NABJ congratulates member Kevin Merida on new ESPN job

Longtime NABJ member Kevin Merida is leaving his post as managing editor at the Washington Post for an executive level position at ESPN.

Longtime NABJ member Kevin Merida is leaving his post as managing editor at the Washington Post for an executive level position at ESPN.

WASHINGTON (October 20, 2015) – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) congratulates member Kevin Merida on his appointment as editor of “The Undefeated,” ESPN’s website centering on the intersection of race, culture, and sports.

Merida will be a senior vice president and editor and oversee the content, the direction, and the strategic initiatives undertaken by the site. He joins “The Undefeated” from The Washington Post where he had been managing editor since February 2013 and on staff for 22 years. Upon his appointment at the Post, he became the paper’s first African-American managing editor.

“Kevin is an exceptional journalist who has worked his way up from reporter to editor covering a range of topics, from news of the day to national politics,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “Kevin is a transformative leader who has driven pointed editorial coverage of important news stories while balancing the need to create newsrooms that are nimble, flexible, adaptable, and creative. He has mentored talented journalists and helped them to create notable work.”

“Kevin is a remarkably accomplished journalist, editor and leader whom we have long admired and desired to join ‘The Undefeated,'” said Marie Donoghue, ESPN Executive Vice President for Global Strategy and Original Content. “Today’s announcement represents a key step in the evolution of the site and ESPN’s commitment to this ambitious project.”

Before serving as managing editor Merida was the paper’s national editor. Merida was named NABJ’s Journalist of the Year in 2000 in recognition of his storytelling abilities, his commitment to the craft of journalism, and his drive to be an industry influencer by encouraging others to raise the bar.

Merida a Washington, D.C.-area native graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism. He is the co-author of the biography “Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas” and co-author of the bestselling “Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs.” Merida who will remain in Washington, D.C., is married to author and former Post columnist Donna Britt with whom he has three sons. NABJ congratulates ESPN on this appointment and wishes Mr. Merida much success at ESPN.

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For additional information, please visit, www.nabj.org.–OnPointPress.net.

Roger Goodell upholds Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension, reduces Le’Veon Bell’s

It will probably be a long time before we see Tom Brady (l) and Roger Goodell (r) smiling with each other again. Goodell upheld Brady's 4 game suspension today.

It will probably be a long time before we see Tom Brady (l) and Roger Goodell (r) smiling with each other again. Goodell upheld Brady’s 4 game suspension today.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

NFL news spread quickly today that Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell had his 3 game suspension for his August 2014 arrest for DUI and marijuana possession reduced to 2 games as part of a settlement between the NFL and NFLPA. Bell accepted responsibility for his mistake and understood the impact it would have on him, as well as his team. Bell said on the first day of Steelers training camp, “Whatever the consequence is, I’ll take it. … You have to take the good with the bad.”

Unlike Brady, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell accepted his punishment and cooperated with the NFL and had his suspension for DUI and marijuana possession reduced.

Unlike Brady, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell accepted his punishment and cooperated with the NFL and had his suspension for DUI and marijuana possession reduced.

On the other hand, Tom Brady’s appeal was denied and his four-game suspension was upheld for his involvement in the “Deflategate” scandal. Part of the reason Brady’s appeal was denied, according to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, is Brady’s conduct.

Goodell said that Brady “went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the scheme.”

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, new evidence surfaced today that revealed “Brady instructed his assistant to destroy the cellphone he had been using since early November 2014, a period that included the AFC title game and the initial weeks of the subsequent investigation.”

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2015, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks at a news conference about the NFL investigation into deflated footballs, in Foxborough, Mass. An NFL investigation has found that New England Patriots employees likely deflated footballs and that quarterback Tom Brady was "at least generally aware" of the rules violations. The 243-page report released Wednesday, May 6, 2015, said league investigators found no evidence that coach Bill Belichick and team management knew of the practice. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 22, 2015, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks at a news conference about the NFL investigation into deflated footballs, in Foxborough, Mass. An NFL investigation has found that New England Patriots employees likely deflated footballs and that quarterback Tom Brady was “at least generally aware” of the rules violations. The 243-page report released Wednesday, May 6, 2015, said league investigators found no evidence that coach Bill Belichick and team management knew of the practice. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

The NFL also went to New York Federal Court and filed a suit to have their decision affirmed by the court in a move to circumvent the possible appeal to federal court by Brady and his legal team.

Meanwhile pundits insist that “Deflategate” in no way tarnishes Brady’s legacy. However, pundits might feel differently if Brady played another sport, like baseball, for instance.

Brady and the Patriots have been penalized more for cheating than any other team since 2000, while also winning more Super Bowls than any other team during the same span. Coincidence? You be the judge.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a senior writer and a licensed insurance professional partnered with HealthMarkets. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com. Check out www.HealthMarkets.com/cglover for your free health insurance and life insurance quotes.

NABJ honors late sports columnist Bryan Burwell with 2015 Legacy Award

Late sports columnist Bryan Burwell will be honored with the NABJ 2015 Legacy Award.

Late sports columnist Bryan Burwell is honored with the NABJ 2015 Legacy Award.

WASHINGTON (May 15, 2015) − The Board of Directors of The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) has selected the late Bryan Burwell as the recipient of the 2015 Legacy Award. Mr. Burwell was a nationally recognized sports columnist, and at the time of his death he wrote for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Recipients of the Legacy Award are recognized for having had a career of extraordinary achievement, which broke barriers and blazed trails.

“Bryan Burwell was a sports journalist who covered historic moments and milestones on the court and on the field. His performance as a journalist set a high bar for others to follow,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “Few reporters can say they covered some of the most important moments in sports across platforms, but Bryan could and he did it extremely well.”

In addition to his work as a columnist for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he had been an on-air host for CBS Sports 920 in St. Louis and 101 ESPN Radio, also in St. Louis. On television viewers saw him on ESPN’s Jim Rome is Burning and The Sports Reporters.

“Bryan Burwell was an exceptional journalist and an exceptional mentor and friend. He had a confidence and charisma which made his written work critical and perceptive, and his television commentary biting and forceful,” said Gregory Lee, past NABJ President and Director, Editorial Content at NBA.com. “A descendant of the first generation of black sportswriters, his exceptional work has ensured that more black sports reporters will have the types of opportunities he had to have impactful careers.”

Earlier in his career, Mr. Burwell had been a columnist for USA Today, The Sporting News, The Detroit News, and The New York Daily News. He had also written for Newsday and The Baltimore Sun, and been an on-air contributor to HBO Sports. Mr. Burwell’s honor will be presented to his family at the association’s Salute to Excellence Gala on August 8th during NABJ’s Annual Convention and Career Fair in Minneapolis.

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For additional information visit www.nabj.org.–OnPointPress.net.

Cheating Patriots should be disqualified from Super Bowl, fined steeply

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be answering lots of questions over the next week about the deflated footballs in the AFC Championship game.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be answering lots of questions over the next week about the deflated footballs in the AFC Championship game.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

What do the New England Patriots, Alex Rodriquez, and Lance Armstrong have in common? Cheating, lying and championships. Rodriguez and Armstrong are now pariahs and their accomplishments have been completely tarnished. The Patriots are on their way to similar treatment from fans, competitors and some media outlets.

Fans had fun online referencing the cheating ways of the Patriots, at the expense of head coach Bill Belichick.

Fans had fun online referencing the cheating ways of the Patriots, at the expense of head coach Bill Belichick.

News spread quickly that 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots used in the AFC Championship game were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below NFL standards. This newly dubbed “Deflategate” has moved beyond whether the Patriots did something wrong and is now in the penalty phase.

Has the Patriots' constant cheating landed them in the same league as known cheaters Alex Rodriguez (l) and Lance Armstrong (r)?

Has the Patriots’ constant cheating landed them in the same league as known cheaters Alex Rodriguez (l) and Lance Armstrong (r)?

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, “Under NFL rules, no alteration of the footballs is allowed once they are approved. If a person is found breaking league rules and tampering with the footballs, that person could face up to a $25,000 fine and potentially more discipline.”

A pass intended for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (l) was intercepted by Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. Jackson noticed the difference in the feel of the football which eventually led the investigation.

A pass intended for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (l) was intercepted by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. Jackson noticed the difference in the feel of the football which eventually led the investigation.

NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice had a very common take on Twitter on the situation stating, “11 of 12 balls under-inflated can anyone spell cheating!!! #Just Saying.” People are not willing to dismiss this latest transgression from the Patriots, despite the large margin of victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Hall of Fame finalist and current ESPN analyst Jerome Bettis referred to the Patriots as “known felons,” referring to their previous punishment for being caught improperly taping their opponents, aka “Spygate.”

Will NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (l) let his close relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft (r) affect his ability to properly punish the team for breaking the rules again?

Will NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (l) let his close relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft (r) affect his ability to properly punish the team for breaking the rules again?

Roger Goodell levied serious penalties to the New Orleans Saints during “Bountygate,” when Saints players were found to have received financial incentives for intentionally harming opponents. Part of the reason for their stiff penalties was the fact that the team had been warned by the league before ultimately getting caught.

So what should happen to the Patriots? Head coach Bill Belichick should be fired, the team should forfeit multiple draft picks, and they should replay the AFC championship game. Those actions would restore integrity to the NFL, of course, it will not happen. Whatever the punishment we know they’re still going to have a chance to win the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks on February, 1.

A common excuse given after Deflategate is it didn't make a difference in the outcome of the game. Barry Bonds (l) and Roger Clemens (r) wish the Hall of Fame voters would give them the same benefit of the doubt.

A common excuse given after Deflategate is it didn’t make a difference in the outcome of the game. Barry Bonds (l) and Roger Clemens (r) wish the MLB Hall of Fame voters would give them the same benefit of the doubt.

Former NFL tight end Byron Chamberlain pondered via Twitter: “45-7, did deflated football really make that much of a different? #DeflateGate” Grammar aside, the answer is yes for everyone else in sports who is caught cheating. Did Rodriguez or Armstrong need to cheat to be successful in their sport? Shouldn’t the accomplishments over long careers for players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds easily grant them entrance into the MLB Hall of Fame? After all, performance-enhancing drugs cannot account for all of their success.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and his teammates do not seem phased by Deflategate.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and his teammates do not seem phased by Deflategate.

The bottom line for the Patriots is coach Belichick leads the team and should receive the majority of the credit, and blame as well. The NFL could make sure the Patriots no longer break rules like this by coming down hard on them. Such punishment might not happen. In the meantime, as Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman adequately put it, “They’re still going to be playing in this [Super Bowl] so whatever they did, the risk/reward was greater.”–OnPointPress.net–


Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Recent NBA Finals show good offense, not defense, wins championships

While defense is always important, these champions have used offense to reach the ultimate goal. (clockwise from top left) LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki.

While defense is always important, these champions have used offense to reach the ultimate goal. (clockwise from top left) LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

With the NFL playoffs underway, the old adage “defense wins championships” will be repeated ad nauseam by commentators and analysts. While that may apply to other sports regularly, the NBA has seen a trend of offensive excellence in recent NBA champions. While contributors at sportingcharts.com may have concluded, “Having an efficient defense is more important than an efficient offense,” it seems a great offense is better than a great defense.

The 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs showed true offensive dominance during their championship run last season.

The 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs showed true offensive dominance during their championship run last season.

Case in point, the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs put forth one of the most dominant shooting displays en route to a 4-1 route of the Miami Heat. According to ESPN Stats and Info, “All four of the Spurs wins came by at least 15 points, outscoring the Heat by an average of 14 per game for the series. That’s the largest points per game differential in NBA Finals history, breaking the record of +12.6 PPG by the 1964-65 Celtics in their victory over the Lakers.”

Both Tim Duncan (l) and Kawhi Leonard (r) have been NBA Finals MVP. They were both excellent defensively but also efficient offensively when they won the award.

Both Tim Duncan (l) and Kawhi Leonard (r) have been NBA Finals MVP. They were both excellent defensively but also efficient offensively when they won the award.

The Spurs had 4 regular rotation players shoot 50 percent or better from the floor and 35 percent or better from the 3-point line for the playoffs. In the NBA Finals their team shooting was even better with 6 regular rotation players shooting 50 percent or better and 6 different rotation players shooting 35 percent or better from the 3-point line.

(left-right) Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford have helped the Atlanta Hawks to one of best records in the NBA with their offensive efficiency. Can they sustain this high level into the playoffs?

(left-right) Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford have helped the Atlanta Hawks to one of best records in the NBA with their offensive efficiency. Can they sustain this high level into the playoffs?

Excellent shooting has become the deciding factor for NBA champions for the last decade now. Since 2005, every NBA champion has had at least 2 regular rotation players shoot at least 50 percent from the field and at least 3 regular rotation players shoot 35 percent or better from the 3-point line. Efficiency has become essential offensively as teams have transitioned away from the ground and pound style of offense that tended to be predictable to defend.

Could this be an NBA Finals preview? Stephan Curry (l) has the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry (r) has helped lead the Toronto Raptors to one of the best records in the East.

Could this be an NBA Finals preview? Stephen Curry (l) has the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry (r) has helped lead the Toronto Raptors to one of the best records in the East.

As the NBA season nears the halfway point, a handful of low-seeded playoff teams have become top seeds in the conference. Though it is still early in the season, comparing teams by offensive efficiency might be the best way to determine which teams will have long playoff runs. As of today, only the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors meet the 50 or 35 percent field goal/3-point threshold common in the last ten NBA champions with the Atlanta narrowly missing the criteria.

New York Times writer Rodger Sherman recently stated during last season’s playoffs, “Being the staunchest, stingiest squad on paper does not mean as much as an old saying might make it seem.” As the season continues, it seems efficient offenses, not stingy defenses, will be the best way to determine the next NBA champion.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott, 49, succumbs to cancer, leaving inspiring legacy

Stuart Scott, ESPN anchor, died on Sunday, January 4, after a long battle with cancer.

Stuart Scott, ESPN anchor, died on Sunday, January 4, after a long battle with cancer.

By Charles Glover

ESPN SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott died this morning, January 4,  succumbing to the cancer he battled  for several years. Scott was 49 and leaves behind two daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15.

In a statement, President Barack Obama said: “Twenty years ago, Stuart ushered in a new way to talk about our favorite teams and the day’s best plays. I will miss Stuart Scott. Over the years, he entertained us and, in the end, he inspired us with courage and love.”

Scott, who joined ESPN in 1993, will forever be remembered by co-workers and fans alike for his effervescent presence and quick wit on screen, and in particular, for expressions such as “Boo-Yah” and  “As cool as the other side of the pillow.” In a touching tribute to Scott that was narrated by his friend and former colleague Robin Roberts, fellow “SportsCenter” anchor Jay Harris, who grew up watching — and hoping to be like — Stuart, spoke out. Harris  said “Think about that phrase, ‘As cool as the other side of the pillow.’ It’s a hot, stifling night. You’re having trouble sleeping. But then you think to turn the pillow over, and, wow, it’s cool, and it feels so good. “Well, that’s who Stuart is. He is ‘the other side of pillow,’ the man who made sportscasting cool. God bless whoever it was who thought to rearrange the bedding at ESPN.”

Scott will also be remembered for his generosity and willingness to help others, which has been reflected in an outpouring of grief from former colleagues, athletes and people whom he interviewed during his illustrious career. Ines Bebea, a New York-based freelance journalist recalled meeting the gracious Scott one year at a convention for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). “He was very nice,” she said.

 

Scott, who graduated from the University of North Carolina, brought the ESPYs to tears on July 16 2014 when he was presented the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance after undergoing more cancer treatment. Accepting the award from Kiefer Sutherland, who stars as counter terrorism agent Jack Bauer in the iconic television thriller “24,” Scott relished the poignancy of the moment, stating that “24” was his favorite television show. Addressing his fight with cancer he said: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live an din the manner in which you live.” He went on to say that “When you get too tired to fight, it’s time to let someone else fight for you.”  Scott then called his daughter on stage saying “Daddy needs a hug right now.”

 

Scott doted on his two daughters and spoke lovingly of them as often as he could. He leaves behind a legacy of warmth, excellence, and triumph. Many who were fortunate enough to get to know him have expressed their condolences and sadness. Former co-host with Scott and current lead anchor at NFL Network, Rich Eisen shared an emotional response upon hearing the news. He summed it up the way many would, “I love you Stuart. Wherever you are, Godspeed.”–OnPointPress.net.

NFL, Roger Goodell, face crumbling, tarnished image

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be busy working on penalties for off-the-field indiscretions. There needs to be more emphasis in preventing those occurrences.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be busy working on penalties for off-the-field indiscretions while addressing the need for preventing those occurrences.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Thursday, July 24, National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell levied a two-game suspension on Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice’s suspension stems from a domestic violence incident with his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer. While the length of the suspension generated a great deal of criticism of Goodell’s judgement, the larger issue is the alarming number of NFL personnel facing criminal charges and the shaky NFL image that is presented to the public.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice received a 2 game suspension last week that many felt was  not enough.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was punished with a two-game suspension last week, causing national uproar from fans who felt the punishment was inadequate.

Part of the uproar about Rice’s suspension stemmed from the length of suspension for  legal issues and the discrepancy in penalties levied by the NFL for drug offenses. Some people believe the NFL commissioner is painting himself in a difficult corner when it comes to these inconsistent penalties. ESPN NFL Writer Jim Trotter was blunt:

“Once perceived as being too tough and inflexible, [Goodell] now comes across as being too soft on domestic violence — even at a time when the league is courting female fans.”

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslem is paying $92 million as penalty arising from a federal fraud investigation. However, he has not violated any NFL conduct policies.

Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam is paying $92 million as penalty arising from a federal fraud investigation. However, he has not violated any NFL conduct policies.

The NFL has demonstrated that there is considerable difference between breaking specific NFL drug rules and vague NFL conduct rules. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has agreed to pay a $92 million penalty as a result of a federal fraud investigation. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello issued a statement on Haslam’s case, which said: “There have been no allegations of any personal conduct that it is violation of NFL policy.”

There have been numerous personnel from different teams arrested this offseason, with the charges varying from Driving Under the Influence (DUI) to attempted murder. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has amended his initial inclination to suspend players immediately who are arrested and has repeatedly stated, “We have to let the [legal] process play out before we determine if any sanctions are necessary.” This change  in attitude has resulted in roughly two years passing without players being suspended under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

Greg Hardy, of the Carolina Panthers, has also received a conviction due to  domestic assault on a woman. Though his case is being appealed, Goodell could still levy a penalty.

Greg Hardy, of the Carolina Panthers, has also received a conviction due to domestic assault on a woman. Though his case is being appealed, Goodell could still levy a penalty.

Goodell will have plenty of cases to resolve over the next several weeks. Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was found guilty on July 15 of assaulting and threatening a  female. However, Hardy and his defensive team have been granted an appeal and a jury trial for this case is expected to occur early next year. Hardy will be free until the trial is over, but that does not preclude the NFL from making a judgement in the interim.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news for months due to his arrest for DUI and drug possession. Goodell has yet to penalize Irsay but has stated that the possibility exists.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news for months due to his arrest for DUI and drug possession. Goodell has yet to penalize Irsay but has stated that the possibility exists.

Additionally, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news because of his arrest and DUI and drug charges. An owner having legal problems has brought extra attention to how the NFL is dealing with NFL personnel having legal problems. Many fans have voiced their displeasure with the process. The NFL also has the continued link to Aaron Hernandez and his ongoing murder trials as reminders of the legal problems facing different players in the league.

Browns wide receiver is facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test. His appeal will be held on Aug. 1.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test. His appeal will be held on Aug. 1.

There is also the appeal hearing scheduled for August 1 in the case of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has already received a year-long suspension for failing another drug test. Gordon was also arrested for DWI this summer after learning of the suspension and upcoming appeal. With the NFL regular season just six weeks away from starting, the NFL would like all of the emphasis to stay on the field of play. San Francisco 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith is also expected to face some sort of penalty after having a number of off-the-field issues last season that led to arrests.

 Ben Roethlisberger was among those who received 'swift justice' from the commissioner. Now it appears Goodell takes a more leisurely approach to punishment.


Ben Roethlisberger was among those who received ‘swift justice’ from the commissioner. Now it appears Goodell takes a more leisurely approach to punishment.

Goodell seems to have shifted in philosophy in evaluating matters for suspension and fines. Players like Adam “Pacman” Jones and Ben Roethlisberger received penalties before their legal processes had been completed. Terelle Pryor and coach Jim Tressel received punishment for NCAA violations. These types of premature sanctions have not occurred much recently but that has not made people forget they happened. In fact, they highlight an inconsistency in levying punishment, resulting in fans and members of the media view Goodell with suspicion and unease.

Whatever the penalties levied to the afore-mentioned NFL personnel, the bigger problem Goodell is facing is how to prevent scenarios that require punishment in the first place. The NFL has the largest workforce of the major sports in this country and is debatably the most lucrative and popular. Athletes may not be role models for their community but they tend to be idols for many fans. It is incumbent upon the NFL, Goddell and the NFL Players Association to be more diligent in working on preventing reasons for the commissioner to issue penalties under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, while making an effort to clean up the NFL’s tarnished image through relevant, ongoing training of its personnel and representatives..–OnPointPress.net–

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

Drake drew laughs, Stuart Scott caused tears, at 2014 ESPY Awards

Music artist Drake (c) was the host for the 2014 ESPY Awards. He was joined on stage  at this moment by the Seattle Seahawks in attendance that won the award for  Best Team.

2014 ESPY Awards host is surrounded by members of the Super Bowl Champions Seattle Seahawks, who won the for Best Team award.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On July 16, 2014, ESPN aired the ESPYs, the network’s award show for the world of sports. Hosted by musician and former child actor Drake, the award show drew laughter and tears. The host performed numerous sketches, monologues, and presentations that are standard for current award ceremonies but Drake stood out by creating a special song for those who didn’t win an award.

Drake  had skits with a few different people including Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins.

Drake had skits with a few different people including Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins.

The well-dressed crowd was entertained all night by Drake and other stars like Brian McKnight, Blake Griffin, Chris Brown, and Skylar Diggins, who teamed up to perform skits.

Drake made jokes on some audience members including Richard Sherman (l) and Russell Westbrook (r). Both won awards that night as well.

Drake made jokes on some audience members including Richard Sherman (l) and Russell Westbrook (r). Both won awards that night as well.

Drake also poked fun at a number of athletes who were in attendance, such as Lance Stephenson, Russell Westbrook, and Richard Sherman. All those who were mentioned as part of jokes and skits seemed to take everything in stride in what was mostly a light-hearted event.

Michael Sam (r) was presented the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (l).

Michael Sam (r) was presented the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (l).

There were serious moments in the show as well. Michael Sam was presented with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Sam expressed his appreciation for the award and shared a touching story of how he was able to make a difference in the life of a young woman who gained courage to admit that she is also gay after conversing with Sam.

Stuart Scott (l) gave an emotional speech after receiving the Jimmy V Award for  Perseverance. He is pictured with his daughter Sydni (m) and Peyton Manning (r).

Stuart Scott (l) gave an emotional speech after receiving the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. He is pictured with his daughter Sydni (m) and Peyton Manning (r).

The emotional highlight of the night might was ESPN’s Stuart Scott’s acceptance speech for the Jimmy V[alvano] Perseverance Award. Scott was presented the award by the star of Scott’s favorite television show, Kiefer Sutherland, from “24”. Scott’s moving speech touched on all the challenges he currently faces while fighting cancer and continuing to persevere for the sake of his family, his daughters in particular. Scott was joined on stage at the end of the speech by the youngest of his daughters, Sydni, 14. Scott concluded his speech stating:

Scott (m) and his daugher Sydni (r) were congratulated on stage by the presenter for the  award, Kiefer Sutherland (l).

Scott (m) and his daugher Sydni (r) were congratulated on stage by the presenter for the award, Kiefer Sutherland (l).

“When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you lived, why you lived and in the manner in which you lived. So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”

Danica Patrick (l) and Taye Diggs (m) were the presenters for the Male Athlete  of the Year Award that was won by Kevin Durant (r).

Danica Patrick (l) and Taye Diggs (m) were the presenters for the Male Athlete of the Year Award that was won by Kevin Durant (r).

The awards presented to the different winners gave viewers an opportunity to see entertainers from numerous fields in the same setting. The most noticeable awards handed out that night include the Seattle Seahawks winning “Best Team,” Ronda Rousey winning Female Athlete of the Year, and Kevin Durant winning Male Athlete of the Year.

Blake  Griffin (l) and Chris Brown (m) were a part of one of the skits that kept the audience laughing at Drake's (r) expense.

Blake Griffin (l) and Chris Brown (m) were a part of one of the skits that kept the audience laughing at Drake’s (r) expense.

Overall, the ESPYs were entertaining from beginning to end. There was a good blend of levity and solemnity from host Drake and the other stars who graced the stage. If you were unable to catch the show, check your local listings for replays on the ESPN family of networks.–OnPointPress.net–

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

NCAA March Madness vs. NBA draft policy: Are changes needed? (Part I)

The logo for the NBA draft.

The NBA Draft Logo is on the minds of March Madness players who hope to make the leap to the NBA this summer, but as debate heats up it is clear that changes should be considered.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

As March Madness continues to draw more basketball fans to the television, the topic of players making it to the National Basketball Association (NBA) frequently comes up. The current model for the NBA draft allows for players to declare for the draft a year after graduation from high school. The common route for exceptional players is to spend a year in college playing basketball before declaring for the draft, a prospect that many are unhappy with and constantly discuss.

NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West

NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West has shared his views about the draft policy.

It is clear that the current NBA draft model is unpopular with many fans and players. Among the complaints with the model are the claims that NBA product is being compromised, the NCAA product is disturbed, and that the majority of the young players are unprepared for the fame, fortune, and high expectations. Although there is validity in some of these concerns, there are also exaggerations attached as well. Hall of Famer Jerry West, recently commented on the issue, in assessing the NBA talent pool.

“The NBA is in the worst shape it’s ever been,'” he said. One of the reasons for his critique was based on the number of young players yet to mature into what they were expected to as they were brought into the league. Another Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley, took it a step further by making it very clear that players need more time.

“I want kids to stay in college for two years…bad teams aren’t getting help, they’re getting projects,” Barkley said.

Barkley has been vocal as a March Madness commentator in sharing his opinion that college players need a minimum of two years in college to mature enough to be productive in the NBA as soon as they are drafted.

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley

Hall of Famer /TNT and March Madness Commentator Charles Barkley has consistently stated that potential NBA players need a minimum of two years in college in order to develop their game.

While West and Barkley are focusing on negative aspects of young players drafted in the NBA, they are completely absolving the executives that are paid millions to evaluate and enhance the performance of the young players they bring into the league. In fact, there is no direct correlation between age and performance as demonstrated by many of the recent draft classes. When supporters of players being eligible to enter the NBA straight out of high school mention recent ‘One-and-done players’ who are successful in the NBA, the counter is to call them ‘exceptions.’

The reality is every NBA player is the exception. Additionally, there is little to show that players like Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, or John Wall needed to stay in school a second year in order to become good players in the NBA. However, there is no escaping the reality that there is always an abundance of players not quite good enough to excel at the highest level of basketball, regardless of how long they prepare before entering the league. A possible solution is changing the NBA draft to resemble the college draft rules of Major League Baseball (MLB).

Anthony Davis (l) and Kyrie Irving (r) are former number 1 overall picks that spent less than two years in college.

Anthony Davis (l) and Kyrie Irving (r) are former No. 1 overall picks who spent less than two years in college.

MLB’s draft rules allow players to declare for the draft straight out of high school but if the player elects to go to college he must stay for at least three years. The NBA should adopt that rule and amend it to two years in college. The NBA is the best place for players to improve their games.

“College coaches work more on masking a player’s weaknesses…rather than improving the player and risk losing in the process,” NBA trainer and ESPN insider David Thorpe said about the issue.

Thorpe’s assessment explains why so many players have several skills that need to be developed, even after spending years in college. If the NBA wants to improve its product then the new commissioner, Adam Silver, and his team needs to hold the million dollar executives who own and operate NBA teams accountable for better scouting and developing of the young players drafted in the NBA.–OnPointPress.net

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

Mike Shanahan’s saga of failure continues, RGIII is benched

Robert Griffin III is benched by his coach and will consider his future and ways to improve.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Washington Redskins easily win the title of the most dysfunctional team in the National Football League (NFL) with the news that they have benched starting quarterback Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season. The decision highlights more question marks about the future of a franchise that is performing so poorly that the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Oakland Raiders look like well-oiled machines in comparison. Not even Scandal’s talented Olivia Pope could fix this debacle.

Head coach Mike Shanahan’s struggles continue while the Redskins seem to be in turmoil.

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is on the proverbial hot seat as the Redskins endure the third losing season in Shanahan’s four-year tenure. The news yesterday that Kirk Cousins would start the remainder of the season raised eyebrows in the football world. Senior ESPN writer Ed Werder expressed surprise stating: “This is an unprecedented move to make when the starting quarterback is healthy.”

2nd year quarterback Kirk Cousins is the starter for the remainder of the season for the Redskins.

2nd year quarterback Kirk Cousins is the starter for the remainder of the season for the Redskins.

The change in the quarterback position sends a confusing message to a team struggling with leadership concerns and overall poor performance. The change also endangers the most valuable trade asset the team has, since Cousins is a second year quarterback who has looked good in the few games he has played so far. Shanahan stated “RGIII has taken too many hits and we want to protect him,” as the reason for making the change. If Cousins takes the same  hits as Griffin did while behind center, it will be interesting to see if he will retain the same kind of trade value.

The relationship between Shanahan and Griffin has been far from harmonious, which further complicates the situation. The perceived animosity between the two raises questions about Shanahan’s true motives. Is he trying to sabotage Griffin while designing a play to be fired as well? While speculation runs rampant that the coach is trying to get fired, the implication is that Shanahan does not trust Griffin to protect himself or the team to protect the star quarterback.

Jeff Fisher (l) and Vince Young (r) also experienced a tension filled relationship for the Titans.

Jeff Fisher (l) and Vince Young (r) also experienced a tension-filled relationship while they were with the Titans.

However, the rumors that Shanahan was not enamored with RGIII coming out of college brings to mind another coach/quarterback relationship that has mixed results:Jeff Fisher and Vince Young with the Tennessee Titans. In both situations, the star quarterback was beloved by the owner and earned Rookie of the Year honors while essentially saving the coach’s job. Also, the quarterback became a rising star in the league and quickly fell out of favor with the head coach. The Fisher/Young situation ended with neither being a member of the Titans, just five seasons later (2006-2011).

Shanahan’s questionable decision to bench RGIII also brings to mind his unceremonious firing from the Denver Broncos in 2008 after his decision to draft Jay Cutler to replace Jake Plummer despite Plummer leading the Broncos to the AFC title game in 2005. Shanahan’s decision backfired in spectacular fashion and the team disintegrated into a chaotic mix, sealing his ouster by owner Pat Bowlen.

As the disastrous Redskins season evolves, the Shanahan/Griffin union seems to be irreparably harmed. Of course, their deteriorating relationship has not been a secret since the season began. Also, questions still abound about Shanahan’s decision to play Griffin last year when he was obviously hurt and the impact that ultimately had on his need for surgery and RGIII’s performance this year. The Washington faithful have a hard time feeling confident that their team knows what it is doing. Die-hard Redskins fan Steve Taylor’s reaction to yesterday’s news sums up the fans’ collective mood:

“I feel as though the coach and his son need to be fired,” Taylor said. That sentiment is widespread among Redskins fans and it is hard for them to remain hopeful for next season. The trade that helped them acquire RGIII cost them what seems like a top five pick in next season’s draft. Maybe the Redskins fans will be able to at least take solace in their hated rival Dallas Cowboys collapsing in December again. Maybe.–OnPointPress.net–

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