You know what time it is … GM 4 Ducks v Kings at Staples Center.

Now THIS is how you party on a Saturday night/Cinco de Mayo weekend in Los Angeles.

                         Rapid Fire: Playoff Hockey Edition

L.A. Daily News sports columnist Jill Painter  and I dropped the gloves on KNBC Ch.4 in Los Angeles, debating all things hockey.  If it weren’t for host/referee extraordinaire Fred Roggin keeping the peace, who knows what might have happened! ;)  

To see the rest of our segments on the show, please watch on TV or live stream online (midnight every Sunday night/Monday morning) if you don’t live in the Los Angeles area.  

Thanks again to the producers of Going Roggin on KNBC for having two women headline a hockey show.  Enjoy, everyone.

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Today is proof that progress is and always will be an evolutionary process.  

"We are one." If only this rally cry posted on the Los Angeles Clippers website in response to the scandal involving owner Donald Sterling were a universal truth, well, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.  

While actions are now set in place to ban Sterling from the NBA for life, the incident prompting “we are one” should remind us that Sterling is not the end-all, be-all face of discrimination.  There are millions of other individual and institutional bigots around the globe.

Today, the United States inched closer.  Unlike many other countries around the world that do little (or nothing) to prevent or punish blatantly racist actions pertaining to sporting events,  NBA commissioner Adam Silver has done his best to implement justice.  Unfortunately, the emergence of Sterling’s vile views is not an isolated incident.  

For those of us who follow the Clippers and the NBA, as well as anyone who reads the newspaper here in Los Angeles, we’ve known all too well about Sterling’s rap sheet.  ESPN wrote a horribly damaging piece back in 2009 which detailed lawsuits filed against Sterling by both the Justice Department and basketball great Elgin Baylor, claiming disgusting instances of illegally bigoted business practices and workplace discrimination. 

What about the players, coaches and other team personnel who signed with the Clippers knowing Sterling’s smutty track record and reputation?  

Other NBA owners, the league office, and advertisers were also aware of these allegations throughout the years.  

I’m guilty too.  As a young adult, I became conscious of Sterling’s reputation when lawsuits against him were covered by the Los Angeles Times and other news sources I followed.  I remember discussing Sterling and his nauseating practices (both in his other business ventures and running a basketball franchise into the ground) with my friends, family and co-workers. For some reason my distain for the man never stopped me from watching Clippers games on TV or buying tickets and merchandise.  Why didn’t I - as someone who comes from a family of activists and Holocaust survivors, and has had the pleasure of spending time with people like Tommie Smith and John Carlos - take any proactive measures to voice my views in such a way to make a tangible difference? Why didn’t I put my money where my mouth was, instead of straight into Sterling’s filthy, sexist, racist pockets? 

Actions speak louder than words and Sterling’s actions were heinous long before the words on this tape were recorded.  Sterling’s actions were far more harmful to our society than Sterling’s words.  Shame on us for taking the easy way out and doing nothing while leaving people like L.A. renters hoping to live in safe, healthy residences and Elgin Baylor to fight the good fight alone.  

It’s a shame that many of us ignored Donald Sterling’s discriminatory actions for so long thus further enabling him, but today is finally a step in the right direction.  

Finally, we can, in a way, pay homage to the struggles and sacrifices made by so many in the sports world over the last 65 years.  Hopefully the NFL will take a page from the short-but-brilliant Adam Silver playbook and get its ass in gear to change a racist team name that has been tolerated for way too long.

Thankfully, the Sterling debacle doubles as a teachable moment in which we can learn valuable lessons about history, justice and ourselves.  This is the evolution of progress. 

Are you still up?  If so, tune into KNBC ch. 4 here in L.A., or click the link above to watch the live stream of Going Roggin.  I’m on with the man, Fred Roggin, and am570’s Tim Cates debating the hottest topics in sports.  Up next?  Clippers, and the always exciting, Rapid Fire segment.  Tune in ASAP and tweet me @jackie_pepper.  Thanks everyone!

Awwwkward!!! Did you miss Going Roggin yesterday on NBC? Not to worry, you’ve got one more chance! Set your DVR or live tweet with me at midnight PST. KNBC ch4 here in LA. Fred Roggin, Tim Cates and I are debating the future of both the Lakers and Clippers, what to do about the mess that is the NCAA, our web browser search histories, and much much more. Plus, the show takes you inside one of the most amazing celebrity homes you’ll ever see (here’s a hint…you’ll recognize it from famous movies). As always, thanks for tuning in. I appreciate it.

We’re debating the #Lakers future, how far Doc Rivers can take the #Clippers, how to fix the NCAA and how to pay players, our browser histories and much much more on Going Roggin. Please tune in to KNBC here in Los Angeles on Saturday at 3pm PST and Sunday night/Monday morning at midnight. Please join Fred Roggin, Tim Cates and I as we tackle the biggest topics in sports! Thanks for watching.

It was a pleasure chatting with US soccer great Cobi Jones about all things World Cup. He has such great takes on the past, present and future of soccer in the US and worldwide.

Two @LandonDonovan interviews in a week! Thank you to the Skin Cancer Foundation for giving Landon the opportunity to share his experience with us and also, talk soccer. We had a lot of fun.

Looks like the city is ready to run. Wishing everyone here in Boston a happy and safe Marathon Monday. It’s the best day of the year in this city, hands down.

To all of the new followers of PepperOnSports.com, welcome and thanks for hopping on board!  I wanted to share this post with you.  This story embodies what I love most about sports.  Please watch the video and enjoy.  

pepperonsports:

             Tragedy inspires magical NCAA Tournament run 

Sometimes the athletic competitions we love transcend sports to strike a deeper chord with a widespread audience.  

When Loyola Marymount University’s star basketball player Hank Gathers died of a heart attack during a game on March 4, 1990, the athletic community was devastated.  The incident was a nightmare not only for those who knew Gathers personally, but also for the NCAA and professional leagues as the worst possible outcome at a sporting event, once unimaginable, became a sickening reality.

The game in which Gathers died would be the LMU Lions’ last before the start of March Madness.  The video above chronicles the emotional journey of Gathers’ teammates as they played the Tourney of their lives with heavy hearts, transfixing the nation with every miracle win and implementing a breathtaking tribute that made their story the most moving in NCAA Tournament history.  

24 years after Gathers’ death, his LMU teammates reunited on the Loyola campus to not only talk about their fallen friend and gut-wrenching Tourney run, but also to reconnect with the son of Hank Gathers, who the team had last seen as a 6-year-old at his father’s funeral.  

via Yahoo Sports

Hey everyone!  You can catch me along with Jill Painter and Fred Roggin on a special NHL edition of Going Roggin.  We’ll be on NBC immediately following Game 2 of Blackhawks vs. Blues here in L.A.  If you aren’t in Southern California or don’t have access to KNBC on your TV, I believe you can watch the live stream on the KNBC website.  If you miss us today, you can tune in at midnight  PST (Sunday night/Monday morning) and watch the show then.  To watch us at that time online, click this link!  Thanks everyone and have a great weekend

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Going-Roggin-249053701.html

pepperonsports:

It’s about that time…for another episode of #GoingRoggin on KNBC ch4 here in LA. We’ll be on NBC immediately following the NHL playoff game this Saturday and again at midnight, Sunday night/Monday morning. LA Daily News’ award-winning columnist Jill Painter and I are taking the gloves off and going at it, talking all things hockey as Fred Roggjn has generously offered to officiate. Please join us and tweet me during the show @jackie_pepper. As always, thanks for watching!

It’s about that time…for another episode of #GoingRoggin on KNBC ch4 here in LA. We’ll be on NBC immediately following the NHL playoff game this Saturday and again at midnight, Sunday night/Monday morning. LA Daily News’ award-winning columnist Jill Painter and I are taking the gloves off and going at it, talking all things hockey as Fred Roggjn has generously offered to officiate. Please join us and tweet me during the show @jackie_pepper. As always, thanks for watching!

Today we sat down with Team USA’s @LandonDonovan. It was fun listening to Landon discuss his favorite #WorldCup memories, expectations for Brazil 2014, taking on those pesky aliens as a member of Samsung’s Galaxy 11 and much more. Oh ya, plus, Landon took a photo of me interviewing him using his James Bond-esque wrist watch/phone/camera. Technology. What a trip.

                  Teammate Behind Epic Baseball Prank Tells All!

There is no place like a baseball clubhouse.  The amount of time players (and media, for that matter) spend inside of a clubhouse dwarfs that of the boys of summer’s counterparts in football, basketball and hockey.  The “locker room” culture of sports is something that could easily be studied within the social science disciplines of sociology and psychology.  Spending one afternoon inside of a baseball clubhouse, you’re likely to experience displays of hard work, friendship, indifference, energy, animosity, routine, boredom, exhaustion, and humor.  

Cody Decker, the first baseman for the El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres Triple-A affiliate), produced his fifth baseball-related short flick and this one is a doozy.  “On Jeff Ears” takes us inside the dugout, clubhouse and meeting room as the Chihuahuas play a hilarious prank on teammate Jeff Francouer.  

The veteran outfielder signed with San Diego in March and hey, why not prank a guy who has made around $25 million in his career and is back in the minors?  Here’s a summary.  Francouer’s teammates spent WEEKS pretending that Chihuahuas pitcher Jorge Reyes was deaf.  Coaches, players, and all kinds of folk in El Paso were in on the joke.  Decker’s film takes us inside the prank and the big reveal where Francouer learns that he’s been SO punked!

Decker shot all of the interviews in one day during a rain delay using his iPhone and edited using iMovie on his laptop over the course of a few days.  See kids, you too can make movies at home!  Decker told me that as a filmmaker, he had a clear vision for the film and knew exactly what he wanted from each player and coach when he interviewed them.

I spoke with Decker over the phone and here are a few highlights from our Q&A:

Jackie Pepper: How was Jeff Francouer chosen as the butt of this particular joke?

Cody Decker: Basically we thought he was the perfect candidate.  We put the hook in there early to see if he would fall for it and he did.  We picked Jeff because he’s such a high profile guy and he’s such a nice guy that  I don’t think he saw it coming.  He even admitted it was the best and most well executed prank that he’s every seen.  It was a whole team effort.

JP: Early in the film we see Francouer interviewed on camera.  What did you tell him the reason was for the interview? 

CD: I told jeff that I was shooting a short film for Jorge and his wife’s [wedding] anniversary.  That’s why I told him to annunciate his words [so that “deaf” Jorge would be able to read his lips in the video].

JP: At the end, we see the “big reveal” in which Francouer watches the interviews and learns that you’ve fooled him, hard core.  What happened at that moment that wasn’t seen on camera?

CD: We had a full-on 20 minute Q&A where he [Francouer] asked the entire team questions.  It was amazing.  He was laughing.  He said this is unbelievable.  He said i had no reason not to believe this.

JP: Your teammates verbally hammer the guy, calling him an “idiot” throughout the video.  Were you at all concerned, especially in an age where bullying is a key issue, that this joke was going too far?

CD: No.  Never.  Jeff is literally maybe the best teammate that any of us can ever hope for.  He’s an unbelievable leader, he’s fantastic.  He thought this was just as funny as we did and that just shows you what an amazing guy he is.  We weren’t picking on him, it was just a little thing that we just did and he was impressed.  He got a kick out of it and he bought us all dinner the next night.