Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Smart Athletes, Dumb Decisions

So, I always love it when someone wants to post on my blog. It warms my heart, honestly.

Anyway . . .

Today, a good friend of mine, Tyjeria Ford came through with some valuable knowledge on the topic of athletes and their decisions. I love the content! She even talks about Jame.....never mind, you guys check it out yourselves below!

Don't forget to follow her on her Twitter handle @TheRealTyy_

On the way to school this morning, I had the radio playing to a low volume not noticing much of what was playing. The daily sports news comes on and I hear the recap of last night’s football game and Tom Brady's performance, nothing unusual there. What caught my attention was the reporting of four University of Kentucky football players who had been suspended for Saturday’s game vs. South Carolina for shooting air pistols on campus.

Kentucky Freshman RB Stanley "Boom" Williams carries the ball vs. Florida. Williams was among the players recently suspended. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux)

 First thought that pops in to my head is, "These kids do not have any common sense". When I arrive to class and check my phone notifications, sure enough I see ESPN headlining the suspension of these four players. Delinquent behavior among young athletes is becoming a little too common. There have been several incidents that stood out to the public eye, made headlines, and have gotten harsh criticism over these students crime and the punishment that comes with it. Why is it these athletes continue to display such character? Is it lack of discipline? Peer pressure? Is there a trend happening between collegiate players and professional players? This type of behavior is unacceptable and the popular thought is that they should work to learn from their mistakes on and off the field or court.

But . . .

Athletes tend to be the group of people in society that have it made. Full scholarships to colleges, traveling to new places, television time, experiencing new things and most likely have a set job of becoming a professional athlete. You would think being in the hawk eye of the media that these athletes would be perfect angels. Wrong. Yes, they are human beings too and everyone makes mistakes but when that athlete signed his letter of intent, he made that commitment to not only play for his school of choice but also be an ambassador to the university. This year seems to be where every other day in the offseason a player is getting suspended for some type of misconduct. These are supposed to be smart athletes who are getting into trouble for making dumb decisions.

Aside from the four Kentucky players, most recent and popular news of misconduct with a suspension following, involves Florida State's quarterback, Jameis Winston. 

Winston is not only known for his superb skills on the football field, winning the National Championship, being the Heisman trophy winner, and his infamous "We Scrong" speech during a post-game interview following the BCS National Championship this past January, Jameis Winston was also notoriously known for engaging in petty crimes such as shoplifting in a food market in which he reportedly stole crab legs “unknowingly”.

 During the time of incident, it was baseball season and Winston who also plays baseball, was suspended from the team. Several months later, Winston’s name was back in the headlines for using derogatory slang towards a female in a bar, which ultimately ended up in his suspension from the Florida State vs. Clemson football game. What makes one, who is a popular person, a contender for the Heisman trophy, and potential #1 pick for the 2015 NFL draft act out in such way? There are some reports that this behavior is nothing new for the star quarterback. In high school, Jameis Winston’s behavior was taken lightly; he acted out and got away with it. This can make a person wonder, does the delinquent behavior start in high school? Are high school coaches taking proper disciplinary actions towards their player’s misconduct? Winston’s attitude obviously transferred to his college career and will the trend continue to over to his professional career? Should general managers be worried? The NFL is already up to its neck with numerous domestic violence cases. Should petty incidents like this be taken more serious when considering a players draft stock? Do not get it misconstrued, Winston is not the only athlete with problems off the field, I wanted to shed light on his situation because of his fame; how well known he is in the public eye, and how his crimes have turned into jokes and taunting signs from opposing team fans on the sidelines. Single and group players at different universities have suspensions hanging over their heads. The NCAA, athletic directors, and head coaches need to come together and discuss better learning and discipline options and how our student athletes can not only become better players but better people off the field and court. 

To those four Wildcats, I hope you all learned what a stupid mistake this was. A great opportunity of being able to be a part of the game vs. South Carolina has passed you by. Think of your reputation, career, and future next time before making those choices.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Untitled: Form Your Own Title

I am not an advocate for racism.

I personally enjoy and honestly have a lot of love for others from racial backgrounds.

Does that exclude me from being seen as a person who discriminates against other races? Not altogether, people engage in covert bigotry every single day, it's on TV, on your Facebook, on your Twitter; it's in your face.

I'm only speaking for me, I wasn't raised to hate because of skin color. But while those and other reasons are only concrete confirmations of my assimilation as a person whom doesn't discriminate, they also are sincere.

I hope i'm not losing you, or at least making sense.

See, I wake up everyday and commonly see some form of racial tension. I don't even have to lift my head from my pillow to confirm these discriminatory views. I can just scroll my Twitter timeline and BAM!! Someone is putting their opinion (which they are legally entitled to technically) out that has to do something dealing with race. Not too long after seeing that, there is someone firing back at them, and while there is nothing really wrong with that because I know how frustrating it is seeing that blasphemy, they too fail to recognize their own racially charged comments that were said back. 

I don't want to make this whole post about what I see on Twitter because honestly, I could, but there is no need to prove some simple-minded, always having nothing positive to say, discriminating individual that what they said was totally stupid, ignorant and down-right immoral. 

Know why? They know this, these people enjoy the attention they get from these comments and viewers and supporters of these obviously uneducated individuals will too come up with the next racially charged, moronic tweet or picture for you to comment on, and so on; it's a cycle. 

It's like cheering them on. Be smart when responding to these people, just remember you have nothing to prove.

And be mindful that these "they" and "them" that I am referring to are all generalizations, everyone is a victim, as I learned. 

One thing that's been killing my nerves and honestly the sole reason why I decided to write this was this notion of the racial double standard. Sadly it exists.

I read a story about how a police officer was shot in Ferguson and whites, yes, whites were ranting about how President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder were basically relaxing comfortably since a "white cop got shot" apparently by a black man. They seemed to be pressed because the media is downplaying this situation but the people commenting stopped nothing short of making another example of why they think the black race is full of violent, immoral individuals. 

They bashed the media for downplaying it. 

They called blacks rabid animals, and monkeys, both terms that have been used against persons of color for hundreds of years. 

But the fundamental question I want to know is whether these same people were for the justice of Mike Brown and other innocent people shot and gunned down by cops. That just doesn't make sense for them to right? I mean, how can you be for justice for the cop but not for all of the persons killed by cops? This is just another component of the racial double standard. If a black person does something that’s seen as negative, that negative behavior is used as yet another example of how “we” are. Negative behavior, so it goes, is just inherent in “us.” 

That is just simply blatant discrimination, and as I mentioned, I don't support it by any means. Yes, whoever shot the cop is definitely wrong and should have his day in court, but so should Officer Darren Wilson and all of the other cops shooting unarmed individuals. What you see is overt bigotry and yet another excuse to use discrimination as a tool to solve social and political discrepancies with how the media portrays crimes and other situations.

"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." - Matthew 22:39 KJV

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Culture: JRDN 4 x PS4: Custom PS4 Inspired Air Jordans

Sneaker designer Jonny Barry got really creative with his latest project.

Custom shoe designers at FreakerSNEAKS feature custom Scarface inspired, Grinch inspired and many more weird but dope designs. Jonny Barry is a Sony fanatic so it was only right that he paid homage to the company's latest flagship product, the PlayStation 4 which he said he purchased on its release day last November.

Although I would not pay the price to get these shoes, I too am a Sony and PS4 fanatic so I'm a little biased to these.

At first glance they remind you of the Air Jordan 4 "Black Cat", but Barry added his own creative flavor, as he does for a living. 

The sneakers feature the PS4 branding on the tongue instead of the usual Jumpman. On the heel of each shoe is an HDMI port and no you cannot use this to enhance your display settings while using the PlayStation 4 system. The shoes come with a HDMI cord that serve as a "carry cord", the idea is just dope. 

Barry is only releasing 10 pairs of these which means that very few will be able to "kill the game" (no pun intended). If you have a cool $950 to blow, be sure to hit up Barry through his FreakerSNEAKS Instagram to register/apply for your pair of these innovative sneakers or just check out the rest of his line of dope kicks. You'll be amazed, I promise.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sports: The Disappearance of the Black Coach in Men's College Basketball

In 1966, John McLendon became the first African-American to coach at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI). In 1970, North Carolina native Will Robinson became the first African-American head coach in Division I Men’s Basketball.

According to the 2013 Racial and Gender Report Card: College Sport, 23 percent of all Division-I college basketball head coaches was African-American.

The sport received a lot of controversial scrutiny after hitting all-time lows in having a person of color as a head coach in previous years.

Were these teams racially biased towards hiring a person not of color? Were potential African-American coaches simply not as qualified? Would it have affected recruiting and other things relevant to the success of the team if an African-American were hired? All of these are relevant questions when asking why the ratio is such a minute figure. African-American players are the majority of players recruited by these coaches, why can't African-American coaches be recruited or brought in for interviews in a similar manner?

There are not any clear answers; this issue has too many layers.

The NFL adopted the Rooney Rule that requires head coach seeking teams (and other authoritative positions) to interview minorities for those said positions. The absence of a similar rule in college sports as a whole raises another question; are teams even interviewing minorities?

Let me take you to familiar territory, the NC State Wolfpack Men's Basketball team. Since its inception in 1911, the Pack has had one lone person of color as head coach. His name? Sidney Lowe, a former player on the 1983 NCAA Championship team. Lowe was hired in 2006, the same year as the 50th anniversary that black students were allowed to attend the university.

The Lowe era started off wonderfully; he and the Wolfpack defeated the third-ranked Tar Heels in 2007, the highest ranked team a first-year head coach had defeated.

Things only got worse, though, and after his resignation in 2011 he had compiled an 86-78 record, including a 25-55 record in ACC play.

If you dig deeper into the process the Wolfpack took to hire its 18th head coach in 2006, it sought after white contemporaries such as current University of Texas head coach Rick Barnes and University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari, both of whom rejected the offer. What if Lowe hadn't had deep ties to the university? He had been one of the only black alums with extended coaching experience. It just is not common for African-American coaches to secure jobs at Power Five conference schools.

Maybe it's the interview process that plagues African-American coaches although they may be qualified for the job. According to a recent ESPN article, most African-American applicants hold back during the interview process; they don't want to say the wrong things; they don't want to seem "militant", as African-Americans are stereotypically labeled in nature.

No athletic director or anyone else on the pseudo-panel for hiring will come out and admit that "labels" are what affect the hiring or lack thereof of black coaches. They will not admit that race is a factor in this, though it seems that way. I'm pretty sure there are very capable and qualified African-American coaches out there that can succeed in the most prestigious programs in the country.

But . . .

Two issues are often brought to the table when discussing this topic. The first is the popularity of professional search firms, which often help big-name universities pinpoint talented coaches. The other is the rising stigma that surrounds coaches who are trying to climb into the college game out of Amateur Athletic Union basketball or the high school ranks, as noted by a recent NY Times article.

Surely, there is a lot of Division I men's basketball teams and there are a significant number of black coaches at the helm. But that number is steadily declining.

The statistics presented earlier that stated that 23 percent of Division I coaches represent a number near an all-time high (25 percent is the highest). While it is a significant step forward in closing the racial gap in collegiate coaching, there are still major concerns.

When 25 head coaching jobs became available after the 2014 College Basketball season, 13 were black and were the subject of a firing or resignation. According to those same statistics we could be looking at a loss of 15 black coaches in college basketball.

There used to be a Black Coaches Association until the head of it, Floyd Keith left recently. The Black Coaches Association served as the sentinel for the black coach and now that it doesn’t really exist anymore, black coaches are looking for a voice to further advocate another reason to hire them, especially at top programs.

Take this into consideration:

This past season, at the mecca of college basketball, the Final Four, there was one black coach, Kevin Ollie, who led his Connecticut Huskies squad to a National Championship. Small wins right?

Ollie’s feat leaves room for optimism.