Brady v. Manning: As Told By The Greatest Rivals In Sports History
Sporting events might just be the only authentic reality television. The personalties, athletic ability, competition, story lines and lack of a predetermined outcome captivate fans and audiences worldwide.
Historic rivalries provide some of the best drama sports has to offer. At a certain point, attempting to find new ways to spin old stories can become a bit tedious for writers, reporters and producers of sports content.
NFL Network recently found a brand new way of examining one of the NFL’s most popular modern rivalries, Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning.
One could easily argue that this isn’t quite a rivalry at all considering opposing quarterbacks never set foot on the field at the same time, but the games between Brady’s New England Patriots and Manning’s Indianapolis Colts (and now Denver Broncos) have given us suspenseful pleasures for more than a decade.
Before proceeding, you should know that I worked for NFL Network as a production assistant for nearly two years, and Anthony Smith, an NFL Network features producer who created the network’s latest series about Brady v. Manning, is a good friend of mine. That said, it never hurts to give credit when and where it’s due.
"The Rivals" is a multi-part video series that chronicles not only the history of Brady v. Manning, but also, examines the heart and soul of great rivalries, as told by several of the modern era’s biggest sports rivals.
"The concept came about this summer during a brainstorm for the current season," Smith, in his eighth year at the network, tells PepperOnSports.com.
"I was looking at a way of telling the Brady-Manning story in a way that I hadn’t seen yet."
"The Rivals" roster is long and accomplished as the following athletes participated in the series:
Jack Nicklaus & Arnold Palmer
Bill Walton & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Goose Gossage & Carlton Fisk
Jimmie Johnson & Jeff Gordon
Martina Navratilova & Chris Evert
Pete Sampras & Andre Agassi.
"Pitching the project to the rivals was pretty easy. All of them immediately understood what the project was looking to accomplish," says Smith.
"All of these athletes are sports fans. And all of them followed the NFL, with the exception of Andre Agassi who was up front and honest about that."
Watching and listening to sports titans talk about their career rivals within the context of Brady and Manning is a treat for any sports fan, regardless of one’s familiarity of the historic rivals. “If you don’t know, now you know.”
Shaping A Sportscaster and Other Stories From Summer Camp
If you are receiving this email, that probably means we are pretty good friends. Since we are pretty good friends, you probably know that I grew up going to a sleep-away camp because I talk about it all the time.
"This one time, at camp…"
Here goes my attempt at somehow expressing the importance and impact of Camp JCA Shalom in my life while keeping this email from becoming a novel. Wish us both luck.
I attended my first session of sleep-away camp as a 7-year-old in the summer of 1991. I guess that one week was fairly awesome since I never looked back, and have kept camp in my life ever since.
As an only child at home, my counselors (teenagers whom at the time, I thought were for sure, super old…like, 25) took on the role of older sisters and living in a cabin with 15 other girls taught me about sharing and the dynamics of living with people other than my parents.
While I always had a lot of friends in school and daycare, I was constantly teased about my height (lack thereof) and weight (too much of). For reasons I still can’t quite understand, this was never an issue at camp. Not only was I accepted for who I was and what I looked like, but I was celebrated for it. Aside from relationship building, camp challenges kids and teens to step outside their comfort zones and try new things and activities. After camp, I took the confidence I gained back to school with me, along with new friends which grew my social group every year.
Over the years, I have watched countless kids who were outcasts at school transform into superstars at camp, carrying that fortitude and spirit out of Malibu and right back into daily life at home and school. On a personal level, the encouragement and confidence instilled by my camp experience has undoubtedly helped me not only to succeed in my career as a television sports reporter, but more importantly, to refuse to give up despite several failures and the constant rejection that comes along with the entertainment business.
After seven years as a camper, I wanted to give back to camp by becoming a counselor, and eventually, the teen program coordinator (TASC unit head). In my six summers as a staff member at camp, I “cured” homesickness, wiped away tears, removed splinters and bee stingers, helped kids navigate through divorce, depression, health problems, body issues, death and abuse at home, worked with special needs campers, provided unconditional love and support for kids who “came out of the closet” to me, and created programs about racism, social justice, tolerance and genocide in various parts of the world.
Also during that time, I wore a chicken suit while serving as the camp mascot, led 5-mile hikes from the mountains to the beach, donned a Sumo suit and wrestled other counselors, wrote songs and skits, made countless friendship bracelets, swapped outfits with my teen campers (girls and boys!) for camp dances, repelled down a cliff and through a waterfall, surprised my deserving staff with food and other treats from “the outside world,” and created programs about friendship, peace, love, and of course, the Beastie Boys.
At age 30, the majority of my closest friends are people I met at camp. More than 40% of campers currently attending Camp JCA Shalom are doing so on scholarship. Without the generosity of camp alumni and donors, those kids and teens could not afford to have what could be the best experiences of their lives. When I watch stories on the news about mass shootings, or young people who commit suicide, it pains me to think of how things might have turned out differently if they would have had the type of support and community provided by the sleep-away camp movement.
This is the time of year when Camp JCA Shalom holds it’s annual Gala fundraiser. If you feel compelled to do so, I kindly ask that you contribute to Camp JCA Shalom in one of three ways, all of which, are tax deductible.
1) “Straight cash, homie!” A standard donation of any amount is welcome. Yes, even $5 would be greatly appreciated.
If you choose to support camp in any of the ways listed above, I ask that you please do so “in honor of” of Barri Worth, who is one of my closest friends and one of three Gala honorees. Barri and I met as bunkmates in cabin G-3 in 1992 and remained co-campers for years before going through the CIT (counselor in training) program together, and eventually becoming co-counselors.
Barri is an incredible woman and generous member of society who in her spare time supports many causes, charities and various communities. Barri has also chosen a career public service in which she served for several years in the Los Angeles Mayors’ office, and now, works for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. If you could name drop her upon donating, I would greatly appreciate it.
I can’t put into words what Camp JCA Shalom has meant to me and how fondly I remember hundreds of the counselors, campers and experiences I’ve had there over the years.
Thanks again for reading my schpiel!
'91-'99 camper, CIT 2000, staff '01-'05 and again in 2011.
Leave it to original Houston Texans offensive lineman Chester Pitts to neutralize some of the negativity, as he and other current and former Texans players will drive senior citizens to the voting booth on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Literally.
Pitts, who retired from the NFL in 2011 and now works for local television station KPRC in Houston, is joining forces with the Harvest Community Center for the second consecutive year in helping the elderly members of his community to vote.
Last year’s event went so well that Pitts decided to do it again, and not just in light of the Houston mayoral race, the fact that the elderly are often an infringed voting group, or because it’s a mitzvah. But also, because old people are awesome.
"Seniors, you can learn so much from them and just being around them for the length of time we were, was an amazing experience," Pitts told PepperOnSports.com.
"Their gracious attitude told me this was something I had to keep doing."
Joining Pitts behind the wheel of several large passenger vans that will shuttle seniors from various community centers to the polls will be current Texans offensive linemen Duane Brown and Brandon Brooks, as well as former Texans defensive lineman Travis Johnson and former Houston Oilers receiver, Haywood Jeffries. Johnson also participated on election day last year.
Tuesday will be the Texans first day off since a demoralizing Sunday Night Football performance in which the team gave up a 21-3 first half lead over the Indianapolis Colts, ultimately losing at home, 27-24 and dropping their season record to 2-6. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the field during halftime with a still unknown medical condition. It’s pretty cool that despite a trying season thus far, some of the Texans are willing to give up what little free time they have to help out strangers within the community.
"There is no responsibility for professional athletes to do this," Pitts told PepperOnSports.com.
"But as a professional athlete you are a role model and I believe you should always do what is right. Helping others, especially our seniors is always important and as long as I am able, I want to do just that."
Pitts says that as a media member, he has approached different players about helping out with the event in the locker room following Texans games. He hopes player involvement will increase each year.
(photos courtesy of Chester Pitts)
(Top photo, Pitts and Brown. Bottom photo, Brooks and Pitts)
NBA Players Talk NCAA Compensation for Athletes, Wacky Injury Stories, and Players-Turned-Coaches at NBAK14 Launch Party
The NBA season is fast-approaching as teams begin training camp in the coming days. For one last hurrah, a few NBA players hit the red carpet at Greystone Manor in West Hollywood for the launch of the video game NBA2K14.
The Western Conference’s Pacific division was well-represented at the event, where Pepper On Sports spoke with Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors), Nick Young (L.A. Lakers) and Ryan Hollins (L.A. Clippers).
We discussed the controversy-ridden NCAA, wacky injury stories, players one would want as a coach, and how the old Celtics crew will fare in Brooklyn.
Here are some highlights.
Does the NCAA needs an overhaul that would include compensation for athletes?
"I think there will be major changes. I flew under the radar in college so I’m pretty sure I didn’t make the NCAA too much money so I’m cool with them. But as far as, especially the case with Ed O’Bannon, he’s kind of the one who pioneered the whole thing. He did make the NCAA a whole lot of money and he didn’t quite reap the benefits and then he didn’t have that exciting of an NBA career afterwards, so you know, it’s very understandable. Guys who are legends in college, and kind of taken advantage of.”
Editor’s Note: Despite his modesty, Andre was a fantastic player in college and made the NCAA plenty of dough.
"I think [players] should get a little bit [of monetary compensation], but USC, no, we’re legit. We’re strictly by the book up there."
*Editor’s note: Nick laughed as he mentioned USC…obviously. Remember this, and this? Nick certainly remembers the latter, as he and Mr. Mayo were teammates.
"I’d love to see it. It’s deserved. I think you’d have a chance to eliminate a couple of kids leaving early, a couple of kids from going out and doing silly stuff to make ends meat, and just bringing real honesty to the game. I was a scholarship athlete, my parents did okay, but I was broke in college. I didn’t make enough to get by, you know? You’re put in a very very tough situation so I’d love to see them you know at least get compensated enough to where these kids don’t want for much."
"Obviously you want a little spending money but just enough to cover your bills…simple necessities, you know?"
"I don’t think nothin’ can top being hit by a stripper. Nothin’ is topping that right now. That’s one of a kind."
Jason Kidd went directly from playing to coaching. If you had to choose one current NBA player to be your coach, who would you choose?
"Probably Andre Miller, just because he passes me the ball more than anyone [lauhgs]. I’m pretty sure he could teach someone how to pass the ball to me. No, but he’s a very smart basketball player and has a very high IQ and that’s why he’s been able to play so long at a high level and he’s going to be a very good coach once he gets the opportunity."
"He’s still competing though, giving guys problems night in and night out so I think he probably has three more years left in him."
"I’d probably have to say Jason Kidd…he’s like a coach, he’s been a coach out there on the court since he’s been playing."
How will your former Celtics teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce adjust to playing for Jason Kidd in Brooklyn?
"I think they’ll do great. After playing with those guys, I don’t want to say that they don’t need a coach, but if there was players that would fit in with Jason Kidd in his first year, the type of player that he is and now growing into a head coaching role, it’s a perfect cast to throw together."
As if fasting for 24 hours while God ponders your fate for the following year (by writing your name either in the Book of Life, or the Book of Death) isn’t stressful enough, another element has entered the Yom Kippur fold this year, in the form of College Football.
Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, AL warned its congregation against kibitzing, schmoozing and spoiling as both the Alabama vs Texas A&M and Auburn vs. Mississippi St. games happen to fall within the most sacred 24 hours of the Jewish calendar year. Oy gevalt.
The purpose of Yom Kippur is to reflect on the past year, repent for your wrongdoings and issue apologies to those you’ve hurt while a higher power determines your fate. After 24 hours of serious reflection and fasting, families and friends —the whole mishpocha— gather to celebrate with a large meal (break-the-fast) which serves as a transition back to every day life. Here is the Temple’s plea to its congregation to be a mensch.
Thank you Deadspin, for providing this High Holy Day gem. What a mitzvah! Is that legit laugh-out-loud material or what? My favorite part is the ban on high fives.
Sure, the temple administration sounds like a bunch of alter kockerkvetchers, but can you blame them? Sporting event spoiler alerts really are the worst (first world problems, I’m aware). Imagine participating in a religious service, minding your own business when the guy next to you becomes totally verklempt because that gonifJohnny Manziel just threw the game-winning touchdown pass?
I haven’t attended a Yom Kippur service in a few years, but Temple Emanu-El *almost* makes me want to fly out to ‘Bama and sit through 3+ hours of holy spiel. Whomever wrote this proclamation has a fantastic sense of humor and is clearly a die-hard sports fan, earning them a gold star in my book!
Here’s to hoping your holiday goes unspoiled. L’chaim!
This blog post from the LA Dodgers team photographer is a great reminder of the dichotomy that exists within professional sports. While baseball is knee deep in a doping scandal -an issue that has reached the realm of the federal government- and big money, stadiums and politics so often play a role in the megabusiness that is pro sports, it’s so interesting to watch those same men immersed in that intense adult world immediately regress to boyhood when they win a child’s game. The often-times difficult road traveled by baseball players, in contrast with smiles, hugs and genuine happiness expressed by those same guys is fascinating.
Please click on the headline to link to Jon SooHoo’s entire photo blog from the Dodgers’ comeback win over the Rays on Friday, August 10, 2013.
Minor League Baseball Team Salutes Weiner, Favre and Woods Scandals
If there’s one thing minor league baseball is good for, it’s hilarious ballpark promotions.
The San Francisco Giants AA affiliate Flying Squirrels (located in Richmond, VA) is getting in on the fun with “Salute to Scandal” night during the Squirrels home game against the Portland Sea Dogs, a Boston Red Sox affiliate.
What exactly does this “salute” entail? $1 hot dogs at the ballpark’s concession stands.
“‘Scandal night is meant to be a fun, tongue in cheek night and what hotter of a scandal right now than Anthony Weiner,’ said Flying Squirrels Vice President and COO Todd “Parney” Parnell. ‘His scandal just couldn’t have come at a better time in regards to the Flying Squirrels promotional calendar.’”
The fun doesn’t end with dollar wieners though does it? Oh no, absolutely not.
"Fans in attendance will be invited that night to tweet pictures enjoying their $1 hot dogs to @GoSquirrels for the chance to win prizes. Other select fans will be invited to participate in contests between innings that pay tribute to certain celebrities who have been in the spotlight for their scandals. Some examples include the “Brett Favre Football Throw” and the “Tiger Woods Closest to the Pin Challenge”. To end the night with a bang, the Flying Squirrels will have a postgame fireworks extravaganza courtesy of Coventry Health Care and Your Local Ford Dealers.”
To end the night with a bang… of course.
I salute you, Flying Squirrels, primarily because the flying squirrel has to be one of the top five coolest animals on earth, but also, for your creativity in bringing inappropriate debauchery into the family-friendly, wholesome happening that is minor league baseball. Bravo.
Rose v. Manziel and the Media's Misplaced Priorities
This afternoon I sat down at my computer to write a blog. I had it titled “Being Johnny Football: #ItsComplicated,” and the content outlined in my head. In the hopes of finding a few articles to cite in my blog, I pulled up twitter only to find a Richard Roeper retweet of a Chicago Sun-Times article about Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose.
The tweet read, “Derrick Rose on Chicago violence: ‘it all starts with poverty.’”
I thought, wait a minute… a superstar athlete is publicly discussing a pertinent social issue and offering meaningful insight? This, I have to see.
Blocked from reading the article because I’m not a Sun-Times subscriber, I did a quick Google search and was surprised to see a CNN interview in which Rose made these comments was five days old, yet this was the first I had heard of it.
Check out the first few sentences of the CNN article:
"NBA star Derrick Rose has spoken out about gun crime in his hometown of Chicago and identified poverty as its root cause.
"The Chicago police department recorded 506 murders in 2012 — with estimates that about 80 percent were gang related, while there have been 185 murders on record up until July 3rd this year.
“‘It all starts out from poverty,’ Rose, who grew up in the city’s impoverished South Side district of Englewood, told CNN.”
Instead of seeing or hearing anything whatsoever about Rose’s comments in the last five days, we’ve been saturated with Dwight Howard’s press conference in Houston, whisperings of Major League Baseball potentially punishing Alex Rodriguez for alleged PED use, a magazine cover photo and most egregiously, the life and times of 20-year-old Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Johnny Manziel.
It would be simplistic and naive not to consider the fact that the college football machine is just a tad more profitable than murder victims in urban Chicago, which likely contributes to the disparity in media coverage. But one would think that attaching the famous face of Rose to this issue might buy it more appeal.
After all, Google search “Derrick Rose crying” and you’ll get countless hits from major news outlets to personal blogs commenting on the video of Rose becoming emotional during a press conference at which he launched his new Adidas shoe.
Google search “Derrick Rose chicago gun violence” and this is all that comes up:
In the paparazzi/Internet age of celebrities lacking any inkling of privacy and straying from the “role model” tag, it’s surprising that we are ignoring one of the few megastars who embraces it.
Rose told CNN, “I’m young, but for some reason, people tend to listen to me, especially the younger kids.
"Just knowing where I grew up and what I had to go through to get where I’m at today. Being a role model, of course, that’s what I try to do.
"I try to stay positive, just really trying to bring hope to my city, where of course, we’re going through so much stuff with crime."
Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan (among other globally recognized athletes) have often been criticized for refusing to publicly take a stand on social/political issues, yet when a high profile athlete finally steps up to the plate, we turn a blind eye. Heck, Jordan’s father was shot to death, and I couldn’t find any trace of the international icon discussing gun violence in South Carolina, Chicago or elsewhere.
Fans, reporters and pundits alike were quick to speculate about Rose’s return from a knee injury (understandably so in many cases), blanketing social media and traditional news platforms with coverage over the past year.
Rose’s mental state was picked apart on national television time after time last season, yet I haven’t seen his recent interview mentioned on cable sports networks, nor any discussion a few months ago of Rose’s offer to cover funeral costs for a 6-month-old girl shot and killed in Chicago.
When asked what he can do as an individual to help combat gun violence in his native Chicago, Rose told CNN, “I’m just trying to bring that positive energy back, bring that excitement back, so that we can get it back on the right track.”
The media so often judges the priorities of others, questioning why those who seem to have it all can’t stay on the right track. Isn’t it only fair that we ask the same of ourselves?
Down & Out: Serena's Wimbledon Fall Extends Beyond The Court
Just weeks after winning the French Open in dominating fashion, Serena Williams’ fourth-round exit at Wimbledon came as quite a shock to the tennis world. Williams’ 34-match win streak came to an end thanks to the strong play of 23-seed Sabine Lisicki from Germany, taking down Williams -a five-time Wimbledon champion- in three sets.
This particular loss will not define Williams’ tournament or even prove to be the most memorable aspect of her time at Wimbledon, as her off-court controversy dominated the headlines.
The writer also asserted that “mean girl” comments made by Williams in a phone conversation he overheard were about fellow tennis star Maria Sharapova, to which the world No. 3 responded with a low blow of her own during a Wimbledon press conference.
Serena’s faux pas reinforced the delicacy of the balancing act performed by public figures.
Williams’ attempt at openness (in letting a writer into her home for the Rolling Stone article) proves just how important managers, handlers and PR professionals are to maintaining the success and longevity of their clients’ brands.
Much to reporters’ chagrin, some athletes know better. They refrain from using twitter. They don’t say much during press conferences or locker room interviews. They don’t want to bother trying to censor themselves to appease everybody (an impossible feat) or they know their limitations, acknowledging that public speaking won’t put them in a position to succeed.
Had Williams made such controversial statements as a younger champion not yet possessing a Hall of Fame resume, it might not have hurt her career on the court, but the hoopla could have impacted endorsement deals and other areas of her professional life.
Whether she likes it or not, Williams is a role model to many, not just children. As a young girl home schooled and raised in Compton, she is a wonderful example of where work ethic and dedication can take a person. As someone who oozes both feminism and power, it’s interesting and disheartening that each instance of Williams’ recent negativity was aimed at other women.
Williams is entitled to her opinion but perhaps these last few weeks in London have served as a reminder that her actions are bigger than herself and more important than winning or losing.
This is a fascinating perspective from a die-hard baseball fan who also happens to be a minister. He brings up points that I’d bet none of us have ever considered. Click the heading which serves as a link to the article.
One man's perspective on dealing with John Tortorella for four years
Have you ever wondered what it must be like to cover a professional team as a sports reporter? This blog post, written by former NHL.com writer Dave Lozo perfectly articulates the experience, specifically the challenges of dealing with a “difficult” coach. Reading his account jogged so many memories of “first time” interviews and press conferences. For better, and for worse. Lozo covered the New York Rangers and head coach John Tortorella for four seasons. Enjoy, and be thankful it was him not you :)
The old press room in Madison Square Garden was a fitting setting for my introduction into covering John Tortorella. The tiny quarters had a suffocating, claustrophobic feel. The room was encased by cement bricks and filled with 20 or so metal folding chairs that faced a stage that held a table and chair where Tortorella would sit and answer – or usually, not answer – questions from the assembled media.
If a prison had a press conference room, this would have been it.
It was September 2009, and my extensive professional hockey writing experience totaled one Western Conference Final game and four Stanley Cup Final games, all of which were contested at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit the previous summer. I found myself covering these very important games after writing stories off conference calls in the earlier rounds that the usual writers couldn’t do because of travel situations.
It turned out my reward for that three weeks of work was four years covering the scariest coach in the NHL.
There’s no way to ever relay the terror that comes with that first press conference involving Tortorella. I had seen the videos, heard the stories and knew what to expect. Seeing as how it was my first day, I planned to simply sit back and watch the beat writers ask their pre-game questions and see how it went.
As became his routine during the season, Tortorella hobbled into the room with Rangers PR star John Rosasco at his side. Tortorella had a hip issue during the season that he would get corrected afterward, but it did nothing to soften his gruff personality. Tortorella walked up the three stairs, examined the chair and table as if it didn’t belong there, sat down, and looked out onto the gathered reporters with a long, deep sigh as if he were an 11-year-old and the human beings in the room were green beans he had to finish if he was going to be allowed to play video games later.
Roy Hibbert became the latest high profile athlete to learn a hard lesson from this culture shift after the Indiana Pacers beat the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday. During the the televised post game press conference Hibbert used the homophobic slur “no homo.”
Hibbert also dropped a “motherf****r” in that press conference, which was aired (and bleeped) on TNT. The “MF” hardly raised an eyebrow (although the NBA will surely fine Hibbert for using the more traditional curse word…UPDATE: The NBA fined Hibbert $75,000 for his post-game remarks), but the gay slur had the social media world buzzing with comments and criticism of Hibbert’s word choice.
Shortly after the press conference, the Pacers big man tweeted Jason Collins, requesting a conversation with the recently-out NBA player. The tweet has since been deleted and Sunday, Hibbert released a statement through the clean-up crew… errr…Pacers, apologizing for his comment.
While speaking with Collins is a fine idea, Hibbert should strongly consider giving Kobe Bryant a call.
Remember when Bryant landed in hot water after yelling a gay slur (the other “F” word) at a referee back in 2011? Well, Bryant’s bank account remembers as he was fined $100,000 by the league. Bryant issued the obligatory apology and professed that his words didn’t reflect his personal views (just as Hibbert has done), but the L.A. Lakers superstar put his money where his mouth is in continuing to advocate for acceptance by making public service announcements, publicly supporting Jason Collins and even calling out a fan’s anti-gay language on twitter.
Heck, maybe Hibbert, Bryant and Tim Hardaway should hold an NBA “acceptance summit.”
In Hibbert’s statement, he apologized for using the “slang” term. Yes, certain words and phrases are ingrained in our heads from a young age (or even during adulthood) and removing them from our vocabulary can take time and practice. I don’t know about you guys, but after making a conscious decision at the age of 14 (and with my Mom’s insistence), I kicked “gay” and “retarded” out of my lexicon for good. Were there occasional slip-ups early on? Absolutely, but unlearning hurtful words ain’t that tough a task.
Not long ago, a tweet popped up on my timeline written by an athlete from one of the many teams I covered for work. In his tweet, said athlete used the word “gay” in the context of “bad” or “stupid.” I immediately texted him a mini-lecture, detailing why he should remove the tweet (for his own sake) and that he should strongly consider attempting to remove the word, in such context, from his vocabulary both publicly and privately.
He quickly texted me back saying “you know I didn’t mean it like that,” so I text-lectured a bit further. Within five minutes of posting, the tweet had disappeared. A few hours later, the athlete told me he had received instant blowback from several of his twitter followers, prompting him to delete the tweet. He told me that he agreed with my stance and that he would make an effort to stop using “gay” in a negative connotation. I haven’t seen or heard him use the word since.
This player is a guy with a wonderful personality and a big heart. He was quite young at the time and it was apparent that all he needed was someone to point out something that he hadn’t considered previously. I cut him some slack and tried to help him out a bit because I didn’t think he was anti-gay, and I believed he fell into the “even good people make mistakes” category.
The aforementioned athlete, Bryant, and Hibbert all claimed that their hurtful words did not align with their personal beliefs and that their intent didn’t come from a discriminatory place.
Unfortunately, that is of little consequence to the closeted gay teenager who reads a tweet from his favorite pro-athlete and feels his heart sink. As much as some public figures stray from the “role model” position, it doesn’t make their words any less far-reaching or diminish the power of their actions.
Intentions are practically meaningless in situations like these because emotional and physical responses are attached to certain words (like the “N” word) that historically, have been used in the vein of hate, violence and persecution.
Kobe Bryant turned a huge negative into an even greater positive with the steps he has taken since his on-court outburst in 2011. I’m guessing the driving force behind such a drastic turnaround is sincerity. Do I know for a fact that Bryant isn’t anti-gay? No I don’t, but I’d be shocked if he was faking it. If Hibbert truly has no issue with homosexuality, he should follow in Bryant’s footsteps.
At what point will influential public figures like Hibbert (and plenty of others) step out of their personal bubbles and learn from the mistakes made by their peers and predecessors? At what point do we stop making excuses for ourselves and learn to do the right thing without having to first, do something wrong?
He was one of the most recognizable residents in Saskatoon and some people consider the Prairie city a little different now that he’s gone.
This article has nothing to do with sports, but I was so touched by this story that I wanted to share it with you here. Awaiting a Friday night full of promising sporting events, it’s important to be mindful of what a luxury it is to care about games and leisure. The sports world frequently serve as a microcosm of our society, thus often times providing us with stories of the good, the bad, and the ugly that humanity has to offer.
On that front, Alvin Cote’s story is a 3-for-1. Enjoy.
*Clicking the heading of this post links you to the article