Limited support for black quarterbacks to succeed

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

By Charles Glover Jr.

There appears to be a change in the struggle for equal opportunities for the black quarterback at the top-level of football. A record of nine starting African-American quarterbacks were in the NFL this opening weekend. While there are clearly more chances given to black quarterbacks so far this season, the struggle for true equality seems elusive. Black quarterbacks face an uphill climb trying to prove themselves as long-term solutions that organizations believe can help them win the ultimate goal:a Super Bowl championship.

l. Robert Griffin III, c. Colin Kaepernick, r. Russell Wilson

l. Robert Griffin III, c. Colin Kaepernick, r. Russell Wilson.

Now that there are more black quarterbacks  being signed to teams, a more uniform evaluation of the quarterback position itself, if implemented, would signal a new, equitable approach. Each young quarterback wants to be viewed by their organization as a franchise quarterback, a quarterback that organizations can feel comfortable with. NFL teams want to be able to believe that their quarterbacks will ultimately lead them to the Super Bowl prize over a period of several years. Currently, there are only three out of 32 teams that have black quarterbacks who definitively fit that criteria: Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III. Cam Newton and Michael Vick can also join that franchise quarterback list with stellar plays this season. That would bring the total to five black quarterbacks out of 32 NFL teams.

Michael Vick, Josh Freeman. Current starting quarterbacks fighting for future security.

Michael Vick and Josh Freeman, current starting quarterbacks who are fighting for future security.

The new struggle for black quarterbacks is to be able to convince franchises that their success is something that the organization should invest in long-term. So far that struggle is still not being won on a consistent basis. The criteria that organizations use to determine which quarterback they will invest in long term vary. What is clear, however, is that the criteria have yet to favor a black quarterback in recent memory.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

This past off-season Carson Palmer took his miserable starting record for the Oakland Raiders and parlayed that into a starting job with the Cardinals in Arizona.
Not to be outdone, Tony Romo cashed in on his goodwill with the Cowboys and signed a contract worth more than current Super Bowl defending champion quarterback Joe Flacco, despite Romo under-performing in consecutive seasons. It remains to be seen if Josh Freeman, current Buccaneers quarterback, or Michael Vick, current Eagles quarterback, will be so fortunate in landing future starting positions if their teams both fail to reach the playoffs this season. It seems unlikely, given past trends, that Vick and Freeman could imagine any scenario in which they would get salary increases if they underachieve in consecutive seasons like Romo and Palmer did.

Do the Carolina Panthers believe Cam Newton is their quarterback of the future?

Do the Carolina Panthers believe Cam Newton is their quarterback of the future?

While it is positive to see black quarterbacks anchoring teams, the jury is still out as to the extent of those chances being offered to them. It is up for discussion whether they are going to be judged the same way as their white counterparts. It appears as if black quarterbacks are held to a higher standard to perform while being given a shorter window and less support to excel. Black quarterbacks are pressured excessively to perform immediately.They are expected to produce stellar results with minimum time to grow and thrive. They must not only win games, but look good doing so, and display superior character in the process.

One can only hope that white quarterbacks will be judged by this same high standard going forward. However, if the current pattern is a guide, such equal expectation of accountabilty for white quarterbacks seems to be a long shot. Somehow, it seems as if black quarterbacks are expected to produce and excel right away while white quarterback are nurtured, coddled, supported and then rewarded with exorbitant contracts, even when they fail to produce. The dichotomy sets a troubling precedent for the sport and should be addressed, for the integrity of the game, before this season ends. OnPointPress.net

Change underway on NYC’s political landscape

By Carmen Glover

Former Controller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill deBlasio on Primary Day.

Former Controller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill deBlasio on Primary Day. The battle of the two Bills continues and a runoff might take place.

The results of New York City’s Primary Election is a mixed bag but sends a clear message: voters are ready for candidates whose message resonates with regular citizens; candidates who articulate a passion to fight for the rights, livelihood and well-being of people who are often perceived as being voiceless. After 23 years as Brooklyn’s district attorney, Charles Hynes was trounced in compelling fashion by African-American attorney Kenneth Thompson, a former federal prosecutor who represented Haitian immigrant Abner Louima years ago in his police brutality lawsuit against the city.  Lashing out against Hynes for corruption and endorsement of stop and frisk policies, Thompson waged an intelligent and consistent campaign that resulted in him securing 55% of the votes to Hynes’ 45%. Meanwhile, running unopposed, former state senator and police captain Eric Adams cruised to victory as the next borough president in Brooklyn.

State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Councilwoman Leticia James

Brooklyn State Senator Daniel Squadron and  Brooklyn City Councilwoman Letitia James seem destined for a runoff race.

Vito Lopez, who previously ran the Brooklyn Democratic machine with an iron fist, failed in his bid to become a city council member after being forced to resign in disgrace from the state assembly for a range of issues, mainly for crass, lewd, inappropriate incidents of sexual misconduct towards staffers. Demonstrating what can be described as political savvy, voters resoundingly said “No Thanks” to both Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, career politicians who have consistently shown an inability to contain their sexual proclivities and put their constituents’ needs above their personal desires. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer successfully triumphed over Spitzer in the race for controller, obtaining 52% of the votes, versus Spitzer’s 48%.

State Senator Eric Adams

State Senator Eric Adams ran unopposed to become Brooklyn’s next borough president.

The status quo remained intact in the Bronx, with Ruben Diaz Jr. holding on to his seat as borough president. However, many residents expressed pride that an African-American candidate ran against Diaz in a bid to add diversity to the borough which typically features predominantly Hispanic and Jewish politicians, with a smattering of African-American faces.

Former Federal Prosecutor Kenneth Thompson beats Charles Hynes decisively in race for Brooklyn District Attorney.

Former Federal Prosecutor Kenneth Thompson beats Charles Hynes decisively in race for Brooklyn District Attorney.

The battle of the Bills continues in the race for mayor, with former Controller William “Bill” Thompson, declining to concede defeat to Public Advocate Bill deBlasio, despite deBlasio garnering 40% of the votes, to Thompson’s 26%. If a candidate gets fewer than 40% of the votes, a runoff is needed. Thompson said he prefers to wait “until all the votes are tallied,” to determine if a runoff election is necessary. Likewise, Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James and State Senator Daniel Squadron have no resolution in their bid to become the new public advocate, because their contest has been deemed “too close to call.” Regardless of the final outcome of these races, voters have made their preferences known, rejecting City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for being too closely aligned to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his policies, while also denying Spitzer and Weiner the opportunity to rehabilitate their tarnished images on New Yorkers’ time and dime. OnPointPress.net. 

Protecting children with “Push Across Memphis: A Fragile Child’s Cry” Campaign

Memphis, Tennessee: September 10, 2013: Child advocates in Memphis, Tennessee are working diligently to prevent further incidents of child abuse with the ambitious “Push Across Memphis” campaign as part of their overall theme, “A Fragile Child’s Cry.” The campaign will culminate in a 22-mile walk on October 12, 2013.

According to organizers Terry Boykins, executive of business affairs for Street Positive and H. L. Stampley, author and child advocate, action is needed urgently. The duo cites statistics from the U.S General Accounting Office (GAO), which spent $124 billion annually on child abuse. The data seems daunting. According to the report, more than five children per day die as a direct result of child abuse; 80% of children who die from child abuse are under four years old and ninety percent of children sexually abused know their perpetrators.

In an effort to end the scourge of child abuse, the duo is implementing a nationwide community and social media awareness campaign focused on child abuse prevention and early intervention. The drive consists of increasing both media exposure and distribution of literature within affected communities. The material distributed address sexual and physical abuse, sex trafficking, mental health and anger management issues. The effort also aims to increase awareness of shaking baby syndrome in order to end the occurrence.

The “Push Across Memphis: A Fragile Child’s Cry” initiative consists of 22 four-member teams, each walking one mile from North Memphis to Germantown. Team members will decide if they will walk to represent their organizations while holding banners, wearing t-shirts of showcasing other promotional props.

A $15 minimum pledge is suggested for the “Push Across Memphis: A Fragile Child’s Cry” initiative, with proceeds benefiting child abuse prevention and intervention programs.

For more information, Contact: Terry Boykins, executive of business affairs, Street Positive at www.streetpositive.com/email:executive@streetpositive.com or H. L. Stampley, author and child advocate via email: lionleo52@comcast.com–OnPointPress.Net.

 

 

 

Irie Jamboree excited Barclays Center crowd with solid return

Damian "Jr. Gong and Stephen Marley share the stage.

Brothers Damian “Jr. Gong” and Stephen Marley share the stage.

By Robert “Bobby” Clarke

The Caribbean Fever Irie Jamboree Music Festival returned over the recent Labor Day Weekend in exciting style. Revamping the Irie Jamboree brand after a four-year hiatus and hosting the show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was a major change. The concept for the musical event was expanded into a three-day festival featuring a different theme each night. The difference reflected bold steps, but with the support of our dedicated Irie Jam Radio listeners, music fans, and business, civic, and community partners we were able to pull it off. I sincerely thank everyone who helped make the 2013 Caribbean Fever Irie Jamboree Music Festival a success.

Dancehall legend Shabba Ranks with the ever lively Capleton.

Dancehall legend Shabba Ranks with the ever lively Capleton thrill the crowd.

 

I-Octane delivers an impressive performance, delighting the crowd.

I-Octane delivers an impressive performance, delighting the crowd.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone who came out to enjoy the festival. It was your patronage that made this event successful. Thank you for being patient, courteous, orderly, and lively. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events as we continue to celebrate Irie Jam Radio’s 20th year on the air. Thank you to Caribbean Fever Inc., Irie Jamboree Inc., and all of our business partners that helped put together an incredible show. This festival was an ambitious undertaking and the result was historic.

Alison Hinds rocks the stage with her toned dancers.

Alison Hinds rocks the stage with her toned dancers.

 

Wyclef Jean gives the show his all.

Wyclef Jean gives the show his all.

Thank you to Kassav, Tabou Combo, Djakout #1, Wyclef Jean, Tallpree, Skinny Fabulous, Ricky T, Edwin Yearwood, Iwer George, Alison Hinds, Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons, Mr. Easy, I-Octane, Damian Marley and the Ghetto Youth camp, Lady Saw, Shabba Ranks, and Capleton for delivering unbelievably amazing performances. And thank you to surprise guest performers Spragga Benz and Beenie Man.

Iwer George performs.

Iwer George performs.

 

Busta Rhymes enjoys the event.

Busta Rhymes enjoys the event.

Thank you to all of the media houses, stations and outlets that helped publicize, promote, and document the festival. Please keep sharing your articles, photos, and videos. We appreciate your hard work and coverage.

Bobby Clarke proposes publicly to his lady love, Syn Dawkins.

Bobby Clarke proposes publicly to his lady love, Syn Dawkins.

And last, but never least, thank you to the production crew, staff, volunteers, interns, friends, and family who worked tirelessly, around-the-clock, behind the scenes to make this festival a huge success. I don’t know what we would have done without you. You all made this show what it was. I can’t thank you enough.

Robert “Bobby” Clarke is the president of Irie Jam Radio. OnPointPress.net.

 

Birmingham Association of Black Journalists recognizes media trailblazers with CNN’s Don Lemon

Birmingham, AL— As the city commemorates its “50 Years Forward” campaign, the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists (BABJ) is recognizing the news media’s role in the Civil Rights Movement. The two-day event will honor the pioneers who helped cover the events of 1963. It will also examine the coverage of civil and human rights issues today and in the future.

The event kicks off with the Mountaintop Awards Ceremony to be held on Friday, September 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm in the Harbert Center, 2019 4th Ave. North, Birmingham.

CNN’s Don Lemon, a former Birmingham anchor, is the featured speaker. Among the honorees are Emory O. Jackson, crusading editor of the Birmingham World newspaper, Shelley Stewart, entrepreneur and radio personality and Jessie Lewis, Sr., publisher of The Birmingham Times. The three will receive special recognition for their heroics in covering events that affected the black community during a period when other media outlets did not.

On Saturday, September 7, 2013, the “Standing on their Shoulders” Conference will be held from 8:00am to 1:00pm at The Birmingham News, 2201 4th Ave North, Birmingham.

The conference will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hank Klibanoff, whose book, “The Race Beat,” chronicles how the media covered the civil rights movement from Brown vs. the Board of Education to the Selma-to-Montgomery march.  Also, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones will discuss the role the media played in bringing the 16th Street Baptist Church bombers to justice.

Admission to the conference is free, but registration is required. An optional $10 box lunch will also be available. There is a cost for the opening reception and dinner. Proceeds go to the BABJ Scholarship Fund.

For additional information, contact BABJ Chapter President Linda White at lwhite@wvtm.com, Tel: (205) 410-3406 or Event Committee Chair Willie Chriesman at willie@chriesman.com, Tel: (205) 223-3010. OnPointPress.net.

 

Front offices dictate the future of sports franchises

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers battled in last year's Superbowl with Baltimore prevailing 34 - 31

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers battled in last year’s Super Bowl with Baltimore prevailing 34 – 31

The role of front offices in determining the operations of sports teams is usually specific and clear. Upper management provides the structure and leadership that guides teams to the ultimate goal of winning championships. With the NFL season opening today, sports fans looking for winning predictions on the season need to look no further than the front offices in order to effectively evaluate each team.

The Falcons and Seahawks are early favorites to exceed their success from last season and make it to the Superbowl

The Falcons and Seahawks are early favorites to exceed their success from last season and make it to the Super Bowl

Since the 2000-01 seasons, there have been eleven different NFC Super Bowl participants and five different AFC Super Bowl participants. The AFC has been victorious eight times compared to the NFC’s five victories. Four franchises (New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, and Baltimore Ravens) are responsible for nine Super Bowl wins and thirteen Super Bowl appearances. There are numerous factors that have led to those teams having the consistent levels of success, the most common thread being excellent front offices.

 

 

Denver fans hope Manning is successful in leading his team to the Superbowl this season.

Denver fans hope Manning is successful in leading his team to the Super Bowl this season.

According to Las Vegas bookies, the teams with the best odds of winning the Super Bowl this upcoming season are, in order, the Denver Broncos, San Fransisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, and Atlanta Falcons. Last year’s Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens have been given the thirteenth best chance to win it all. The Las Vegas odds are a combination of the season’s predictions and the betting public’s favorite teams. The teams on this list have been successful over the past few seasons which are why most pundits expect them to continue their success.  The beauty of sports is the passion of the fans and the hope that this is the year that your favorite team will win it all.

The best thing a franchise can give its fan base is the hope that this year will be the year they win it all. This year there are several team fan bases with legitimate hope and confidence in their teams. Coincidentally, these are most of the same teams that have been successful since the new millennium. There is no secret to their success.

The Patriots and Giants are among the NFL elite that have numerous questions entering this season.

The Patriots and Giants are among the NFL elite that have numerous questions swirling around them as they enter this season.

The best organizations have smart owners who invest in the team’s structure financially, and delegate to the proper people to make football decisions. The ideal general managers evaluate talent well, build a well-rounded team and hire the right coaches. The best coaches motivate, teach, and put their players in the best position to win.

Jets fans are likely in for another long season.

Jets fans are likely in for another long season as uncertainty and dysfunction cloud their daily operations.

Oftentimes, players get the most attention and credit for the teams’ success and the greatest blame for the teams’ failures. While fans will scream for their quarterback to be changed or their head coach to be fired, the attention needs to go squarely to the front offices of those troubled teams. Fans of consistently moribund teams prepare you for more of the same.

There are certain trends that are likely to repeat this season in the NFL. It is likely that a current quarterback that has already taken his team to the Super Bowl will return to the big game. It is also likely that most of the teams that made the playoffs last year will make it again this year. In the end, the best predictor of future success is past performance as well as the dedication and structure established by the front offices.-OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and organizational training consultant.

Caribbean entity promotes STEM education for regional students

Participants in the summer event.

Participants in the Caribbean Science Foundation’s  Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering, SPISE summer event.

Barbados, West Indies: September 3, 2013: Sixteen students from ten Caribbean countries recently completed a rigorous four-week program designed to enhance their preparation for science and technology careers. Each year, the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) runs the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE). This year, the students represented 10 Caribbean countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago.

The courses covered during the program included university level calculus, physics, biochemistry, entrepreneurship, humanities and Mandarin, as well as laboratory work in robotics/electronics and biochemistry.  In addition, students participated in a career seminar series where they heard first-hand about the career paths, decisions and experiences of six notable professionals in science and engineering.  Instructors included faculty from the University of the West Indies and senior management from the US biotechnology industry.

Students and professors participate in the summer event.

Students and professors participate in the summer event.

Interim Executive Director of the CSF Professor Cardinal Warde is one of the main partners in the venture, which is modeled after the successful Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  All SPISE students participated free of charge, due to generous donations from sponsors. The SPISE culminated with the students presenting their final projects in robotics and entrepreneurship to the public.

In the robotics competition, the students modified underwater robots, donated by the MIT Sea-Grant program, in order to retrieve floating balls on the water surface and place them into a basket. This tested their innovation, ingenuity and engineering design skills. For entrepreneurship, teams of students pitched business plans and then fielded tough questions from the audience which included Mr. Peter Williams, managing director of Light and Power Holdings and Dr. DeLisle Worrell, governor of the Central Bank of Barbados.

Student works in the biochemistry lab.

Student works in the biochemistry lab.

Members of the audience were given fake money to invest in the teams they found most persuasive, ultimately deciding on the winner. Also, the students performed two skits entirely in Mandarin to showcase their skills in their newly-learned language.  The two skits, “The Crazy Waitress” and “Shopping Day Gone Awry,” brought much laughter and applause from the audience.  These performances took place despite the Mandarin instruction comprising only 12 hours in total over a three-week period.

The SPISE is one of CSF’s education reform initiatives with the long-term goal of helping to diversify the economies of the Caribbean by stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship.  It is anticipated that students who complete the SPISE will eventually attend some of the best science and engineering universities in the world, and become scientific, engineering and business leaders in academia and industry within the Caribbean.  For more information about the CSF and SPISE, including sponsorship of students for SPISE 2014, contact Professor Warde at warde.csf@gmail.com or visit http://caribbeanscience.org.– OnPointPress.net