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Blacks most visible behind the scenes at Citrus Bowl

The Wilson family from Philadelphia


ORLANDO — Take away the players’ parents, event workers, and even the players themselves, and there weren’t a lot of Black folk seen at this year’s Citrus Bowl. There was an obvious “color” contrast among the reported 48,624 spectators at last week’s Minnesota-Missouri football game at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando. The MSR, during its pregame stadium walk-around, ran into a few “connected” Blacks who were at the game simply because they knew someone who was a participant:


Such as the Wilson family from Philadelphia, there to watch 14-year-old Akua Wilson perform as part of the All American Halftime Show. “This is a good experience for her,” said her father, Leonard Wilson, Sr.

“Our [Black] kids don’t usually see much out of a 10-block radius in Philadelphia,” Wilson told us. “To experience something like this allows them to see the world from different perspectives. Continue Reading →

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The view from year’s end

2014  was a “bucket list” type of year — a lot of first-time-evers. We covered this year for the first time two all-star games (MLB, WNBA) and ancillary events over a 10-day span. I also attended my first-ever game at Fenway Park and my first-ever National League game in Phoenix. My “Only One” exploits this year included the first-ever Big Ten men’s hockey tournament in St. Paul, the NCAA women’s hockey regionals, and the Gophers’ winning comeback in the NCAA softball tournament opening round. Continue Reading →

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Reflections on a year of tragic violence

One of my favorite TV programs this year is the hit show How to Get Away with Murder, the ABC drama series starring the talented Viola Davis. It’s incredible how art imitates life and life imitates art.

My social consciousness growing up as a child in Chicago during the turbulent ’60s and ’70s has been shaped by life and death: Medgar Evers, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Each one of them was murdered, and to this day I remember the effect it’s had on my level of trust in this country. Continue Reading →

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This Week in Prep

This week’s column brings you five pictures featuring three outstanding players and two former prep stars leading their college teams.

Check out the pics.  

 Cortez Tillman (shooting), a former Cretin- Derham Hall guard, averages 12.2 points for the University of St. Thomas.  


(l) Minneapolis North’s Jamil Jackson, guarding Minneapolis Washburn’s Warsame Guled, had 19 points and three dunks, leading the Polars to an 89-61 victory over the Millers. 

Former Minnehaha Academy standout Parker Hines (11) leads Augsburg College in scoring with 14.2 points per contest.  

(l) Roosevelt point guard Arione Farrar Jr. (in uniform), averaging 19.9 points per game, chats with Head Coach Robert Mestas. Continue Reading →

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Volleyball attracting more Blacks

This column continues the Only One series in which this reporter shares his experiences as the only African American on the scene. 

A rare sight indeed — more than a couple of female Black players playing big-time volleyball at the U of M Sports Pavilion. Texas (four) and North Carolina (five), who played Dec. 13 in the NCAA Minneapolis Regionals finals, combined for nearly 10 Black players. “A lot of African American girls are starting to play volleyball,” notes Texas Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Tonya Johnson. “Our kids get to show off their true athleticism in terms of how high they can jump, their speed and their quickness.”


Three such players — North Carolina opposite hitter Chaniel Nelson and Texas middle blockers Khat Bell and Chiaka Ogbogu — were among the seven-player All-Region Team selected by the media, including the MSR’s Only One. Continue Reading →

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Twins sign Torii Hunter, Ervin Santana

Who got the best of the MLB winter meetings? Time will tell. Several teams in Major League Baseball used the winter meetings to improve their teams. The Twins were no different, signing veteran outfielder Torii Hunter before the meetings to a one-year $10.5 million deal. The Twins signed veteran right-handed pitcher Ervin Santana to a four-year deal for $57 million. Santana was 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA last year in the National League with the Atlanta Braves. Continue Reading →

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Black athletes weigh in on police violence

Recent events of police brutality, a problem that Blacks in this country have faced for decades, have pushed Black athletes out of their normal say-nothing postures. Several NBA players and two college teams last week donned “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts during warm-ups. Pro football players emerged from the locker room with their hands up. All this was in protest over what happened in Ferguson, New York City, Cleveland, and across this country from sea to shining sea to thousands of Blacks who have had their lives snuffed out by police officers over the years. Is it about time? Continue Reading →

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Adams, Toney perform in Como DeLaSalle matchup

There were at least three NCAA Division I schools (Minnesota, Maryland and DePaul) in St. Paul last Friday night to see a nonconference girls’ basketball game between St. Paul Como Park and DeLaSalle. They were there to see junior guard Andrayah Adams, one of the state’s top prospects, who is averaging 31 points per game so far and closing in on the 2,000-point career mark. Adams won the battle with a game-high 32 points, but DeLaSalle won the war behind the efforts of Taylor Toney. Continue Reading →

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