We look forward to providing you with more incisive and timely news and reviews in the upcoming week. OnPointPress.net.
By Charles Glover Jr.
Athletes often generate as much attention as musicians and actors. They also attract more publicity than most politicians. The constant spotlight on athletes makes it unlikely that the public will patiently wait for information to come out when a legal matter presents itself. But, as athletes such as Michael Vick, Roger Clements, Aaron Hernandez and now, Jameis Winston, have come to recognize, it is important to obtain and adhere to legal counsel instead of satisfying the public’s desire for information when confronting accusations that have legal implications.
The willingness of the public to allow for an athlete’s personal life to remain private drastically changes when the legal system is involved. It is often viewed as a betrayal of the public’s trust when an athlete is accused of being involved with something that might be illegal. However, the scrutiny a troubled athlete experiences is not consistent. In fact, it typically seems that what a person is accused of matters even more than who is accused.
The adage innocent until proven guilty does not apply in the court of public opinion and the worse the alleged crime, the harder it is for the athlete to maintain a positive public image until the resolution of their legal conflict. This disparity stems from the lack of information an accused athlete will provide about legal issues which they face. Legally, it is prudent for the athlete to say as little as possible. The burden of proof is on the state (or government) to find enough evidence to charge and eventually convict the person they accuse of committing a crime. Although some information is available to the public, fans would like answers sooner than later. However, the criminal justice system does not move swiftly so accused athletes can find themselves at the center of questions they are legally required to answer publicly for months or even years before there is a resolution to the case.
The athletes involved in legal issues get far more attention than the victims in the same case because the athlete is already a public persona before the legal matters were introduced. The public’s fascination with the athlete’s legal outcome seems to do a disservice to the loved ones of the victims (alleged or confirmed). If an athlete is guilty of a crime, they have far greater issues than the public’s opinion of them. Yet, if that athlete wants to continue a career in sports, winning back the favor of the public is important. However, if an athlete is not guilty or falsely accused of a crime, that athlete does not receive a public apology from all who assumed that athlete’s guilt. When it comes to legal matters, the court of public opinion can gather the facts, speculate or even pontificate, without leaving the judgment to the actual court system.–OnPointPress.net–
Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant.
Georgetown, Guyana, November 25, 2013 – The third annual workshop of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) will be held in Georgetown, Guyana between December 2-3, 2013, at the Grand Coastal Hotel. The theme for the workshop is “Stimulating Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Science and Engineering.” Students, teachers, lecturers, scientists, entrepreneurs and government officials from Guyana, the Caribbean region and the Caribbean Diaspora will be in attendance. The CSF, in collaboration with the Guyana Ministry of Education and the Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation (CADSTI), are the conference organizers.
The CSF was established in 2010 as an independent non-profit non-governmental organization with the mission of assisting with the diversification of the economies of Caribbean countries by promoting education reform in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM), and stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship. Ms. Petal Jetoo of the Guyana Ministry of Education has been instrumental in the planning and the hosting of this Workshop. Ms. Jetoo also serves as the CSF representative for Guyana.
At the opening of the workshop, Interim Executive Director of the CSF and Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cardinal Warde, will provide an update on the CSF’s programs and activities in the Region. The first day’s agenda will focus on topics of particular relevance to students and teachers. These include CSF’s youth and educational programs: the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) and the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge. Presentations by Guyanese students who participated in these programs are expected to be a highlight.
Also on the first day, a session will feature career opportunities in the STEM disciplines, comprising panel members from the Diaspora and the Region. Dr. Didacus Jules, the registrar of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), will chair the session on “STEM teacher training.” The importance of “Entrepreneurship in the Region” will be chaired by Mr. Bowen Wells, former UK Minister of Parliament and a member of the CADSTI-CSF Honorary Governing Council. A poster session will provide a forum for research presentations from the region.
On the second day, Guyanese students will receive practical training during specially designed micro- science workshops, courtesy of UNESCO. The students will also have a chance to interact closely with both local and visiting academics during the “Stump the Professor” session. Reports from the CADSTI branches within the Diaspora (UK, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the U.S.) will be provided, as well as reports from the Regional network of CSF representatives.
The session, “Guyana on the Move” will highlight science and technology in Guyana, and will be chaired jointly by Professor Maya Trotz of the University of South Florida (a native of Guyana) and Dr. Jeanese Badenock of the University of the West Indies, Barbados. The workshop of the CSF is anticipated to be an interactive forum highlighting exchange of information, ideas and experiences related to science and technology for students, teachers, the scientific and business communities, and government representatives. Sponsors include UNESCO, OAS, CXC, Government of Canada, and the Ministry of Education of Guyana. More information is available at http://caribbeanscience.org.–OnPointPress.net.
By Charles Glover, Jr.
The popularity of the National Football League (NFL) has grown over the past twenty years, while the National Basketball Association (NBA) has seen peaks and valleys in its television interest, fan loyalty and attendance. The NFL has been able to generate greater parity and excitement for its teams in more small market cities compared to the NBA equivalent because star players from college football teams are guaranteed to go to the NFL teams that performed the worst in the previous season but the opposite is true in the NBA.
The NFL draft model ensures that the team with the worst record in the league will receive the first pick. There is also a provision that precludes a team from receiving that coveted first pick in consecutive years. On the other hand, the NBA has a draft lottery that gives a weighted chance at the first pick in the draft according to the records of the teams that did not make the playoffs. The team with the worst record has, at best, a twenty-five percent chance at procuring the top choice in the draft. The small market teams in the NBA would greatly benefit from the NFL draft model as it would give them a better chance to land big name players from college. This would then grow their fan bases.
The NFL has seen small-market teams with terrible seasons rebound quickly with the selection of the right players in the draft. In conjunction with other moves in free agency, this results in quick improvements. The Carolina Panthers drafted Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton with the first pick in the 2011 draft and the team is having its best success in several seasons this year. The Indianapolis Colts drafted second generation NFL quarterback Andrew Luck first overall in 2012 and made the playoffs the very next season. These players were big names in college and helped create excitement for the fans of their respective teams while improving the performance of those teams as well.
Conversely, in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery for the third time in ten seasons and picked Anthony Bennett first overall last season. The New Orleans Pelicans (Hornets at the time) selected Anthony Davis with the first pick in the 2011-12 draft. Those teams have yet to see their teams improve to playoff material, yet but many believe that those teams have bright futures. The challenge for the NBA is to have small market teams land stars that can help generate widespread interest which would eventually translate to more money for those franchises.
The Oklahoma City Thunder organization is the most referenced small market team, loaded with young stars through the draft in the NBA. The challenge for other NBA teams is to land young exciting players that become top-tier talent that can eventually transform a team to a title contender. Small market teams in the NBA have an additional challenge of retaining young stars they initially draft. Some of the biggest stars in the NBA change teams in pursuit of a championship. Parity in the NBA is difficult because many small market teams struggle in putting together consistent winning teams while retaining their drafted stars.
The other challenge is few small market teams draft big name stars. The Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, and Toronto Raptors stand out as teams that are in small markets, have struggled on the court, and have had a difficult time landing stars that can help their teams become playoff contenders. The NFL has big name stars in many small markets, which helps keep interest for those teams, even if they struggle with those stars on their team. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers’ quarterback), Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings’ running back), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers’ quarterback), and Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers’ safety) are just a handful of NFL stars from small market cities that are regularly featured in commercials. All of these players were also drafted by their current team.
The NBA would have a better chance of achieving the parity it desires if the rules in the NBA draft are changed to decide the order of the draft, based on records. A provision that would help guard against teams intentionally losing games to get the best draft pick is to prevent teams from having the top three picks in consecutive seasons. The potential for landing top-tier talent will always be alluring through the draft because of the potential to have a young star transform a franchise to a winner. The potential draft class for the NBA includes two of the most hyped freshmen in college basketball in years: Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Jabari Parker (Duke). It would be phenomenal for the NBA if the best player in the draft had a chance to transform the worst team in the NBA into an exciting championship winner.–OnPointPress.net.
Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.
By Carmen Glover
Proud graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are quick to extol the virtues of attending their specific alma mater: the comfort of being around people who look like them, camaraderie on campus, the ability to learn more about their history, and most importantly, the cache that comes professionally when their alma mater is mentioned in industry settings. And, indeed, statistics support the root cause of such enormous pride. According to available data, the nation’s 106 HBCUs have made an indelible mark on educational gains, awarding African-Americans 1.5% of associate’s degrees, 16.9% of bachelor’s degrees, 7.6% of master’s degrees, 8.1% of doctoral degrees and 17 % of professional degrees, through 2010. Most significantly, HBCUs make up 3% of the total number of colleges and universities in the country yet account for 22% of all bachelor’s degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concentrations.
However, endowments to HBCUs have declined precipitously over the years, which, combined with new restrictive qualifying policies for student loans, have led to disastrous results for students and families who are eager to embrace the traditions which abound at HBCUs. Educators have expressed outrage at the Obama Administration for revising the loan guidelines so exhaustively that many African-American parents who previously qualified for Parent Plus Loans no longer do so, resulting in hundreds of discouraged students being forced to abort their educational pursuits mid-stream due to their inability to finance their education at the institutions of their choice.
Speaking recently on TVOne, former Bennett College President Julianne Malveaux was blunt: “Many students who drop out of HBCUs focus on getting jobs and saving their money so that they can return to finish their education,” she said. But she further explained that because the students have to suspend their educational goals temporarily, that decision hurts the HBCUs in another important way as well. “Colleges and universities are given four to six years to graduate students with undergraduate degrees,” she explained. When that doesn’t happen, the HBCUs face the added danger of losing accreditation and funding, leading to them losing staff and course offerings.
The cycle seems to be vicious and various groups who have raised attention to the issue. In fact, some groups have entertained the possibility of pursuing legal actions against the Obama Administration in order to apply pressure in having the policies regarding the Parent Plus Loan qualifying requirements reversed. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund which raises money for HBCUs, has vowed to sue the Obama Administration in an effort to roll back the restrictive loan qualification policies. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has described the furor about the new policies as “communication” errors, while declining to address the substance of the policies in general.
“HBCUs are struggling, laying off faculty, sending students home,” Taylor said on the show, describing the likelihood of the lawsuit as “upwards of 75% chance,” unless the Obama Administration comes to the table to talk and resolve differences on the matter in a way that all stakeholders view as satisfactory. Regardless of what transpires with his plans to sue, one thing is clear: HBCUs are in serious danger of being adversely affected by new policies. In the meantime, students and families suffer, forced to suspend their educational dreams, with some abandoning their educational goals entirely. It is important for families to explore alternatives, such as enrolling in state colleges and community colleges, where tuition is cheaper than at a private college.
While it is admirable for families to strive for private colleges and universities, some of which include HBCUs, the larger goal of ensuring that students graduate from colleges and universities should take precedence over insistence that they attend HBCUs. For their part, HBCUs have no choice but to revise their financial models and revamp their operational structures so that they are able to function and remain viable and competitive in an ever-changing economic and educational environment. To do otherwise will further imperil their survival even more. OnPointPress.net
By Carmen Glover
Jamaica is known internationally for its verdant beauty, miles of white sand, pulsating reggae music, educational excellence and indomitable prowess in track and field. On Saturday, November 16, both Usain Bolt, 27, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 26, created history and elevated the tiny Caribbean nation to a realm previously experienced by two other nations, the United States and Great Britain, when they were named 2013 Athletes of the Year.
The dual honor was bestowed on the Jamaican track stars in Monaco at the 2013 World Athletics Gala. U.S. athletes Carl Lewis and Florence Griffith-Joyner won similar recognition in 1988 while Colin Jackson and Sally Gunnell won in 1993 for Great Britain. According to the Jamaica Observer, Bolt’s honor is his fifth since he won World Athlete of the Year in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, while Fraser-Pryce’s recognition represents the second Jamaican woman to be so honored, after track star Merlene Ottey received the award in 1990.
Jamaica’s dominance in track and field has typically caused fierce competition from its U.S. counterpart, and in many cases top-rated track stars who represent the U.S. in athletic events are Jamaicans by birth or boast Jamaican heritage, including Sanya Richards-Ross, for instance.
To say Jamaicans across the globe are bursting with pride about the historic recognition received by Bolt and Fraser-Pryce would be a gross understatement, especially at a time when the country is bitterly disappointed that its soccer team, the Reggae Boyz, failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup which is scheduled to be held in Brazil. However, the honor received by the track stars is not merely symbolic, but it is monetary as well, with them receiving US $100,000, each in prize money to accompany their award, as indicated by the IAAF website. –OnPointPress.net
By Carmen Glover
A legion of fans have waited with bated breath for the sequel to the romantic comedy, “The Best Man” to hit the big screen. The wait is officially over as “The Best Man Holiday” opened nationwide this weekend to long lines as eager movie patrons reunite with their favorite characters. Fourteen years after the original movie debuted in theaters, all of the characters are back, delivering solid acting and tackling material that runs the gamut of emotions.
When the film’s director, Malcolm D. Lee, addressed the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Florida this past summer, he disclosed that he “did not want to rush” and create a sequel that lacked meaning. He explained at the time that he felt it was important to tell a story that reflected growth and substance in the characters. “I wanted to wait until the characters had grown before I did a sequel,” he said. He also shared what drove him to the sequel. “The desire to see marriage on the screen was my inspiration for this movie,” he explained.
The movie is well worth the wait. The main characters have enjoyed success in the intervening years and they bring the full scope of their acting skills to “The Best Man Holiday,” which deals with more serious subjects than the original film. The sequel reunites the characters at the home of Lance (Morris Chestnut), who is now playing in the NFL for the Giants, and his wife Mia (Monica Calhoun). Naturally, when old friends get together, it’s a mixed bag of emotions, some overt, others covert.
It is refreshing to see an ensemble cast of characters who are able to reprise their roles easily and deliver an entertaining and thought-provoking medley of scenes that reinforces the long-held belief that if African-American actors are given the opportunity and script to bring an important story to life, they are more than capable of delivering with panache. Do yourselves a favor and go see this movie so that you can reconnect with the nostalgia of the past while you embrace the realities and new adventures that abound in “The Best Man Holiday.”–OnPointPress.net
By Charles Glover Jr.
While boxing continues to see record breaking pay-per-view numbers for main attraction Floyd Mayweather, the sport is still struggling to regain the interest it had decades ago. Only a handful of boxing superstars can attract large pay-per-view numbers, but pay-per-view fights receive the most attention in the sports media market.
The problem with boxing’s current marketing strategy is the lack of promotion for rising stars. The established superstars in boxing like Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and the aforementioned Mayweather, earned their reputation from fighting a long list of reputable fighters. In boxing, like politics, name recognition sells more than anything else. The former pay-per-view model helped grow the reputation of unknown fighters as they fought on the undercard before the main event was shown. If they excelled in those moments, the extra exposure would help them make a name for themselves.
The problem now is boxers that lack do name recognition do not get the opportunity to fight on the undercard of the pay-per-view card as often as in the past. For example, HBO Pay-Per-View will be the host station for the Manny Pacquiao versus Brandon Rios fight on November 23, 2013. Pacquiao is the second biggest pay-per-view draw in boxing at this time (Mayweather is first) so the numbers will likely be good. However, HBO aired excellent fights this past weekend and will feature another excellent bout this weekend.
Nonito Donaire, an exciting Filipino fighter with a good fan base knocked out bruiser Vic Darchinyan. Additionally, rising star Mikey Garcia, a Mexican-American fighter with exceptional knockout power, displayed that power to win a vacant title against highly touted Puerto-Rican fighter Rocky Martinez. This weekend, top pound-for-pound and undefeated fighter Andre Ward will come back from a year-long injury layoff to assert his dominance in his sport against the very skilled and also unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez.
In the past, HBO PPV would have combined these fights to make an entertaining and exciting card. That would encourage the casual fan to spend the money not just to see the main event, but also the rising stars in boxing. HBO is far from being the only culprit in this problem in marketing, but this month on HBO will feature several boxers that would have benefited from the extra exposure the Pacquiao pey-per-view would provide. Going forward, boxing would benefit from consolidating events and combining fight cards which should generate larger purses for the fights. The extra money in the purses would help market the fight on a broader level, which would generate a greater interest in a broader range of boxers.
Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.
By Carmen Glover
For years news that was relevant to the African-American experience got short shrift from morning television. A few topics would be covered from time to time but extensive examination of stories which interested the African-American community did not happen routinely. Stories that featured African-American issues did not get the prominence that they deserved and viewers were often left wanting more detail, background and factual information. That changed on November 4 with the debut of TVOne’s News One Now, with Roland Martin.
The first episode began with well-wishes offered by Earvin “Magic” Johnson and a song by Stevie Wonder. Throughout the week, topics were covered with expertise and professionalism. Martin presided over debates with various panelists and tackled topics in great detail from a variety of perspectives within the African-American community.
It was refreshing to see, for instance, an all-male panel discussing the Miami Dolphins’ debacle with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith offering his usual biting commentary. The one-hour News One Now program addresses issues that are often overlooked but they are tackled on the program with such care and detail that viewers are given an education while being brought up to date on news topics that deserve to be showcased.
The show also features a question each day and viewers are allowed to call in to share their thoughts about the question posed, making the show interactive and informative. As the program works out its technical kinks and the newsreader becomes more comfortable in the role, the show should gain traction and solidify itself in its prime 9:00 a.m. time slot.
For those who have not had a chance to view the show, tune in any weekday morning at 9:00 a.m. and celebrate the addition of a respected African-American voice to the national conversation about issues that should be covered, but which are often ignored by the mainstream media. —OnPointPress.net
By Charles Glover, Jr.
Over the past few days, the Miami Dolphins team and management have been asked to respond to the revelation of disturbing words and behavior levied by Richie Incognito towards fellow Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin. Martin received harassing text and voice messages from Incognito that expressed disparaging remarks referring to Martin as a “half n—- piece of s—” and threats of physical harm to Martin and his family. In the immediate aftermath of the revelations, Incognito has been suspended indefinitely while Martin remains away from the team on his own accord.
Speculation has been rampant about how complicit the Dolphins team was in condoning Incognito’s brash and negative tactics, since no details have emerged to indicate that prior action was taken to discourage his conduct. There is an NFL- led investigation underway into the facts about this case. This might be able to answer who knew about this bullying and what, if anything, was done about it. Until those facts are clear there will continue to be conjecture about the locker room culture creating a dynamic that can allow for bullying of this kind to exist.
Immediate reports about this story pointed towards hazing as a cause of Martin’s alleged emotional outburst that resulted in him leaving the team abruptly. Any categorizing of hazing as an unnecessary, childish ploy to gain camaraderie in sports is a disservice to sports culture. Football players and coaches often use war-like jargon such as battlefield, warriors, and bunker-type mentality to express their feelings of deep devotion to their sport. The circumstances surrounding the apparent hectoring of Martin from Incognito is eerily reminiscent of the plot of the classic movie “A Few Good Men,” a fact that was not lost on the hosts of ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie (NNL).
In the movie, two U.S. Marines face court-martial procedures for causing the death of a fellow Marine. The circumstances surrounding the death expose that the fallen Marine was viewed as sub-standard and weak by his fellow Marine Corps and superior officers. This led to the fallen Marine being “disciplined” (or given a CODE RED as termed in the movie) by members of his own Corps leading to the unintended consequence of his death. The movie delves into the culture of military life, from within and outside of the base where the incident happens, while also examining the moral dilemma some individuals face when doing such meaningful work.
This dynamic seems to be applicable in the Incognito and Martin case for a few reasons. First, there seems to be little or no outlet within the team for Martin to think he could get help if he expressed that he was being tormented. Second, there has not been any veteran player, coaching staff or team personnel of the Miami Dolphins willing to acknowledge these actions were taking place before audio and text messages proved otherwise. Third, there has been very little outrage from the team, even as most of the people responding to the reports continue to ask for explanations from those who were closest to the situation.
Near the end of the ” A Few Good Men”, the penultimate question was about whether the CODE RED was ordered to be given to the fallen Marine. In the case involving the Dolphins, the question may be whether the team felt “CODE RED”-like tactics were acceptable for Incognito to administer to Martin in order for him to be the player the Dolphins wanted Martin to be.
As the facts of the Dolphins case continue to emerge it will be interesting to see what action, if any, will be taken to reduce bullying in the NFL. The league already faces an uphill battle in repairing an image tarnished by concussions, suicides and routine player contact with the law. Convincing fans and sponsors that the sport is wholesome and embraces brotherhood, as male-oriented team sports should, will be more of a challenge. Unless bullies are shown the door as unceremoniously as their actions deserve and the league sends a strong message that bullies are unwelcome in the sport, then this incident will be a blip on the landscape of business as usual in the NFL.-OnPointPress.net