Saturday, December 21, 2013

Breaking The Barriers: the ATA and Black Tennis Pioneers

Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson; courtesy of SFPL
After soccer, tennis is the world's most popular sport.  This fact seems hard to believe, especially given the elitist reputation that the sport has never been able to quite shake.  While the emergence of black players such as Venus and Serena Williams seems like a recent phenomenon, there has been a long history of black participation in the game of tennis.  Recently, the San Francisco Public has sponsored an exhibition on this history titled Breaking The Barriers: the ATA and Black Tennis Pioneers.  It appears on the 6th floor of the Main Branch (Skylight Gallery Exhibition Area, 100 Larkin Street) through January 5th.

Highlights of the exhibition include an excellent documentary on the contributions of tennis professional Don Johnson.  He describes his own trajectory as being one from "Brooklyn to the [Tennis] Hall of Frame."  A legendary tennis instructor and mentee of Arthur Ashe, Johnson has made tennis accessible and affordable to the Northern California youth he teaches. 

Also of interest was the role of the black press in making details of matches accessible to the general public.  Newspapers such as the Pittsburgh Courier, New York Amsterdam News and Chicago Defender circulated news of local and state matches within their pages.  These facts went largely unreported in the mainstream press.

The exhibit also stresses the importance of historical context.  "Breaking the Barriers" juxtaposes visuals and factoids of African-American achievements in the sport with the more grim social reality of segregation and state violence.

We were able to talk with librarian Kai Wilson, as well as visitors to the exhibit.  Here is audio from those conversations.

Written by Toni

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Former Players File Suit Against NHL

Last week, a group of ten former NHL players filed a class-action lawsuit against the National Hockey League.  Their main claim is that the league knew of the long-term risks involved with repeated blows to the head but chose not to publicly disclose this information to players.  At least two of the plaintiffs in this case have suffered brain damage.  Laywers Steve Silverman and Mel Owens have revealed that 200 more players plan to join the suit.

This comes on the heels of the $765 million dollar lawsuit recently settled by the NFL.  

While injuries have always been a part of the game, I have become concerned with the severity of head injuries since the rule changes made to the NHL in 2005.  In a desire to make the game more high-speed and offensive-minded, the NHL instituted rules, such as the two-line pass (previously banned) and reduction of the size of the neutral zone.  While the trapezoid rule seems innocuous, it means that the goaltender has to stay in net when the puck reaches the top of the offensive zone, forcing other players to play the puck -- especially along the boards -- and risk injury.  Incidentally, these changes haven't resulted in the high goal-scoring the league desired.   Last year, teams averaged 5.31 goals per game, the lowest since 2003-2004.  While I have no qualms with the league reducing the size of goaltender pads, it's also part of an endless drive to increase goal output.  I'm not anti-offense but I believe these changes should be better evaluated.  It's up to the NHL to prove that it has been taking the right precautions to protect players from undue risk.

Written by Toni

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Malachi's Sports 101

Malachi-Sports Blogger
I am Malachi and this is Sports 101! I will be educating you about sports and issues surrounding players and teams that we either love or hate. To the sports world, where would we be without sports? We probably would be a third world country living as savages!

Quarterback Matt McGloin making a pass - ESPN Photo
Raiders Win on the Road

Oakland Raider's quarterback Matt McGloin his first career start, defeating the downward spiraling Houston Texans 28-23. McGloin, a free agent walk on started in the place of injured quarterback Terrell Pryor, went 18-32 for 197 yards and three touchdowns. He got the ball out of his hands quickly and read through his progressions well. A quarterback controversy could be on the horizon in Oakland if McGloin has another good game. Wide Receiver Rod Streater caught five receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Rashad Jennings ran 22 times for 150 yards. The Raiders defense only gave up 155 passing yards and created two turnovers.

Official Brutality!

Ahmad Brooks and Drew Brees
John David Mercer/USA TODAY
The San Francisco 49ers lost a heart breaker to the New Orleans Saints 23-20 after a questionable call by the league officials. With 3:12 left in the fourth quarter, outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks viciously sacked Saints' quarterback Drew Brees, causing a fumble which was recovered by linebacker Patrick Willis. Brooks game changing play was nullified by penalty because the game official determined the sack was a roughing the quarterback penalty. Brooks right arm was beneath the neck area as he slammed Brees to the turf, causing his chin to bleed. As vicious as the hit looked the league got the call wrong, placing the 49ers in a tie for the last wild card spot.

Brooks commented, "I was just mad because that was a big play in the game. We lost, and that's probably the reason why."

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for 127 yards, two touchdowns and was sacked three times. They continue to struggle to create separation at the receiver position as teams continue to load the box with extra defenders to stop running back Frank Gore. They are desperately awaiting the return of wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who was Kaepernick's favorite target last season. It is now clear that if the Niners make the playoff, they will make it as a wild card team.

NBA News and Notes:
Stephen Curry

The Golden State Warriors are 8th in the league in points per game at 104.3 and 5th in the league in points allowed at 96.3. Point guard Stephen Curry sustained a concussion against the Utah Jazz. He is averaging 19.9 points, 8.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game this season. 

Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant practiced with the team and is in the final stage of his recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon. He will most likely play in Novemember.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bullying in the NFL

Image courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Arguably, the biggest NFL story of the year has been the saga involving Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin.  According to reports, Martin has endured daily bullying by Dolphins teammates (most prominently Richie Incognito) for quite some time.  A scathing VoiceMail left for Martin, where Incognito uses the N-Word and inappropriate threatening language, was recently released, stirring up controversy and debate over harassment and hazing in pro sports.  As the story as gained steam, former teammates of Incognito note that he seemed to have mental stability issues.

Incognito has been suspended indefinitely.  Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has said he is conducting an internal investigation to get to the bottom of the matter. 

Neither the Dolphins nor the NFL on the whole are looking good after this scenario.  While it was the right thing to do to suspend Incognito, the trouble likely lies beyond one person.  Martin, described as shy, seems to have been targeted for not being hypermasculine enough.  Figures like Hall of Famer Mike Ditka and the Dolphins' own General Manager Jeff Ireland urged that Martin should have simply fought back physically.  Former Dolphin Ricky Williams has criticized Martin for bringing the situation out in the open and not settling it internally.  There's been a lot of finger pointing at Jonathan Martin for exposing an issue many would prefer to keep in the dark.  Martin, according to a source, knows he cannot come back to the Dolphins and likely won't play for this football season.  There's even doubt he will ever play in the NFL again. 

It is alleged that Incognito used racial slurs openly in the locker room.  It seems to be commonplace in the professional sports world to not check or correct irresponsible behavior as long as said parties are "playing well."  After hearing the VoiceMail and reading a rundown of the situation in general, how can anyone defend the actions of Incognito, as well as his teammates and coaching staff (who let this behavior persist)?  Incognito, in a recent interview with Jay Glazer, maintains he was just kidding and that threats to kill and humiliate are just part of NFL culture.  It's a laughable and insulting defense.  The problem lies in the Dolphins locker room, not Jonathan Martin.  The question is whether what's transpired in Miami is an anomaly or the norm. 

Slate: Dolphins Side With Bully

CBS Sports

NY Daily News

Written by Toni

Friday, October 18, 2013

Major Broadcasting Figures Call for Washington NFL Name Change

Source: Oneida Nation
This past Sunday, Bob Costas became one of a long list of influential figures who has come out in support of changing the name of the Washington football team.  While I don't agree with all that he said during his commentary (Costas believes the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves, and other teams with Native American mascots are innocuous in their use), I applaud him for using his considerable influence to keep the lightning rod issue front and center.

Costas said: "R-dskins can't possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait.  Nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term.  It's an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present day intent.  It's fair to say that for a long time now and, certainly in 2013, no offense has been intended.  But, if you take a step back, isn't it clear to see how offense might legitimately be taken?"

Cris Collingsworth, another long-time NFL broadcaster, has also vocalized his support for the name change.  He stated: “I have a feeling if it were the blackskins, the brownskins, the name would have already been changed...You don’t name something after something derogatory. You wouldn’t name your child something derogatory. You wouldn’t name your team something derogatory... [I]n this day and age, R-dskins just doesn’t work.”  If major figures within the sporting world are openly criticizing the use of the term "R-dskins", it means Dan Snyder's fight to preserve the racist name is a losing battle.

David Letterman and Bill O'Reilly also weighed in on the matter a few nights ago, with Letterman mocking O'Reilly's disregard of the injustices Native American people have faced.

President Obama has also stated that he would consider changing the Washington name.  Oklahoma Republican politician Tom Cole opposes the use of the term, which suggests the issue offends people of all political affiliations.

Written by: Toni

Bob Costas Clip
Washington Post: Cris Collingsworth

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Malachi Sports 101

Malachi-Sports Blogger

I am Malachi and this is Sports 101! I will be educating you about sports and issues surrounding players and teams that we either love or hate. To the sports world, where would we be without sports? We probably would be a third world country living as savages!

No Honey For Golden Bears! The Cougars Stole It! 

Jarod Goff
The defense of the California Golden Bears football team continues to be a liability as they fell to Washington State Cougars 44-22.The Bears gave up 522 yards passing, as Washington State's quarterback Connor Holliday had the second best passing game in their school history.
In every game this year, the Bears' defense have giving up over 500 yards in total offense. In defense for the Bears' defense, they loss their best defensive player in defensive end Chris Mccain to suspension and played with only three healthy corner backs.They lost corner back Stefan McClure and Joel Willis during the game as well as linebacker Jalen Jefferson. Safety Alex Logan retired from the game due to medical reasons. There is nothing that demonstrates the Cal's defense will get better this year. Quarterbacks are putting up record numbers against them and all coach Sonny Dykes can do is build from the pieces that he has in place. Dykes recognizes the state of the morale of his team. “When you are a very fragile team without a lot of confidence it probably has a big impact on you,” Dykes said.
Freshman quarterback Jared Goff continues to show flashes of brilliance and head scratching mistakes. He threw for 489 yards for his third 400 yard passing game this season and wide receiver Chris Harper had 13 receptions for 216 yards and a touchdown.

Turn Over The Texans!

Tramaine Brock's Interception

The San Francisco 49ers abused the Houston Texans in Candle Stick Park 34-3, thank to Tramaine Brock's two interceptions.Early in the game Brock read Texan's quarterback Matt Schaub's eyes and jumped on a pass attended for Texan's wide receiver Andre Johnson, intercepted the pass and ran it in for a pick six.

49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not have a good game, throwing for 113 yards and a touchdown. However,the running game got going as Frank Gore ran for 81 yards and a touchdown, and Anthony Dixon ran for a touchdown also.

The 49ers defense created five turnovers, which lead to Texans' quarterback Schaub being pulled out of the game. "That's what we're striving for, turnovers," Brock commented. "We got them, I just did my job and tried to step up.

Monday, October 14, 2013



Statement from the San Francisco 49ers:

"The 49ers organization learned this morning that an accident occurred involving a driver as he delivered materials to the stadium. Our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and co-workers affected by this tragedy." 

This is in light of A driver of a delivery truck was killed Monday morning in an accident at the construction site for the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara. The driver was unloading materials from the truck.when a bundle of rebar fell on the victim, who was an employee of subcontractor Gerdau Ameristeel. 
Construction work at the stadium site has been halted for the day. The accident is under investigation.

Skelton  out. Thompson is in:

Last week, the 49ers signed quarterback John Skelton and waived rookie B.J. Daniels in a shuffle of third-string quarterbacks behind Colin Kaepernick and Colt McCoy. This week, it’s Skelton that’s out.
The NFL’s daily transaction release brought news that San Francisco claimed quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson off of waivers from the Vikings and waived Skelton. Bethel-Thompson was waived by Minnesota when they signed Josh Freeman earlier this week.

Obama said if he was a owner of a football team.....

.....and the name is offensive to a sizable group of people he would change the name. This is in reference to the Washington Redskins.

Friday, October 4, 2013


OK, let's do this I been told that I really did not touch on the topic of  Aldon Smith and his drunken ways.
ALDON SMITH San Francisco 49ers  Linebacker
Here it goes, I do not know what action my 49ers team should have taken when one of their football players start acting like a fool getting drunk and smashing their car into a tree. Of course you give him another chance to clean up his act, you would show the same kindness if it was your child.  On other hand maybe you're just tried, tired, tried of another player sorry accuse.  When they first get in trouble with the cops, drugs or in some case, shooting someone.  Once the team find out  they  just pushes it under the rug, instead of taking action right way, they wait until something serious goes wrong like death..then they really want to do something about it.  However punishment still to not come, they find every-way to keep their golden goose on the team especially if they making money for them.
You do not have to hold your breath for long "wait for it" a statement and a PSA commercial for AAA, MADD, or any organize that will help clean up their images. Now I listen to Aldon Smith "I'm sorry" statement and it sounded like he is truly sorry but sorry do not kill the pain. The world just have to wait until he show his ass off again. However the 49ers did take action and got him some treatment. I hope he stays out of trouble.

  The 49ers announced that they have sign OB John Skelton to a one year deal . Skelton was originally selected by Arizona Cardinals the fifth round  2010 draft. Let's listen to what Jim Harbaugh had to say about the the release of QB  BJ Daniels to the move of bringing in QB John Sketon in and we all can know why the move was made.



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Malachi Sports 101

Malachi -Sports Blogger
I am Malachi and this is Sports 101! I will be educating you about sports and issues surrounding players and teams that we either love or hate. To the sports world, hate is good because it is fuel that drives our sports engine. So be a playa hata!

Where is the Fight!

49ers defense are struggling against the run - TheGuardian Photo
Have you ever got excited to watch a boxing match and the fight ended so fast because one of the boxers got knocked into next week in the first? That's what the San Francisco 49ers verses the Indianapolis Colts game looked like.

The 49ers got punched in the mouth again and didn't fight back, losing to the Colts 27-7. It was like 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick was trying to fight with both hands behind his back because his receivers couldn't get open if their lives depended on it. In Kaepernick's last two games he posted a 32,2 passer rating, committing six turnovers.

I guess that's what happens when you're playing without Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Mario Manningham due to injury, which are the leading receivers from last year. It's like going to a gun fight with a knife. Not the right weapon!

What happen to the 49ers' defense? They let the soft Colts' offensive line man handle them at the line of scrimmage. The Colt seemed like they can part the Red Sea the way they opened holes against one of the best run defenses in recent years. The Colts racked up 179 rushing yards.

"We felt flat," cornerback Tarell Brown said. "We felt flat and looked flat."

Is Taking Candy From a Baby Really Wrong?

Peyton Manning picking apart the Raiders' secondary
SBNation Photo
Well, the Oakland Raiders got their candy, baby bottle, and their rattle taken from them by the Denver Broncos, falling 37-21.

Really the Raiders knew they were in for it playing the Broncos.They couldn't get any pass rush and they gave up 179 yards after the catch. Their secondary got torched and their confidence was knocked out of them early.

Broncos' quarterback Payton Manning went 32 for 37 for 374 yards.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor and corner back Tracy Porter had concussions after the beating they took by the Broncos.

Broncos! Please give the Raiders their candy back!

Playoff Bound

Josh Donaldson -SFGate Photo
The Oakland Athletics are going to the post season once again with one of the major league's lowest payrolls. They only have four players earning over $5 million. They finished second in the American league in with a 3.59 earned run average

Third baseman Josh Donaldson had a breakout season, posting a .307 batting average, with 92 RBI's, and 24 home-runs. They also had a good season out of Coco Crisp, who hit 22 home-runs and drove in 65 runs from the lead off position.

The Athletics has the most wins in the major league in the last two years with 187 victories.

General Manager definitely deserves manager of the year honors with he has done with another low payroll A's team.

Rapper M.I.A. Sued by NFL

Football fans no doubt remember the halftime show of the 2012 Super Bowl.  Madonna, accompanied by M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj, performed the song "Give Me All Your Luvin'."  During the performance, M.I.A. was seen giving the middle finger to the camera.  (It happened so quickly, I missed it myself.)
Courtesy of Getty Images 
Well, the NFL, in response to the finger gesture, has decided to sue the rapper for the tidy sum of $1.5 million dollars.  The lawsuit began in 2012 but M.I.A. and her legal representatives have only released this information to the public recently.

The NFL, in an attempt to justify the lawsuit, has claimed the rapper showed a "flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand."   M.I.A.'s lawyer, Howard King, also weighed in on the matter.  He has stated that the NFL's "claimed reputation for wholesomeness is light of the weekly felonies committed by its stars, the bounties placed by coaches on opposing players, the homophobic and racist comments uttered by its players, the complete disregard for the health of players and the premature deaths that have resulted from same, and the raping of public entities ready to sacrifice public funds to attract teams."

M.I.A. has also come on record saying that the sexually provocative dance moves of the underage women in the performance were more offensive than what she did.  In a You Tube video, she stated that the lawsuit is a "massive waste of time, it's a waste of money.  It's a massive display of powerful corporation d--k shaking...They say it's OK for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female than to display female empowerment through being punk rock.  That's what it boils down to and I'm being sued for it."

Interestingly enough, the FCC, the governing body of the broadcasting world, is not seeking to punish the British/Sri Lankan musician.  If the FCC is not pursuing the matter, neither should the NFL.  The NFL is coming out of this situation looking petty and hypocritical.  I'm with M.I.A. on this one.

Written by Toni

Fox Sports: M.I.A. and NFL Lawsuit

M.I.A.'s Response: You Tube

Note: YouTube link includes finger gesture

Friday, September 27, 2013

Malachi's Sports 101

Sports Blogger Malachi
To the sports world at large, I am Malachi and this is Sports 101. I will be giving you the gossip, rumors, and information related to sports that you are dying to hear.

Cal's Defensive Woes

Poor defense and early mistakes placed the California Golden Bears' football team in hole that they couldn’t climb out of, losing to the Ohio State Buckeyes 52-34.

Bears' secondary continue to struggle - SF Gate Photo
Facing Ohio State’s back up quarterback Kenny Guiton, who is known as a runner, Cal chose to test the young quarterback’s accuracy by playing off coverage. Their defensive scheme didn’t effect Guiton from throwing four touchdown passes, including a 90-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith, which is the longest touchdown pass in school history. He played in the absence of star quarterback Braxton Miller who was sideline with a strained MCL. Guiton completed 21 of 32 passes for 276 yards, and added 92 yards rushing.

Cal’s defense couldn’t stop the run, breaking outside containment occasionally, allowing Ohio State's running back Jordan Hall to rush for 168 yards and three touchdowns.

After the Bears started the game with bad snaps, a fumble an interception, and found themselves down 24-7 with 3:45 to go in the first quarter, they remained resilient and pulled themselves back into the game with a 31-20 halftime deficit. Cal’s up an coming freshman quarterback Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes and racked up 371 yards in total passing, just missing his third 400-yard game. Goff showed flashes but also showed his inexperience, missing open targets and throwing into double coverage. He threw a brilliant pass scrambling to his left and hit James Grisom for a touchdown and hit Chris Harper for a 42-yard touchdown later in the game.
The Bears’ defense has allowed at least 500 yards in every game this season.
“I don’t think we’re far off,” said Cal’s head coach Sunny Dykes . “We’re a very young football team…we just got to group up. We’ve got to improve.”
Dykes blame himself and his coaching staff for the loss. He said, “ That falls on us as coaches to coach better and bring our players along and put them in a good position to be successful.”

 Raiders' Defense Showed Up!
The Oakland Raiders’ defense dominated the field, limiting the Jacksonville Jaguars to just three field goals, as they went on to win quarterback Terrell Pryor's first game as a starter 19-9.

Add caption
The Raiders’ defense held Jacksonville without a first down for over two and a half quarters, sacking Jacksonville’s quarterback Chad Henne five times, two of the by safety Usama Young.

Running back Darren McFadden had a good game on the ground, rushing for 129 yards on 19 carries. Marcel Reese 11 yard touchdown run.

Pryor led the Raiders into position to make five field goals but kicker Sebastian Janikowski fell short on one, missing from 42 yards out. Pryor also added 50 yards rushing.

Seattle! The 49ers' House of Horror!

49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick struggled in Seattle
The San Francisco 49ers continues to struggle playing in Seattle against a physical team with the 12th man’s crowd noise, falling to the Seattle Seahawks 29-3. They could not establish the run and the pass against last year’s top scoring defense.

Anquan Boldin was limited to one catch for seven yards, mostly covered by Seahawks’ all pro cornerback Richard Sherman. Frank Gore couldn’t get anything going either rushing for only 16 yards. 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw three interceptions and also had a fumble.To add insult to injury, they lost Ian Williams, Ray McDonald, Vernon Davis and Eric Read to injuries in the physical battle won by Seattle.

Kaepernick only completed 13 for 28 pass attempts for 127 yards and the offense only had 207 total yards.

The 49ers shot themselves in the foot, commiting12 penalties for 121 yards, five turnovers, and committed a safety.

Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t do much either but running back Marshawn Lynch ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

The 49ers will have another chance to beat Seattle in December and they will hopefully have wide receiver Michael Crabtree back to help change their fortunes against their rivals.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sergio Romo's New Ice Cream "Only Tastes Illegal"

While pitcher Sergio Romo has been with the San Francisco Giants for five years, the reliever only gained notoriety last postseason as San Francisco surprised the baseball world in their run to the championship.  Romo, formerly a set up man in the shadows of closer Brian Wilson, was one of several "underdog" stars to emerge for the Giants in 2012 (Marco Scutaro being another).

During the Giants' championship parade, Romo gained media attention for donning a t-shirt that said "I Only Look Illegal."  The T-shirt sparked conversation about immigration and belonging.  Romo, raised in Brawley, California, is the son of Mexican farmworkers.  He has spoken against SB 1070 in Arizona and has mentioned personally being stopped by Arizona police.  Regarding the "Illegal" shirt, Romo has been quoted as saying: "I've been humbly put on a stage, a platform, and it was more of a statement to prove it doesn't matter who you are, what you've done in your life, the color of your skin. Everyone should get treated the same."

Yesterday, Romo, in conjunction with organic ice cream company Three Twins, will be sponsoring an ice cream flavor of Mexican chocolate (traditionally made with hints of cinnamon).  The tagline is: "It only tastes illegal."  It will be sold in grocery outlets like Whole Foods.  It'll be interesting to see what conversations follow the promotion of the product.

Thanks to Franklin for the heads-up about this story.

Written by Toni

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area Sports,


Sergio Romo and Three Twins

Sergio Romo, Team Mexico, and Arizona

Friday, September 20, 2013

CTE: The Settlement Is In

Jae Michael

  People may say that sports and politics don’t mix, but I beg to differ. I know it's hard to believe or to wrap your intellectual mind around it, but sports is part of life and life is one big political issue. 
"Girl Please"
Former 49ers George Visger
Kraig Debro Blogger
Let's just do this…I had a discussion with Kraig Debro the Blogger of Barber Shop 2 and George Visger, former San Fransisco 49ers Lineman, earlier this month at the KPFA studio about some of the NFL players that sued the NFL for compensation from head injuries and a brain disease called CTE.  Now CTE is a disease that some people get from  mutability concussion that you mostly find in football players. Now some of the symptoms from CTE are depression, mood swings, anxiety, memory loss and, in some cases, suicide and murder. Early in the discussion we talk about who should pick up the bill and they both believe the NFL should.

George Visger holding up a pic of his brain
Well, the settlement is in and, yes, the NFL players won their case. 765 millions dollars will be awarded to players and their families that sued the NFL for compensation. Now I wanted to know how much each player is going to receive. So I had George Visger back on the show because he was one of the players that was in that class action lawsuit. He told KPFA that each player was going to received 750 dollars a month over the next 10 years and some of them may be dead before the money is awarded to them.
 Note: If so, I really think that is dead wrong (no pun intended).

Moving on, I do not know if some of these players are on more than just marijuana like crack to flush their dreams and careers down the toilet they work so hard to get. Do you think that some of these players need babysitters until they get old enough to think for themselves? San Francisco 49ers  Aldon Smith was arrested for a DUI after crashing into someone's yard. It was reported that the pro-linebacker was released from jail Friday after his pickup truck apparently struck a tree, and he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana possession. Authorities said that Smith later took to the practice field with his teammates Friday afternoon where he was arrested.

Aldon Smith 49ers Linebacker
Note: The 49ers must be hard up to win the next game (and I know that is not the case) for them not to punish this kid. Aldon needs to take responsibility for his action and not play the game. BTW, the 49ers and the Colts are playing this weekend.

I hope they do something afterwards to help this kid grow up

Tennis and Equal Pay

Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs

Recently, ESPN has run several stories detailing the possibility that Bobby Riggs threw the infamous 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against Billy Jean King.  According to a source, who has suddenly come out of hiding after forty years, Riggs had a serious gambling problem and, by losing the match, would settle a score with the mob.  The story itself seems somewhat dubious but has been been making headlines.

Billie Jean King has maintained that she beat Riggs fair and square.  One positive, if there is one, that can be garnered from the "fixed game" accusation, is that Billie Jean King's importance to sports and social justice circles has been brought to wider attention.  Last week, the PBS "American Masters" series broadcast a documentary on King's career.  While her accomplishments on the tennis court are numerous (39 Grand Slam titles), her desire to use tennis as an activist platform for diversity and equal pay are just as noteworthy.

In the documentary, King's working-class background is highlighted.  Part of an athletic family, young Billie Jean first took to basketball as a girl before being introduced to tennis by a friend.  Uncomfortable with the country club atmosphere, which was not exactly open to her anyway, Billie Jean learned the fundamentals of tennis in a Long Beach public park as part of a free clinic.  Billie Jean commented: "Where's everybody else?  I don't see people of color.  That's not right."  King recognized that tennis was an elitist sport but also that she could use it as a platform to promote equal access for people of all backgrounds.  One also sees the convergence of race, class and gender in the interviews with an older generation of British women who, in the late 1960s, viewed King as "too competitive."

Billie Jean was also instrumental in the formation of the first (tennis) women's players' union.  The "American Masters" documentary tries to give context to the emerging feminist movement.  The issue of equal pay loomed large in the working world generally.  In tennis, the prize differential between male and female players was enormous, with men often times receiving twice the amount of prize money.  Also covered is the importance of Title IX, which, among other things, resulted in the first college scholarships being offered to female athletes.  Much was on the line when Riggs challenged Billie Jean to the match (Riggs had already defeated Margaret Court) and King rose to the occasion.

Serena and Venus Williams
Venus and Serena Williams are part of a newer generation of players who expressed their admiration for King's activism.  As children, the Williams sisters were part of World Team Tennis, a group King started.  Venus herself has been a leading figurehead for equal prize money allocation.  While players have mobilized over this issue for four decades, equal pay was only awarded at Wimbledon and the French Open during the past six years.

Written by Toni

Photo Credits: ESPN


American Masters: Billie Jean King

ESPN: Bobby Riggs

ESPN: Venus Williams and Equal Pay

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

News From Around the NHL: G Tim Thomas Given Try Out with Florida Panthers

Photo Credit: TSN CA
 One of the most controversial hockey players of the past few years has been goaltender Tim Thomas.  In January of 2012, he made headlines by refusing to go to Boston's Stanley Cup celebration with President Obama (no other player missed the event).  At the time, Thomas cited his disapproval of the government.  Thomas also refused to play last season, leaving the Bruins and Islanders on the hook for his contract.

This year, the Florida Panthers have decided to invite Thomas to their pre-season camp.  Thomas boasts a pedigree (two Vezinas and a Conn Smythe) the Panthers, who gave up the most goals in the NHL last season, cannot pass up on.

Thomas brings to mind another Tim: Tim Tebow.  One main difference would be that, arguably, Tebow doesn't have the consistency or versatility to be a professional athlete.  Thomas, on the other hand, has shown longevity by virtue of a fourteen year NHL career (with time in the Finnish leagues, as well).  Like Tebow with Focus on the Family, Thomas also has a conservative affiliation: the Tea Party.  And, arguably, both have been praised -- and perhaps protected -- because of their right-wing politics.  Tebow has been given chance after chance to be a regular in the NFL.  We'll see what happens with Thomas.  At age 39, time is not on his side.

Monday, September 16, 2013


The Shark Tank, AKA the HP Pavilion; Image Courtesy of USA Today

Hi everyone, this is Toni.  I'm one of the bloggers on Jae Michael's KPFA Sports and Politics blog.  My biggest interest is in hockey, especially the NHL.  I plan to cover the goings on of the San Jose Sharks, whose season starts in about a month.  I will also write about other sports every now and then. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Protest Against Washington NFL Team This Sunday

Image Courtesty of SB Nation
While Bay Area NFL fans will be tuning in this Sunday to see how the 49ers and Raiders fare, there might be another game that will interest folks.  This Sunday, members of Oneida Nation will be protesting the Green Bay Packers game against Washington.

Recently, journalists from the Washington Post, USA Today, and Forbes magazine (in addition to other outlets) have come on record as opposing the use of the term the Washington NFL team uses to label itself.  The "R word" is known as a derogatory term, though some claim otherwise. 

A month ago, there was a protest in Oakland in opposition the visiting Cleveland MLB team.  For me, the timing of the protests is interesting.  While groups have opposed the use of indigenous people as mascots for many years (and the ugly politics behind such an act), it seems as if more members of the mainstream media are finally taking a stand. 

Whether or not we will see coverage of Oneida Nation's protest during the Sunday NFL broadcasts is another story.

Image Courtesy of AIM-WEST

Oneida Nation: Change the Mascot

Written by Guest Blogger: Toni

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hockey and the Politics of the Sochi Winter Olympics

Image Courtesy of NHLPA
Compared to last NHL offseason, this year's offseason has been pretty quiet.  The 2012 offseason bore witness to a few blockbuster trades and a big splash made in free agency.  On top of that, the NHL experienced its first prolonged lockout since 2004-2005.  The lockout, which lasted 113 days, was resolved this past January and resulted in victories for both the owners and the players' union, the NHLPA.  The players lost 7% of hockey-related market shares but were able to secure pensions (among other points of the CBA).  As many of us have learned from the BART strike earlier in the summer, pensions remain a contentious bargaining point between unions and management.  We're living in a time where pensions are becoming extremely rare and are more likely to be being phased out with 401K plans.  Interestingly enough, in the world of professional sports, (player) pensions are actually much more common than in private or even public sector jobs.

That's not to say this offseason hasn't been without its drama. The face of Ottawa's franchise for many years, forward Daniel Alfredsson, left for Detroit and shocked the Senators fanbase and management (with Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk weighing in and blaming agent J.P. Barry for his former captain's departure).  Ilya Kovalchuk, who had signed a seventeen-year, one hundred million dollar contract with the New Jersey Devils in 2010, retired from the NHL in the prime of his career to play for the Eastern Europe-based KHL.  Despite this notable news, the biggest story of the 2013 NHL offseason has been the politics behind the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

While the 2014 Winter Olympics were awarded to Russia years ago, things took a strange turn this summer.  In June, the Russian Duma passed legislation that criminalizes queer visibility.  How precisely this will impact the Russian populace remains to be seen.  Mother Jones and many other media outlets have reported on the homophobic assaults that took place in Russia this past summer, so the ripple effects are disturbing thus far.  In addition, the wording of the problematic law explicit references expensive fines and jail time for not only openly queer people but their allies as well.  This has wider implications for the sports world because Russian legislators have publicly stated they will arrest openly queer athletes and tourists during the Winter Olympics.  While there are currently no "out" NHL players, the NHL has recently made important strides towards curbing homophobia via its affiliation with the "You Can Play" campaign.  Perhaps the biggest ally of this group has been new Calgary Flames GM Brian Burke.  "You Can Play" was formed in memory of Burke's son Brendan, a queer hockey player, as a way to promote acceptance of queer athletes in and outside the locker room.  It will be interesting to see how "You Can Play" responds to the Sochi Olympics, given their mission statement references "work[ing] to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete."  Regarding the Winter Olympics, Brian Burke has recently penned an editorial in Sports Illustrated critiquing the Russian law.  He commented that "...left unchecked, this sort of bigotry will only escalate. The rest of the world cannot bear silent witness."

Earlier this summer, various high-profile athletes from Bay Area professional sports teams participated in a "You Can Play" PSA.  Among them were San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton.  Forward Tommy Wingels, a former teammate of Brendan Burke, has also been vocal in his support of the project.  Recently, several NHL players vocalized their opposition to what's unfolding in Russia, among them Sidney Crosby, Henrik Zetterberg, Zach Parise, David Backes, and Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle.

Image Courtesy of CBS Sports
Some activists like actor Harvey Fierstein have called for a boycott of the Olympic Games (that is, complete U.S. withdrawal from participation).  But as a recent New York Times article has shown, the economics behind "ethical consumption" are complex.  The vodka Stolichnaya, for instance, has been targeted for boycott.  While some of the grain acquired to make the alcohol does come from Russia, a boycott would, in fact, hurt the Latvian workforce, as the liquor is mostly produced in Riga (not in Russia, as activists have believed).  Boycotts where consumers can pinpoint where their money is or isn't going are likely to be more successful.  Sports writer Dave Zirin has also noted that a boycott would punish athletes who may not necessarily agree with a government's human rights policies.

While many NHL athletes are saying the right thing, I do feel players could do more to push the issue.  Last NFL season, it was fun to see Chris Kluwe (briefly with the Oakland Raiders) write some eviscerating responses to a homophobic Maryland politician.  It's likely that the politics of the Sochi Games will intensify closer to the start date of the Winter Olympics.  With the "Boycott Sochi" campaign losing steam, it's looking more and more likely that an athlete will be unable to resist using the platform of the Olympics to make a powerful statement.

Written by Toni, Guest Blogger
Image Courtesy of Flickr


NHL Lockout: CBA Gives Players Defined Pension Plans

You Can Play - Bay Area Athletes

Mother Jones: Sochi Olympics

Sports Illustrated: Brian Burke Editorial

New York Times: Russian Boycott

Dave Zirin: Gay Rights and Sochi Boycott Movement

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

All In The Day Of Sports

Hey, let's just do it! People may say that sports and politics don’t mix, but I beg to differ. I know it's hard to believe or to wrap your intellectual mind around it, but sports is part of life and life is one big political issue. 
 "Girl Please"

Let's come right out the gate! You all heard this one?

Patriots owner Robert Kraft Told the whole world that he "love[s] Tim Tebow"

CBS Sports:

“I love Tim Tebow and I very much wanted him on the team." If you look at four of the last five years, we’ve
only carried two quarterbacks. And when a cut-down time comes, you need those last three or four positions for depth, and we happen to have, I think, the finest quarterback in the history of the game, and he’s not going off the field except by injury. We have a great second-string quarterback. When he came in he came in as the third quarterback and we were all rooting for him…. And life takes funny turns, so no one knows what’s going to happen in the future, but whatever he does I know he’s going to be a great success off the field and I’m rooting for him to get his opportunity on the field as well.”
All he missing is flowers and candy.
We know that Tee Bow gives off such good energy to the team.

Later in the interview, Charlie Rose noted that Kraft should be Tebow’s agent. Kraft responded: “Well, I’d love to be. I’d love to be his agent.”
 Why don't you give him some flowers and candy.


Yeah, that's right. Anthony Dixion is keeping is number 24 . "I do not want your money. No you are not going to keep my number 24," Dixion said to Nnamdi Asomugha. Nnamdi offered Dixion $24,000 to keep the number 24, the number he wore during training camp. They both were walking around looking like twins during turning season. Well training camp is over and there will be only one #24 and right now, that’s Dixion.

“I worked hard to get that number when I first got here,” Dixion said. “I worked hard to get it off somebody else. I’ve been No. 24 since high school and college. I’m not ready to sell it, yet.”

Nnamdi Asomugha
Anthony Dixion
Nnamdi Asomugha
Anthony Dixion

Wow, they just look-a-like; I cannot tell them apart.      LOL


1963 Chevrolet

 Kobe's 1963 Chevrolet is up on eBay.
Kobe and Vanessa and Their Daughters
Kobe's wife Vanessa had gotten his Chevrolet ride tricked out by the guys from "Pimp My Ride" for a  Christmas present  in 2006; now it's back on the auction block.  Kobe got rid of it earlier this year.  Now, the new owner put it on eBay with a 6-figure price tag: $100,000.  The car was completely disassembled prior to paint and reassembled using new glass, re-plated chrome and new stainless steel trim pieces. Very recent tuneup and complete battery Replacement  Sale Includes Bryant's Registration, Insurance Card and Title for this Vehicle. The car, obviously, houses an eight-cylinder engine, a 327 cubic inch noisemaker that produced 275 horsepower in its day. There are just 23,000 miles on the odometer.
The car also comes with Vanessa's old registration card and Kobe's State Farm insurance card

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Bryant’s custom 1963 Chevrolet Impala hit the virtual auction block on eBay on Wednesday, and the ride isn’t short on cool features. The ride was a Christmas gift to Bryant from his wife, Vanessa, in 2006. She had the car customized by West Coast Customs, the guys famous for transforming cars on the MTV show Pimp My Ride. The whip features a powerful V8 engine, custom 13-inch wheels, white leather seats with crystals on them, a custom sound system and hydraulics. If all those features aren’t cool enough for you, the custom paint job is a blend of “House of Kolor Purple” and royal blue — fit for a king. The car was even featured in Lowrider Magazine in Nov. 2007. Click here to see Bryant’s former ride >> Photo via eBay/exclusive_motorcars Newsmax Headlines Allen West Live on Newsmax TV, Watch Here Planned Layoffs Jump, Signal Greater ‘Cracks’ Should U.S. Strike Syria? 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Bryant’s custom 1963 Chevrolet Impala hit the virtual auction block on eBay on Wednesday, and the ride isn’t short on cool features. The ride was a Christmas gift to Bryant from his wife, Vanessa, in 2006. She had the car customized by West Coast Customs, the guys famous for transforming cars on the MTV show Pimp My Ride. The whip features a powerful V8 engine, custom 13-inch wheels, white leather seats with crystals on them, a custom sound system and hydraulics. If all those features aren’t cool enough for you, the custom paint job is a blend of “House of Kolor Purple” and royal blue — fit for a king. The car was even featured in Lowrider Magazine in Nov. 2007.

Read more at:

Bryant’s custom 1963 Chevrolet Impala hit the virtual auction block on eBay on Wednesday, and the ride isn’t short on cool features. The ride was a Christmas gift to Bryant from his wife, Vanessa, in 2006. She had the car customized by West Coast Customs, the guys famous for transforming cars on the MTV show Pimp My Ride. The whip features a powerful V8 engine, custom 13-inch wheels, white leather seats with crystals on them, a custom sound system and hydraulics. If all those features aren’t cool enough for you, the custom paint job is a blend of “House of Kolor Purple” and royal blue — fit for a king. The car was even featured in Lowrider Magazine in Nov. 2007.

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