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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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Peterson case puts domestic violence in media spotlight

National conversation highlights Black victimizers, yet overlooks victims
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Domestic violence or child abuse isn’t just being done by Black NFL players — it’s a society problem that needs addressing, said the Minnesota Vikings’ highest ranking Black front office executive. The Adrian Peterson child abuse allegations is the latest in over 40 NFL players this year involved in domestic violence legal cases. Reportedly the player left bruises on his young son after spanking him. He is now suspended with pay, and his court appearance is scheduled for next month. The National Football League last week announced that each team, including its players, coaches and other club personnel, soon “will participate in education sessions” on domestic violence and sexual assault. A new “player conduct policy” also is being designed, and the league has brought in consultants as well. Continue Reading →

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NFL is being attacked!

The NFL game and its players are so popular by leaps and bounds ahead of the other professional team sports that suddenly in a political year the negative stories about some star players have launched an all-out attack by many on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. His leadership and inability to get out front on several problems with players and their off-the-field issues has turned many against Goodell. Mistakes have been made, and the lack of accountability has turned the meter up. It all started a few years ago with the concussion reality that so many past and present players have been faced with. Former players have injuries that they need help with, and the players have no means to help themselves. Continue Reading →

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Two Washburn grads who chose to stay home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When he graduated from Minneapolis Washburn five years ago, RA’SHADE HAGEMAN was the state’s top football prospect and among the nation’s top tight ends. When he entered the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2009, standing at 6’-8”, he had helped the Millers’ boys’ basketball team capture the Class 3A state championship five months earlier. After switching to defensive end and adjusting to the rigor of Division I football and college academics, Hageman developed into one of the country’s top players. He earned All-Big Ten honors and is among the top 25 2014 NFL draft prospects. As a high school senior, Hageman was recruited by a host of Division I schools before choosing to stay home and play for the Gophers. Continue Reading →

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N-word flags?

 

 

 

The National Football League at times acts like glass house dwellers. The NFL brain wizards recently proposed penalizing players using racial slurs during the game. At the outset, this seems novel enough — racial slurs by anyone, even volleys between members of the same ethnicity, should not occur. But how will game officials accurately measure this, when every 45 seconds or so — every play — there’s stuff going on, especially across the line of scrimmage. Will the league install mikes in each helmet with a direct link to the referee? Continue Reading →

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NCAA shot still pending for Gophers women (updated)

 

INDIANAPOLIS — The waiting game is now underway. Minnesota (20-12) is .500 (1-1) thus far this post season. The women’s basketball team will know this Monday whether or not their proverbial “body of work” has earned them their first NCAA at-large berth since 2009. Nearly everyone who the MSR talked to here in Indianapolis last week thinks they have:

“I think Minnesota deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament,” says Nebraska Coach Connie Yori, whose league tourney champion Huskers twice defeated the Gophers this season, including a 13-point win in the Big Ten quarterfinals March 7. “With the strength of our league and their RPI (38), I think they need to be in the NCAA Tournament.”

The Gophers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, including a first-round overtime win after being down 16 points in the second half over Wisconsin. Continue Reading →

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Nielsen report reveals racial divide in sports media viewership

Blacks, Latinos and Asians on average spent more time visiting sports sites on the computer and watching sports videos on the computer last year than the U.S. average, says a new Nielsen report. Nielsen’s 2013 Year in Sports Media Report found that “television is not the only medium where sports consumption is on the rise. The average amount of time spent visiting sports sites and accessing sports content on mobile phones in April 2013 increased by double digits compared to 2012.”

It also showed a 10-year growth in sports programming from 35 billion available hours in 2003 to over 116 billion in 2013. Sports consumption by Blacks, Latinos and Asians, however, fluctuated last year in the following three categories examined last year, according to the Nielsen report.  

Visiting sports sites on a computer (hours:minutes)

• April 2013: U.S. (1:25); Blacks (2:12); Asians (1:47); Whites (1:19); Latinos (1:02)

• September 2013: U.S. (1:45); Asians (1:56); Whites (1:47); Blacks (1:45); Latinos (1:17)

 

Watching video on a sports site on a computer

• April 2013: U.S. (35 mins.); Blacks (46 mins.); Asians (43 mins.); Latinos (36 mins.)

• September 2013: U.S. (36 mins.); Asians (1:05); Blacks (47 mins.); Whites (33 mins.); Latinos (30 mins.)

 

Accessing sports content on a smart phone

April 2013: U.S. (1:08); Latinos (1:31); Whites (1:10); Asians (1:00); Blacks (44 mins.)

September 2013: U.S. (1:32); Latinos (1:45); Asians (1:42); Whites (1:35); Blacks (1:15)

 

Watching sports on TV

The Nielsen report also broke down fan viewing demographics by race/ethnicity. Continue Reading →

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Que(e)rying Michael Sam’s timing to come out

When NBA center Jason Collins came out last year, it was the moment the professional sports world had been waiting for: a gay athlete currently playing in a major league who comes out publicly. And what many may not have known is that the professional sports world had also hoped it would be an African American male. What the African American community and the professional sports world of football and basketball (which is comprised of a brotherhood of predominantly men of African descent) desperately needed was an openly gay male professional athlete, one who would bravely dispel the myth that there are no queer athletes in those sports, while assisting the NFL and NBA leagues in their attempts to denounce homophobic epithets, bullying and discrimination. With Jason Collins, the NBA got their Great Black Hope. And if Collins had any worry of what his coming out moment would do to him career-wise he didn’t say. Continue Reading →

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Richard Sherman’s post-game comments overblown by information bubbles

 

 

 

The information bubble-blowers are ever on the job. In case you forgot, an information bubble is produced oftentimes by the media, sending out information that confirms any misbeliefs fans already have about a certain person — and usually that person is Black. I watched Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman’s post-game comments. If you are among those who don’t know what the young man said, here is the gist of it:

“I’m the best cornerback in the game,” said Sherman. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like [San Francisco’s Michael] Crabtree, that’s the result you are going to get.”

Sherman afterwards has been called everything but a child of God. Continue Reading →

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