Yes, I will be watching the NFL this season…

This blog post may come as a surprise to some.

Many of you have watched me take a stand against injustices I see and encounter. Many of you have read my thoughts about what has been happening in this world. Many of you know I have no problem expressing how I feel about certain situations. So many of you may have been expecting a different blog title than the one you received.

Listen, everyone knows I love football. Not just like. I love it. Always have. Always will. Youth. Middle school. High school. College. NFL. I love it all. It is an escape for me. It is a place of solace in this crazy world. It is something I look forward too every September. And they are the reasons why I will be in front of the tv tonight.

Let me be clear. My love for the game is not greater than the desire I have to see things change in this world as well as effect change. However, here is the reality. The National Football League has long been a corporation that expects its employees to behave a certain way, follow certain protocols and always put the interests of their team, first. No different than most businesses, right? Well the difference here is the NFL has long been a corporation that rarely practices what it preaches. It wants to protect the shield but it has not been willing to do what needs to be done to make sure the shield is presented in a continuous, positive light.

Take a look at the facts.

The NFL has had an issue with drugs for years. Instead of addressing it head on, they initally tried to ignore the problem in hopes that it would go away. However, it did not so they were forced the deal with it.

The NFL has had an issue with its concussion protocol for years. Instead of addressing it head on, they tried to ignore the problem in hopes that it would go away. However, it did no so they were foced to deal with it.

The NFL has had in issue with domestic violence for years. Instead of addressing it head on, they tried to ignore the problem in hopes that it would go away.However, it did not so they were forced to deal with it.

See a pattern here?

Instead of using its voice to be a prominent opponent of these issues, the NFL decided long ago that the overall image of the shield was more important than the people behind it.

Listen, I get it. Again, it is a business. However, it is disappointing to routinely see one of the most powerful locomotives in this world routinely being reacticve instead of proactice.

Still, knowing all of this has not deterred me from watching the product that has been put onto the field. I love it and I do not ever see that changing.

Do I wish that it would? Absoluely. Did I consider boycotting? Sure did. Am I suprised at the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick? Absolutely not.

I am hoping that the NFL will learn from its past handlings of major controversies. The movement Kap started will not be ending anytime soon. If anything, its picking up even more steam and instead of trying to ignore it the NFL would be wise to face it head on. Deal with the injustices that not only plague our society but the National Football League as well.

The NFL is a well oiled machine. You would have to actively boycott it for years to make even a small dent in the profits they accumulate. And if you really want to make a noticeable dent, then the boycott would have to extend beyond the league and into the pockets of their partners as well – DirectTV, Gatorade, Verizon, Nike, Papa John’s, etc.

In the meantime, we all can do more in our own communities to deal with the injustices that surround us on a daily basis. Mentor some youth. Attend city council meetings. Volunteer. Hold community events that promote unity. Speak out against racism, sexism, classim, all the isms. Run for office. If we are going to make real changes that have a lasting impact then it starts in our communities. Lets all do our part to ensure that happens.

I plan to continue my efforts during football season.

 

Til next time…toodells.

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My ‘Untitled’ Peyton Manning Piece

Hmmmm, where do I start?

Do I start with naming the countless records he holds? Or do I start with by highlighting his career with the Indianapolis Colts then proceed to his career with the Denver Broncos? Or do I start with the way he revolutionized the game of football?

Or do I just start with what today means to me?

I think that is a good place to start.  Continue reading “My ‘Untitled’ Peyton Manning Piece”

A chat with Andre Boyd, the man behind #NotRayLewis

On Halloween, I received a text. At the time of receipt, I was fully engaged in trying to cheer my beloved North Carolina State Wolfpack onto victory against the number one team in the country. I quickly glanced at the text and said to myself, “I’ll check it later once I get stationary.”

November 1. I finally settled in to catch up on what I had missed that weekend. I soon found out there was a party going on and I was beyond fashionably late. The internet was all abuzz. My social media feeds were filled with people talking about it. The unexpected was happening.

Andre Boyd had gone viral.

Continue reading “A chat with Andre Boyd, the man behind #NotRayLewis”

I am not feeling it…

{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}

 

I have a confession. 

I have not been feeling very “sportsy” lately. 

What does that mean exactly? Well, my life often revolves around sports. I have been known rearrange activities or even skip them because “the game” is coming on. I watch SportsCenter daily. I read ESPN.com daily to stay abreast on the latest happenings. And I answer at least one question a day from someone regarding something sports related.

Continue reading “I am not feeling it…”

The Great 49ers Exodus…

 

Screenshot_2015-01-18-01-48-39-1

This picture sums up my feelings about my beloved San Francisco 49ers perfectly.

Well, it sums up exactly how I feel about our front office.

Rarely am I speechless but the past few weeks have left me with few words and a lot of head shaking. Let’s see, we have lost Frank Gore, Mike Iupati &  it looks like Michael Crabtree is next. Patrick Willis retired. Chris Borland shocked the world and retired at the age of 24. Justin Smith is rumored to retire. And please do not make me go back and talk about Jim Harbaugh’s departure. Yeah yeah, the retirements are not the front offices fault but it does not lessen the sting. Especially not when we have lost so much production in other areas.

It is going to take some time for me to get over losing Gore. Talk about stunned.

I really do not know what to make of my beloved 49ers right now. The team is almost urecognizable. Never in my life have I seen such an exodus. Sad thing is, the exodus is so unnecessary but tell that to management and I am sure you will probably get the same look I have been giving them. It is as if they want us to have to rebuild but why? We already had most of the pieces in place. Just needed to plug some holes.

Sadly, I wish I could say I am surprised that it has come to this. The writing has been on the wall. When the rumblings started about Harbaugh being “released” at the end of this past season, I knew we were dealing with some not so smart execs in the front office. I mean really? Who even entertains the notion of “releasing” a coach who has taken you to three straight NFC championships and was one play away from ring number 6?

It just makes no sense whatsoever. There is no logical explanation for this ridiculousness. Can we trade our president and GM? Just sayin.

Stuart Scott: A Life LIVEdSTRONG

When I was a teenager, I had daily routine before school. Wake up. Get ready for school. Watch Rocky & Bullwinkle. Eat cheese toast. Turn to ESPN at 7a to watch SportsCenter. Over the years, my routine has varied some but the one constant has always been my morning dose of SportsCenter. It was on SportsCenter that I got watch one of my favorite sports anchors every morning, Stuart Scott.

I can remember the day I met him as if it happened recently. My sixth grade PE teacher, Ms. Graves, who has become a dear friend of the family invited me to go with her to Late Night with Roy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her son, Will, who was like a little brother was a freshman on the basketball team. Supporting Will was a no-brainer. As a proud graduate of North Carolina State University, traveling over into enemy territory was nothing new for me. In an effort to clearly let the masses know that I was there to support Will, only, and not the team I put on as much red as I could find. Red headband. Red NC State shirt. Red Chuck Taylors. Even in all my red, I was excited. I was excited that Will was going to get his first chance to really showcase his talent to the fans that would be cheering him on for the next four years and I was excited to see Scott in his element, up close.

I settle into my seat and soon Scott was introduced. I was mesmerized as I watched him command the crowd of thousands in the same manner that made him a favorite on SportsCenter. I could not believe I was seeing him in person. Then, it happened. He spotted me. I was sitting three rows from the court and I stuck out like beanstalk in a haystack. He was walking by the bench when I heard him say, “I know I don’t see what I think I see.” We immediately locked eyes and I smiled. Scott asked me to come out onto the court. Now even in all my boldness, I was not about to let him get me out on that court to ridicule me. I shook my head and told him to come up to where I was. As is typical with the banter between a Wolfpacker and a Tar Heel, neither of us budged. He gave up but not without making a State joke then moved on to something else.

After the event, I went over to speak to him. As I approached, he immediately smiled. He reached out to shake my hand, gave me a hug and thanked me for being a good sport. I told him how much I enjoyed him on SportsCenter and how he was one of my favorites. He thanked me, asked me a little about myself, told me to keep doing what I was doing and posed for a picture.

Stu

Over the past few weeks, Scott has crossed my mind often. Typically when that would happen, I would go check his Twitter feed to see if he had tweeted anything. He was a regular tweeter and the fact that he had not tweeted since November 14 was a cause for concern. As the weeks went on and the tweets still did not happen, I became increasingly sad. The absence of his tweets resonated loudly. Whenever he crossed my mind, I would pray; for him, his healing, his family especially his daughters, his colleagues, his medical staff, all those who knew and loved him. I tried to remain optimistic as I knew that wherever he was, he was fighting a good fight.

In July, I watched with the world as Scott accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPYs. It was fitting that a man who had dedicated so much of his time and efforts to the V Foundation was now on the receiving end of the award named in reference to how Jimmy V lived his life while battling the same disease as Scott. My eyes filled with tears as I listened to Scott deliver a speech that totally changed the way I looked at cancer. He provided me with an 18 word quote that resonated loudly…”You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.”

When my friend Quincy passed away in October after a 10 year battle, it was that quote that often made me smile, through the tears, when I thought about Quincy. Quincy never let cancer define him. NEVER. He lived a life worthy of being remembered forever. He woke up every day determined to live and that is what he did until he took his last breath. As I sat glued to ESPN this morning, I knew Scott had lived the type of life he spoke about on that stage in July. If you were a regular watcher or ESPN, you saw it every time Scott was on. The only indication that he was in the fight of his life was the LIVESTRONG bracelet that always adorned his wrist. There was never any pity, sadness or despair. Whenever Scott was on, he was on just like he had always been. He was a living example of what beating cancer looked like.

Today, through tears, I have thought a lot about Quincy. I have read tweet after tweet from Scott’s colleagues, current and former athletes, the President and those who just love sports. I have watched his fellow anchors fight back tears as “he is” has to now change to “he was.” I have reminisced on the countless hours I have spent watching Scott revolutionize the title of sports anchor/analyst. And I have thought a lot about the day I met him in the Smith Center. At the time, I was still focused on one day becoming an athletic director. Thoughts of one day being a sports journalist had not crossed my mind. If it had, then my interaction with Scott that day would have been much different. I probably would have thanked him for being authentically him. I probably would have thanked him for giving hope to countless black journalists who strive to have a platform as big as his one day. I probably would have thanked him for never compromising who he was. I probably would have thanked him for stepping out on faith and trailblazing a path for others to follow. I probably would have thanked him for bridging the gap between hip-hop culture, sports and corporate America. I probably would have thanked him for being so great on the job and for being even better off of it.

I would have thanked him simply for being Stuart Scott.

Staurt, you nailed it as only you could. With style, grace and a BooYow to top it off.

Well done, sir. Well done.

{Source: Twitter}
{Source: Twitter}