, Mark Jackson and Lionel Hollins fired.  Sonny Hill got kicked to the curb by CBS back in the day?

Remember, this is the same Michael Wilbon who as a sports columnist while at the Washington Post, claimed his sports editor George Solomon looked over his shoulder and told him what to write and what not to write. Why should we think anything has changed?

Michael Wilbon and Harold Bell
Michael Wilbon and Harold Bell

Remember, this is the same Michael Wilbon who volunteered and told me in the NBA Wizards’ press room, “ESPN wants me to appear on a segment of “Outside the Lines” to discuss the “N word,” but I have decided not to appear because the white host has no horse in the race”!

I was impressed, because he was finally taking a stand. He had been “A go along to get along Negro his entire media career.”

The following Sunday, who do I see sitting on the set of “Outside the Lines,” with the white host who had no horse in the race discussing the “N-word?  Michael Wilbon.

Major media outlets like “The Undefeated,” are still trying to dictate to us who our heroes are and who they are not. Our heroes are definitely not “Go along to get along Negroes.”

Nine out of ten barber shops in the inner-city will say “No” to Michael Wilbon and his partner in deceit, Stephan A. Smith, because they speak with ‘Fork Tongues’.

Want to read the rest of the article? 

Click here to go to Harold Bell’s blog, “The Original Inside Sports.

Photo credit:  Jason Whitlock photo courtesy John Amis/AP

 

 

By Black Men In America.com / March 22, 2016

Harold Bell Turns 78

This evening friends and family turned assembled on the rooftop at Ben’s Chili Bowl on H. Street N.E. in Washington, DC to celebrate the 78th birthday of Harold Bell.

IMG_8631

Left to right:  Hattie Bell, (wife of Harold), Sirius/XM radio talk show host Maggie Linton and Black Men In America.com Founder Gary Johnson.

Harold K. Bell is a pioneer who embarked upon sports talk radio – a relatively new medium for black broadcasters in the 1970s. Bell’s first five (5) minutes of radio stardom was at the helm of two-time Emmy award winner, Petey Greene in 1967. In 1971, Bell founded the original “Inside Sports.” The radio show would air, first, on WOOK-AM. Its span included WYCB-AM, WUST-AM, WPFW FM and WKYS-FM. In 1975, Bell became the first Afro-American to host and produce a television sports prime time special on WRC-TV 4, an NBC affiliate in DC. His special guest was The Greatest, Muhammad Ali. Bell has the copyrights to an interview collection that reads like a “Who’s Who” in sports.

Bell’s commentaries spotlight the trials and tribulations of the black athlete and have become a trilogy of classic proportions. Prior to Bell’s introduction, media round-tables and message music were unheard of in sports talk formats. He challenged athletes for hard truths regardless of their stature. Muhammad Ali, Red Auerbach, Don King, Jim Brown or his partner in crime, the late boxing historian Bert Randolph Sugar.

Ali-Harold

In 2007, Bell was referred to as “a little known Black History fact” by syndicated talk show host, Tom Joyner. Sportswriters, Jim Beathea and Dick Heller of the Washington Star; Donald Huff, of the Washington Post; Dave McKenna of the City Paper; in addition, radio and television critic, William Taaffe of Sports Illustrated Magazine have all cited Bell for his pioneering contributions to sports talk radio and television. Heller called Bell “The Godfather” of sports talk in Washington, DC. Earl Lloyd, the first black to play in the NBA, was a guest on ESPN 980 radio with former Georgetown Coach, John Thompson. He was quoted as saying, “Harold Bell may be controversial, but I have yet to hear anyone call him a liar.”

Harold has actively advocated for the rights of children in DC, Maryland and Virginia. In 1965 after spending two years chasing his NFL dreams without any success he returned home to Washington, DC. The United Planning Organization (UPO) hired three Neighborhood Workers for its self-held program, Petey Greene, H. Rap Brown and Harold Bell. The three would each leave their mark on the black community.

In 1980, Washingtonian Magazine named Bell “Washingtonian of the Year” for being a one-man community action program. His wife, Hattie, is the daughter of the late Dr. Charles H. Thomas, Jr., a modern day civil rights leader of the pre-Martin Luther King epoch of the early 50’s. He founded and started Voter Registration in the state of South Carolina. He was inducted into the Black South Carolina Hall of Fame.

In 1968 Harold and his wife Hattie founded the non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc. They have been honored at the White House by President Richard M. Nixon, cited in the Congressional Record by Lou Stokes (D-Ohio), Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for their work with at-risk children. Today, Harold K. Bell is a contributor on the Maggie Linton Show, heard on Sirius XM Radio-Channel 110 and the DC Historian for the World famous Ben’s Chili Bowl.

“We consider Harold’s pioneering contributions prominent. His legendary interviews are the portrait of history Harold interprets in real time. He not only talks the talk, but he also walks the walk.” – Kamal Ben Ali, CEO and Owner, Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Harold and Gary 06-04-11 (2)

Harold Bell and Black Men In America.com Publisher Gary Johnson and the Black Men In America.com Office

Harold Bell and AndyIMG_0625IMG_0576IMG_0610IMG_0637IMG_0657

Maggie, Gary, Hattie

Photo credits:  Harold Bell feature photo by Darrow Montgomery, Washington City Paper.  All other photos courtesy Gary A. Johnson, Sr., Black Men In America.com.


Harold Bell 2011

Hometown Hero and Sports Legend Harold Bell in 2011.  Photo courtesy Darrow Montgomery/Washington City Paper

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/arts/theater/article/13040157/harold-bell-black-history-mouth


Washington Jocks Hall of Fame–Blind But Definitely Not Color Blind

Posted April 20, 2015

By Harold Bell

Dave Kane is a native Washingtonian and friend who now lives in Arizona.  He recently e-mailed me a story written in the Washington Post related to a Washington-Jocks-Hall-of-Fame and its new inductees (see link below). Dave and I are not scared to discuss racism in America and that is why I trust and value his opinion on many different levels.  We don’t always agree and I find that a healthy state of mind for any enduring friendship.  But we recently agreed there are some white folks who don’t know when they are being racist—meet Charlie Brotman and his partner, snake oil salesman, Andy Ockanhuser.  These two sponsored a joint venture several years ago and called it “The Washington Jocks Hall of Fame” and to cover their asses they wrote in disappearing ink ‘No Blacks Allowed.’ Let me make one thing perfectly clear that white folks don’t have a patent on racism in America, there are some blacks that could give them a 101 Lesson in Racism as it relates to other blacks.  I can see the Race Card clearly on both fronts because I am black.   You would have to have walked in another black man’s shoes to recognized over 400 years of racism and why they find it difficult to “Just Get Over It” as some whites and blacks have have exclaimed in frustration.  If you read Page One in the Washington Post on Sunday April 19, 2015 you would understand, why some of us both black and white cannot ‘Just Get Over It.’

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2014/04/14/washingtons-jocks-hall-of-fame/

After I read the story I could not understand the reasons why the hall had been established, but my buddy Dave hinted he knew exactly why.

“I am pretty sure it’s all White guys and some Jewish guys, not sure why. They are more like reunions for older White guys. I only heard of it recently.”

This was my response to his diplomatic assessment:

Not sure why?

You can bet if Charlie Brotman and Andy Ockanhuser are the organizers, the Race Card is on the table and it is being played in spades with the joker wild.  In 2015, are the DC Jocks Hall Fame telling us there were no outstanding black athletes playing football, baseball or basketball in the 50s?  Three of the greatest all-around athletes, black or white were Gary Mays, Willie Wood and Maury Wills bar none.  Each one played in the 50s! By the way Washington Post sports columnist Dan Stienberg is dangerous with a pen and pencil in his hand.  This group of bigots would never have passed the smell test with the legendary Washington Post sports columnist Shirley Povich (author of No Cheering in the Press Box).  This book should be made required reading for all sports columnist especially those at the Washington Post.

Let’s keep it real, the KKK and their siblings are alive and well.  They are on the rise again, they are no longer wearing robes and hoods.  They are now wearing cop uniforms and hiding behind a Code of Silence and wearing three piece suits and establishing their own hall of fame.  The cops are killing black men across America (see Sunday’s Page 1 story in the Washington Post) and getting away with it.  In 2007 Mike Tyson’s last fight here in DC at the Verizon Center I asked Charlie Brotman’s partner with Brotman’s & Associates how they could take black money but hire only whites?  His partner whose name escapes me said, “Harold we have hired black people before, but she quit.”

To really understand why the likes of Brotman can get away with this kind of economic racism you have to look no further then, Don King, Butch Lewis, Sugar Ray Leonard,  Rock Newman, Bernard Hopkins, and the list goes on and on (a story for another time).

In the meantime, Charlie and Andy have decided to help turn back the clock to the 30s, 40s & 50s by creating their own “Whites Only” hall of fame.

If this is “The Race Card”, two can play it.  And anyone who supports these two idiots and their plantation mentality, evidently, have problems of their own.

Dave Harris is seen in photo with hall of fame inductee Dan Droze.  Dave was an All-Met in football and track.  He caught the winning touchdown pass from Droze in the first integrated High School All-Star Game against undefeated St. Johns.  Dave played both offense and defense in the game.

Click here to read the rest of the story and visit Harold Bell’s official blog.

 Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 40 years with the help of his wife through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official web site The Original Inside Sports.com.

EARL LLOYD: I REMEMBERED WHEN THE NBA AND THE MEDIA HAD FORGOTTEN!

By Harold Bell (February 28, 2015)

By Harold Bell

Earl Lloyd grew up in Alexandria, Virginia in the shadows of the Nation’s Capitol and played at Parker-Gray High School.  He received a basketball scholarship to West Virginia State in Charleston, West Virginia and played in the CIAA (Central Inter-collegian Athletic Association).  In the 1947-48 season West Virginia State was the only undefeated college basketball team in America.

Earl was drafted by Red Auerbach and the NBA Washington Capitols but played in only 7 games when the team folded on January 9, 1951. He joined the U.S. Army and was station at Fort Sill, Oklahoma before the Syracuse Nationals picked him up on waivers. He spent six seasons with Syracuse and two with the Detroit Pistons before retiring in 1960.

Earl was called “Big Cat and Moon”, he was one of three blacks to enter the NBA at the same time in 1950. It was only because of the order in which the teams’ season openers fell that Lloyd was the first to actually play in a game. The date was October 31, 1950, one day ahead of Cooper of the Boston Celtics and four days before Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton of the New York Knicks.  Earl played in over 560 games in nine seasons, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Earl retired ranked 43rd in career scoring with 4,682 points. In the 1953-54 season, he was also known as “The Enforcer aka Hatchet Man” he led the NBA in both personal fouls and disqualifications.  His best year was 1955, when he averaged 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds for Syracuse, which beat the Forth Wayne Pistons 4-3 for the NBA title. Lloyd and Jim Tucker were the first blacks to play on an NBA championship team.

 

Left to Right:  NBA Great Sam Jones, Broadcaster James Brown, Harold Bell and NBA Legend Earl Lloyd

Click here to read the rest of Harold Bell’s tribute to Earl Lloyd.

 

AN AMERICAN SPORTS TALK RADIO PERSONALITY– AND AN UNTOLD STORY

Ali-Harold

Harold K. Bell is a pioneer who embarked upon sports talk radio – a relatively new medium for black broadcasters in the 1970s. Bell’s first five (5) minutes of radio stardom was at the helm of two-time Emmy award winner, Petey Greene in 1967. In 1971, Bell founded the original “Inside Sports.” The radio show would air, first, on WOOK-AM. Its span included WYCB-AM, WUST-AM, WPFW FM and WKYS-FM. In 1975, Bell became the first Afro-American to host and produce a television sports prime time special on WRC-TV 4, an NBC affiliate in DC. His special guest was The Greatest, Muhammad Ali. Bell has the copyrights to an interview collection that reads like a “Who’s Who” in sports.

Bell’s commentaries spotlight the trials and tribulations of the black athlete and have become a trilogy of classic proportions. Prior to Bell’s introduction, media roundtables and message music were unheard of in sports talk formats. He challenged athletes for hard truths regardless of their stature. Muhammad Ali, Red Auerbach, Don King, Jim Brown or his partner in crime, the late boxing historian Bert Randolph Sugar.

In 2007, Bell was referred to as “a little known Black History fact” by syndicated talk show host, Tom Joyner. Sportswriters, Jim Beathea and Dick Heller of the Washington Star; Donald Huff, of the Washington Post; Dave McKenna of the City Paper; in addition, radio and television critic, William Taaffe of Sports Illustrated Magazine have all cited Bell for his pioneering contributions to sports talk radio and television. Heller called Bell “The Godfather” of sports talk in Washington, DC. Earl Lloyd, the first black to play in the NBA, was a guest on ESPN 980 radio with former Georgetown Coach, John Thompson. He was quoted as saying, “Harold Bell may be controversial, but I have yet to hear anyone call him a liar.”

Harold has actively advocated for the rights of children in DC, Maryland and Virginia. In 1965 after spending two years chasing his NFL dreams without any success he returned home to Washington, DC. The United Planning Organization (UPO) hired three Neighborhood Workers for its self-held program, Petey Greene, H. Rap Brown and Harold Bell. The three would each leave their mark on the black community.

In 1980, Washingtonian Magazine named Bell “Washingtonian of the Year” for being a one-man community action program. His wife, Hattie, is the daughter of the late Dr. Charles H. Thomas, Jr., a modern day civil rights leader of the pre-Martin Luther King epoch of the early 50’s. He founded and started Voter Registration in the state of South Carolina. He was inducted into the Black South Carolina Hall of Fame.

In 1968 Harold and his wife Hattie founded the non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc. They have been honored at the White House by President Richard M. Nixon, cited in the Congressional Record by Lou Stokes (D-Ohio), Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for their work with at-risk children. Today, Harold K. Bell is a contributor on the Maggie Linton Show, heard on Sirius XM Radio-Channel 110 and the DC Historian for the World famous Ben’s Chili Bowl.

“We consider Harold’s pioneering contributions prominent. His legendary interviews are the portrait of history Harold interprets in real time. He not only talks the talk, but he also walks the walk.” – Kamal Ben Ali, CEO and Owner, Ben’s Chili Bowl, For additional content, visit http://bmia.wordpress/harold-bell and http://www.theoriginalinsidesports.com.

For requests to interview Harold Bell, contact Salim Edwards at 202 427-9247.

  • “Black Men In America” – is a popular online magazine which examines the truth, the tragedy and the triumph of ordinary black men, living extraordinary lives in America (www.blackmeninamerica.com).
  • Brian McIntyre – (http://www.nba.com) – Senior Communications Advisory to NBA Commissioner David Stern.
  • The Tom Joyner Morning Show – (http://www.tjms.com) is heard in 132 markets across America.
  • The Maggie Linton Show features positive lessons and successful stories to inspire listeners within their own journeys; heard on Sirius XM Urban View channel110.

About the Ali/Harold Bell Project
October 30, 2014 is the 40th Anniversary of one the most profound fights in boxing history – Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. The fight was called the “Rumble in the Jungle,” On October 30, 1974, Muhammad Ali did the unthinkable and against all odds when he defeated Big George Foreman. However, what took place days following that great fight is just as historic and it’s a story that has never been told — until now.

In early November 1974 a sports talk show host by the name of Harold K. Bell and his camera crew, (Rodney Brown and Wilfred Williams) were able to get an exclusive one-on-one interview with Muhammad Ali. This event was just as historic as the fight, as Bell was the first person from the media granted access to Ali immediately after the fight.

Bell and his team scooped legendary television sportscaster Howard Cosell, 60 Minutes and the entire sports media world. The champ didn’t just focus on the fight and his historic win, but he talked about the most important game being played in the Black Community–THE GAME CALLED LIFE!  Ali, who sustained a black eye in the fight, was candid, uncensored and “uncut” in his conversation giving Harold Bell full access to all of the facets that make up Muhammad Ali.

About the Documentary Interview
40 years ago, fresh from his victory over George Foreman, Muhammad Ali sat in a New York City hotel room for an exclusive interview with his good friend Harold Bell, an independent radio sports talk show host with no connection to any major newspapers, radio or television networks. In this historic one-on-one interview Ali discusses the differences between a boxer and fighter, his boxing career and shares his perspective on women, children, violence in the black community, friendship and more.
Ali tried to get Bell to attend the fight so they could conduct the interview over there. But Bell was reluctant to flying over the ocean and was skeptical about the level of security in a jungle setting—a decision he now regrets. Despite refusing the invitation Ali promised Bell an interview once he returned to the states.

A man of his word, Ali called Bell shortly after arriving in New York City. The next morning Bell along with his camera crew arrived in the wee hours of the morning to tape the interview. Emmy award winner and legendary Actor/Producer Robert Hooks interviews Harold Bell, Roy Foreman, the younger brother of George Foreman and Wilfred Williams, one of the original cameramen who filmed the interview. Hooks, a native Washingtonian and a longtime friend of Bell, is best known for his television roles in N.Y.P.D and in major motion pictures such as Sounder, Hurry Sundown, Troubled Man, 1972 and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The interview ends with a poem titled “THANK YOU MUHAMMAD ALI” written and performed by renowned spoken-word artist Ty Gray-El.

Goals and Objectives
One of our objectives is to generate enough media and attention through this documentary to be picked up by a major television or cable network in the United States. A secondary goal is to tell the untold story of a Black American radio sports talk show host Harold K. Bell. Together, Ali and Bell are two who went often found themselves at odds with societal norms and yet comfortable with themselves because they were always guided by “the truth.” Two men, who exercised courage and acted on what they believed to be true. Perhaps, that was part of the formula that led them to be icons and pioneers in their field. The narration of the documentary was recorded on October 4, 2014 at Tony Bell’s Gym in Washington, D.C.

Additional Information
Top KICK-STARTER sponsors will be given signed autographed copies of the film, “Up Close and Personal: Muhammad Ali with Harold Bell.” There will also be access to VIP screenings to donors and sponsors of this project.  Once successfully funded, the money will be used for final editing and production costs, including camera and lighting equipment and distribution costs as determined by the Don Baker Digital Group. Once we exceed our goal we will reach out to marquee boxers, athletes and sports commentators who have shown an interest in this project to add their perspectives in the film.  If you would like to contact the filmmakers regarding production, investment opportunities or other related endeavors, e-mail Harold Bell at hkbell82@comcast.net. You can learn more about Harold Bell by visiting and subscribing to his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsjirjSZBSyzaq7M6jIpWcw and witness Bell’s interviews with some of the greatest athletes of the past century.

ERIC HOLDER GUARANTEES FAIRNESS IN FERGUSON WHERE NOBODY PLAYS FAIR

August 23, 2014

Eric Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.  Associated Press

I experienced the 1968 riots in Washington, DC up close and personal as a Roving Leader for the DC Recreation Department’s Youth Gang Task Force.  The riots in Ferguson, Missouri brought back bad memories. On the mean streets in the U Street NW corridor during the riots my co-worker and former Green Bay Packer great Willie Wood and I teamed up with the late U. S. Marshall in Charge, Luke C. Moore. Luke was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.  He was the first black in modern day history to head the U. S. Marshall Service in America.

The three of us walked arm and arm through the tear gas streets of NW DC trying to maintain peace. Luke would go on to become a DC Superior judge and Willie Wood would be inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame in 1989.

When President Lyndon Johnson ordered all businesses to shut down during the riots it was Luke Moore who called the White House and asked the President to reconsider and allow Ben’s Chili Bowl to remain open for first responders. Request granted—when the dust, tear gas and military personnel had cleared the streets, Lee’s Flower Shop, Industrial Bank, and Ben’s Chili Bowl were the only black businesses still standing.

BENs-CHILI-BOWL

Luke Moore’s contributions to Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports can never be measured in time or money. He helped me get the Bolling Boys Base for juvenile delinquents off the ground on Bolling Air Force Base in SE DC. He went directly to DC Mayor Walter Washington and Department of Human Resources Director, Joe Yeldell and said “Let’s do it!” The longevity of the Kids In Trouble Christmas Toy Party (1968-2013) can be directly attributed to him.

Luke encouraged other judges to get involved in the community including, Chief Judge Harold Greene with the opening of Bolling Boys Base. The athletes, politicians, radio and television personalities would all follow his lead when it came to community involvement. We had a great crew of judges from the DC Superior Court where the perquisite was fairness for all. They included “the one of a kind” Harry T. Alexander, Chief Judge Greene, Chief Judge Eugene Hamilton, Chief Judge Ted Newman, and Henry Kennedy Jr. The community and children were really first and they led by example.

The riots in Ferguson made me remember that there was once equal justice for all in the DC Superior in the Nation’s Capital. A white cop would dare not show up in Judge Harry Alexander’s courtroom and not properly address a black defendant as Mr. or Ms. Judge Moore demanded the same type of respect for minorities from lawyers and cops with attitudes. Somewhere along the way I lost Federal Judge Alex Williams when he received his Federal Judgeship for the state of Maryland.

In a recent interview the Chief of the Prince George’s County Police Department said, “Ferguson would never happen in Prince George’s County!” Are you kidding me? When it comes to police brutality in America Prince George’s County is second only to the LAPD in California (remember Rodney King).  The PG County Police Department was monitored by the FBI for over 2 decades as it relates to police brutality.

Have we forgotten that a young Afro-American man was recently found hung by his neck in a jail cell in Upper Marlboro, MD? He was waiting to be tried on the hit and run death of a white PG County police officer. He was the victim of police vigilante justice, here and now in the 21st century. The renegade cops were never brought to trial. A black correctional officer was paid off and took the fall for the renegade white cops who are still in uniform patrolling our streets.

A black Federal Judge Alex Williams had an opportunity to say “Enough is enough” but instead of sending a message he sentence the correctional officer to 1 to 3 years. The sentence condones the department’s outrageous behavior. If this would have been the former black Prince Georges County Judge William Missouri, I would have said “Business as usual.” Missouri was known as “The Hanging Judge” when came to sentencing black folks, this made him a hero in “The Plantation” style halls of the Prince Georges County Court House.
Thanks to Alex Williams and Bill Missouri the KKK is still alive and well in the PG County Police Department.

Let’s not forget there was the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin walking through a white neighborhood shot to death, or the black teenager Jordan Davis shot to death in a Florida parking lot for playing his music too loud, a black man strangled to death on a NY Street in broad daylight for selling loose cigarettes, a black female college professor is dragged across street by her hair for jay walking, a white California State Trooper caught on video sitting on top of a black woman beating on her like a punching bag.

And now an 18 year old unarmed Michael Brown is shot 6 times and killed in broad daylight in Ferguson, Missouri for reasons still unknown. The common denominator, all the acts were committed at the hands of white men who want to take America back? Brings back memories of Emmitt Till!  Chicago, New York, St. Louis, LA, Baltimore, Detroit, DC, Maryland and now Ferguson, a suburb in Missouri have become breeding grounds for brutal and corrupt cops who in the final analyst are nothing but cowards with a badge and gun. They hide behind a Code of Silence!

The most organized gangs in America are not “The Crips & Bloods” it is your local police departments.

USA Today: Two black men are shot and killed by police every week in America!

Eric Holder’s track record during his tenure as U. S. Attorney for the District of Columbia was not encouraging when came to addressing police violence against the black community. As the U. S. Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1993 to 1997, Holder was in charge of policing the local police. When police violence spiraled out of control, he did little to protect Washington residents from rampaging lawmen. The number of killings by Washington police doubled between 1988 to 1995, the year 16 civilians died due to police gunfire. Washington police shot and killed people at a higher rate than any other major city police department, as a Washington Post investigation revealed in late 1998. The Post reported that “Holder said he did not detect a pattern of problematic police shootings and could not recall the specifics of cases he personally reviewed.” Holder declared: I can’t honestly say I saw anything that was excessive.”

But in 2009 as U. S. Attorney for United States of America in President Barak Obama’s administration I heard and saw a different Eric Holder. In a speech during Black History Month at the Justice Department he declared, “Americans wrongly consider the United States a melting pot. In things racial, we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.” It took a whole lot of balls to make that statement as a black man and politician, but it was the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

His stance reminded me of the best seller “The Spook That Sit by the Door.” I said to myself, “finally, a black man who is not scare of the truth.” The sad part of this charade in Ferguson, the right hand does not have a clue to what the left hand is doing and don’t seem to care. The so-called experts, the talking heads and the writing hands in media are just as clueless, but as boxing promoter Don King once said, “They are a necessary evil. They bring light to Justice & Just-Us!”

The country is based on a racist court system of Justice & Just-Us. A court system where a white man caught stealing millions of dollars can have a new law written into the books on his behalf and it is called “White Collar Crime?”

How can people who call themselves human beings allow an 18 year old to lie in the streets dead for over 4 hours with his parents present and no one in authority is sensitive enough to try comfort them?

One of my favorite television shows to watch on the weekends is “Animal Planet” and it is times like this I am left wondering, who are the Real Animals?

It is easy to understand why politicians like Harry Reid are also clueless. He recently said, “I cannot believe that the scenes unfolding in Ferguson are taking place in an American city in the year of 2914.” My question, ‘Harry where you been?’

The problem, he and his Republican counterparts across the aisle have is they never have been black and have never spend any significant time in the war zones of our inner-cities and therefore have become a part of the problem.

Police shootings and hanging of black men and black on black murder have become the norm in America replacing Apple Pie.

USA Today: Two black men are shot and killed by police every week in America!

Why is it that the media and others with hidden agendas want to make a point that “Outsiders” are responsible for the violence in Ferguson?

They evidently think that American citizens don’t have a stake in this charade? Have they forgotten Selma and the march on Washington where outsiders could be seen as far as the eye could see and made a difference—where is the beef?

There was a Kodak Moment in Ferguson when a white reporter put his microphone in the face of a young black man who was involved in the protest. The reporter was inquiring about “Outside Agitators” from Chicago, California and the violence they had brought to the city. The young brother took a deep breath and said ‘There are no outsiders we are all in this together.”

Where and when will this madness end? I once thought in my life time—I now have serious doubts!

USA Today: Two black men are shot and killed by police every week in America!

“Hands up Black Men in America”—Fairness not on my watch.

“The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, it is dangerous because of those who do and say nothing.” — Albert Einstein

 

August 9, 2014

THE HONORABLE JAMES SPENCER: HERE COMES THE JUDGE!

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A MAN ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF GOD and JUSTICE IN RICHMOND

By Harold Bell

In the game called “Life” where every black face you see is not a Brother and every white face you see is not your Enemy—meet Brother Rev. James R. Spencer aka U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer of Richmond, Virginia. He is the sitting judge in the most political corrupt trial in the history of Virginia. Former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen are facing charges that they took $165,000 from a Virginia businessman.

Judge Spencer is the first African-American to serve as a federal judge in Virginia. He recently stepped down from active status to become a senior judge on March 25, 2014.  He is now in semi-retirement from the Richmond division of the federal court system’s Eastern District of Virginia. As a senior judge he is allowed to take a smaller caseload.

“The Smaller Caseload” suddenly became a Giant when he was assigned to hear the biggest corruption case in the history of Virginia politics.
Judge Spencer was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, then 37. The appointment made him one of the youngest federal judges in the country. His background includes some accomplishments shared by few, if any, federal judges: He has a black belt in karate, he is a avid tennis player and hold a degree in divinity.

In a sermon heard at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia in the early 90s interview after he became a judge, Rev. Spencer gave credit to his parents, Hannah and Benjamin, and one teacher, Mattie Lou Perkins for his lifelong love of reading, his faith and his Southern civility.

He said, “In 1986 I felt my judgeship would be a source of pride for many older black lawyers who paved the way, such as Oliver W. Hill Sr. Being the first black to accomplish something like that did not mean that much to me. I have always … been the first black or the only black, he said at the time. That’s not a victory. I think it is too bad. I long for the day when it will be so insignificant that it will become irrelevant,”
The White House will solicit recommendations from his home-state senators, which carry great weight.

A spokesman for Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., said his office has informally discussed with newly elected Sen. Timothy M. Kaine, D-Va., the process used by Warner and then-Sen. Jim Webb to fill an earlier vacancy.

The process includes asking bar associations for a diverse list of potential nominees, said Warner spokesman Kevin Hall. “We will jointly vet those potential nominees and then schedule face-to-face interviews involving both senators.”

Rev. Spencer was raised in Florence, S.C. He is a 1971 graduate of Clark College in Atlanta and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1974.
Reagan nominated Spencer for the district court seat in September 1986. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and was commissioned in October 1986, filling the seat of the late D. Dortch Warriner.

Rev. Spencer was the chief judge of the 11-judge district, which includes divisions in Alexandria and Hampton Roads, from 2004 to 2011.
Federal judges who reach the age of 65 with 15 years of service — or one less year of service for each additional year of age — are eligible to semi-retire at full salary.

“It’s important he’s announcing his intent early to give plenty of time for a new appointment so there will be no long vacancy,” said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.

“This gives the President and Senate time to select a successor and get the benefit of another senior, experienced judge,” Tobias said. The division’s two other judges are Henry E. Hudson and John A. Gibney Jr.

Robert E. Payne is the other senior judge. Tobias said he believes Judge Spencer, like Payne, “will continue to be very active and continue to carry a substantial load.”

“They can stay as busy as they want, but a half load is typical,” Tobias said of a senior judge. In more than a quarter century as a judge, Judge Spencer has handled thousands of criminal and civil cases, Tobias said.

Perhaps the highest-profile case was the patent-infringement suit by a Virginia company against Research In Motion, the manufacturer of the Black-Berry. A jury ruled that RIM had infringed on the Virginia firm’s patents.

A federal appeals court sent the case back to Spencer, however, prompting negotiations that Judge Spencer steered to a $612.5 million settlement in 2006 amid long-running, national media coverage, Tobias said.

President Barack Obama will nominate a candidate to replace Judge Spencer. He will be hard to replace—he is definitely a tough act to follow. The courthouses and judges around this country lack the characteristics of a Judge James Spencer. There seems to be no sense of fair play, integrity and honesty.

My wife Hattie introduced me to the Rev. Spencer in the early 90s at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia where he was the guest speaker.

His sermon “Role Models & Heroes” was the best I have ever heard as it relates to the demise of the Black Community. Two decades later his sermon is still the most inspiring I have ever heard from the pulpit. Looking at the state of Black America today, he has become a prophet.
Rev. Spencer laid the blame directly at the feet of black politicians, preachers, hero athletes, entertainers, drug dealers, thugs running loose in the streets, shooting and killing our children and raping and robbing residents of our community.

Unlike other ministers and pastors in today’s black churches, he kicked ass and called names. He belted out familiar names like, Marion Barry, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Ben Hooks, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan, Pete Rose, Len Bias, etc. During his sermon anonymity was not an option.

His heroes were my heroes, his parents, Hannah and Benjamin and one outstanding teacher, Mattie Lou Perkins. He hit close to home, for me it was my mother Mattie, grandmother Amy Tyler Bell and my high school Coach Dave Brown. The entire church stood on their feet and gave a standing ovation that seem like it lasted forever at the conclusion of his sermon.

Since that sermon Congressman Charles Rangle, Prince Georges County Executive Jack Johnson, Detroit Mayor Kwame Fitzpatrick, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, DC City Councilmen, Kwame Brown, Michael Brown, and Harry Thomas all have run afoul of the law.

“The Mayor for Life” now City Councilman Marion Barry continues to have encounters with law enforcement in DC. He was involved in a recent minor automobile accident while driving on the wrong side of the street. He was driving a car that was not registered and without insurance. It was later discovered he had accumulated almost $3,000 in unpaid traffic tickets. All this followed the arrest of his son Christopher in July. He was pulled over because of a faulty signal light and was arrested when drugs were found in his car.

When I spoke with Judge Spencer after the sermon he mentioned he worked as an assistant in the office of the U.S. attorney in Washington, DC and had received his Master of Divinity degree from Howard University in 1985. I told him DC Superior Judge Luke C. Moore was my “Big Brother and Mentor” he lit up like a Christmas Tree.

Spencer gave me his contact numbers in Richmond and said to make sure the next time Hattie and I were in town to call him.
The next time I would be in Richmond would be February 1993 the last at (Central Inter-collegian Athletic Association) in the city. I called him and we met for a game of tennis and lunch.

During the tennis match I discovered his competitive nature. He played the game of tennis like he played The Game Called Life—he played to win. I beat him in a close match. And during lunch he kept asking me, “When are you going to be in town again.” He wanted revenge. What really impressed me with Judge Spencer was how he played the game of tennis. All close calls that were in doubt he gave to me. Honesty and integrity is something you cannot teach, especially, in this win at all cost world today.

You can bet the McDonnells will get a fair trial. The only payroll Judge Spencer is on—–is God’s.

The day we spend together I knew I had been in the company of a Super Star in the Game Called Life. He had not forgotten who he was and where he came from. I know our friend the late DC Superior Court Judge Luke C. Moore is looking down and smiling on him for a job well done.
With the CIAA Basketball Tournament leaving Richmond and with his busy schedule there was no re-match but the final score was Love-Love-Love.

March 29, 2014
MARCH MADNESS: Dr. Leo Hill–Willie Jones–Dick Heller

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?
IN DC THERE WAS ELGIN BAYLOR & WILLIE AND EVERYONE ELSE FOLLOWED

Dr. Leo Hill, Willie Jones and Dick Heller, the common denominator, they were all DC Institutions and were Superstars in the Game Called Life. They touched hundreds of lives in the DVM and beyond. I owe each one dearly for my success in the community and in sports media. They loved me in spite of myself.

Dr. Hill’s coaching career began at Spingarn in 1952 where he taught and coached for 10 years. During this span of time Dr. Hill coached 9 championship teams: One in football in 1954, 2 in baseball in 1953 and 1957 and 6 and won 6 cross country team championships from 1955 to 1960. He taught me that the most important game being played in the world today was not football, basketball or baseball, it was the game called life. It was the only game being played where being called a Super Star had real meaning. In my early years as an athlete at Spingarn High School in Washington, DC I was a mess and trying my best to go to hell in a hurry.

My savior Coach Dave Brown allowed me to dress for the DC Public High School football Championship game against Cardozo High School at Griffin Stadium in 1955 (freshman) but I never left the bench. Poor grades and bad attitude were the deciding factors and two 6’5 wide receivers by the names of Dickie Wells and Charles Branch. I could barely see over the line of scrimmage but I could catch a football. Spingarn played Cardozo in the championship game and we tied 0-0.
The game was decided on a rule called Penetration. The rule states, “The team that crosses the other’s 50 yard line more frequently is the winner.” Cardozo was declared the winner.

When I finally got some decent grades I went out for the baseball team in my junior year. I made the team and earned the starting position in left field for a talented team that had promise. For some odd reason I thought I was the Willie Mays of high school baseball. Dr. Hill watched me run from under my hat and make basket catches on routine fly balls, steal bases without permission and swing at pitches that he signaled for me to take. It all came to an abrupt end in a game against Fairmont Heights High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

It was a close game with Fairmont Heights leading 4-3 in the bottom of the 7th inning. I bunted my way on to first base with 2 outs. I would steal second base successfully without the go signal from Dr. Hill. He called time out and came on to the field of play. He reminded me that our best hitter Donald “Cornbread” Malloy was at bat. Before Dr. Hill could get back to the bench I had stolen 3rd base. I dared not look his way.

Donald stepped out of the batter’s box and just stared at me. He fouled off the next 2 pitches and the next pitch I took off to steal home—I was out by a mile game over.

I remember sitting in the Spingarn locker room when Dr. Hill walked quietly up to me and asked me to turn in my uniform. He reminded me that there was only one Willie Mays and he played in New York City. Spingarn would go on to earn the right to play Wilson for the DC Public High School Championship. The game would be played at Griffin Stadium home of Major League Baseball’s Washington Senators and where the Negro League Homestead Grays played their home games. It was a stadium I dreamed of playing in one day. Donald Malloy never let me forget that Spingarn lost 5-4 to Wilson. He reminded me years later that the player who replaced me in left field made 2 errors that cost Spingarn the championship.

My junior year was a tough one. Coach Brown locked me on the school bus during half-time of a game against rival Phelps because I needed an attitude adjustment. Basketball Coach Rev. William Roundtree gave me my walking papers my senior year. It looked like I was trying to make my Middle School Principal William Stinson’s prediction come true. He told my mother, “He won’t live to get out of high school.”
It took years but I finally learned the lesson that my coaches first tried to teach me. The lesson, no one is indispensable and baseball like the game called life is a team sport. Thanks Dr. Hill.

Willie Jones was “One of a Kind” in DC basketball history. There was Elgin Baylor and Willie and everyone else followed. Elgin was like poetry in motion on the court. He could rock you to sleep. Willie was like an AK47 (mouth almighty) on the court no time to sleep—he had everyone’s attention.

If he had a basketball he would travel. He was a winner at every level, playground, middle school, high school and college. If he had been given the opportunity he would excelled at the pro level.

As a coach in DC he was second only to the legendary Red Auerbach. There are three coaches in the District/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) area who won National NCAA basketball titles, John Thompson, Gary Williams and Willie Jones.

Thompson and Williams were never in his class when it came to the Xs and Os of coaching basketball. Willie not only played the game at an extremely high level—he coached at an even higher level. He was a great recruiter because he had been there and done that. The young players loved him. He spoke their language (with many, many bleeps).

There have been many basketball discussions in pool rooms, on street corners, playgrounds, and the sports bars in DC. The topic: What if Willie had the talent that Big John had at Georgetown—how many championships would he have won? Every discussion I have heard it is unanimous, Willie would have won at least 3 National NCAA Championships.

The bottom–line, Georgetown is building a 60 million dollar sports complex on its campus in the name of John Thompson. This is a legitimate pay-off for putting them on the sports map and bringing in millions of dollars of revenue for the school and himself by any means necessary. The million-dollar question now is—can he save his son’s job?

Willie Jones put two universities on the basketball map, American University and UDC. But there will be no statures or sports complexes built in his name—which proves crime does pay.

What I will remember most about Willie is that he was flawed like most of us human beings but he was trust worthy to the point if he gave you his word you could carry it to the bank. He also took coaching seriously, especially when it came to his players. They were always first.
If you were a friend, he would go to war with you or for you. I am reminded of his co-worker the legendary athlete and coach Bessie Stockard when the UDC Administrators targeted her for dismissal from the school, it was Willie who went against the grain and testified on her behalf in court—she won.

He was like a brother to me. I could never stay mad at him. Whatever our difference of opinion, the next time we saw each other he would be joking and smiling like it never happen. A family member said it best, “You two where Kindred Spirits.” Thanks Willie.
Sports columnist Dick Heller was a class act. He was an officer and gentleman and a man of integrity. His word meant something unheard of in media today. He was a loyal friend and mentor to me for over two decades. Thanks to him I am still in the fight for truth in media and my eyes are still on the prize—our children. Dick was there for me and anyone else I supported. Especially, homegrown talent like Willie Wood (NFL), Earl Lloyd (NBA) and LA Dodger great Maury Wills.

Willie Wood was a benefactor after the NFL had blackballed him because he would not go along to get along during his NFL coaching days. There was some drug abuse by several NFL players on the team. He spoke out against the abuse and was not asked to return the next year. He was out of pro football for several years until the Canadian Football hired him as the first Afro-American Head Coach. Willie was voted one of the greatest defensive backs to ever play in the NFL. His coach, the great Vince Lombardi said, “Willie Wood is my coach on the field.” Still the powers-to-be shut him out of the NFL Hall of Fame. I went to Dick and brought him up to date. Willie was voted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1989 two years after some timely stories appeared in sports media outlets (radio and print) spearheaded by Dick Heller.

Earl Lloyd was the first black to play in the NBA in 1950. He was from Alexandria, Virginia and played in the CIAA (BHC). He was overlooked for his contributions in the CIAA and NBA. I turned to Red Auerbach and Dick. They took charge and suddenly there was a story on Page One of the Washington Times talking about the trials and tribulations of Earl Lloyd early NBA days. The photo on the page showed Earl and Red in a forum at the Smithsonian during Black History Month. In 2001, over fifty years later Earl Lloyd was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. Thanks Red Auerbach and Dick Heller.

Dick tried his best to help our homeboy Maury Wills get his just deserts. Maury revolutionized offense in Major League Baseball. He made an art out of the stolen base. He made the fans forget about the homerun in the 60s. He was master of all he surveyed in ballparks around the country but his off the field antics of drugs and domestic abuse have been hard to ignore by the voters. He is still on the outside looking in as it relates to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Dick’s first love has always been baseball and he tried his best to get Maury inducted with a brilliantly written two page story in the Washington Times over a decade ago but “The Haters” have refused to budge. Dick, Maury never said thanks but I will.

Dick was not only a talented writer and editor but he was also a risk taker. He never sit on the fence to see whether it was safe to fall on one side or the other. He loved his hometown of DC and all of its sports teams but you could never mistake him for a cheerleader if the home team made a wrong move. He would take them to task. For example, in 1977 he exposed several Maryland University players for poor academic records during the watch of Charles Driesell, aka Lefty.

He gave the players and Lefty the kind of fame they could have done without. He published their names with photos and their academic records in the sports pages of the Washington Star. Talking about opening up a “Can of Worms.”

The university student newspaper, The Diamond Back followed Dick’s lead and published the player’s grade point average. Six players on the teams sued Dick, the Washington Star, and their own Diamond Back newspaper for invasion of privacy, publishing confidential university records and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The players sued for 72 million dollars in damages.
In 1979, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld a lower-court decision and ruled in the paper’s favor in the case known as Bilney v. Evening Star.

The court ruled “The Players had achieved the status of public figures solely by virtue of their membership on the university basketball team. Therefore, their possible exclusion from the team—whether academic or any other reason was a matter of public concerned.”
The decision continued: “Having sought and basked in the limelight, by virtue of their membership on the team. Appellants (i.e., the players) will not be heard to complain when the light focused on them on their potential imminent withdrawal from the team.”
Bilney vs. Evening Star remains an important case in the first amendment law and has been cited in legal proceedings, in text books and courses taught in media law.

Tim Kurkjian ESPN broadcaster who started his media career at the Star said, “Dick was a kind of mentor to the younger guys, I cannot stress enough how helpful he was and how patient he was with us.”
Dick Heller was not only a mentor to younger guys during his long and distinguishing career in print media. He was also a mentor, friend and brother to Old Guys like me. I am a better writer today thanks to Dick Heller.
I look at the sports media sitting at press tables, media newsrooms, talk show host and analyst they are “The New Jack City Spooks That Sit by the Door” and have blocked the door extremely well. They see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil and write no evil. All they care about is show me the money and “Look at me.”

Some even claim that it is okay to use the N word as a term of endearment. You would think that it would be names like Michael, James, Jason, Stephen, etc. leading the fight to right the wrongs of a Willie Wood, Earl Lloyd, Maury Wills and Spencer Haywood, but it was names like Dick, Rick Snider (Examiner) and Dave (McKenna, City Paper) kicking down the doors for other brothers of another color.
Coach Leo Hill, Willie Jones and Dick Heller—–we never could have made it without you (RIP).

The N-Word According to ESPN’s Michael Wilbon

Mike Wilbon and Harold

By Harold Bell

STICKS and STONES MAY BREAK HIS BONES BUT THE N-WORD WILL NEVER HURT HIM?

John Feinstein a former colleague of ESPN’s Michael Wilbon at the Washington Post was on the record saying “Michael Wilbon is the biggest ass kisser in sports media.”  Those words were rather harsh and hard hitting.  In other words, Feinstein was saying, “Wilbon is sports media’s biggest cheerleader!”  This was after Wilbon’s co-host on ESPN’s PTI was suspended for making fun of co-worker Hanna Storm’s dress on national television.

Wilbon’s response to Feinstein:

I don’t need Junior (Feinstein) to get suspended. Junior caught an earful of language and heat that was both deserved and will stay private. I’ll match my credentials as a journalist with John Feinstein anytime. Junior has often mistaken his opinion with fact and with legitimacy. Thing is, my father didn’t raise me to be subservient to Junior, or anybody else. My opinions about Tiger Woods or any other issue are mine and I could give a damn about what Feinstein or anybody else thinks about them. The only thing special about Feinstein’s opinions is that they’re his. And I let him know that in very specific language that best belongs on HBO.

This isn’t the first time Wilbon has been called out for “sucking up” to athletes (he has written books with Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan). In what we think is one of the 10 best sports books we’ve ever read, Michael Leahy of the Washington Post beautifully deconstructed Jordan in “When Nothing Else Matters: Michael Jordan’s Last Comeback,” and in the process took a shot at Wilbon.

“All along, I thought that Wilbon’s treatment of Jordan highlighted the basic danger in getting too cozy with a subject,” Mr. Leahy writes. The access that Mr. Wilbon prized, Mr. Leahy argues, came at the cost of ever being able to write something critical about his celebrity subject.

Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser are immensely talented individuals and about 15 years ago, they were our sports writing idols. In their prime at the Washington Post, they were among the best sports writers in the country. What they don’t do well is take criticism from colleagues. They’ll definitely make the thin-skinned sports media member list

I missed the initial viewing of ESPN’s Outside the Lines show that aired on Sunday February 23rd.  The show hosted by Bob Levy examined the use of the N-word.  I heard from several different sources that Michael Wilbon lost a lot of credibility when he justified his use of the N-word as a term of endearment.

Since I had not seen or heard the show I held back judgment and waited until it re-aired on Sunday March 2nd.

It is rather ironic that Wilbon and I had a recent conversation about the use of the N-word.  The conversation took place in the Press Room before a Wizard’s game at the Verizon Center.  He told me ESPN wanted to have a conversation on the use of the N-word on Outside the Lines.  The show would be hosted by Bob Levy.  He said, “I am not comfortable doing the show with Levy.” Wilbon cited that he had no problem with Levy as a journalist but he had “No horse in the race” and he refused to participate.” These words out of Wilbon’s mouth got my undivided attention.

I have questioned Wilbon’s mindset on different topics on several occasions as I have questioned others in media.  It has never been anything personal it is a price we all pay for writing or voicing our opinions in public.

He said folks had asked him about our relationship and he said “I told them everything is cool with me and Harold Bell, we have talked.” But what Feinstein said about him sounded real personal.

I first met Wilbon when he became a sports writer for the Washington Post in the 1980s.  He and members of the sports department were often regulars on my radio sports talk show Inside Sports. Sports Editor George Solomon was a regular participant.  Since he was the leader of the staff most of the black writers followed his lead. He even allowed me to write a couple of freelancing articles for the paper.  When the paper established their own television sports show I became a regular guest.  I was up close and personal with the sports department.

Dave Kindred and Norm Chad were talented writers but you could not trust them, Kornheiser and Feintstein’s talent, they easily blended in with the landscape of the paper.  Feinstein called Wilbon the biggest ass kisser in sports media, if that is true he had great teacher in Kornheiser.  When Solomon tried to kick Kornheiser to the curve (fire him) in the 80s he was able to move to the Style section of the paper.  He carried the toilet paper around for Post owner Donald Graham.  One black female Washington Post columnist wrote a book titled “Plantation on the Potomac.”  She was describing her employer.

During his days at the Washington Post Wilbon and I bonded and became good friends.  We often discussed the politics of sports media.  He has called me a mentor.  I was proud of him taking a stand and refusing to participate in the forum on the N-word because I agreed with his logic as it related to Levy.

Wilbon has sought my advice on several important topics, but not since he has become an ESPN celebrity and I don’t take it personal.  I think my friend former NBA player/coach Al Attles said it best recently, “Some people it is not that they forget, they just move on.”

My problem with Wilbon is that he never kept his word after the Washington Post.

I thought to myself, “Why with all the blacks working on the Plantation/Set of ESPN why would they choose Bob Levy a white man to host an important forum on the N Word?”  The bottom line—no respect.  Former 60 Minutes and CBS Investigative Reporter Byron Pitts had a horse in the race but was given only a bit-part in the forum.  Remember, this is the same 60 Minutes that has yet to find a black reporter to replace Ed Bradley.

For example; if I tried to host a forum on the Holocaust with the leaders of the Jewish community—it would never happen.

Bill Rhoden a sports columnist for the New York Times wrote a book several years ago titled “Million Dollar Slaves,” as it related to black athletes in pro sports.  Rhoden could not see the forest for the trees.

When it comes to segregation, a media pressroom at “deadline” is second only to a church on Sunday morning in America.

During the reign of George Solomon as overseer of the Washington Post sports department, there were some great writers and columnist who crossed its threshold.  In the 70s, 80s and 90s, my favorites, the greatest was Shirley Povich, followed by Tom Callahan, Byron Rosen, Donald Huff, Michael Wilbon, Dave Aldridge and Dave Dupree.  The worst, were Leonard Sharpiro, Norman Chad, Dave Kindred, Tom Boswell, John Feinstein and Tony Kornheiser (aka Howdy & Doody).  The common denominator separating the best from the worst, was H&TWW (Honesty & Integrity While Writting).  Huff once told me that Solomon ran the sports department like Adoplh Hitler ran the Nazi Army.
The panel of Common (Rapper/Actor), Jason Whitlock (ESPN writer), Ryan Clark (NFL Player and ESPN Analyst) and Michael Wilbon (ESPN PTI) I found it to be rather odd and not well thought out.

There was no Dr. Harry Edwards, Hank Aaron or Jim Brown who can be a contradiction.  Jim can often be found talking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to the black athlete and community involvement.  Especially, when it comes to where the black athlete spends his money.

His rallying cry, “Show me the money.”  The common denominator is that all three black athletes have a track record of being forerunners in the Civil Rights Movement in America.  Hopefully, they were asked to participate and were of the same mindset as Wilbon not comfortable with Mr. Levy as the narrator for the forum.

There were several legit participants like Joe Lapchick a white man who has been in the war zones of the Civil Rights Movement and has the scars to show for it.

Another contradiction, the policing of the N-word by the NFL is hypocritical.  The NFL owners are members of the“Good Old Boy’s Club.”  They have shown in the last few decades that they are not interested in having blacks or other minorities as owners.

How can you police the N-word when in your own background you have one owner say to the media “No matter how offensive the word is I will never change the nickname of the Washington Redskins?  You can put that in CAPITAL LETTERS!”

NFL owners are paying Commissioner Roger Goodell $44 million dollars a year and they think the players are making too much money?  Goodell makes more than any player in the NFL and he never has to make a tackle or catch a pass.

The owners recent pay out to the players for injuries suffered on their watch was peanuts compared to the billions they make year in and year out.  I thought it was an insult as soon as I hear it.  A federal judge denied preliminary approval of a $765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims, fearing it may not be enough to cover 20,000 retired players.  U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody asked for more financial analysis from the parties, a week after players’ lawyers filed a detailed payout plan.

I mean who is zooming who?

I never thought there would be the day when I would see and hear Jason Whitlock sound like he was smarter than Wilbon.  There were two previous blogs I read by Whitlock and one said, “Georgetown Basketball Coach John Thompson had revolutionized college basketball by opening up the game for other black coaches.  The other said, “I see NFL legend Jim Brown to be a hero in the black community?”  Both observations were totally out of focus.  I was thinking that John Feinstein could add Whitlock to his list of bigger than life ass kissers in sports media.

Common and Wilbon cited the use the N-word as a term of endearment and Jason having an opposing view was both logical and smart.  The introduction by Common proves he knows the history of the Civil Rights Movement but has no respect for the sacrifices of those who prepared a way for him.  When he refused a request by his mother to cease using the word and a similar plea by poet Maya Angelo.  The brother just don’t get it—he lost me.

In my conversation with Wilbon back in January I told him I once used the N-word and the MF words as a regular part of my vocabulary.  My wife Hattie stepped in and made me re-think my position.  My work with youth and as a radio personality helped convince me that I needed to make a change and lead by example.

Common’s opening introduction was a compelling reason for all of us to stop using the N-word because it was not our word in the beginning.  It was our oppressors who use the N-word to violently destroy us by any means necessary.

The N-word can still be found in our work place and in organizations that are overrun with black folks.  Thanks to envy, jealousy and self-hate white folks no longer have to take the lead as oppressors, blacks are now their own oppressors.

There are blacks who think since they have two more dollars than their employees or neighbors they have arrived.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  They are just N—–rich.

It has been 50 years since Rev. Martin Luther King’s 1963 march on Washington and 46 years since his assassination in Memphis, Tenn.  The facts: a white man still doubles the salary of a black man, black unemployment doubles that of the white community, 60% of the inmate population is black, segregated schools are returning to American neighborhoods and the list goes on and on.

Stand Your Ground Laws have given whites a license to shoot and kill blacks for no other reason then, “They looked suspicious or the music was too loud.”  Have we forgotten, how the system has use bankruptcy, redlining, white collar crime, crack cocaine laws, minimum wage and now the Stand Your Ground law?  I recently read that Stand Your Ground laws are like bleach, it works miracles for whites and ruins colors.

Use of the N-word is comparable, whites use the N-word to keep their history alive and blacks using the N-word as a term of endearment insures and measures how far we still have to go.  Someone once said, “If you don’t know your history you are bound to repeat it.”

Sticks and stones may never hurt you Wilbon, but the N-word is slowly stunting the growth and progress of our black community.

———————————————————————————————

Dribbles:  David Aldrige on DC Sports Legend Harold Bell (March 6, 2014)

David Aldridge

By David Aldridge, NBA Analyst

If you want to know why Harold Bell is the way he is, start with his grandmother.

“My grandmother used to tell me, ‘A lie will change a thousand times. The truth will never change,” Bell said. “If I leave here today or tomorrow, nobody owes me anything. What I’d like to do is pay back some of the people that have helped me. They can’t say I stole from any kids, or done drugs, or anything like that.”  I was not perfect but I was taught it was best to lead by example.

For four decades, Bell has told the truth as he saw it, on the airwaves or in print in Washington, D.C.  He was the first African-American sports radio talk show host in DC. More recently, he’s been a no-holds barred Internet columnist who regularly calls out sacred cows who forgot who they are and where they came from.  He honors those in the black community who often don’t get recognition—both sports figures and regular folks.

In February, he was the host of a forum honoring his father-in-law, the late Dr. Charles H. Thomas, Jr., whose family led civil rights demonstrations in Orangeburg, S.C., in the early 1950s, before Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and Rev. Martin Luther King’s march on Washington in 1963. He’s honored both Doug Williams, the Super Bowl XXII MVP winner, and Gary Mays, a multi-sport athlete in D.C. in the 1950s who guarded Elgin Baylor.  Mays played catcher for Armstrong High School and almost made it to the majors despite having only one arm.

Bell advocated behind the scenes for the release of former University of Maryland basketball star Jo Jo Hunter from prison last year. Hunter had been convicted in 1997 of robbing two jewelry stores and was sentenced to serve up to 43 years in prison. Bell had several prominent sports stars and other Washingtonians write letters on Hunter’s behalf. He was paroled last summer.  Bernard Levi a DC basketball playground legend and NFL legend Jim Brown have also benefited.  Bell campaigned for Brown’s early release from jail after charges of spousal abuse in 2007.

“I’ve come to know Harold in the last few years,” says Brian McIntyre, who was the NBA’s longtime Vice President of Communications through 2010. “He’s a guy who’s reached back and touched an awful lot of people’s lives. He’s a fighter. He believes in what he believes dearly, and he’s not going to give an inch. You have to respect somebody who is as passionate as he is.”

For 45 years, he and his wife, Hattie, ran Kids in Trouble without grants or loans. The organization went into the D.C. neighborhoods in which Bell grew up while playing at Spingarn High. NBA Hall of Famer and Spingarn alumnus Dave Bing was the first pro athlete to reach back into the community.  In 1967 there was a shooting after a basketball game between Spingarn and McKinley Tech. A Spingarn student was shot. Bing an NBA Rookie was playing in his first All-Star Game in Baltimore. Bell working with the DC Recreation Department’s Roving Leader Program (Youth Gang Task Force) was assigned to the shooting. There was talk of revenge among the Spingarn students.  The quick thinking Bell drove to Baltimore to solicit the help of his friend Spingarn alumnus Dave Bing.  After playing in the game on national television on Sunday, on Monday morning Bing walked into a Spingarn assembly and got a standing ovation from the Spingarn student body.  His plea for peace was heard and further violence was averted.

Bell tried to improve the lives of at-risk youth by using pro athletes as a vehicle in his community programs. During the 1968 riots he and NFL Hall of Fame Green Bay Packer defensive back Willie Wood walked the 14th U Street corridor trying to quell the violence and save lives.

He was a multi-sport athlete at Spingarn, Bell has remained active in D.C.’s community as an adult.  He and his wife have raised money to send kids to summer camps and coordinated Christmas toy parties for kids that otherwise wouldn’t get any toys. The Washington Redskin’s players Roy Jefferson, Larry Brown, Harold McLinton, Ted Vactor, Dave Robinson and Doug Williams often played Santa’s Helpers. Hattie and Harold started and found Kids In Trouble, Inc., and the Hillcrest Saturday Program for neighborhood kids and their families after the 1968 riots.  They gave away Thanksgiving turkeys and organized tutoring programs.  In 1971, he founded the only halfway house for juvenile delinquents ever established on a military installation.  It was called Bolling Boys Base at Bolling Air Force Base in the Nation’s Capital.

He opened community centers that had previously been closed on the weekends to neighborhood children. Washingtonian Magazine named him Washingtonian of the Year in 1980 and called him “A One Man Community Action Program.”  He was the first sportscaster to receive the honor from the magazine.

Bell and his wife Hattie have been honored at the White House by President Richard M. Nixon.  He has been cited in the Congressional Record on three different occasions by Lou Stokes (D-Ohio), Bob Dole (R-Kan) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for his work with at-risk children.

“I think you’ve got to live by example.  The only reason I’m still standing strong is because my high school and college coaches, Dave Brown and Bighouse Gaines were there for me when I was going to hell in a hurry.  It’s not always financial when it comes to helping people.  I made decent money as a talk show host with The Maryland Lottery, Coca-Cola and Nike as sponsors of my radio talk shows. Plus, I moonlighted on the weekends as a wide receiver playing minor league football.  I tried to keep it real for my young people making sure they went “First Class.”  I think I’m more proud of that than anything else. When I see my former youngsters today, it’s still Mr. Bell and Mrs. Bell. They show respect because I never misled them” Bell said.

Working in the streets, Bell came in contact with Petey Greene, a local legend who hosted a highly-rated radio show (and, later, television show) on WOL-AM.  Bell had met Greene while caddying on the weekends at the prestigious Burning Tree Golf Course located in a Maryland suburb.  It would be years later when Greene would give Bell five minutes of air time on his Sunday show to talk sports.

“It was a short lived honeymoon, Petey would later tell me to get the hell off his show and get my own show.  Waiting in the wings was WOL radio personality Bobby Bennett, he picked me up.  Bennett was the No. 1 DJ in the country at the time and was known as ‘The Mighty Burner.  We talked sports on Saturday afternoons and the rest is sports media history” Bell said.

But within a few months, Bell was ready to go it alone with Bennett’s blessings.  Station WOOK-AM another black oriented station hired him for a solo host job, allowing him to express his strong opinions with no filter. The show was christened “Inside Sports,” and for much of the next 20 years, Bell held court with a Who’s Who of sports figures.  It was his relationships with Muhammad Ali and Red Auerbach that gave him instant credibility.

“Every sports talk show in this country is now formatted after the original Inside Sports,” he says. “Outside the Lines? I was Outside the Lines long before the show. I was real sports before Real Sports. I was discussing tough issues when everybody else was just giving the scores, batting averages and telling you how tall a player was.  I played message music when no one was playing message music (Wake Up Everybody, What’s Going On, Black & Proud, etc). That was unheard of and now that I’m transferring my old shows to CD, I can understand why so many people liked the Inside Sports talk show format.”

His interviews with Jim Brown, Spencer Haywood, Sonny Hill, Don King and John Chaney are classics. He did panel discussion shows with pro football players on the difficulties they faced after they retired, decades before it became a national issue. He was the first to convene a Media Roundtable with other members of the media.  He gave John Thompson and Sugar Ray Leonard their first airtime when they buy their own (and fell out with both).

I asked him if any of the high profile athletes he called out on his radio show had ever confronted him on any issues.  He said “No, because there is no defense for the truth just like my grandmother had told me.”

“My friendship with the late Red Auerbach and his wife Dotie who lived in D.C. was like family” he said.  There are others who have reached back like former NBA referee Lee Jones and Jim Clemons, who played with the ’72 Lakers championship team and went on to be an assistant coach on the Bulls’ and Lakers’ title teams of the ’90s and 2000s.  He said, “I owe them dearly.”

“Good man,” former player/coach Al Attles of the Golden State Warriors says of Bell. “Good man. He does so much trying to help others. He’s good people. We go back a long way. He’s just been outstanding. I grew up in New Jersey and went to school in North Carolina, of course, and moved out to the west coast. But I have always been partial to people who give back to the community. He did so many things. I’m a community guy and he always was. It’s not easy. As we get older, and new people come in and do things, I don’t think it’s that people don’t appreciate what you’ve done, it’s just that people move on.”

In 1975, Bell produced and hosted a half-hour sports special on WRC TV, the NBC affiliate in Washington.  His special guest was Muhammad Ali.  It was the first prime time sports program produced and hosted by an African-American.

“I met Ali on the campus of Howard University in 1967, when I was a roving leader,” Bell said. “He was there speaking to the students. He was going through all his problems with the draft and being black in America. We hit it off and walked from the campus down Georgia Avenue to 7th & T Streets together. We talked about my working with young people.  He was really [impressed. We had about 40, 50 people walking with us it was like a parade. I didn’t see him again for at least three or four years.  The late J.D. Bethea a sports writer for the Washington Times and was contemplating on writing a story on me, he and Attorney Harry Barnett invited to ride with them to see Ali fight an exhibition for a Cleveland hospital.  Barnett at the time was representing George Foreman.  And damned if Muhammad Ali didn’t recognize me during the press conference. He was like, ‘Harold Bell, what are you doing here?”

Bell hosted Inside Sports well into the 1990s at different radio stations.  He never compromised (he once gave  boxing promoter Don King a five-figure check back after he claimed King reneged on a promise).  He chastised those whom he believed didn’t give enough back to the communities from which they came. Players, media, coaches, it didn’t matter.  If you were on Bell’s bad side, there was hell to pay. “Radio is a special medium.  I enjoyed taking calls from my listening audience (Bell, however, says he never hung up on a caller, and thinks many of today’s radio gabbers are “rude” to their listeners.)

“You’ve got to be able to distinguish between constructive criticism and destructive criticism,” he says. “I knew when people were trying to help me and when they were trying to hurt me … you always have to consider the source. When When Red gave me advice, I knew he wasn’t trying to hurt me. Or when Al Attles pulled me to the side, I knew he was trying to help me, not to hurt me.”

Bell is still working. He now has his own YouTube channel, which airs his collection of star maker interviews on his radio shows with the likes of Ali, as well as Auerbach, Sam Jones, Attles, and Connie Hawkins. He sometimes can be heard on Sirius XM’s Maggie Linton Show, co-hosting a two-hour special on Sirius (Channel 110) last Friday to commemorate the end of Black History Month. He still has historic events at D.C.’s iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant. And he’s still telling the truth and calling it like he sees it.

“If you know Harold,” McIntyre said, “and if you haven’t had a difference of opinion over something, then I don’t think you know Harold Bell.”

Earl Lloyd the first black to play in the NBA described Bell best when he said on the John Thompson ESPN 98O radio sports talk show several years ago, “Harold Bell maybe controversial, but I have yet to hear anyone call him a liar.”

Black Men In America.com Administrator
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Black Men In America.com Administrator
Black Men In America.com is a popular website with a focus on black men. Approximately 45% of our site visitors are women. According to Alexa Internet and Ranking.com, Black Men In America.com is consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 most popular web sites (online community) on the Internet in the Ethnic/African/African-American category. Although our focus is on black men, we welcome all people, points of views and perspectives. Please do not use this site to post or transmit any unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane or indecent information of any kind, including without limitation any transmissions constituting or encouraging conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any local, state, national or international law. You alone are responsible for the material you post.
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Comments (1)

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