Rock singer John Mellencamp offered a controversial take on slavery, Black Americans and professional athletes on the latest edition of the Club Random with Bill Maher podcast.
The 71-year-old Mellencamp, who rose to fame in the 1980s, revealed to Maher that he had written a song entitled, From the Cotton Field to the Playing Fields. He has not released the song, however, as he thought it was “wrong.”
Maher did not let the comparison between slavery and pro athletes slide.
“I would say that the playing fields are a lot better than the cotton fields,” Maher said in the podcast. “That’s what I would say about that. Maybe I’m crazy, John, but it seems like making no money as a slave picking cotton — it was not as good as playing left field for the Yankees.”
Mellencamp seemed to concede the point, saying that “1 or 2% of Black people” in American “have a better life today.”
“Oh, stop, that’s what you think?” an incredulous Maher responded. “1 or 2%?”
“OK, let’s say 10%. I just pulled a number out of my ***,” Mellencamp said.
Maher joked that’s where Mellencamp’s opinion belonged.
The “slaves to athletes” comparison has been made before, and is usually quickly refuted by people pointing out that idolized athletes making millions per year playing a game have nothing in common with slavery. Mellencamp apparently didn’t get the memo the argument is bogus.
Sometimes Bill Maher does the Lord’s work. John Mellencamp is an uneducated poseur living a life of extreme privilege off of songs he wrote 40 years ago. https://t.co/66ZWqOqs4t
— JusticeBrandt (@justicebrandt1) August 31, 2023
Do you think he’s aware that we had a black President for 8 years? Or how about that the mayors of the 3 biggest cities in America are black? He picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. @johnmellencamp
— Jack Burton (@likeJakeBurton) August 31, 2023
What a completely insane statement.
— Dan A (@devilsadv0c8) August 31, 2023
It’s funny. He was one of the artists that liked to keep a low political profile, until recently.
Guess he has a new album out or something.
— The Redeemed Artist (@Peace_Grenade81) August 31, 2023
Nothing worse than geriatric male liberals whitesplanning how things are for black America
— chris eagan (@chriseagan) August 31, 2023