Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Samuel L. Jackson Has His Own Challenge for Other Celebrites in Reaction to "Racist Police" (Watch) Samuel L. Jackson Has His Own Challenge for Other Celebrites in Reaction to "Racist Police" (Watch) Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

'The Clemente Effect' Review: An Iconic Athlete and Humanitarian's Legacy Resonates

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act March 10, 2013 at 4:23PM

'The Clemente Effect' Review: An Iconic Athlete and Humanitarian's Legacy Resonates
1


Roberto Clemente

“As an athlete he was really excellent, extraordinary but he didn’t just want to be a famous baseball player, he wanted to excel as a human being. In fact, he was a better person than a ballplayer.”Roberto Gil (Clemente’s close friend)


Premiering on the ESPN network today is Mario Diaz’ documentary The Clemente EffectClemente is a passionate recounting of the Puerto Rican and American baseball legend. The documentary tells the important story of a humble and noble athlete, who aside being revered for leading the Pittsburg Pirates World Series’ win in 1960 as well as becoming MVP in 1966, emphasizes Clemente’s life as a humanitarian and proud advocate of Human Rights for minority players.


Although I was never a baseball fan per se, growing up in Puerto Rico, I was acquainted to Roberto Clemente’s legacy, which went far beyond his athletic abilities.  I must have been about six-years old or younger when seeing his memorabilia in relatives’ homes peaked my curiosity and prompted questions. Relatives will say things like, “He was our hero; he was the best Puerto Rican player in the major leagues who loved his country.” But, the last part was what always stuck with me. He was on his way to deliver food and supplies to Nicaragua after an earthquake, but the plane was too full, and it crashed in the sea a mile from away from its landing. They never found him.

I can only imagine at an early age, why would someone so famous and revered, and rich, could also be so selfless, and want to help earthquake victims in another country. The answer was always “That’s just the kind of person he was; concerned with the welfare of others.”


It’s an important story. It’s seldom to be truly inspired by an athlete aside from the fame and prowess in the playing field. Clemente aimed to give hope those who were less fortunate. Through several accounts by Clemente’s close friend Luis Mayoral, Clemente’s brother Matino and actor Modesto Lacen, who played Clemente in a Puerto Rican Off-Broadway play DC-7: The Clemente Story, you are taken back to the icon’s humble beginnings. Raised as a Christian to hard working parents in agricultural Carolina, Puerto Rico at the time – his father was a foreman at a Sugar Mill – Clemente was discovered at a young teen by a rice salesman, who referred the youngster to Santurce Crabbers’ team, where he was later drafted to play for Pittsburgh in the U.S.


One of the most interesting aspects of Effect is Clemente’s assimilation – or lack thereof – to American culture. Although Puerto Rico isn’t a racial utopia necessarily, Clemente’s naiveté upon facing the racial challenges during the Civil Rights were trying and unfathomably challenging. Puerto Ricans pride themselves as one culture, regardless of race. There are definitely the effects of colonialism in the island, which surface more as “colorism.” Racism is deemed publicly shameful; there’s an African legacy in the island that permeates in Puerto Rican culture as a whole, through centuries of lawful miscegenation similar to other Caribbean countries and unlike the U.S. Despite the challenges, which gave Clemente even more determination to succeed in the field, Clemente managed to excel, while remaining genuine about his roots and outspoken about human rights.


Not only was Clemente black, but he also faced a language barrier. There weren’t many Latino players in the league. The prideful athlete was passive, yet defiant. He confronted the media at the time, which was unheard of by a public figure of color at the time.  I only wished the documentary would have focused on how black Americans related to Clemente at the time.


Aside from books, it’s surprising that there hasn’t been a definitive screen documentary on Clemente. The legend has been part the PBS documentary American experience, but after all these years, The Clemente Effect is overdue. Here’s your chance to get to know more about the inspiring philanthropist and amazing athlete. Tune in today at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and on ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m.



Shadow & ActNewsletter