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1/30/12

Valentine’s Day With Jamal Anderson And Imperious Watches

On February 14th also known as VALENTINES DAY (oo la la) you can catch former Atlanta Falcons running back Jamal Anderson on Shop NBC talking Imperious’  impressive collection of watches. Jamal is the company’s new Brand Ambassador, so look out for the ads and commercials, they should be coming soon. I talked to Jamal and he’s really excited about his relationship with the company, and as usual, I expect great things from him. I think Imperious made a great choice for a spokesperson.

 

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1/29/12

Trying and Failing to Get Excited About Super Bowl — Roundup of Stories From Media Week 1

Mathias Kiwanuka is one of my favorite players. He's also one of the quietest players in the league it seems.

I wrote about my desire to see the Ravens and 49ers in the Super Bowl previously. When both teams lost in their Chip games, I fully expected to still be excited for Super Bowl in some manner. Unfortunately, I’m not. The thrill is gone. I definitely think the game will be good…from a footall perspective there should be fireworks. But when it comes to the build up…even the media is having difficultly making the lead-up to Super Bowl interesting.

They’ve explored every storyline from 2008 from how many players on each current team were also on the 2008 teams to interviewing some of those players to get their feelings on the rematch. Many of the headlines have to do with the Patriots “avenging” their loss, but there really is no such thing. If the Patriots win this year, they still got beat before. Avenging losses is more an elimination game  sentiment to me, not a playing-for-the-whole shebang sort of deal. They’re also playing up the “Myra Kraft” angle to varying success and ratcheting up the “pressure” storyline for Tom Brady and the will-he-or-won’t-he-be-effective narrative for Super Tight End Rob Gronkowski.

The ZZZZZs keep coming.

Seeing how dry the lead up has been so far makes me even more annoyed that we’re missing out on all the great stories from the Ravens. Stories on Ray Rice, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs. More on Vernon Davis  and David Akers as well as the re-emergence of Carlos Rogers, Justin Smith and, well, hell, an entire franchise. There was gold in them there football hills and we are missing it all by being in the midst of a well-worn rehash.

I did some perusing around the web of Media Week 1 and here are the best stories I could find. They’re not all that mind-blowing but I read them all and found them at least mildly interesting.

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1/9/12

Electrifying Demaryius Thomas’ Had a Real Life “Weeds” Experience (yes the TV Show)

Damaryius Thomas. Oh heeeeey. Wait, he's how old? Oh, nevermind.

Just as we all learned the new overtime rules, Demaryius Thomas was off scoring in a breathtaking play that took approximately 11 seconds (about 25 seconds less than it took to explain the new rules).

As is often the case, Thomas didn’t have an easy way to the league. Unfortunately, both Thomas’ mom and grandmother are have been incarcerated since 2000 for trafficking cocaine. If you read Thomas’ story it sounds a lot like the Television Show “Weeds.”

From the Denver Post:

Minnie Pearl Thomas sold drugs — marijuana — for the first time in 1986, and was arrested for the first time that same year. Despite her first trip to jail, Minnie Thomas was hooked on the rush of selling drugs and was becoming accustomed to the extra money it provided her family. It wasn’t long before she was manufacturing and selling crack cocaine out of her home.

She was arrested again in 1991 but resumed her business after she was released at the conclusion of a 14-month sentence in a jail near Milledgeville, Ga.

“I mostly did it to make ends meet, to buy my kids what they wanted, so they could wear what the other kids were wearing, so I could keep my house nice on the inside,” Minnie Thomas said.

Demaryius, who was born in December 1987, was Minnie’s oldest grandchild, and old enough to know what was going on inside her house. He remembered seeing his grandmother making the crack and the stream of strangers coming and going, leaving behind their makeshift crack pipes.

“I knew my grandma was selling it and my mom was keeping some money,” Thomas said. “I told my mother one time that they needed to stop because I had a dream that they got in trouble. I started crying like every night after then. And then it finally happened.”

 

If you’ve never seen Weeds, newly widowed mother Nancy Botwin starts small time selling marijuana to makes ends meet and as the years go on, she gets more and more involved in the drug trade. What starts out as a campy suburban for-profit hobby turns into a dangerous illegal career that endangers everyone around her including her kids.

In the TV show, Botwin’s kids catch on to her activities just like Thomas did. But thankfully for Thomas, he warned his mom and grandmother rather than begging to be a part of the operation.

If you’ve been through this kind of real life drama, the drama of the country’s ridiculous obsession with the guy who throws the ball to Thomas is probably nothing. No wonder Thomas broke out for that TD like he’d never heard of being nervous.

I’m consistently amazed by the strength of so many athletes, in particular football players who seem, for some reason, particularly likely to have experienced great heartbreak or tragedy. I wrote a few weeks ago about Cardinals linebacker Darnell Dockett and his thoughtful comments about forgiving his mother’s murderer.

Whenever guys do things that raise my eyebrow I’m reminded that we’re shaped by our backgrounds and to hold off on some of the judgment. I’m excited to see what Thomas brings to the table next year. Oh wait…the Broncos beat the Steelers. So we get to see what Thomas does next week.

Check out the full article on the Denver Post’s web site and if you missed it check out that game winning TD.

 

12/12/11

Of White Cornerbacks and Black Kickers. Why not?

When former NY Giants CB Jason Sehorn wasn't (allegedly) almost being shot by Jayson Williams, he was a pretty good white cornerback.

Every now and then I run across an article that I simply must share. This one was in the NY Times and touched on racial stereotyping by position in the NFL. I loved it cause this came up a little last year with Peyton Hillis, a white running back, having a great season last year–and ending up on the Madden cover. Lots was made of the fact that white running backs are pretty much an endangered species. A week or so ago, I blogged about Green Bay Packers Jordy Nelson and his teammates saying people underestimate him cause he’s a white WR.

Even though there are still quite a few white WRs, the idea that black ones are more athletic still prevails. So to hear that there are zero white cornerbacks in the NFL right now and zero black kickers wasn’t surprising. I’m glad someone decided to take a look at the reasons.

 

By the time Bernie Parrish, a white kid from Florida, and Walter Beach, an African-American from Michigan, joined the Cleveland Browns as cornerbacks in 1959 and 1960, the majority of cornerbacks were white. There were unwritten rules and practices designed to keep it that way.

“We were still in that era of the quotas,” said Parrish, referring to the unwritten practice of allowing a select number of African-Americans on a team. “In 1959, I believe the quota of black players was 7; then it went to 13.”

There was also the practice of stacking, making sure African-American players competed for the same positions.

“There would be six or eight guys competing for my spot and nobody competing for his,” Beach said, referring to Parrish, who has become one of his closest friends. “That’s where the stacking concept comes from. They would stack black cats behind each other; that was a reality. If you came to the Cleveland Browns and you wanted to play cornerback, there were going to be five brothers over there behind me.”

All 167 cornerbacks listed on active N.F.L. rosters last Monday were African-American, although Julian Edelman, a receiver who is white, has played a few snaps at cornerback for the injury-plagued New England Patriots. The evolution to today’s rosters began with the emergence of the American Football League in 1960. While the N.F.L. maintained quotas and engaged in steering and stacking, the rival A.F.L. was snatching up talented players wherever it could find them, especially at historically black colleges.

“You had more black guys coming into the league who were receivers who could fly, and they had to have defensive backs who could fly with them,” Beach said.

At some point, white players stopped believing they could fly. No more protection from open competition; everyone had to prove himself on a level playing field. Like the success of black fighter pilots, the presence of 64 African-American starting cornerbacks in the N.F.L. is an American triumph of meritocracy over protectionism.

Now this hit home:

Young white athletes who might aspire to be N.F.L. corners can’t see themselves in that role.

“They’re going through the same thing that I went through when I wanted to play quarterback,” Newsome said. “ ‘Yeah, you can play cornerback, but by the time you get to college, they’re going to move you to safety.’

“I think the stereotype can affect your mentality. If you grow up not seeing something and hearing something your whole life, that starts to impact you: ‘I can’t do this, I’m not good enough to do that.’ And that becomes a part of your life.”

A similar phenomenon is seen in the kicking game. There are no African-American punters or kickers in the N.F.L. While white athletes shy away from cornerback because, in their minds, it requires too much athleticism, many African-American players eschew punting and kicking because it is not athletic enough.

I’ve heard lots of black folks make fun of kickers and punters as though they’re not a part of the team. So unfair. It takes a lot of skill and ability to do those jobs especially the way kickers are putting out 52+ yard field goals like it’s nothing.

Anyway I suggest you take a look at the article here, the author makes some pretty compelling comparisons.

 

 

10/31/11

TMZ’s Harvey Levin Talks About Women Being Kept On The Sidelines in Sports

When asked about women color commentators, Michael Strahan had nothing to say. I wonder if his gap has an opinion?

Harvey Levin’s crew struck again when they caught former NY Giant Michael Strahan, Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez, and Jay Glazer outside of a restaurant and asked them why women aren’t allowed to do color commentary. None of the 3 guys saw fit to comment. They basically just looked goofy and gave no response. I’d actually love to hear what Strahan thinks about this–he obviously has an opinion on pretty much everything else under God’s green earth. I’m SURE he has some thoughts on this. Whether they’re sharable, who knows…

Women being relegated to the sidelines (literally, as sideline reporters) is something that bothers me. And I especially don’t like the fact that people are always talking about how these women bring nothing to the broadcasts. First of all, most sideline reporters (male or female) add nothing to the broadcast. And since this has been the case for years my assumption is that they’re not hired to bring anything to it. Sideline reporters are there to make the broadcast FEEL interactive, not to elevate the sports discourse.

I don’t think it’s fair to make an assessment of what hiring more women could potentially add to sports broadcasting by basing it on the performance of women who were specifically hired to do not much.

Not only are women not doing color during games, they’re not really giving analysis on sports shows either. Most are either hosts or anchors whose job it is to facilitate discussion, not to actually add their own opinion to the conversation. I am hoping, myself, to be one of the women that gets to opine about sports so that door needs to be busted wide open immediately.

Also, if the requirement is that all women sports broadcasters look like they belong on Sideline Hotties then the pool of candidates is automatically narrowed. That has nothing to do with women not being able to provide commentary. It’s all about what the viewing public prefers to see.

I thought it was pretty random that this seems to be a topic that got Harvey’s attention, although I didn’t understand his reference to Jackie Johnson. Maybe you guys do? If so, set me straight in comments.

 

 
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