Let’s open up the ol’ cyber-mailbag, shall we? This week, two Friends of Jock Bitch (FoJB? FoJobs? That sounds weird.) were kind enough to send in a couple of links to articles of interest.
The first, thanks to Marcia, is a BBC story about a 45-year-old female Japanese boxer named Kazumi Izaki, who is attempting to beat the world record for the oldest boxer to win a title. The title currently is held by none other than George Foreman, who won his last heavyweight belt at the age of 45 years, 9 months. Izaki is 45 years, 11 months old.
Although Izaki was slated take on 29-year-old Anna Marie Torres in a battle for the super-flyweight title, the World Boxing Council, in a decision that very much echoes the twisted logic that has kept women out of sports for decades, cancelled the match due to fears that Torres would hurt the older lady.
Funny, I don’t remember that being an issue when Foreman initiated his bid to regain his title at about the same age.
Check out the article and see what you think.
The second comes from Annie McKay, who sent in an article from the excellent web magazine The Root (if you haven’t checked out the site, you should!). The Root article, written by scholar Salamishah Tillet, is about Olympic sprinter Marion Jones, who famously kicked ass at the 2000 Olympics by winning five medals, and then famously had to forfeit those medals after admitting she had been using PEDs. Jones also was involved in a check fraud case. She lied repeatedly about that, plus about her PED use, to federal agents and even a grand jury, and ended up in jail for six months after being sentenced for perjury. And now she’s out. She was released last fall.
Jones’ story is so heartbreaking, because she was such a talented athlete, and the check fraud part of the story to me is the worst, because, although it was wrapped up with her PED use, it had nothing to do with her performance on the track.
But, according to Tillet’s story, when Jones spoke recently at her first public speech since her release, she didn’t say much about all that. At an appearance at the University of Pennsylvania’s annual “Race and Sports” lecture series, Jones spoke mainly of another regret: That, as Tillet put it, “she didn’t use her prior celebrity to help even the playing field in sports” for African-American women.
Jones’ saga is so multi-faceted, I don’t even know where to begin. On the one hand, it’s a tragedy she brought on herself—she didn’t just dabble in PEDs, she had quite a relationship with them (some say since high school), as did the men she chose to date and marry.
On the other hand, media coverage of Jones’ fall certainly bears some scrutiny. You hear the word “disgrace” a lot, and “scandalous.” I could be wrong, but it doesn’t seem like we hear those words uttered as much when we hear about Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire steroid use (much less the myriad cases involving male athletes domestic abuse and other violent offenses—they get pretty much a free pass on that). With baseball, there is still an argument that goes on about whether ‘roided up players should be voted into the hall of fame, whether their records should stand. With Jones, there’s no argument—her medals are gone.
That’s not to say she doesn’t deserve punishment. It’s just…there’s a lot going on about race, class, and gender in the Jones case. Read the story, and see what you think.