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”

Advertisements

Victims stories shatter myths…

Yesterday afternoon as the aftermath of Ray Rice’s release and suspension continue to send shockwaves throughout the sporting community and beyond, two trends took off that begin to put everything in to perspective: #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. Initially, I chose not to read the tweets. I had already spent time writing about the situation, was engulfed in discussions about the situation and my Twitter mentions were too much to keep up with. I needed a break from it.

However, before I went to bed last night I decided to take a look. My mom had told me how powerful the hashtags were and that I should read them. I laid down thinking I owe it to these victims, these victims who are courageous enough to take 140 characters and explain their story. As I lay in my bed, my eyes filled with tears as I read tweet after tweet of women AND men who shared their whys. From not understanding what love was suppose to look like to being told over and over it would never happen again to believing things would change to believing the abuser wanted to change to being afraid of children getting hurt in the process to being afraid that leaving would literally mean a choice between life and death…the stories were gripping. They were REAL.

The tweets tell a story…a story of manipulation, fear, paranoia, lies, pain, anguish, hurt, sadness, depression, unworthiness, deceit, deception, persuasion, coercion, threats, humiliation, rape, assault. The tweets tell stories from those who have lived it. The tweets tell stories from those who have suffered through it. The tweets tell stories from those who made excuses. The tweets combat the assumptions I have seen spewed all over social media…those who blame the victim, those who make ASSUMPTIONS about why a person stayed or their actions, those who think it is easy to walk away from situations of this magnitude.

If you have not been in that type of situation then it will be hard for you to understand. I cannot fathom being in an abusive relationship. So instead of trying to understand it from my “I would never allow that to happen” point of view, I try to understand it from a why does this happen point of view? I am reading to see if I can understand where the disconnect happened in the victim’s life to justify the first blow they ever received. I am reading to understand what signs I should be looking for. I am reading to understand how I can help. I am reading to understand what more needs to be done. I am reading to understand why this topic is just now getting this type of attention. I am reading to understand how some got the courage to leave.

We rarely hear the stories of victory.  We rarely hear the stories of the victims who left in the middle of the night and drove for hours just to start a new life, free from their abuser. We rarely hear the stories of the victims who secretly planned their escape for months. We rarely hear the stories of the victims who were one step from suicide but found the strength to decide that they were worth more than that. More than anything, #WhyILeft is a rallying cry. It is a rallying cry for those that are still living in the nightmare of abuse. It is a rallying cry to let them know that  life outside of their situation, that they can be victorious and that love does not come with fists. It is a rallying cry for those that took matters into their own hands. It is a rallying cry for those who finally know their worth. It is a rallying cry that sends a signal to those who cannot understand…check your assumptions at the door because they have a story to tell.

P.S. There are so many causes out here that need our attention. We all cannot be fully dedicated to raising awareness for every cause that plagues our country/world but we can make a difference in certain areas. I challenge you all, if you are not already involved with a cause, to get involved. It should not take a national news story for you to want to help. Actions speak louder than words. What do yours say about you??

Fists, Lies & Videotape

My spidey senses did not perk up this morning when I turned on ESPN2 and saw that Adam Schefter was sitting at the First Take desk with Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless and Cari Champion. Yesterday marked the first NFL Sunday of the season so I simply thought he was there to discuss that.

WRONG.

Disgusted. Sickened. Sad. The first three emotions I experienced this morning as I stood, stunned watching the newly released footage of Ray Rice TKO’ing his then fiance, Janay Palmer, in an elevator. To say I was disturbed to see what I saw would be an understatement. For weeks now, the talk has been about NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell and his light penalty(a two game suspension) concerning Ray Rice. The suspension is a topic I have not written about NOT because it does not concern me but because I simply chose not to write about it. About a month ago, I addressed the Rice situation when Smith found himself in hot water for what many called was him implying that it was ok for men to hit women. Everything I said on July 30, I stand by.

However, what I do not stand by is the way the this situation has been handled. Not by the NFL, not by the Baltimore Ravens, not by Rice, not by his wife, not by the prosecutors. When Rice and his wife held their press conference, together sitting far apart, I knew something was off. The fact that two people who had been involved in a physical altercation were presenting a united front was disturbing.  If the NFL thinks I believe that TODAY is the first day they have seen the video of Rice landing his best ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson left hook on his now wife then then I must also believe that the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot are real. One of the powers that be saw that video. Maybe not Goddell but somebody. The NFL expects me to believe that they asked for all video footage but were not given the video inside the elevator but TMZ was?? We are talking about the same NFL that is one of the most powerful organizations in the world, not the country, the WORLD. Excuse me while I go watch Pinocchio’s nose grow.

What I saw take place in that elevator was enough to bring tears to my eyes. Yes, I saw a woman, who in the elevator, made contact first. I then saw a man levy a hit so hard that it knocked her out of the picture, literally. I then saw a man who, according to his non verbal language, was not overly concerned with the fact that the unconscious woman laying at his feet was the woman he had pledged all his love to the day he put a ring on her left hand. I then saw a man, not pick up but drag his soon to be wife out of the elevator and leave here laying there on a cold, hotel lobby floor as he seemed to contemplate what to do next.

None of us knows for sure what happened before they got into that elevator. We know what they said and we know what others have said. To me, it looks like a relationship that was plagued with domestic violence before hand that either no one seemed to know about or one where the issues were hidden very well. His actions upset me. A LOT. Even if she was the one that delivered the first blow, which is wrong and puts you in a position to get what you dished out, the amount of force in which he used should be enough to make anyone sick to their stomach. Assault is never ok. Domestic violence is never ok. What I saw is never ok. Oh and two wrongs do not make a right.

I have heard plenty of people say over and over that I should not be upset with the NFL because this is a social issue not an NFL issue. I often wonder out loud if they have been paying attention to the same NFL I watch. If it has nothing to do with the NFL then why does the league have policies concerning conduct, drugs and steroids. Domestic violence is a social issue that effects many affiliated with various companies and organizations including the NFL. In July, Goddell had an opportunity to set a standard when it comes to an issue that has been swept up under the rug for too long. He had a chance to issue a suspension that spoke volumes about how the governor of the NFL feels in regards to domestic violence. He had a chance to stand up for domestic violence victims, both women and men, and say this will not be tolerated in our league. Instead, he handed out a punishment that was the equivalent of what our parents used to dish out to us for missing curfew, lying or letting our friends wreck our new bike.  Shoot, in a lot of cases parents levied a stricter punishment.

If I heard right this morning, then there is a certain policy in the Collective Barganining Agreement in which Goddell could retroactively issue a stiffer punishment on Rice. Should he? I am on the fence about that one. Part of me says he should have handled it right the first time. Part of me says he should go back and hand out a longer suspension. Another part of me wants him to have to face the inferno that is headed towards him in light of the new evidence. Now that I think about it, hand out a longer suspension and face the inferno at the same time. Stand up and admit you dropped the ball. Stand up and admit you thought this would go away. Stand up and admit that the NFL is an organization that has the power to bring awareness to certain topics. Stand up and admit that you should have done more.  Stand up for victims who cannot stand up for theirselves.

Stand up for your daughters. You owe it to them.

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

 

P.S. As I was finishing this post, I got word that the Ravens have released Rice. Does not change anything I said above.

P.P.S. Let us all take a stand and fight this issue head on. We can speak up for all victims. GIVE THEM A VOICE!!

Just got paid, Friday niiiight…

A quarterback got paaaaaaaid Friday. A quarterback landed the a deal that gave him the second highest amount of guaranteed money, ever. A quarterback, not surprisingly, became the highest paid player in NFL history. What is surprising is that this quarterback’s last name is NOT Manning, Brady, Brees or Rodgers. His last name is Flacco. first name Joe. Some of ya’ll are probably saying, who?

When news broke on Friday that the Baltimore Ravens were preparing to make Flacco the highest paid player in NFL history, I was stunned. Six years, $120.6 million. $52 million guaranteed. We all knew a deal was coming but I do not think there were many who expected such a historic deal. Lets face it, even now Flacco does not routinely make it into analysts conversations about “elite” quarterbacks. He has the same amount of rings as Peyton Manning, Rodgers and Brees. Has appeared in more championship games than them the past five years. And he is still in his 20s.

Flacco is a baller. He is very boring. Even his dad admitted that. However, the numbers he has put up the past five years especially in the playoffs can stand up against any of the ‘elite” qb’s. I am still not convinced he is worth $120.6 million but hey, I ain’t mad at him. Get that money Joe!!!

Until next time…TOODELLS!

Still Forever Faithful…

Ugh. So close. Sooooooooooo close. I still can not believe it. Less than 10 yards away, maybe it was 15 from my team winning it all. Ugh.

This is not the blog I expected to write. I expected to come on here and tell you all about how much I screamed and hollered and lost my voice during my victory celebration. I expected to come on here and tell you all how I cried after my team hoisted the Lombardi trophy into the air. I expected to tell you all that I sprinted out of the house(ala Aldon Smith when he gets a sack) after the clock hit zero. However, it was not meant to be. Ugh.

My 9ers. My 9ers. My 9ers. Oh, my 9ers. They left me with a broken heart. They are making me avoid ESPN for the rest of the night. Um, I will also have to avoid ESPN at least another day. Tragic. They left me deleting posts off my Facebook page from people who wanted to rub it in. Some may call that being a sore loser and that is fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I call it being passionate about my team. In that moment I was sad and I did not want anyone adding to my sadness. Some losses sting. Some losses leave me shaking my head. And some losses just down right hurt. This was one of those hurtful losses. I was sad. Very sad. I think I even had a tear in my eye. To battle back the way that we did and still come up short is aaaah. I do not even have the word for it. Ugh.

I refuse to blame our loss on the refs, the secondary, the defense, the coaching staff, etc. Sure, there were some penalties I thought the refs missed. Sure, the secondary made huge mistakes., Sure, there was some questionable play calling but hey it is all a part of the game. How you react to those factors is what decides who wins and loses. Overall, I still think we had the better team on the field but the Baltimore Ravens refused to be denied. They are to be commended for their effort and for a great season. Although I am avoiding ESPN for another day or so, I am sure at some point I will search for the coverage of Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Torrey Smith and offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell all hoisting that trophy. Ok, probably not but it sounded good. I have great respect for those guys and that organization. Congrats to them and their fans. Look at me coming out of my sadness. I did not even end this paragraph with ugh. See :-}.

If there is one bright spot, it is the fact that we have a very young team that is only going to get better. I am pretty sure we have found our QB. I am pretty sure we still have the best O-line in the game. And I am pretty sure we will be drafting some secondary players this offseason. Once this team can consistently put together a complete game, I think you will see that 9ers dynasty rise, once again, from The Bay. Last year, we lost in the NFC Championship game. This year we lost in the Superbowl. If the trend continues, then this time next year I can scream with pride, Ladies & Gentlemen, the San FranSIXco 49ers!!! And this member of the Faithful still loves the sound of that!!!

Until next time….TOODELLS.

P.S. The 9er motto for the postseason was #QuestForSix. I think without a doubt, the motto for next season should be UNFINISHED BUSINESS. I think I will tweet them and let them know.

P.P.S. What am I going to do until August?! Ugh.

faithful

WE ARE GOING TO THE CHIP….Championship Weekend Recap

faithful

OMG GEEEEEEEEEEE!!! MY NINERS ARE GOING TO THE SUPERBOWL!!!! OMG GEEEEEEEEEEE!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! Excited. Thrilled. Overjoyed. Happy. None of those words describe how I felt when Navorro Bowman knocked the ball away from Falcons receiver Roddy White with 1:13 remaining in the game to seal the come from behind victory. None of those words describe how I feel now. OMG GEEEEEEEE!!! The scream I let out yesterday at the restaurant scared everybody. Eh well :-}. And I must admit, my eyes watered a little. It has been a long time coming!! The years of continuing to be part of the Faithful(nickname for the legion of 49ers fans) has paid off. I was 12 the last time my 9ers went to the Super Bowl. I was a fan then but I am a die-hard now and this is a feeling I can get used to. Down 17-0 early in the second quarter, my 9ers begin to mount a comeback to pull within three only to let the Falcons score before the half to take a 24-14 lead into halftime. However, there would not be a repeat of last year! My 9ers scored two touchdowns in the second half including Frank Gore’s go ahead touchdown with 8:23 remaining to seal the fate of the Falcons. Gore nicely showed them how to do the ‘Dirty Bird’ before jogging off the field. The Falcons, who dominated offensively, in the first half could not get anything going and was shut out by the league’s number one scoring defense in the second half. The Falcons made it interesting driving the length of the field while draining the clock. My nerves were shot until Bowman took matters into his own hands and allowed Faithful everywhere to celebrate in a way we have not been able to in 18 years. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! WE ARE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!!! I think my reputation as a Faithful speaks for itself. You would not believe how many phone calls, texts, Facebook messages and tweets I received from people offering up their congrats. I think my 9ers need to put me on payroll. I am representing hard on the East Coast! Oh and shoutout to my little cousin who owes me a Zaxby’s meal. Poor little Falcon fan. Eh well!!! SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS. NFC CHAMPIONS. The Quest For Six continues….

After such an amazing game, it was hard for me to concentrate on the AFC Championship game. I was still on a natural high from earlier. Plus the Wolfpack was playing soooo yeah my mind was elsewhere for a while. This year’s AFC Championship was a rematch of last year’s. Last year, the Patriots were the victors and New Englanders were already expecting a repeat of last year’s outcome. Some even went so far as to put up a billboard letting everyone know that Ray Lewis’ retirement party would start Sunday night in Foxborough. Welp, Lewis and the Ravens had other plans and they made sure, just like my 9ers, that they did not have a repeat of last year. Down 7-13 at the half, the Ravens came out and dominated the second half on both sides of the ball. The defense held one of the leagues most prolific offenses to zero points in the second half. The Ravens left no doubt as they scored three more touchdowns to advance to the SuperBowl. Looks like New Englanders will have to wait another two weeks for Lewis’ party to begin although they are unlikely to attend.

So there you have it folks. SuperBowl XLVII(47 for those of you who can never figure out those Roman numerals) is set. My SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS(I plan to call them the San FranSIXco 49ers after we win) vs. the Baltimore Ravens. Jim Harbaugh vs. John Harbaugh. Little Brother vs. Big Brother. The HarBowl. This is going to be classic, smashmouth football. I know the Ravens have tons of motivational factors on their side but I am rolling with my Niners all the way. I mean, that is how the FAITHFUL rolls!!!

quest-for-six-profile-thumbnail

Wildcard Weekend Roundup

What an interesting weekend of football!!! It was great, right? Lets rekap.

The biggest story of the weekend had to be Ray Lewis playing his last home game as a Baltimore Raven.

As I stated on Friday, his story of resilience and redemption is one that all can learn from. Lewis had a team high 13 tackles, wore a menacing face mask that made him look like he was going to war with the Deceptions and was on the field for the final kneeldown. Doesn’t get much better than that. He sealed his farewell with his patented “squirrel dance” (yeah, I just found out yesterday that it had a name) and exited to a deafening ovation for the crowd. Very fitting for a man who put a franchise and city on his back and gave it everything he had. On Saturday, my faves will go head to head. Peyton vs. Ray Ray. I think I shall remain neutral. Go Broncens!! Go Ravecos!!!

Oh, I guess you know the Ravens beat down the Colts.

Now onto Sunday’s other showdown…Rookie vs. Rookie. Elusive QB vs. Elusive QB. Russell vs. RG3. I know there was not any question as to who I was pulling for. Was it just me or did Russell look like he had been playing in the league for years? His composure in the pocket especially during a blitz is a thing of beauty. He does not get razzled easily. I tweeted last night that I was so happy that the nation was getting a chance to see what us Wolfpackers got to see for years. Russell is a baller!!! That Seahawks team makes me nervous. The combination of Russell, RB Marshswn Lynch and that defense is scary. I fully expect to see them in the NFC Championship playing against my 9ers. My boys better be ready!! By the way, Russell, the 75th overall draft pick, is the last rookie QB standing. Whoop whoooop!!

Yes, I talked about Russell before I addressed the RG3 controversy. Hey!!! I had to give Russell his flowers. I know you are waiting on my opinion about the RG3 debacle. I missed the first half but I heard he got hit early, was limping and was not very effective from that point on. I get the warrior attitude especially in the playoffs but when does a player’s health become bigger than the game? It is obvious that RG3 should have been pulled early in the game. Give the team a chance to win. It is not like the Redskins do not have a decent backup. Knees are nothing to play Russian Roulette with. Keeping RG3 in did not produce the result the team was hoping for. Putting Cousins in earlier could have changed the story.

As much as I talked about Sunday’s games, I almost forgot about Saturday’s. I was pulling for the Bengals because I wanted Coach Marvin Lewis to get that elusive first playoff win. As usual, the Texans found a way to win. They do not impress me, at all. I fully expect the Patriots to send them back to Texas for an early start to their summer vacay.

The Packers vs. Vikes game….snoozefest. I just woke up! Woke up to see Vikings back up QB, Joe Webb, on the ground, again. Po fella. Vikings did not stand a chance. Better luck next year.

:: My picks ::
Broncos vs. Ravens….Broncos
9ers vs. Packers….9ers
Texans vs. Patriots….Patriots
Seahawks vs. Falcons….Seahawks

:: Championship Weekend ::
9ers vs. Seahawks….9ers
Broncos vs. Patriots….Broncos

:: Super Bowl 47 ::
My 9ers vs. My boo #18 and the Broncos…..I will reveal my pick later this week :-}

P.S. The “melt” is on!!! Hockey is back!! Yes! Yes! Yes!!

Until next time….TOODELLS.