And the NFL keeps fanning the flames..

Just when I thought things could not get more foolish, they do.

And I am over it.

OVER. IT.

You might think I am kidding but I am not.

I. AM. DONE.

I. AM. DONE. WITH. THEM.

The them being the National Football League.

Continue reading “And the NFL keeps fanning the flames..”

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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.

Continue reading “Yes, I will be watching the NFL this season…”

Kaepernick’s “sit in” stands out…

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

Or in this case, sit.

Enter Colin Kaepernick. Unless you have been on a boat in the middle of the ocean with no wi-fi then you are already familiar with the controversy Kaepernick has immersed himself in. Call me crazy but I honestly am stunned by the amount of attention this has gotten. I took a break from social media for a few days last week so I really did not get caught up on all the backlash, until yesterday. And that is when my head started spinning with thoughts I was eager to record.

I was going to make this one of my paint a picture, extensive vocabulary posts but I am beyond that because I am so over the foolishness. There are kids being killed in our streets in broad daylight and you all are more concerned with an NFL player not standing during the National Anthem? There are kids committing suicide due to bullying and you all are more concerned with an NFL player not standing during the National Anthem? There is a ticking time bomb campaigning to add President of the United States to their resume and you all are more concerend with an NFL player not standing during the National Anthem? There are 28 million people uninsured in this country and you all are more concerend about an NFL player not standing during the National Anethem? There are young black men who are buried in cemeteries across the country because a trigger happy police officer used him as target practice and got away with it but you all are more concerned about an NFL player not standing during the National Anthem? There are 2 million plus homeless veterans, you know the people who you have used to support your argument regarding Kapernick’s decision, but you all continue to be more concerned about an NFL player who did not stand during the National Anthem.

Miss me all the way as far as left as you can go with that foolishness.

See. Here is the “real problem.” We are tired. We are tired of inequality. We are tired of having to work twice as hard to get a fourth of what we deserve. We are tired of racism. We are tired of our actions being dissected. We are tired of our movements being misconstrued. We are tired of institutionalism. We are tired of being ostracized. We are tired of a justice system that leaves behind more injustices in its trail.

And when we get tired, we take matters into our own hands. Sometimes, things are not handled in the most effective way. However, you cannot to continue to expect every reaction to be peaceful when peace has not been afforded to us. I am over people who do not look like us trying to tell us how to think, feel and act. WE ARE NOT PUPPETS.

Colin Kaepernick did nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing. I find so much irony in the fact that there are so many talking heads, including current and retired NFL players who NEVER condemn the issues plaguing our country, who feel the need to chime in regarding his action while failing to realize they are doing the same thing Kaepernick did – taking advantage of the First Amendment right.

The flag he “disrespected” is a symbol. That symbol is supposed to represent the freedoms that all Americans are “entitled” to. The freedom that Kaepernick used that is supposedly afforded to him. The freedom that the brave men and women of our armed forces fight for daily. It is that freedom the flag represents – the freedom to agree or disagree, hedge your own beliefs and express your thoughts whether we agree with them or not. Remember this is supposed to be a democracy not a dictatorship.

Or is it?

From my vantage point, Kaepernick should be commended. It takes a brave, courageous man to willing face adversity head on when there is so much at stake. Thanks to him, even I have learned some things I did not know – ie. the third stanza of The Star Spangled Banner glorifies slavery. Great. And you want me to be OK with that? Well, I am not and I never will be.

Until more people in this country are willing to address the issues head on, you know the issues Kaepernick pointed out very clearly while speaking to reporters at his locker – you know the ones the talking heads keep ignoring, then we will keep riding this merry go round. I truly believe love can drive out hate but only when it is given the opportunity to do so. Are you willing to do what it takes for love to have a chance at winning? Actions speak louder than words. What do yours say about you?

Bay Area Implosion

This. Is. Ridiculous.

I have been very busy lately with a lot of projects. As a result, I have been fairly absent from the blog. I apologize. It was not intentional but I am back. And I am back with a vengeance.

Ya’ll I am so annoyed, disappointed and frustrated with the San Francisco 49ers organization. How do we go from being a yard away from a 6th Super Bowl ring to being so out of sorts, order and everything else that we just might be the laughing stock of the league right now? Really, the 9ers? The laughing stock of the league? Let that sink in.

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WWF: NASCAR

I was minding my own business, drinking a nice hot cup of hot chocolate last night when I hear my mother say, “Ut oh. They were fighting at the race, again.” I reply, “Again?! Who was it this time?” Immediately we both began to search social media for answers.

A few weeks ago, after watching the finish of the Bank of America 500 in Charlotte, cameras were fixated on Brad Keslowski and Matt Kenseth. According to Kenseth, Keslowski immediately drove him into a wall during a restart. The damage to the car caused Kenseth to drop out of the top five and settle for a 19th place finish. With two laps to go, Kenseth retaliated by swerving into Keslowski. Following the finish, as the cars rolled down Pit Road, a still bitter Keslowski hit Kenseth, again, with his car. When both players exited their vehicles, words were exchanged while members of their respective crews tried to separate the two. A few minutes later, cameras are once again on Keslowski as he is walking alone between two trailers. Suddenly, like a thief in the night, Kenseth storms down the alley and proceeds to put Keslowski in a headlock.

As a reward, Keslowski was fined $50,000. Kenseth received no fine.

I do not even feel like sorting out yesterday’s fight that involved Jeff Gordon and yep, Keslowski. Young man stays brawling.

NASCAR is a very popular sport. It is a sport that I happen to love but I have noticed something. For all the brawls that have taken place over the years, there is a never a major uproar about them. Sure, I hear people talking about Tony Stewart and the Busch brothers all the time. One would think with the amount of swinging and intentional crashing that has been taking place on the speedway, we would hear more about the “violent” NASCAR drivers. Oh wait, we are talking NASCAR which means it is ok for drivers to have melees on occasion because it is part of the sport.

One has to wonder though? What makes their fights any different from the ones I have seen in the NFL? Or the NBA? Baseball is known for its bench clearing brawls but these are seemingly welcomed just as much as the seventh inning stretch its.

So I am left to ponder. Is there a double standard when it comes to fighting in certain professional sports? Oh wait. I do not need to ponder. I know the answer.

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

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!!