NABJ14 concludes successful convention in Boston, Minneapolis is next

The  Jumbotron ,at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, indicated a public welcome to NABJ members. The NABJ's Boston Chapter arranged a welcome reception and tour of the stadium on 7/31/2014.

The JumboTron ,at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, indicated a public welcome to NABJ members. The NABJ’s Boston Chapter arranged a welcome reception and tour of the stadium on 7/31/2014.

By Carmen Glover

Thousands of journalists, media professionals and students gathered in Boston from July 30 to August 3 for a successful hosting of the 39th annual National Association of Black Journalists Convention and Career Fair.

Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press was named Journalist of the Year at NABJ14.

Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press was named Journalist of the Year at NABJ14.

Attendees to the event were welcomed officially on Wednesday, July 30 in an engaging reception that featured television veteran Carole Simpson, who is senior leader in residence at Emerson College, WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton and an exciting dance troupe from Roxbury, Massachusetts. Journalists were then escorted to Regal 13 in downtown Boston, for an exclusive screening of the James Brown film “Get On Up,” which riveted the audience with lead actor Chadwick Boseman’s compelling transformation as he depicted the Godfather of Soul.

Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post was named Emerging Journalist of the Year at NABJ14.

Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post was named Emerging Journalist of the Year at NABJ14.

At 6:30 a.m. each morning, Zumba workouts were available and on some days there were professional development breakfasts and lunch and learn sessions. On Thursday, July 31, Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Martin Walsh, television veteran Sarah Shaw and ESPN host of Numbers Never Like Michael Smith, spoke at the opening ceremony.

Ambassador Andrew Young discussed "Repairing The Breach To My Brother's Keeper." at NABJ14.

Ambassador Andrew Young discussed “Repairing The Breach To My Brother’s Keeper” at NABJ14.

Among the notable panels included “Race in America,” during which Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree discussed salient issues concerning race, in a conversation moderated by noted journalist Ed Gordon. Ogletree also joined Ambassador Andrew Young, chairman of his self-named foundation, Dr. Bobby Austin, president of Neighborhood Association Inc. and editor of “Repairing the Breach,” Jim Shelton, deputy press secretary of education, My Brother’s Keeper task force and Washington Post managing editor Kevin Merida on Friday, August 1 on the panel “Repairing the Breach to My Brother’s Keeper: Reconnecting African-American Mena and Boys to American Society.”

Editors Jill Geisler and Anthony Cook participated at NABJ14.

Media Executive Jill Geisler and Anthony Cook, Community News Director of Alabama Media Group, participated at NABJ14.

Panelists explored issues such as the outlook for print journalism in “The Future of Print,” to the entrepreneurial role of African-American Journalists in the burgeoning online media industry in the session, “Hanging Your Own Shingle: Making the Leap into Entrepreneurship.” Financial health and planning were discussed in “Cultivating Personal Wealth: Are You Financially Fit?” which provided excellent insight by experts such as The Money Coach Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, Shirley-Ann Robertson of Prudential and Deborah Owens, who appears regularly on Roland Martin’s TV One show “News One Now.” The Anne Casey Foundation provided a poignant look at the plight of children from different ethnic groups that elicited passionate feedback from the attendees.

Financial Expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox discussed financial health at NABJ14.

Financial Expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox discussed financial health at NABJ14.

A career fair operated daily from 9:00 a.m. and each night there were receptions and parties to offer a broad mix of activities. ESPN’s mentoring breakfast was well-attended, as was the Sports Task Force’s Scholarship Jam at the House of Blues on Friday night. The Film Festivals showcased movies such as “Get On Up,” “Finding Samuel Lowe,” “Black and White,” “Dear White People” and “Contradiction.”  Actors Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer seemed relaxed as they talked with journalists after the first screening of their heartwarming film “Black and White.”

NABJ President Bob Butler offered steep discount for NABJ15 if members register by August 30.

NABJ President Bob Butler offered steep discount for NABJ15 if members register by August 31.

The awards gala, NABHJ’s signature event of the convention, did not disappoint, with journalists being honored for their outstanding work and special awards given out. Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post was named “Emerging Journalist of the Year” and Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press was named “Journalist of the Year.”  NABJ14 wrapped up on Sunday, August 3, with a stirring Gospel Brunch. During the awards gala on Saturday night, NABJ’s president Bob Butler offered a bargain to those who register early for NABJ15, when the organization will celebrate its’ fortieth anniversary in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“If you register by August 31 the cost is $200 and $150 for students,” he stated, as appreciation was shown with thunderous applause–OnPointPress.net.

Sports memories of 2013

LeBron James continues to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet as he wins the NBA Championship and  Finals MVP in consecutive years.

LeBron James continues to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet as he wins the NBA Championship and Finals MVP in consecutive years.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Every year has a unique sports identity and 2013 had a number of trends that immediately come to mind. This year the sports world treated us to fantastic moments like a Super Bowl that was decided in the final minutes and thrilling plays throughout a seven-game series in the NBA Finals. Game 6 of the NBA Finals might be viewed as the game of the year as it provided us with scintillating plays all the way to the end.

Ray Allen (r) makes what might be the play of the year in 2013 as he drills a 3 pointer to tie Game 6 in the final seconds of regulation over Tony Parker (c) and Kawhi Leonard (l).

Ray Allen (r) makes what might be the play of the year in 2013 as he drills a 3-pointer to tie Game 6 in the final seconds of regulation over Tony Parker (c) and Kawhi Leonard (l).

We also witnessed serious tragedy in sports, headlined by the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. While there was something memorable about the different sporting events throughout 2013, there were some trends that connected the various sports.

 

Derek Jeter (l) and Kobe Bryant (r) are hoping to fully recover from their injuries and have a much better 2014.

Derek Jeter (l) and Kobe Bryant (r) are hoping to fully recover from their injuries and have a much better 2014.

Superstar injuries: 2013 was a year in which some of the biggest names in sports spent a great deal of time on the injured list. Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Rob Gronkowski, Matt Harvey, Robert Griffin III, Matt Kemp, Rajon Rondo, Arian Foster and Russell Westbrook were just several of the many All-Star caliber players  who suffered lengthy injuries this calendar year. Adrian Peterson has altered the perception of the impact of some of these injuries as he returned in record time to win the 2012-13 National Football League (NFL) MVP award after tearing the ACL in his knee at the end of the 2011-12 season. It is becoming apparent that Peterson’s recovery was exceptional and that it seems unreasonable to expect any athlete to return to action and be better than they were before the injury.

 

Serena Williams raises her title as she continues her dominance at the U.S. Open.

Serena Williams raises her title as she continues her dominance at the U.S. Open.

Elite performances by the elite performers: The 2013 calendar year was tremendous for the best players in almost every sport. Peyton Manning set NFL records for quarterback in the 2013-14 season en route to a likely fifth MVP award. Miguel Cabrera proved to be the best offensive player in Major League Baseball (MLB), winning the American League (AL) MVP award for the second consecutive season. Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal each won two out of four Grand Slam titles this year on the tennis tour. Tiger Woods reclaimed his position as the number one ranked golfer in the world while winning five tournaments in 2013. Perhaps no performance stands out more than LeBron James capturing his second consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals MVP award and fourth league MVP award this year as he led the Miami Heat to back-to-back championships.

 

Mariano Rivera was classy as he watched the mess that is New York sports crumble around him,.

Mariano Rivera was classy as he watched the mess that is New York sports crumble around him.

Tough year in New York sports: The Yankees and Mets both faced numerous injuries to key players and failed to make the postseason this year. The Yankees had to watch their rivals the Boston Red Sox win another title. They also have to try to cope with the retirement of legend Mariano Rivera, the loss of their best offensive player Robinson Cano, the unavailability of currently suspended, scandal-plagued player Alex Rodriguez while hoping that Derek Jeter is going to be healthy and productive all season. The Giants and Jets both had mediocre seasons and will be watching the upcoming NFL playoffs from home, missing the chance to play in the Super Bowl which will be played in their hometown. Both football teams will likely make numerous player changes as they look to rebound next year. The Knicks and Nets are off to painfully slow starts to the 2013-14 NBA season. Any talk about NBA championship contention for either team seems extremely far-fetched as both teams have a long way to go just to make the playoffs this year.

 

2013 Boston Marathon participants are emotional wrecks as they witness copious innocent people injured on the street.

2013 Boston Marathon participants are emotional wrecks as they witness copious innocent people injured on the street.

Sporting world’s negative headlines: The two bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 may be the most unfortunately memorable event that took place in sports. With approximately 264 people injured and 3 spectators killed that day, the tragedy unfolded slowly over the next few days after the marathon as the manhunt, shootout with one alleged perpetrator and eventual capture of the other alleged perpetrators played out on television like harrowing scenes from the FOX Network show 24.

Many were surprised to witness Aaron Hernandez being arrested in connection with a murder shortly before the start of the NFL season.

Many were surprised to witness Aaron Hernandez being arrested in connection with a murder shortly before the start of the NFL season.

2013 was also witness to the arrest for murder and gun charges of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez is currently imprisoned as he awaits trial for the serious charges. The Miami Dolphins sparked greater debates about bullying in athletics as news surfaced about Jonathan Martin walking away from the team after alleging that he was bullied by teammates, specifically Richie Incognito. The NFL is still investigating this matter. Meanwhile, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was able to perform on the field while being investigated by local Florida prosecutors after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female who also attends Florida State. The prosecutor’s decision to not pursue charges against Winston still raised questions about whether some athletes get special treatment from law enforcement as the attorney for the accuser remains adamant that her client was violated. At the same time, Winston consistently asserted that his encounter with the accuser was consensual and that he “did nothing wrong.”

The Louisville Cardinals honor injured teammate Kevin Ware as they celebrate winning the National Championship in college basketball.

The Louisville Cardinals honor injured teammate Kevin Ware as they celebrate winning the National Championship in college basketball.

2013 was quite an eventful and memorable sports year. Kevin Ware breaking his leg during the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament was a gruesome sight but provided the impetus to propel the Louisville Cardinals to the national title. College football’s Nick Saban, coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Women’s college basketball’s Geno Auriemma of the Connecticut Huskies proved to be the dominant coaches in their sports as they led their teams to another national title.

Ray Lewis' last game in the NFL ended with him holding the Lombardi Trophy as the Baltimore Ravens were victorious.

Ray Lewis’ last game in the NFL ended with him holding the Lombardi Trophy as the Baltimore Ravens were victorious.

The Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) and Miami Heat (NBA) won championships in 2013 and have been in the finals each of the last three years. “Big Papi” David Ortiz led the Boston Red Sox through the post season again to win the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals. Meanwhile, Ray Lewis was able to retire on top as the Baltimore Ravens pulled out a narrow victory over the San Francisco 49ers. With the Winter Olympics in Russia and World Cup in Brazil (for which the U.S. team was placed in the Group of Death) on docket, 2014 seems poised to garner even more interest than 2013 did in the sports world.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

MLB changes playoff format, aims for renewed interest

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Major League Baseball hopes the additional playoff team added in each league will spark greater interest in postseason play this season. MLB hopes intrigue drastically increases from the 2012 World Series, which was easily the lowest rated series over the past thirty years.

World Series ratings since 1984.

World Series ratings since 1984.

Tuesday and Wednesday night will be a one game elimination playoff game between the two Wildcard teams from the NL and AL respectively. The one-and-done format can increase excitement for that game for casual viewers. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, are among the larrgest national fanbases that will have a tteam represented in the 2013 playoffs. Thursday will be the beginning of the divisional series where teams move to the next round by winning the best 3 out of 5 games.

Alex Rodriguez continues to fight his appeal of a 211 game suspension imposed by Bud Selig.

Alex Rodriguez continues to fight his appeal of a 211 game suspension imposed by Bud Selig.

There are some obstacles for the MLB’s hopes for increased interest in this year’s playoffs despite the change in format. The most marketable team in baseball, the New York Yankees, are noticeably absent and there are few individual stars that are big draws in the game of baseball today. Alex Rodriguez’s appeal of a 211 game suspension for PED use and other alllegations also threatans to take away attention from the MLB playoffs. The greatest challenge to the MLB playoffs however, is the exceptional interest in college and professional football in this country.

The change in format for the playoffs was designed to create a momentum of intrigue in baseball as it enters the postseason.The extra playoff spot is expected to give more teams an opportunity to make the playoffs, which would hopefully bring more interest in more teams for a longer period of time. The challenge for MLB is the lack of star power in their sport and the enormous popularity of competing sports, make the likelihood that interest will grow exponentially minute. It is unlikely the ratings for the World Series this season will be worse than 2012 but MLB is hoping for more than modest growth in interest in this year’s playoffs.-Onpointpress.net

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

Mariano Rivera, exemplary athlete, consummate professional, retires in style

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in front of his newly retired number at his retirement ceremony on Sept. 22 2013 at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera sits in front of his newly retired number at his retirement ceremony on Sept. 22 2013 at Yankee Stadium.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Sunday, September 22, Yankee closer Mariano Rivera was honored by his team in a 50-minute ceremony that included Rivera’s former teammates, coaches, and the rock band Metallica, who serenaded him live with his trademark entry song, “Enter Sandman.” Rivera’s family was on the field with him to celebrate, as were Rachel and Sharon Robinson, the widow and daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The festivities included an unveiling of Rivera’s number that is to be retired by the Yankees at season’s end.

Rivera receives an honorary gift from rock band Metallica during the retirement ceremony.

Rivera receives a gift from rock band Metallica during the retirement ceremony.

The warm feelings that Rivera inspires in many have turned what would normally be a dismal year by Yankee standards into an unforgettable one. The retirement festivities on Sunday represented the pinnacle of Rivera’s retirement tour, a gathering of Yankee legends who came out to show their support and appreciation for an exemplary athlete. And when Rivera addressed the gathering he thanked “the good Lord, the Yankee organization, fans, teammates,” his parents and the late Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, saying ” I love and miss him.”. Rivera reveled in the love that he was shown by fans, the Yankee organization, family, teammates and friends. For the fans, the tour activities have come to represent the brightest moments in a rather mundane Yankees season this year.

The Yankees have been hampered by injuries to all of their most notable stars, including  team captain Derek Jeter. Alex Rodriguez was also involved in another PED scandal, which has created a stir as he continues to play while appealing a substantial suspension. While the Yankees have struggled on the field, their fiercest rivals, the Boston Red Sox, have soared to the best record in game. On the other hand, the Yankees will likely miss the playoffs, which is more disappointing for its fans, considering this is the first year that Major League Baseball (MLB) has expanded the number playoff participants.

None of these developments have tainted Rivera’s retirement tour. At the beginning of the year, Rivera announced that he would retire at the end of the season. Rivera’s brilliance on the field combined with his stoic, engaging and composed demeanor resulted in such high regard league-wide that Rivera was honored in every stadium he played in this season. Rivera continues to display great humility and grace as he receives gifts from his competitors and his own team.

Rivera stands at Jackie Robinson's retired number in monument park at Yankee Stadium besides Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson and their daughter Sharon Robinson.

Rivera stands at Jackie Robinson’s retired number in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium beside Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson and their daughter Sharon Robinson.

Mariano Rivera exemplifies the role model that parents and the media expect professional athletes to be. The confluence of circumstances that have led to Rivera universally being recognized as the greatest closer of all time are difficult to replicate. Rivera played his entire illustrious career for one of the most revered teams in all of sports while having only one season where he missed significant time due to injury.

There have been no legal concerns or insidious scandal associated with Rivera, one of the most famous New York athletes of all time. Rivera has always carried himself with class and poise while continuing to frustrate opponents on his way to five World Championships and what is expected to be an eventual place of honor in the Baseball Hall of Fame. In an age where an athlete’s legacy can be tarnished by anything from romantic entanglements and legal troubles to merely changing teams, it seems fitting that the last man in the MLB to wear Jackie Robinson’s number 42 would be a trendsetting legend himself —OnPointPress.net.

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