Hail To The Red……

By Stefan Anderson

I attended college at Virginia State University located in Petersburg, Virginia, just miles away from the state’s capital Richmond. While attending VSU, I had noticed something you probably would see if you never been to the DMV Area (D.C, Maryland and Virginia not Department of Motor Vehicles), a fan base like no other.

You have your major fan bases like Cowboys and Steelers for example where fans will root for that team regardless of the outcome. Well after residing in Virginia for 4 years, I would add the Washington Redskins on to that list. Virginia has no major sports franchise in the entire state and being that the Redskins are the closest team they are Virginia’s team, as well as Maryland and Washington D.C. Redskin logos can be seen anywhere from scratch off tickets, supermarket promotions and even painted on most fans vehicles.

The term Redskin or the R-word is a considered a vulgar term because of the effects and usage in particular with Native Americans. The irony that we would have a term used in that context used to represent the team that plays in nation capital, but the arguments and debates whether the name should be changed have been fought over for many years and will until action is finally taken.

But some action has been taken in regards to the social issue that haunts Native Americans to this date. In a 177 page report, a federal board has canceled the team’s trademark registration because it is “disparaging to Native Americans. The ruling was given by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board was celebrated by Native Americans, who have fought to remove the team’s offensive name.

This battle is only at its beginning steps as it goes further than trademark being cancelled for the name change to begin. With Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder is on record for not changing his franchise’s name at all. Snyder has been on record for stating “The real issues are real-life issues, real-life needs, and I think it’s time that people focus on reality.”

But Snyder , Roger Goodell and other executives in the NFL , must come together to make this change sooner than later ultimately if he does not want to lose one of the most loyal fan bases that exist in the NFL. With the NFL proposing a new rule implementing a penalty for anytime a player uses the N-word, an equally derogatory term used daily by African Americans, it would be only right for the NFL to change one of its franchises name to accomplish such things.

The National Football League has grown into one of the most popular sports in the country and can grow even larger if it takes charge and attacks its social issues that stand in front of them currently. With its first homosexual player being drafted, it shown how far and how much growth the game has and if changing a name that causes harm to a particular group that supports and builds your product to what it is today why not change the Redskins name to something that really symbolizes our nation’s capital. Or does our country really represent bullying and exploiting others for what makes us happy?

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Sterling Silver

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By Maceo Lester 

If you haven’t heard the disgusting racist comments made by Los Angles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, you must be living under a rock. People of all ages and races have been stirred up by Sterling’s controversial remarks. A highly competitive and intense NBA post-season has been abruptly disrupted by offensive comments such as “Don’t bring black people to my games….don’t have black people on your Instagram.” Those statements were made during a recorded conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano [Maria Vanessa Perez.] Stiviano made a simple Instagram post as many of us frequently do in our spare time. Stiviano’s post just happened to be picture of her and NBA hall-of-famer Magic Johnson, someone who Stiviano says she “admires.” Sterling? Not so much, he doesn’t seem to favor Magic or any black people for that matter.

            “Why are taking pictures with minorities?,” Sterling ask. “There’s a culture, people feel certain things. Hispanics feel certain things towards Blacks, Blacks feel certain things towards other groups. It’s been that way historically, and it will always be that way.” With this type of mentality, it is easy to assume that Sterling has been raised or has grown to be segregated from other races. The irony of it all, he owns an NBA team. The NBA consists of the most African-American athletes out of all the four major sports. Los Angeles, California is highly populated with Blacks. Doc Rivers, the Clippers head coach oh yeah, he’s black too. Chris Paul, their starting point guard and president of the NBA Players Union, you guess it, he happens to be Black too. So let’s put this all in perspective, this man is willing to take part and have ownership in a nearly all-black league, allow black coaches on the staff, and black players on the team. Not to mention, ALL of the blacks who work for or within the franchise. Let’s not forget about the black fans, the backbone of your franchise Mr. Sterling, they might not all have floor seats but they’re ensuring sold out arenas.

           Enough with Sterling’s ill-advised statements, it’s evident that he has racist beliefs and prejudices.  He is afraid that his image or reputation will be tarnished if he is associated with, interacting with, or even taking pictures with Blacks if it’s not basketball-related or making him money. The focus now turns to NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver.  Silver is extremely new to his commissioner position, taking over the duties of his predecessor Donald Stern. Roughly three months into his tenure, Silver is faced with an extremely difficult task. Many players, and former players have let their voices be heard on this topic via social media, and sports media. It’s obvious that the NBA community and others desire harsh punishment for Sterling. Many believe he should be stripped from his team ownership, kicked out of the league. Several sponsors who partnered with the Clippers organization have already pulled the plug on their contracts. With such a controversial topic at hand, the discipline must be aggressive. If not, this will be an ongoing problem with hundreds of protestors taking to the streets.  This is bigger than basketball; it’s bigger than the NBA, bigger than the Clippers. In this monumental event, Silver must be tough, he must be strategic, Silver…must be gold. 

No Lackin in the Field …

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By Stefan Anderson

After recording 82 receptions, over 1300 yards and 9 touchdowns, you would expect to reign supreme and continue your efforts. Not for Desean Jackson, who was released by the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend.  After his best season as a pro , the Eagles decided to cut ties loose with Jackson due to his hefty contract that would put the team over the salary cap for 12 million dollars. Also Philly believed Jackson’s antics and off the field issues including gang affiliations have caused too much controversy and wanted to stay clear of the excess drama.

The news sparked a lot of attention around the league.

With many teams on the hunt for a speedy, explosive wide receiver with Jackson’s skill set, he became a hot commodity for many teams this past week. Ultimately, Jackson ended signing with Washington Redskins today, the irony. Not only will Jackson get to face his former Eagles twice a year, he will also get help revitalize Robert Griffin III career , pairing up with Pierre Garcon to create a great wide receiver tandem.

But the news of Jackson being discriminated due to his upbringing and company stirred a lot more drama. Especially from media and players, Richard Sherman, yes Richard Sherman again. Sherman is known for not being shy with his words was there to defend Jackson recently. Jackson and Sherman have been friends since their early childhood growing up in Los Angeles and defended his colleague in his sit down with Sports Illustrated.

Sherman commented on the situation by comparisons to recent situations with Riley Cooper and Colts Owner Jim Irsay. “Commit certain crimes in this league and be a certain color, and you get help, not scorn. Look at the way many in the media wrote about Jim Irsay after his DUI arrest. Nobody suggested the Colts owner had “ties” to drug trafficking, even though he was caught driving with controlled substances (prescription pills) and $29,000 in cash to do who-knows-what with. Instead, poor millionaire Mr. Irsay needs help, some wrote.”  

Sherman also stated “This offseason they re-signed a player who was caught on video screaming, “I will fight every n—– here.” He was representing the Philadelphia Eagles when he said it, because, of course, everything we do is reflective of the organization. But what did they do to Riley Cooper, who, if he’s not a racist, at least has “ties” to racist activity? They fined him and sent him to counseling. No suspension necessary for Cooper and no punishment from the NFL, despite its new interest in policing our use of the N-word on the field. Riley instead got a few days off from training camp and a nice contract in the offseason, too.”

Sherman’s comments were very precise and gave a real perspective on quick certain things get passed by in the NFL and also in today’s media. I believe that Eagles cannot judge Desean Jackson based on what they believe he is or who he hangs out with. Of course with Jackson talent you are not going to be shy or sheltered about your play or passion for the game, it just comes with the territory. Every great athlete in the past has always had somewhat of an ego or bravado to them.

I have never heard of any player being racially profiled in such a manner in my entire life of watching sports and I believe it’s ridiculous. I do not want to believe that Eagles released Jackson because they think he is a “crip” and that they really could no longer be able to pay the pro bowl receiver. But it is hard not to believe that when you think about Chip Kelly’s fast paced offense that relies on speed. I will pay anyone who can name 5 receivers that are faster than Desean Jackson, I’ll wait.

Whether the Eagles had to make that pay cut or just did not want Jackson apart of their organization and found any excuse possible shows where today’s NFL is heading. Under the leadership Roger Goodell the league has become stricter and has been a controlled game that could be heading for change for the better or change for the worst, we will be the judge of that. But I do believe that the business should be separated from the personal aspect and let players be humans and NFL robots. Players are always going to have a upbringing that brings them to where they are and it only makes them a better person providing humility and a sense of responsibility to remain a role model for their significant communities. As Sherman went on say, ”I won’t apologize for that, and I suspect neither will DeSean when he’s back on the field doing what he’s always done: grinding through adversity.”

Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Use of the N-Word

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By Stefan Anderson

The National Football League is considering implementing a 15-yard penalty for the use of a discriminatory racial slur during a game. The league plans to institute a rule by which players would be penalized 15 yards for using discriminatory words on the field, especially the N-word, a second violation could result in an ejection. I believe is a great way to tarnish this harmful word, this rule will cause more controversy than change.

Following incidents like Riley Cooper or even Jonathon Martin vs. Richie Incognito, the word has been prevalent in the NFL, which is not the right message to sell to the billion dollar industry. No matter how the word is used in context, whether it is nigger or nigga, the term is used for two different reasons.  In the past the word nigger was used to insult and caused a lot of harm to African Americans. Insult to injury as considered by many, the word nigga is used as a term of endearment and way many youth greet and communicate with each other.

The new rule could be one that could inspire professionalism and inspire a new generation to abolish with the N-Word, with the lasting impact that the NFL has. This rule will terrible for the game as well promote racism as well. When you watch NFL games in today’s age, how many games are turned by little penalties like Pass Interferences, Roughing the Passer and Defenseless Receiver. Adding a penalty for the N- Word could not only change the gameplay of the game but also change the outcome of the game. How will referees be able to manage the call while paying attention to the game play and make the proper calls? It will be beyond hard to make a judgment on that call and when to call it and not to call it.

Imagine your favorite player, who is of African American decent gets a big first down to clinch a game for his team and then celebrates for his efforts and yells “ Yeah, Nigga” out of excitement and momentum he gets penalized for 15 yards and/or gets ejected for showing emotion. That would be outrageous, wouldn’t it be? In a league, where the majority of the players are African-Americans, who will be called for the penalty? Exactly. Imagine how much uproar will start if a Caucasian or other ethnicity uses the racial slur and is called for that penalty. The rule will be geared towards African-Americans, and prove the segregation and racism that still exists today.

As an African American male, I have used the term “nigga” before and use it with some of my associates but I do not use it to disrespect any of my ancestors, but as way to acknowledge each other as we do in our respective communities. I do not believe it that harmful to use it with one another but when it used to degrade one another, you have to find a way to clean up the issue and ultimately get rid of it.

Ultimately, I do agree with the implantation of the rule but I think it should be implanted in the locker rooms instead of the field. I agree with the NFL way of trying to get rid of the racial slur in order to create a healthier locker room and league, while promoting professionalism. The rule will be not good for the game of football, which the fans and players enjoy and this rule will do more bad for the league than good for it.