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EDITORâ€™S NOTE SAY, WHAT? FIRST AND TECH STAT SHEET FIT GOAL
FEATURES 14 FUTURE WAVES 16 DIPLOMATIC IMPACT 26 STILL A N***** IN A COUPE 28 PURE GOLD 23
SAME SPORT, DIFFERENT CULTURES Across Levels of Division I Play, Football Provides a Vastly Different Gameday Experience
PAGE 20 Autumn A. Arnett Founding Editor
R. Preston Clark Assistant Editor
Columnist A.J. Dempsey, Fit Goal
Robert Bennett III Co-Editor
Rabb Muhammad Copy Editor
Ahmad Barber Art Director
Steven Gaither, Darren Martin Social Media Managers
Contributors: Kevin W. Joseph Darren Martin Rabb Muhammad Lori S. Robinson
Dear Reader, I still remember trying to “watch” Super Bowl XLVII on my laptop via ESPN GameCast while on a poorly-planned flight home from Orlando. (Thank God for the lights going out at Candlestick Park and delaying the game enough that I could catch most of the second half of it in an airport bar once we’d landed.) That was only 2 ½ short years ago. There were hit-or-miss streams that were sometimes available even then, but that day, the best I could do was watch x’s and o’s go across an illustrated field for the first half of the game. Now, only a short time later, technology has advanced to such a place that many people are predicting cable and traditional pay-per-view models may soon become obsolete. Crazy. For those who know me, it should come as no surprise that football dominates this issue. I am so thrilled by the return of football I can barely contain myself. It’s exactly like those NFL Fantasy Football commercials that ask, “without fantasy football, what would friends talk about?” Except it’s bigger than just fantasy football; it’s real life. What is life and love and happiness and all things worthwhile without football? But despite my most earnest intentions, we couldn’t put together an issue that was entirely about football and ignore some of the other things going on in society. Like the death of baseball icon Yogi Berra, whose advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community often goes unmentioned in conversations about his legacy or the persistence of police brutality against African-Americans in this country. True to tradition, we continued to work hard to bring you stories that tackle some of the hard issues in sports — and society — today. During our summer hiatus, the Out of Bounds team has done some strategizing and planning for the future to enable us to continue to improve upon the publication we bring to you every month. The Brigham Young Cougars stunned the Nebraska Cornhuskers with a 42-yard Hail Mary with only :01 left on the clock to win the game in the opening weekend of the college football season. I’m convinced that it will go down as one of the greatest plays of the season. The moment was well-deserving of the cover of this issue. If you haven’t already,please subscribe to get Out of Bounds news and stories delivered right to your inbox every month at outofboundsmag.com/subscribe to ensure you don’t miss a thing. Stay tuned for some exciting changes moving forward! As always, I’m eager to receive your feedback. Please do continue to reach out with any questions, comments or suggestions for improvement — I’d love to hear them! I can be reached via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Twitter (@A2Arnett). Most sincerely,
Autumn A. Arnett Founding Editor
L:@outofboundsmag C: facebook.com/oobmagazine
A compilation of some of the summer’s best quotes from around the sports world.
“Kobe is like the senior prof you try to keep from attending the job talks of the asst prof candidates.” Temple University Professor Nyasha Junior, via Twitter
“Open up your vocabulary, people. The R-word is hurtful, hateful and ignorant. Like the N-word, it should not be part of our language.” Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden, the NFL’s first Special Olympics Global Ambassador, on the use of the word “retarded”
“[Hank] Aaron. [Willie] Mays. [Sandy] Koufax. [Johnny] Bench. Heroes from a different era. Watching Aaron and Mays reminds us when Black men used sports to uplift a people.” Howard University Professor Greg Carr
“Dellavedova. Smith. Shumpert. Jones. Thompson. This is currently an NBA Finals fourth quarter lineup.” NJ Sports Radio Personality Joe Giglio during Game 4 of the NBA Finals June 11
“MLB chooses to be culturally white while other sports evolved to funner games after they integrated. MLB is still governed by white codes.” Sports and media analyst Chuck Modiano
“It’s too complex? I’ve never bought into that ‘baseball is too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic.”... “I understand that when you mention a specific country, they get offended,” Cowherd said. “I get it. I do. And for that, I feel bad. I do. But I have four reports in front of me ... where there are discussions of major deficiencies in the education sector at all levels. ... It wasn’t a shot at them. It was data. Five, seven years ago I talked about the same subject. Was I clunky? Perhaps. Did people not like my tone? I get it. Sometimes my tone stinks.” ESPN’s Colin Cowherd
“My number is 84. 8 times 4 is 32. 32 teams passed over me, even the Steelers.” Steelers WR Antonio Brown on his motivationto be great and the reason forhis jersey number via NFL Top 100.
“Myself & [Allen Iverson] played with not only ‘undeniable’ passion for the game BUT 4 the love of the city of Philadelphia.” Complex Senior Editor Russ Bengtson on LeBron James
“We have the best player of his time making the Finals every year, and somehow this is seen as a failure. Do any of you actually like sports.” Complex Senior Editor Russ Bengtson on LeBron James
“To the Bengals: y’all set the example for corporate America. Y’all let everybody know what it’s like for an employer to stick behind its employee when we can do nothing for you. … To Coach Lewis, to the Brown family, I can honestly say I love y’all for allowing me to be a father first and putting football secondary because y’all helped me save my daughter’s life.” Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still accepting the 2015 ESPY Award for the Jimmy V Perseverance Award on behalf of his daughter Leah Still
“Any time we have a symbol that represents something that’s mean-spirited or doesn’t represent equal rights for all people, that I’m not for having that symbol represent anything we’re involved in. … It’s not my decision what the governor does or what our university does. It’s just my opinion and how I feel about symbols that are not positive towards human rights and everybody having equal opportunity.” University of Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban on the Confederate flag
Sports are all about precision. Performance. Intensity. There are tangible measurables that help gauge everything from optimal performance levels to off-kilter health indicators. As the world of sports becomes more high-stakes, it also becomes more high-tech. This month, the Out of Bounds staff is presenting a round-up of the top trends and new offerings in wearable technology, technology that enhances fan experience and fitness gadgets. 7
Jins Meme With Google Glass’ production stalled, the smartglasses market is wide open — and Japanese company Jins is taking a stab at entry. Sensors and technology hidden in the ear and nose pieces track movements and posture and balance. They help count the calories one burns in addition to tracking eye movement to provide feedback on responsiveness. Company representatives say the glasses have all the same capabilities as the popular FitBit bands, but with greater accuracy, thanks to the stable position on the wearer’s face.
FITguard Mouthguard Based on the idea that mouthguard sensors, instead of helmet or chinstrap sensors, can better detect head trauma (because they are placed in contact with a player’s rear molars, which touch the skull), Force Impact Technologies has created the FITguard mouthguard. A built-in accelerometer and gyroscope measures linear and angular acceleration to predict concussions and brain injuries by measuring impact. LED lights on the guard indicate whether medical attention is needed.
Zebra MotionWorks™ player tracking system As the “Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider” of the NFL, sensors in the Zebra MotionWorks™ player tracking system identify the location, motion and direction of every player on the field and provide real-time data for all players, game officials and significant game entities, like flags and chains. It provides performance data in real-time within inches throughout a game, highlighting speed profiles, accumulated distances, fitness graphs and coverage heat maps. It won Best Sports Technology at this year’s Sports Business Journal’s Sports Business Awards.
Samsung’s Sports Live App Part of the company’s smart television line, the Sports Live App provides on-screen information about the game in progress. The feature takes information from the broadcasting networks — such as results, statistics and other relevant figures — and presents them in a screen overlay presented as a dual-screen layout to keep viewers from having to search for supplemental game information online.
Sporting Innovation’s Fan360 Uphoria A mobile app that seeks to improve fans’ in-game experience, Sporting Innovation’s Fan360 Uphoria offers in-game replays, gaming and rewards features that increase fans’ knowledge and enjoyment of the game experience, mobile ticketing, social interaction and commerce to provide an all-in-one solution to stadium perks. By identifying each fan uniquely and building a comprehensive user profile, the company hopes to increase interaction between fans and promote an all-around better fan experience, while providing valuable feedback to team management about fan preferences and behaviors.
FreeD Video Technology Offering 360-degree video coverage of key plays from all live game action within the arena, the technology hopes to fully immerse viewers in the game by providing a “true three-dimensional scene, comprised of three-dimensional ‘pixels’ that faithfully represent reality.” Currently in use by some NFL, MLB and NBA teams, the company hopes to be able to eventually deliver the technology right to the consumer at home, who will be able to call up a replay of any play right from his or her own TV.
FitLinxx Amp Strip A small adhesive bandage hosts a set of sensors that tell you how hard to train and when to rest. The strip monitors heart rate through cycles of training, sleep, and recovery to provide feedback that helps you find the balance between too little and too much training.
Garmin Vivoactive The fitness-specific, cost-effective alternative to fitness tracking via an Apple Watch, the Vivoactive features an LCD touch screen that logs running, cycling, swimming and golf, as well as everyday activity tracking and works in up to 50 meters (over 164 feet) of water. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 3 weeks (or 10 hours, if using GPS as well).
USC PAID ARKANSAS STATE GEORGIA PAID ULM TENNESSEE PAID BOWLING GREEN OKLAHOMA PAID AKRON
WEEK ONE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PAYOUTS There is often a lot of controversy about smaller teams’ decisions to agree to play traditional powerhouses. Detractors argue that the significant losses result in a loss of dignity for the larger programs, but those in favor of the practice say the money the smaller schools receive for the exhibitions help balance the books. See “Same Sport, Different Cultures” on page 22.
FLORIDA PAID NEW MEXICO STATE NEBRASKA PAID BYU FLORIDA STATE PAID TEXAS STATE WEST VIRGINIA PAID GEORGIA SOUTHERN WASHINGTON STATE PAID PORTLAND STATE LSU PAID MCNEESE STATE TEXAS TECH PAID SAM HOUSTON STATE PITT PAID YOUNGSTOWN STATE BOSTON COLLEGE PAID MAINE MISSOURI PAID SOUTHEASE MISSOURI GEORGIA TECH PAID ALCORN STATE RUTGERS PAID NORFOLK STATE WYOMING PAID NORTH DAKOTA COLORADO STATE PAID SAVANNAH STATE CLEMSON PAID WOFFORD
A.J. DEMPSEY In our image-obsessed culture, we are inundated daily with images of what the “perfect body” looks like and how it should perform. Most of us struggle to put things in proper perspective and have unreasonable expectations of how our bodies should really look. Not all of us are meant to be Olympic decathletes or NFL football players, but how many times have you caught yourself thinking ‘I wish I looked like that,’ or ‘I can get those [insert desirable body part here]’? Stop the unfair comparisons. I am in no way saying that you should not aspire to be be athletic, but be content with being the best athlete you are meant to be. Like it or not, we are not all created equal— but that is precisely why humankind thrives. To understand why it is not the fate of all of us to be born svelte elite athletes, let’s first discuss the different body types. Many of our physical characteristics are predetermined by our DNA. The color of one’s skin, texture of one’s hair, one’s height, one’s eye color, and even how one’s body processes the calories one consumes are all affected by one’s genetic code. We classify each individual
WHY SIZEBEINGDOESN’T YOUR HEALTHIEST MATTER: YOU AT ANY SIZE on the planet under one of three body types, and knowing your specific body type is one of the first steps to changing your health for the better. THE ECTOMORPH Ectomorphs tend to have smaller, thinner frames, thin joints, flat chests, narrow shoulders, and narrow hips. Ectomorphs also tend to be lanky with long, lean muscle and they struggle to put on weight because they often have incredibly fast metabolisms. Their bodies are typically using the food energy as soon as it enters the body, and, because of this ectomorphs must eat very large amounts of food to add muscle mass. But this does not give an ectomorph carte blanche to eat anything he or she pleases. If being healthy is a priority, the right decisions should still be made concerning food. Ectomorphs are often referred to as “hard gainers.” If you are trying to gain muscle mass as an ectomorph, you will have to ingest the calories necessary for gain. Because their metabolisms are so fast, they run the risk of their muscles entering a state of catabolism and breaking down during their sleep. To prevent this, it is imperative
for ectomorphs to eat protein before bed. Ex. Meal: 6 oz of Greek Yogurt with half a cup of blueberries about 30 mins to an hour before bed. THE ENDOMORPH I have always been an Endomorph, and for years I hated that I could eat the same things as others and more easily gain weight. Even now it is a constant grind to remain as healthy and fit as possible. Endomorphs can be looked at in most ways as the opposite of ectomorphs. We are defined by having solid, but often soft and doughy frames. Endomorphs also tend to carry more muscle mass, especially in the upper legs. We very easily put on weight, both through muscle and fat. We often carry excess fat and find it difficult to lose because of slower metabolisms and greater insulin sensitivities. Endomorphs often find ourselves thinking, “I will never get this excess weight off of my body.” There is no reason to be discouraged; with the right diet and exercise, endomorphs can be healthy and happy just like everyone else. In order to keep the muscle mass that many endos gain while losing the fat, it is imperative
that we use a mixture of both weight training and cardio in every training session. It may also be advantageous to reduce the amount of carbs in our diets in favor of higher protein and healthy fats.
These images, taken by photographer Howard Schatz for his 2002 book, Athlete, showcase a broad range of healthy female body types.
Ex. Meal: Grilled Chicken Salad with plenty of veggie, avocado for your healthy fats, and a dressing with low sugar content. THE MESOMORPH The third and final body type is classified as Mesomorph. Mesomorphs can be seen as a combination of ectomorphs and endomorphs. Like endomorphs, Mesos tend to have larger bone structure and muscles. But like their endomorph counterparts, mesomorphs have thinner, more toned waists, as they donâ€™t hold onto fat in the same way endomorphs hold weight. These men and women are often athletically inclined. Because they generally find it easy to gain or lose weight quickly, they are perfectly suited for bodybuilding â€” a sport in which one is looking to puts on large amount of muscle while simultaneously burning fat. Mesomorphs looking to add muscle mass, can do so by optimizing their macronutrient content with engaging in a vigorous workout routine. This means they need to balance their carb, protein, and fat intake, while watching their calorie count to ensure not gaining any excess fat. Ex. Meal: one medium sweet potato (baked or steamed) with one pat of butter or teaspoon of coconut oil, 6 oz salmon fillet, and one cup steamed asparagus. With a better understanding of which body type or combination of types you possess, you can better implement a plan that will help you live the healthiest possible lifestyle. Do a little research, figure out what your body type is, and use that knowledge to be healthier.
Video Streaming May Change the Way We View Sports RABB MUHAMMAD
ost of the major professional athletic leagues have recently tested the waters with a couple of the Big Four technology firms. The NFL partnered with Facebook during its 2014 season, posting highlights of various games on its official Facebook account. The NFL plans to further leverage streaming technology by partnering with the ailing tech giant Yahoo! to live stream the October 25 Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game. While the game will be available on network television in the teams’ respective local markets, the rest of the nation will have to stream the game (for free) through Yahoo.com, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Screen and Tumblr (all proprietary Yahoo! Services). YouTube and the NBA have a long standing relationship, and the league is currently expanding into multiple social media platforms including startup apps like Yo and Pinterest. So why all the fuss about video streaming? There has been a fierce competition between technology giants like Facebook, Google and their rivals to harness the growth of the mobile internet, and specifically mobile video streaming. There are 2.8 billion internet users, up by 8 percent year to date. Out of those 2.8 billion internet users 2.1 billion use mobile devices to access the web, a 23 percent increase from 2014. Mobile data
usage increased 69 percent in 2014, 56 percent of that increase was attributed to mobile video streaming. Many rapidly growing tech titans have partnered or acquired many companies to gain a foothold in this increasingly popular service. A large potential driver of the popularity of streaming services could be the increasing availability of online sporting content. The goal of these partnerships between professional leagues and social media firms is a mixture of marketing, strategic positioning and a continuing effort to become a global brand. Leveraging social media’s reach with high value, non-user generated content, the NFL, MLB and NBA look to expand their presence in the global consciousness and gain access to fast-growing emerging markets (such as India and China) that have relatively low internet penetration but a young and increasingly wealthy population whose awareness of and access to American sporting events are minimal. In 2013, Nielsen reported that consumers spend more time on their mobile devices than on their PCs in hours per month. This trend is can be seen in a company like Facebook’s 2013 revenue growth. The advertising component attributed to mobile devices has seen as increasing over 10 percent quarter over quarter. Social media
companies like Twitter and Facebook that rely on ad revenue plan on supercharging their revenue by supplement user generated content with content provided by partnerships with sporting associations. In the same 2013 Nielsen report, despite smartphone usage overtaking the PC dominance, TV viewing was still ranked number one in hours per month a user spends on a particular device, with over half of U.S. households owning more than three TV sets per household. However SmartTVs are IP-based to allow for streaming of “over-thetop” type applications. “Over-the-top” technologies allow TV users to bypass typical cable or broadcast providers by streaming video content through their internet connection through applications like Netflix or Hulu. This effectively cuts out cable TV providers (like Comcast and Time Warner) and upsets the tenuous balance in the universe of sports broadcasting. As is well known, buying the rights to broadcast sporting events is by far the most expensive deals that network and cable TV channels make. Fox, CBS and NBC have contracts with the NFL extending to the 2022 season worth over $3 billion per season and ESPN is paying a hair shy of $2 billion per season for “Monday Night Football” through 2021. Recently CBS inked a 14 year,
$10.8 billion deal with the NCAA for the rights to broadcast the Final Four. All of this means that cable providers have to bundle channels like ESPN and Fox Sports Network whose content is astronomically expensive with other networks to balance out the cost of buying the rights to provide consumers sports content. Basically, if all you watch on your cable subscription is Sportscenter be thankful for people that watch Honey Boo Boo for subsidizing your viewing habits. What viewing sporting events “over-the-top” or on your mobile device through Facebook or YouTube does is throw a potential wrench into the mechanics of how lucrative these long-term deals will be. As viewership’s habits shift towards using “over-the-top” applications already embedded within SmartTVs or Set Top Boxes (STB) like AppleTV or FireTV, it in effect drive down advertisement revenue for the main broadcast on cable and/or broadcast television. All of this adds up to a potential problem for the cost structure of the deals professional leagues and content providers currently have. The NFL and NBA have gone on record multiple times in the past few years stating their commitment to TV broadcasts as their primary means of distributing their content, but many of their moves are positioning themselves in preparation of cable viewers “debundling” their cable channels from large 200+ channel bundles currently sold to consumers to a segment of 10-20 channels each viewer demeans important. Some so called “cord-cutters” have gotten rid of their cable subscription all together had have opted to solely subscribe to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Giving cable-cutters heart, there has been talk of Apple and Google each providing a “multichannel video package” (MCVP) through their individual STBs that would provide network content through the internet for a nominal subscription fee. While the large professional sports associations have not fully committed to new digital media platforms for fear of harming their cash-cow deals with network television, other consortiums like the UFC have fully embraced social media marketing and video streaming as ways to reach their core (and often coveted) viewer: The Millennial. UFC fights were broadcasted for free via Facebook starting in 2012 and now can be found across multiple video streaming platforms. As conventional boxing continues to fall out of favor of younger generations, UFC looks to connect with a broad spectrum of viewers through a free content disrupting the current pay-per-view deals for billed fights. User-generated live streaming services Meerkat and Periscope add another threat layer to the horizon for conventional video content deals. These services allow individual users to live stream video of events from their smartphones, relying heavily on targeted advertisements and heuristics gathered from viewers for revenue. Television set and STB manufacturers, like LG, Samsung and Vizio, have embedded TV viewership collection technologies. This viewership data tracking technology follows a viewer’s program and network preferences and combines it with demographic data such as age, gender and ethnicity to create ads that are more effective for a particular consumer segment. These practices also create huge privacy concerns — Would fans want the NFL to know your preferred beer or what type of deodorant you wear? Nobody knows how we will be watching Super Bowl LIX in 2025, but we are seeing the twilight of the dominance of network television deals out of New York City and the dawn of a new age of sports video content with a new set of players out of Silicon Valley.
The phenomenon of sports diplomacy in modern international relations OUT OF BOUNDS STAFF
Sport is a very important and influential part of the image of the state, and in some instances, sports teams become almost representative of a nationâ€™s international brand. Sporting victories become synonymous with power and authority in the world, as the level of development of sports and physical culture become to criteria by which the standard of living and well-being of the population of a country can be judged. 16
Being the center of attention all over the world, sporting entities cannot remain separate from international goings-on. International interaction in this arena takes place both on a personal level and within the frameworks of more formal institutions, beginning with fans and athletic associations and ending with “global players,” such as the international organizations like the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the International Federation of Athletics Associations (IAAF) and others. Speaking about the intersection of international relations and sports, media practitioners scientists and politicians often use the term “sports diplomacy.” Today there is no generally accepted definition of “sports diplomacy. It is often perceived as a sub-cultural diplomacy (as sport is a part of culture, and sports diplomacy is usually realized in the sphere of private initiatives) that influences public opinion and allows a venue for the exchange of ideas, culture and information. But there is a more formal diplomatic function that can be applied when sport becomes a function of the state and acts as a vehicle to express its diplomatic missions and foreign policy objectives via sporting officials, athletes and coaches. To understand the specifics of such a controversial term as “sports diplomacy,” it is helpful to focus on the classification of the main forms of realization of foreign policy objectives through multiple directions of the sports diplomacy. The first form of sports diplomacy is “the diplomacy of major competitions,” primarily Summer Olympic Games and the Olympic Winter Games, as well as the FIFA World Cup as the forums attracting the largest worldwide audiences. So, what are the possibilities of “the diplomacy of major competitions”? First, major competitions rarely do without the presence of top national officials, not necessarily because the leaders are passionate about sports, but because the Olympics provide a unique opportunity for multi-platform dialogue, given the games’ high attendance by other heads of state: Olympic competitions often attract six times more heads of state than the G20 summits. Second, hosting a major sporting event is a great way to introduce the world to the culture of the country, to form a positive image and to demonstrate changes—all tactics Hitler leveraged well during the 1936 games. This doesn’t mean that hosting the Olympics could radically change a country’s image in the international arena, but it does provide a great opportunity to give new color and meaning to some previous atrocities in deed or thought and to demonstrate positive the facets of the country’s image that are little known in the world.
Thus, Pim Verskhuren, comparing the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008 and London- 2012, said: “China before the Olympics was known throughout the world as an economic power. The government used the game to show [the] industrial potential of the country. London does not require advertising. [Hosting the] Olympics for the British [presents] an occasion to refresh the image of old-fashioned [and] show innovation and creativity.
SPORT AS A TOOL OF THE STATE
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once said the United States’ “sports exchanges are the most popular exchanges we do. And when I go to other countries around the world and we talk about what kind of exchanges that people are looking for, very often a leader will say, how about a sports exchange?” But sports diplomacy is more than just exhibition games and cultural exchange activities. It has also been used as an independent tool to address specific foreign policy objectives. As the U.S. sought to colonize nations throughout the Asian Pacific and even the Caribbean, baseball was used as a vehicle of “the American Way,” and was sometimes referred to as the “moral equivalent of war.” University of San Francisco Professor Dr. Robert Elias explains in his book, The Empire Strikes Back; How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad, that since the beginning of the 19th century, baseball has been intrinsically tied with U.S. foreign mission objectives and quietly served as a mechanism for political pacification and social control.
It wasn’t just Americans who used the sport a a means to control the population; Elias points out that former Dominican Dictator Rafael Trujilio used the sport “to help maintain control and distract the masses from his government’s rigged elections, repression and murder.” Similarly, during the 1936 Olympics held in Nazi Germany, the Hitler regime won over foreign journalists and spectators with a full-fledged propaganda machine that appeared to soften his anti-Semitic ideals and legitimized his tyranny by way of international support. Soon after the games, Nazi Germany’s continued persecution of European Jews (and everyone else) led to World War II and the Holocaust. Sports have also been used as a vehicle of condemnation, like when the International Olympic Committee banned South Africa from participating in the Olympics from 1964-1988 because of its participation in apartheid. The United States’ boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics in protest of Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan was also intended as a measure of condemnation. Today, sport is one of the most important components of human activity. Sport as a phenomenon is truly global in nature, with the largest international events, such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup enjoying widespread international broadcast and coverage. Thanks to overexposure in the media, sport’s celebrities are well-known anywhere on earth. Sports language is universal, it unites people across the globe, regardless of color, confession, sex and age.
Jesse Owens on the podium after winning a gold medal in the 1936 Olympics in Germany. During the games, Adolf Hitler and his regime won over journalists and and spectators with a full-fledged propaganda machine that appeared to soften his anti-Semitic ideals and legitimized his tyranny by way of international support.
There is no wonder that the sporting world has long ceased to be representative of just physical exercise and contests. The sports industry today is a global business, bringing enormous profits to both states organizing sports forums, and non-state actors, especially the giant sporting goods manufacturers, such as Nike and Adidas. However, some leading scientists in the field of sports diplomacy, such as the Australian Stuart Murray and Frenchman Robert Redeker question the term “sports diplomacy” based on the fact that “sports and diplomacy are very different institutions and should not be mixed.”The strongest argument of skeptics is that the two cultures—sporting and diplomatic—are worlds apart. In sport, they say, agents express themselves physically; in diplomacy, they work with words. Athletes show themselves and thrive on adrenaline, while diplomats act with discretion. Murray touches perhaps the main contradiction between sports and diplomacy in his work: If the second is initially defined as “the way to find a peaceful solution to the problem,” the first is always competitive and contains a hidden aggression. Still, sport has often been recognized as a tool to advance foreign policy and cultural exchange. During a United Nations General Assembly meeting in October 2014, the body recognized the value of sports as a tool for peace and development. From using sporting events to raise awareness for social justice issues to encouraging athletes to use their international platforms to speak out
against discrimination, “Assembly Vice President Gréta Gunnarsdóttir (Iceland) said that when nations and people got together to play sports, they cooperatively crossed political and cultural boundaries, even if there had been wars and enmity between them,” a U.N. report of the meeting stated. Azerbaijan’s Minister for Youth and Sports, Azad Rahimov, said international sporting events helped to promote dialogue and tolerance among nations, and Ethiopia’s representative reported sports programs are being integrated into national development and peace policies. Israel’s David Roet pointed out how people from different factions of life were able to join together in the sporting arena during times of conflict: “just a few days after the conflict in Gaza had ended, Israeli and Palestinian children had come together to play soccer. Jews, Arabs, Muslims and Christians had played together on Israel’s national sports teams,” he said. Erika Almeida Watanabe Patriota of Brazil, a country whose Constitution recognizes sport as a fundamental human right, reinforced the idea that sports can serve as a vehicle to promote education, health, development and peace. Whether major international events attended by hundreds of foreign dignitaries or culture exchange missions that send athletes as diplomats, from secretaries of state to commissioners of major sports leagues, many across the world are beginning to accept the importance of the role of sports in international relations. This article was adopted from an essay written by Leonid Muzhikbaev.
Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra was the son of Italian immigrants who grew up to be not only one of the best baseball players in American sports history, but also a great advocate for equality — particularly for LGBT athletes. “Respect the game, respect others. That’s what I always learned in sports. Treat everyone the same. That’s how it should be,” he had once said. In 2013, Berra joined Athlete Ally as a champion for inclusion in sports and as an Athlete Ally Pro Ambassador. Under his leadership, the organization collaborated with the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on the innovative “Championing Respect” museum exhibit, which charts how sports has contributed to social change, from Jackie Robinson to Billie Jean King to today’s athletes working for LGBT equality. Athlete Ally presented Berra with an Athlete Ally Action Award in 2014. This July, the organization sent a letter to the White House recommending that Berra receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “We will remember Yogi Berra for his values and his courage. He was a true pioneer for inclusion in sport, and a personal hero of mine. Not only was he one of the best catchers in MLB history, but he was strongly committed to diversity, inclusion, and education,” said Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director.”Yogi truly understood what it meant to be an ally, and he lived it every day. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and we thank Yogi for teaching us all to value respect and inclusion in sport.”
Across Levels of Division I Play, Football Provides a Vastly Different Gameday Experience AUTUMN A. ARNETT
When the Brigham Young Cougars beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln on opening â€” and walked away with a $1 million check for the trip â€” it again highlighted the disparities in collegiate athletics funding and competition levels.
he University of Nebraska, which has an annual budget of nearly $95 million — and none of it subsidized by student or state fees — did not expect to lose to an institution with a fraction of its budget. But in many of the other games with similar stakes, the outcomes were much more in line with expectation. The Nebraska-BYU game represented one of the larger payouts of a weekend that also saw Grambling State University trounced by Cal (73-14), the University of Louisiana at Monroe defeated mightily by Georgia (51-14), Alcorn State obliterated by Georgia Tech (69-6), Akron run over by Oklahoma (41-3) and a number of other small programs picked apart by larger programs looking to fill open spots on the schedule with what they presumed guaranteed wins. Many have repeatedly criticized the smaller schools’ decisions to accept the games on the schedule at the exchange, they say, for their dignity. Most notably after opening weekend, legendary HBCU football coach William “Billy” Joe took to his facebook page in 2013 to plead for the cessation of FBS vs. FCS football contests — particularly for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Joe primarily argued that the disparities in size and access to training facilities makes an innately dangerous game even more risky, cautioning that continuing to pit unequally matched players against each other will eventually “cause a cataclysmic and calamitous injury.” “Most major college football players are bigger, stronger, faster and more talented than [small school] players. They also have the latest state-of-the-art athletic infrastructure, resources, equipment, and other high-tech weightlifting facilities to get even stronger, faster and bigger than their [smaller school] counterpart,” Joe said. “Of course, there are a nominal number of football players on lower levels who are just as proficient and talented as major college football players, but when you juxtapose the major college athlete with the small college athlete, the chasm is humongous.” “There is a distinct reason why peewee football players don’t compete against middle school school football players; there’s a reason why middle school football players don’t compete against high school football players; there is a reason why high school football players do not compete against college football players and there’s a reason why major college football players don’t compete against professional football players,” he continued. The differentiation and imbalance of physicality is too immense.” Alabama A&M University President Andrew Hugine said that for many of the smaller schools—including HBCUs—who decided to make the jump to Division I athletics, “had to do with the idea of revenue enhancement.” For most schools, the leap from Division II was with the hope that “we would get a larger share of the revenue that comes from the revenue
sharing at that level of competition,” which they thought would come as a result of the larger pool of television, advertising and other revenue pools associated with the higher level of competition. Joe, who got his start at Cheyney University before heading to Central State University—where he led the team to two NAIA titles—and then coached at FAMU from 1994 to 2004 before finally heading the Miles College team from 2007 to 2013, said he is particularly hurt by the mismatches at the expense of HBCUs and believes the jump to Division I is often not well thought-out. Hugine conceded that many of the schools are finding that their initial projections of increased revenue have not been met. “Now that we’ve been in for awhile,” Hugine said, “we’re not getting the television revenue to support what we thought was going to happen.” “Let me hasten to say that that’s not only true with the HBCUs, but it’s also true with the other [programs], other than ‘the big boys,’” he added, saying that all but the largest schools in the largest conferences are facing similar struggles. “The larger institutions are now kind of creating their own subgroup within the NCAA to do what they want to do, which means that there’s going to be even more of a latch onto the revenue dollars and less of the revenue sharing with the other institutions,” Hugine said. William J. Broussard, assistant to the president for institutional advancement in the Southern University System, said ensuring equal revenue distribution is not within the NCAA’s purview. “This is not the NCAA’s fault or responsibility,” he said. “D1 [schools] at our level are getting hundreds of thousands a year in distributions from the NCAA as is, but other FCS conferences are negotiating much more lucrative deals than MEAC and SWAC are.” These larger institutions have found ways to capitalize on everything from merchandise revenue to placing premiums on seat options, as many NFL teams have done for years. Larry McLaine has worked in athletics departments at several institutions that are perennial championship contenders, including Ohio State University, the University of Southern California and Iowa State University. “Most big-time D1 football schools count on football revenue to fund the whole athletic budget,” he said, adding that the rights to priority seating are often directly tied to donation levels. “At Iowa State, you had to donate like $1,000 to have the chance to buy 50-yard line seats (this was in the ‘80s, so I’m sure it’s a lot more now),” said McLaine. “At USC, you need to donate $3,000 just for a shot at priority seats— and I hear their tickets range from $50-$200 for non-premium opponent.” “With 101,000 seats, that’s a boatload of money,” he added.
For many of the smaller institutions, that gap between the expected revenue from any revenue sharing program and the actual athletics operating budget is filled in with subsidies from direct and indirect student fees and state monies.
“AT AN HBCU, THERE’S SO MUCH GOING ON [SOCIALLY]. I THINK, IN GENERAL, SPORTS ISN’T THE ROOT OF WHAT EVERYBODY IS FOCUSED ON AT THAT SCHOOL,” “AT [LARGER] PROGRAMS … WHEN YOU SEE THESE STADIUMS SOLD OUT AND 80-100,000 PEOPLE, THAT’S BECAUSE FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL, WHATEVER THAT SPORT IS, THAT IS THE SOLE FOCUS OF EVERYBODY IN THE SCHOOL AT THAT POINT AND TIME,” HE SAID. “IN ALABAMA, ... THE SOLE FOCUS OF [THE] WHOLE STATE IS ALABAMA AND AUBURN FOOTBALL.”
At Alabama A&M, for example, 76.74 percent of the overall operating budget is comprised of such subsidies. At Texas Southern, another SWAC school, that number jumps to 85.26 percent. And while these numbers are indeed high, to Hugine’s point that it is not only HBCUs that are affected, the Big South’s Coastal Carolina subsidies amount to 81.96 percent of the total budget, while the Atlantic-10 Conference’s George Mason University athletic subsidies are 81.88 percent of the total budget. The University of CaliforniaRiverside subsidizes 89.05 percent and New Jersey Tech subsidizes 90.58 percent, a high for Division 1 play. Savannah State, and Florida A&M — both often criticized for their participation in guaranteed games — subsidize 67 percent and 71.98 respectively. For Savannah State, whose annual athletics budget is roughly $6.3 million, a $300,000 payout to play Colorado State opening weekend means close to a 5 percent dent in the overall budget (and roughly 12.5 percent of the amount left after subsidies). While Southern University is one of only a couple of FCS institutions to fund its athletics program with a subsidy below 50%, they’ve participated in guarantee games based on a number of factors other than the proverbial ‘highest bid.’ Broussard added that factors such as amount guaranteed, new media market and exposure opportunities, travel distances for alumni or alumni base presence at host institution, and studentathlete welfare issues (eg. missed class time for travel) are also important. He also added that SWAC and MEAC athletic directors should share more information, resources, and contacts when negotiating contracts to ensure maximum payouts and value. But Joe said “It is not the major colleges’ fiduciary responsibility to balance small colleges’ athletic budgets.
“If a [small] college cannot financially accommodate its football program, it needs to drop down to Division II; if it cannot handle it’s Division II football program, it needs to drop down to the Division III (no scholarship) level; if it cannot handle a Division III football budget, it needs to, emphatically, drop Football altogether.” Broussard called this “faulty logic,” saying, “In addition to what I’ve noted, historically, FCS programs have not turned net profits on their athletic programs, relying upon substantial subsidies for balance. However, the institutions understand the marketing and recruiting power of successful athletic programs.” Hugine said completely doing away with the programs is not an option. “We all know the importance of athletics to our institutions, what it does for the recruitment aspect of it. Believe it or not, even though the majority of the students on campus do not play in the athletic programs … they are attracted to the university because of athletic programs,” Hugine said. “So there are advantages to having the programs, but what we have to be sure of is that we can [sustain] the cost of these programs within our ability to support them, that we don’t allow ourselves to go overboard and funding them beyond the university’s capacity to do so” without compromising the academic programs and other sports programs on campus, said Hugine. “As long as we don’t allow the tail to wag the dog, I think that we’re ok, as it relates to athletics,” he added. But in many cases, there is not only a discrepancy in operating revenue, but also in culture. For HBCUs in particular, what they lack on the football field in many of these bigger games, they make up for in “soul,” as one Bay Area news anchor put it after the Grambling-Cal game. “At halftime the Grambling Marching Band performed,” said KTVU anchor Frank Somerville. “And when they took the field something
happened that I’ve never seen before at a Cal game. (And I’ve been going to Cal games since 1966.) Everyone stayed in their seats to watch them.” “But that’s not all. My daughter and I were watching from the walkway at the top of the stadium. We were right by all the concession stands. And as soon as the band started playing all those concession stands emptied. It was so bizarre to turn around and see no one in line. But that’s how good the Grambling Marching Band is. They are so precise in their movements,” he said. “But what I liked best is that they’ve got some real ‘soul,’” Somerville continued. “It’s kind of like the difference between American Bandstand and Soul Train. Both shows had great dancers. But Soul Train was different. Soul train had, for lack of a better word, ‘soul.’” In fact, despite the complete
routing of Grambling State by Cal in that game, Grambling State seemed to dominate the postgame conversations. For many at major football schools, the entire Saturday culture is football. “In college towns like Ames (Iowa), Auburn (Alabama), Tuscaloosa (Alabama) and Clemson (South Carolina) —the whole town is focused on a home game,” McLaine said. But for the smaller schools, particularly HBCUs, “The talent disparity in football, combined with the talent deluge in marching band, makes for fans to pay more attention and to look forward to great halftime shows every [game],” said Jarrett Carter, Sr., the founding editor of HBCUDigest.com. “Halftime is like a mini-concert. And people go to the games with
that expectation,” Carter continued. “For example, some fans will not attend home games against FAMU, [Bethune-Cookman University] if their bands are not making the road trip.” Philip Sims, who most recently played for the Arizona Cardinals, but who spent his collegiate career in the in the SEC at Alabama, the ACC at the University of Virginia and finally the CIAA at Winston-Salem State University, said “It’s definitely different.” “At an HBCU, there’s so much going on [socially]. I think, in general, sports isn’t the root of what everybody is focused on at that school,” he said. Sims said he noticed that Greek Life got more attention than things like sports during his time at WSSU, which was completely different than his experience at Alabama.
“At those programs … When you see these stadiums sold out and 80-100,000 people, that’s because football, basketball, whatever that sport is, that is the sole focus of everybody in the school at that point and time,” he said. “In Alabama, ... the sole focus of [the] whole state is Alabama and Auburn football.” Conversely, at HBCUs, “The football game is just something to go do on a Saturday afternoon, rather than something that’s focused on the whole season. It’s different mindsets,” he said. That difference doesn’t just show up on Saturdays and doesn’t just end with the fans, Sims said. According to Sims, HBCUs and smaller schools in general, offer more freedom than FBS powerhouses. “I feel like at a bigger school, they kind of control you a lot more as far
as your time and managing what you can do,” Sims said. “At the smaller schools you don’t really have that control. In the offseason, guys have a lot of free time.” Joe said that the recruiting advantages larger institutions face over HBCUs and other smaller institutions because of their significantly larger budgets — which mean better facilities and better athletics infrastructure and a better chance at playing for a championship — mean that the top Black talent is skimmed from the HBCU recruiting pool and, thus, HBCUs will not likely return to Black college football glory days of old. “In retrospect, if those same three HBCU teams” — Savannah State, Bethune-Cookman and FAMU — “played major colleges in football in the pre-integration era of the United States of America, I vigorously believe those teams would have a great opportunity to defeat those major colleges,” Joe said. “Why? All of those phenomenal African-American athletes that are playing for the major colleges in the Southeast quadrant of our country would be playing for Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” he said. “Figuratively speaking, If HBCUs could extract all of the Black football players from the Historically White Colleges and Universities, the HWCUs would have difficulty staying within 100 points of HBCU football teams.” “Many HWCUs have all 11 African-Americans starting on defense. By the way, a Black college All-Star team was talented enough to have the audacity to play the NFL Championship Chicago Bears during the Jim Crow era in our country,” he said. “HBCU football is definitely not able to do that in this modern and racially-integrated era. Presently, HBCUs are unable to recruit and attract a bevy of five-star, blue-chip, quality student athletes to their campuses,” Joe continued. “I don’t see HBCUs recapturing the glorious days of Jim Crow football. Black college football was at its nadir and zenith during that time. As such, he said, they should cease competing in games against the major clubs. “Sure there [is] a payday,” he said. “But why submit and commit our football players to the slaughter for financial gain. The football players will never profit from the guaranteed money and, in all probability, neither will those respective football programs.” HBCU Gameday’s Steven Gaither contributed to this report.
“STILL A N***** IN A COUPE”
Inequality Seeps from Society into Sports DARREN MARTIN
hen former tennis star James Blake was slammed to the ground by police officers earlier this month, it highlighted what has seemingly become a trend towards use of excessive force by police, in particular against Black men. “It was definitely scary and definitely crazy,” Blake told a reporter for New York Daily News. He also said the five plain clothes officers did not initially identify themselves as policemen. “In my mind there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody,” Blake said. “You’d think they could say, ‘Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking into something.’ I was just standing there. I wasn’t running. It’s not even close (to being okay). It’s blatantly unnecessary.” The police commissioner ordered an internal affairs investigation into the incident, but this was just the latest in a line of incidents involving ex-
cessive force against former or current athletes. In 2009, Ryan Moats heard the news that his mother-in-law was breathing her last breaths inside of a small room within Baylor Regional Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Breast cancer was consuming her last bit of life and Ryan, along with his wife Tamisha, quickly piled into their SUV and drove to the hospital. At a red light a corner away from the hospital, two police officers sat and as Ryan turned into the medical center their lights began flashing. What was supposed to be a routine traffic stop turned into a 15-minute aggressive exchange between Moats and officer Robert Powell. Powell, stopping Moats for running a red light, began to spew the words “I can screw you over,” with his gun loaded and aimed at the Houston Texans running back. Moats wife, Tamisha, told the Dallas Morning News, “he was pointing a gun at me as soon as I got out of the car.” Tamisha eventually got away from the incident
just in time to be bed-side with her mother as she passed. Ryan, on the other hand, was outside in the Texas heat in a particular situation: either he ran to his mother-in-law’s side or be shot and killed by the aggressive police officer. Moats chose his own life and with that decision, endured a lecture and scolding by Powell—even after Powell’s partners confirmed that the mother-inlaw was dying—and missed bidding his family member a final adieu. Dallas Police Chief David Kunckle lambasted the officer for the incident and offered an interesting perspective of Moats’ character. “I don’t know what he was thinking” he said, according to Dallas news station KRLD-HM, “at no time did Mr. Moats identify himself as an NFL football player or expect any kind of special consideration.” Moats’ case illuminates a harsh reality—in a world of ongoing conversations on race relations, profiling and excessive use of force by police officers on Black men and women, Black athletes are not excused. In fact, their cars, jewelry, and high-cost
fashion make them a potentially larger target for police discrimination. How could they afford all of those things? Surely, they’ve used illicit means or are one of the lucky ones to make it out. As age-old systems of racial inequality have painted the picture that ‘Black can’t prosper—legally’, Black athletes are a sub-group highly targeted and profiled with the world to lose and a dream on their shoulders. Moats’ story is only one of many that contribute to this notion. In 2006, before Moats was with the Houston Texans, another teammate had a more aggressive run-in with the law. In 2006, Fred Weary, who at the time was a defensive lineman for the Houston Texans, was driving his 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS miles away from Houston’s Reliant Stadium. Approaching a stoplight, Weary found himself beside a police car and could “feel the officers’ eyes on him and his [Impala],” according to Jamele Hill at ESPN. This feeling, known too well to many African-American men, is an agonizing, pain-staking feeling. Being beside an officer as a Black citizen could literally mean life or death. For Weary, his worst fear was almost actualized. As the light turned green and Weary began to move forward, the officers signaled him to pull over. After being asked for his driver’s license, Weary responded, “can you tell me why you pulled me over?” The officer responded with a fiery “I don’t have to tell you anything!” And then it began. As Weary was commanded to step out of the car, he was faced with the officer pointing a gun at him. According to ESPN, Weary was caught in a whirlwind of emotions, “I’m like, what’s going on? You step out of the car and someone’s holding a gun on you. That’s a horrible feeling. I’m no criminal. At that point, I’m just horrified by the situation,” he said. Weary was tasered and jailed after allegedly walking towards the officer instead of placing his hands on his car as he was instructed, according to the police report. He was not told he was being charged on resisting arrest until after his bail and 10 hours in custody. John Cannon, the Houston Police Department’s spokesman, said Weary had drawn the officers’ attention after “acting suspiciously” and “looking at [them] on several occasions.” Cannon also noted that Weary was “very agitated, slow to comply, and verbally combative.” The charges were later dropped because of scanty evidence. Weary filed a civil lawsuit shortly after the dropped charges. In April, Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha was added to the running list of physically and mentally abused Black athletes on the basis of
race and presumed guilt. Outside of a nightclub in New York, Sefolosha and teammate Pero Antic were arrested shortly after an incident in which Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland and two other people were stabbed. According to sources, as Sefolosha and Pero were walking down the street to get into their car that would escort them back to the hotel room when they were accosted by an NYPD officer. Earlier reports claim that Sefolosha ran toward the officer, but sources say Sefolosha turned to the officer and asked what his problem was with him—at that time the officer and Sefolosha got into an argument. As the argument continued, the officer decided to arrest Sefolosha for obstruction of governmental function, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. During this arrest, Sefolosha was injured beyond immediate repair (a broken right fibula) and his pivotal role in assisting the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs was shattered. Sefolosha has said numerous times in statements that the injury was “caused by the police.” Moats. Weary. Sefolosha. Three examples of an age-old race relations problem at the forefront of all industries. These Black men were too loud, too strong, too rich and posed too much of a threat to the approaching police officers. They were so much of a threat that in each incidentthe athletes were at least within a second of losing their life. The common denominator throughout all of these cases is of course, they were Black and accosted without recognition of their star status. The patrolling officers cared less about their profession or fame and more about the potential harm that they could inflict upon them and the community at-large. However, though their profession was not revealed until after the incident in many of these circumstances, there is a starkly disproportionate arrest rate between Black and White athletes. In a 2013 USA Today Sports investigation, researchers found, of 687 NFL player arrests since January 2000, 294 came via traffic stop and Black players were arrested nearly 10 times as often as White players (260 to 28), accounting for 88% of those NFL traffic-stop arrests.” Weary, Moats and Sefolosha were not a part of that survey as their incidents happened 6, 9, and 14 years after its conclusion—and Sefolosha is not in the NFL—but their stories do legitimize and further this study’s findings. We do not need too many surveys to tell the world the hard truth: no matter if a Black athlete, singer, dancer, construction worker, academic, or stripper—Black is Black and to many, Black is dangerous and menacing. While the stories of these athletes only serve as markers to the numerous other cases
reported and unreported, they show the necessary national work that must be done within police departments to dispel racial constructs and discrimination, and to truthfully create a society that approaches crime stopping on an individual level, regardless of race. It also shows the need for more training on how to approach and speak to different races as a result of systemic racism in this nation. If a Black athlete—or normal citizen—is unnecessarily stopped, an officer should understand the reason for the citizen’s frustration and know how to take the proper steps to diffuse the situation. Anger at the helm of racism is not a reason for excessive force or guns drawn. It is that understanding and necessary training that will help move the meter towards justice. If that does not happen, and happen very soon, disparities in the arrest rates will continue to soar, Black athletes and citizens will continue to be injured, dreams will continue to be differed and this nation will still continue to equate Black rage and/or wealth to illegality. “I have resources to get to the bottom of this,” Blake said. “But what about someone who doesn’t have those resources and doesn’t have a voice?” If effective communication and race relation training does not happen, and happen soon, we’ll still be singing the Kanye West lyrics, “even if you’re in a Benz, you’re still a n**** in a coupe.”
KEVIN W. JOSEPH AND LORI S. ROBINSON
efore Louisiana State University’s (LSU) football team could win the first game of their undefeated 2011 regular season, members of the team were already making headlines. On the last night of the their training camp, several LSU football players were involved in a fight in the parking lot of Shady’s Bar— a local establishment located near the Baton Rouge campus. Although some witnesses estimated that between 15 – 20 LSU football players were present when the fight broke out, police investigators questioned only four players in the days following the fight— including the team’s Black starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and White linebacker Josh Johns. Of the four LSU players questioned, Jefferson and Josh were eventually arrested and charged with one count each of second-degree battery. Based on the region’s strong adoration for LSU’s athletic department, news of the fight and the resulting investigation were covered extensively by media outlets in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans markets. Despite both players’ involvement in the fight, Jefferson received the most attention. While the disproportionate amount of coverage can be attributed to the importance of Jefferson’s high-profile role on LSU’s football team, the racist nature of the media is another feasible explanation. Media outlets overall are primarily dominated by White males who support the dominant position of other White males. As a result, the media often portrays Black male athletes through stereotypical representations (i.e. violent, aggressive, etc.) or as performing crimes at shocking rates. Granted, a number of Black male athletes have found themselves on the wrong side of the law over the years; many White athletes have faced similar charges and yet there remains an increase in media coverage when Black male athletes are the alleged perpetrators. While media outlets covering the alleged crimes of Black male athletes are able to construct the narrative surrounding the incidents and their investigations, the voices of the accused athletes remain largely absent. Jordan Jefferson’s story offers one account of a voice forced to remain silent—until now. While Jefferson’s experience exposes the harsh realities of the media’s racial biases, his story also provides insight for other Black male athletes finding themselves in similar situations. Thug Life? Jordan Jefferson is misunderstood. When asked to identify the biggest mischaracterization about himself, he highlights the public’s false perception of him stemming from his alleged involvement in several off-field situations. As a result of these situations, he has been labeled a “thug”—which he feels is a far cry from his reality. Jefferson attributes this labeling to the public’s general perception of Black males in society. He says, “I live in the middle class, my parents have well-paying jobs, and I’ve never grown up in the hood or anything like that. And I never did ‘thuggish’ things. So, how can you classify me as one? But you could easily [classify me as one] because I’m African American.” Jefferson grew up the oldest of John and Elaine Jefferson’s three sons in St. Rose, Louisiana—a city located approximately twenty miles west of New Orleans. He describes his family as close and his parents as supportive of any activity he and his brothers chose to participate in. He says, “Growing up I watched hard-working parents. They always provided for their children. Always showed support on any hobby or
sport we played. They always showed support.” Jefferson also credits his parents with instilling him with morals and values applicable both on and off the field—stay humble, remain dedicated, work hard, and support others. Despite growing up playing football, basketball, and baseball, Jefferson admits, when he was younger his career aspirations centered on professional basketball. Throughout his childhood, he regularly participated on local, regional and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball teams. In fact, Jefferson felt his basketball participation the summer before his freshman year of high school threatened the possibility of him playing quarterback on Destrehan High School’s freshman football team. While most of Destrehan’s incoming freshmen football players were spending their summer practicing for the upcoming season, Jefferson was competing as a member of a traveling basketball team. Once his basketball commitments were fulfilled, Jefferson attended his first football practice expecting to play his secondary position of safety. However, upon his arrival, he learned the team’s quarterback position was vacant. Having played quarterback since the age of seven, Jefferson readily stepped into the role.
THE GOLDEN CHILD
“During my high school years, I was sort of like the golden child” he says. According to Jefferson, during his time at Destrehan he was an integral part of the football team’s success—averaging nearly 35 points a game and winning district and state championships. Also during this time, Jefferson had his first taste of media exposure. Reflecting on the first time he saw his name in the local newspaper, he says “When I started varsity my junior year I think I was in the paper for amount of yards [thrown and] touchdowns [completed]. It was an exciting feeling.” But even with all of the accolades and recognition, the golden child quickly realized his race far outweighed his athletic abilities. Jefferson first realized he was a Black quarterback at a Nike Football Camp the summer preceding his senior year of high school. Prior to arriving at the camp, Jefferson was ranked 8th among all high school quarterbacks in the country. At the conclusion of the camp, Jefferson won 2nd place at the quarterback position. While 2nd place is noteworthy, he felt his performance was worthy of the 1st place title. He says, “I was runner-up at the camp, but I felt that I was the best one there … I felt like it was more of a political thing. The guy that got the MVP of the camp was the number 1 [quarterback] in the country. A White guy.” Sports camps are important for a number of reasons, but most importantly for the amount of exposure athletes gain from their participation. The more exposure an athlete gets, the greater their chance of being included in national rankings. These rankings ultimately affect their chances of competing for full athletic scholarships to the top athletic programs across
the country—a fact not lost on Jefferson. “Some colleges start looking at [camp participation and rankings] and they start finding these players and start recruiting them,” he says. With the position of quarterback long considered a “White position,” the image of a lower-ranked, Black quarterback coming into the camp and outperforming the praised White quarterback was problematic. While somewhat hesitant to explicitly state that race privileged the 1st place quarterback, he offers “ I don’t want to say that it was a White vs. Black thing, but [at] that point I felt like I’m not only a quarterback, but I’m a Black quarterback.” Jefferson chose LSU for two reasons: proximity to his family and the likelihood of competing for the starting quarterback position early in his college career. In Jefferson’s eyes, there was only one true veteran quarterback on LSU’s roster— Ryan Perrilloux. Therefore, the ability to compete for the back-up (and ultimately starting) spot was appealing. Jefferson wasted no time making his mark at LSU. During his freshman year, Jefferson was named most valuable player in the post-season Chick-Fil-A bowl game. Jefferson says that based on his athletic success as a freshman, he was praised by, both, LSU football fans and the media. However, he was eventually met with criticism. He says, “I mean throughout your course of playing, you’re [going to] have some people that dislike you, but I had more people that appreciated what I did on the field, more than disliked me…at one point in time.” Going into Jefferson’s senior year, his criticism would only increase.
AUGUST 19TH, 2011
On August 19th, 2011, Jefferson and his teammates were out celebrating their last official night of summer football camp—three weeks of two intense practices each day, team meetings, and limited contact with the outside world. Jefferson says he and three of his teammates arrived at Shady’s Bar around 1:00 am. After about thirty minutes, Jefferson left the bar to visit with a friend at another bar across the street. On his way back to Shady’s, he noticed some sort of commotion occurring in the bar’s parking lot. He says, “I [saw] a lot of people running around, [and] a lot of movement going on between 60 to a 100 people. The first thing in my mind [was] to get the people that rode with me and get out of here as fast as possible.” After locating the team members he rode with, the four returned to Jefferson’s car and headed to their respective campus apartments. The next morning reports surfaced alleging that Jefferson kicked one victim in the face—causing serious injuries. On August 22, 2011, Jefferson was charged with one count of felony battery. Reflecting on the situation, beyond the disbelief that his name was attached to an incident he denies being involved in, Jefferson also feels the charge was not fitting based on the victim’s injuries. As explained to him by his legal team, in order for the felony charge
“IF I WAS ANY OTHER RACE,
PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED DIFFERENTLY.”
to be appropriate the victim would had to have sustained injuries such as a broken nose or jaw or cracked femur. While media outlets covering the incident repeatedly mentioned that Jordan kicked the victim in the face, minimal attention was placed on the victim’s actions following the alleged attack. Jordan points out that based on information obtained by his lawyer, the victim refused medical attention at the scene of the crime, walked home, and wound up going to work the next day. Further, Jordan’s attorney discovered that out of 1,500 similar cases involving fights occurring in the same bar district as Shady’s, Jordan’s case was the first to result in the accused party receiving felony charges—with the majority receiving, at most, misdemeanors. Jordan feels his high profile status and race made him a target in the situation. To support his argument Jordan provides three examples. First, he feels the East Baton Rouge Parish district attorney handling his case—Hillar Moore III—had interest in the case for his own personal benefit. With Moore seeking reelection in the months following the fight, Jordan feels his case presented an opportunity for the district attorney to garner recognition. Jordan says, that Moore’s successful prosecution of the case would result in him appearing as “the hero that took down the alleged criminal athlete”, and would likely guarantee his success in the upcoming election. Next, Jordan highlights the victim’s financial motives. He reveals that in the days following the fight, he received word that the victim was willing to settle for a sum of $20,000. Maintaining his innocence, Jordan says he refused to settle—preferring to rather go through the legal process than to place any financial strain on his parents. Finally, in the
context of geographic location, Jordan addresses the role his race placed in the situation. He says, “If I was any other race, [the situation] probably would have been handled differently.” He continues, “Black quarterbacks have always [gone] through a lot in the south. Situations are, I feel, taken to the extreme when you’re African American and playing sports.” The district attorney eventually moved forward with the case and transferred all related paperwork to the grand jury. After hearing hours of testimonies from those in support of Jordan’s side of the incident, the grand jury eventually reduced Jordan’s charges from a felony to a misdemeanor. As a result, Jordan was then reinstated to LSU’s football team—following a four game suspension stemming from his alleged role in the bar fight. Lessons Learned With the media failing to provide viewers with the complete story surrounding the fight, Jordan feels viewers’ perceptions of him turned negative—leading to wavering support from LSU football fans. During week five of the 2011 season, Jordan returned to the field for the University of Kentucky vs. LSU game. Despite not being the starting quarterback, head football coach Les Miles decided to put Jordan in the game in a fourth and one situation in the red zone. However, the once celebrated quarterback soon realized his return was unwelcomed by a number of LSU fans. When Jordan stepped on the field, his feelings were hurt as he was greeted with an echo of boos throughout the stadium. He says, “I’m like dang this is really crazy to me because for the past two years, I’ve been giving everything that I can for this school.” Regardless of his disappointment
in that moment, Jordan entered the game and wound up scoring a touchdown. Immediately, the crowds’ boos turned to cheers. He smiles and says, at that time “I just knew that sometimes people can like you one moment and then the next minute they’ll hate you. And then they’ll start loving you again once you start [winning].” Similar to the fickle nature of LSU football fan support, Jordan says he noticed a change in his relationship with reporters following his alleged involvement in the fight. He says, before the fight occurred he engaged in positive exchanges with the media—citing the mutually beneficial nature of their relationship. While he refuses to refer to reporters as “friends,” because he was always accommodating and willing to respond to media requests, he expected these same reporters to consider his side of the story. Instead, he says they were more concerned with presenting the most controversial angle of the story at his expense. Jordan says, “When it comes to a negative situation, I’m going to expect you to not come and bash my name because I’ve done so much for you during the past three years. I expect for you to not sabotage my name like that.” He continues, “Some of the articles that I was reading from [reporters whose] names were familiar, I was really surprised that they were using those words in terms of my name, after I’d done so much for [them].” Reflecting on his media training prior to media coverage surrounding the fight, Jordan credits LSU’s athletic communications department with preparing him for handling the media. Through this training, Jordan says he learned the importance of paying attention to his word selection
and facial expressions. When asked to identify the most valuable lesson learned from his media training, Jordan discusses an activity in which participants were instructed to critically analyze quotes taken from interviews with high profile athletes. Jordan remembers analyzing Kellen Winslow, Jr.’s quotes from his famous 2003 rant in which he used profane language and criticized game officials. Jordan says he identified with Winslow’s story because, as another high profile Black college athlete, he was relatable. Relatability, he explains, is key when conducting media training sessions with Black collegiate athletes. Despite his confidence in his media preparation, Jordan feels the sessions— primarily facilitated by White media experts— failed to address media and public biases often held against Black and high-profile athletes. Moving forward he encourages programs to identify ways to include former athletes in media training sessions to provide current athletes with more relatable lessons and experiences. In the time since the incident, Jordan feels some members of the media have maintained their biases against him. Specifically addressing the Baton Rouge market, Jordan refers to one particular media outlet’s lack of interest
in a recent charity event he organized. Jordan says he organized a charity 3-on-3 basketball event to raise money to provide underprivileged Baton Rouge children with school supplies. While one Baton Rouge television station sent a crew to cover the event, the story never aired. He says, “Their boss didn’t want [the] story displayed throughout the media which I found very interesting because if anything was to happen with me going to [jail] or anything like that, that story would be [all over the] local newspaper.” Despite the media’s attempts to maintain their biases against him and an additional brush with the law (a 2012 arrest for marijuana possession), Jordan strives to remain positive and true to the morals his parents instilled in him. In 2014, Jordan graduated from LSU with his bachelor’s degree. He also continued to pursue his football aspirations—participating in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rookie Camp and a local workout with the New Orleans Saints. Jordan has also enjoyed stints in the Canadian and arena football leagues. During the 2014 season, Jordan played quarterback for the Fall Experimental Football League’s Omaha Mammoths. Jordan recently returned to Destrehan High School, where he currently serves on the
school’s football coaching staff. In addition to his plans to pursue a master’s degree, Jordan remains dedicated to furthering his coaching career and steering other young athletes on the path towards college. Throughout his time at LSU, Jordan experienced many ups and downs with the media. However, coverage of his alleged involvement in the 2011 bar fight left the self-proclaimed “golden child’s” reputation somewhat tarnished. Instead of sulking, Jordan has remained humble and regularly shares his experiences with the next wave of Black quarterbacks at LSU. “I definitely gave them some words of wisdom. I told them that it’s not going to be an easy path. [There’ll] come a time where you’ll be hated. You’ll be disliked by a lot of fans. And there will be times you’ll be loved by a lot of fans. You don’t necessarily want to be impacted by everybody outside of the program because they will all have different opinions.” The media may have tried Jordan Jefferson in the fire, but he’s coming out as pure gold. Wherever his journey takes him next, he will continue to live his life like it is golden. Shine on!
air compensation for one’s work is a a basicallyheld principle held across the world. However, when it comes to paying student-athletes in the United States, there has been great discussion about whether they should be paid for their services past the scholarships they receive. Currently, the NCAA is appealing a court ruling that found studentathletes can receive financial compensation when their images are used for commercial purposes. There is a movement to get student-athletes, particularly those in revenue producing sports like football and basketball, a fair share of the “billion dollar pie” they fuel. Beginning in January 2014, players from the Northwestern University football team spearheaded a campaign to unionize student-athletes. Former Northwestern quarterback, Kain Colter, led this charge; He argued he put forth forty hours towards athletic competition; the same amount of time in an average work-week. Despite being told scholarship players were not employees by the university, Colter and members of the football team filed a petition seeking representation by the College Athletes Players Association through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
PAY THE PLAYERS ROBERT A. BENNETT III
On April 2014, Peter Sung Ohr, the regional director of the NLRB ruled in favor of the student-athletes. He argued, “Based on the entire record in this case, I find that the [Northwestern football] players who receive scholarship fall squarely within [federal labor law’s] broad definition of ‘employee.’” Ohr even cited the hours Colter gave to football as part of his rationale. The April ruling was deemed a major victory for student-athletes, specifically those at private institutions as the NLRB does not have jurisdiction over public schools. On a larger level, the decision would not have impacted the majority of the schools in college athletics. However, one has to consider the implications of such a decision as some of the renowned private institutions of higher education with major football and basketball programs are Stanford, Syracuse, TCU, Miami, Duke, Notre Dame, Baylor, and USC. Thus, these programs would require major financial restructuring if the NLRB’s ruling were upheld. Lucky for them the decision was soon overturned. On August 17, 2015, after Northwestern University was allowed to review Ohr’s conclusion, the NLRB unanimously rejected the Northwestern players petition to unionize. They essentially ruled that allowing one team to collectively bargain would throw the NCAA competitive balance in disarray. For the time being (and foreseeable future), this decision upheld the NCAA’s ruling on amateurism. The NCAA claims student-athletes are not employees. Donald Remy, a legal representative for the NCAA released a statement regarding the NLRB’s latest decision: We frequently hear from student-athletes, across all sports, that they participate to enhance their overall college experience and for the love of their sport, not to be paid. Over the last three years, our member colleges and universities have worked to re-evaluate the current rules. While improvements need to be made, we do not need to completely throw away a system that has helped literally millions of students over the
past decade alone attend college. We want student athletes — 99 percent of whom will never make it to the professional leagues — focused on what matters most — finding success in the classroom, on the field and in life. While the current grant-in-aid setup for college athletics has allowed many to “attend college” as Remy points out, the majority of student-athletes are not afforded a quality collegiate experience because of the great attention given to their sport. Therefore, to consider them students turns a blind eye to the great number of hours spent on the athletic field, which in some cases exceeds the amount of time given to their academic endeavors. Attendance at softball games, swimming events, golf tournaments, soccer matches, and pistol competitions do not rival those of football and basketball games at most major Division I universities, primarily those at institutions who are members of the Power Five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big Twelve, Pac-12, and SEC). To Remy’s point, of course players “across all sports” would feel they should not be paid, because the majority of student-athletes do not participate in sports that bring in great revenue. Whether they feel they should be paid or not, doing so is the moral thing to do right? Then again, morality does not play a big role in college athletics. The numerous scandals over the years illustrate that point. In an effort to curtail some of the financial burden studentathletes experience, many schools have done away with annual funding and provided four-year scholarships, provided cost of attendance ensuring the full scholarship (the amount varies according to school), and provided medical benefits beyond the playing careers of students.
Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter announces that Northwestern football players are forming the first labor union for college athletes on January 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
ESPN College Basketball Analyst Jay Bilas, deemed the NLRB’s recent decision “a victory for the NCAA in the short-term.” As to the players’ most optimal option for financial compensation, he summed it best: The players at some point are going to have to decide their leverage is in playing altogether…the players are ultimately going to have to walk to get what they want because that is where there real numbers lie. If they don’t play then all of this thing grinds to a halt and then everybody is going to see where their leverage is. Bilas’ point raises “the billion dollar question”: how many student-athletes are willing to make that sacrifice: refusal to play a game, games, or even forfeit a season for fair compensation? Based on the NLRB’s decision, the solution will not rest in collective bargaining. If major Division I student-athletes are serious about being paid outside of their scholarships, they should look to their their brethren at Grambling State University as the blueprint (see football team, circa October 2013).