The Good, The Bad, The Fugly – December 10 Edition

The Good

The National Basketball Association (or NBA for shortsies) announced Thursday (12/8) that, as part of their collective bargaining agreement, they are planning to adopt a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation. To boil the jargon down, the new policy’s umbrella will specifically include protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation (which does not, however, include gender identity or gender expression). The policy effectively only covers men (gay or bisexual men in the NBA), since no women (gay, straight, or in between) play in the NBA, but this is marked on a human rights level – there exists no legal protections for LGBT employees on a federal level, so private employers have the ability (but not the requirement) to adopt policies that protect said employees from workplace discrimination.

This is fairly HUGE for the NBA to be a part of, as the organization is inherently part of a greater theater of homophobia that exists in professional sports. The National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) opted to include sexual orientation in their respective non-discrimination policies earlier this year as well. Baby steps, but hell, this is progress that is notable. I should also note that several current (and the current part is oh so important) professional athletes have publicly voiced their support of LGBT equality, including the NHL’s Sean Avery (which is probably wildly surprising for some, and not at all for those of you who know he interned in the fashion industry), NFL players Brendon Ayanbadejo and Scott Fujita (and former-NFL-player-now-commentator Michael Strahan), and current NBA point guard extraordinaire Steve Nash. Watch Nash’s video promoting the now-enacted marriage equality law in New York State:

The Bad

Oregon State freshman defensive tackle Fred Thompson, 19, collapsed and passed away Wednesday evening (12/7) while playing basketball at a recreation center on campus. Reports are now coming out that it is likely Thompson suffered a cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) that in this case led to death. The 6-foot-4, 317-pound DT had no known heart conditions. Thompson’s 20th birthday would have been this Sunday.  

The Fugly

Jerry Sandusky - Bernie Fine

Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine are still in the news, for absolutely awful reasons. Sandusky was arrested again Wednesday (12/7) and charged with 12 additional counts of child sexual abuse (involving two new alleged victims). Sandusky is now facing more than 50 charges, and yet he was able to post bail (which was only $250,000) on Thursday (12/8). The charges against this man (monster) are HEINOUS, and yet he is able to return home. There is something wrong with this, and it legitimately makes me see red.

Onto Bernie Fine, there is also something so wrong with this – Bernie Fine can’t be charged with child molestation (despite credible accusers) because the statute of limitations has passed. Onondaga County Dist. Atty. William Fitzpatrick said this week that had he learned of Bobby Davis and Mike Lang’s (both step-brothers and former Syracuse ball boys) sexual abuse accusations in 2005, Fine would have been arrested and charged with child molestation.

“Bobby, I’m sorry it took so long,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick also harshly criticized ESPN and the Syracuse Post-Standard for not turning over a tape recording accuser Bobby Davis had given the news outlets (in which Fine’s wife admits to Davis that she knew what her husband had done to Davis) to the police. Meanwhile, ESPN is still backpedaling as to why they held onto the tape for eight years without doing a damn thing.

Jerry Sandusky is likely going to rot in prison and have hell to pay abuse-wise when he gets there (prisoners are not kind to child molesters). Bernie Fine is likely going to get away with sexual abuse of children. This is fucking ugly, and this is fucking wrong.

 

 


The Good, The Bad, The Fugly – November 26 Edition

SO many big college football games have already gone down, preempting the Pigskin Preview. Look for the Pigskin REVIEW tomorrow. Hot damn. Now into the breakdown of positive, negative, and ehhhhhh headlines.

THE GOOD
The NBA season may be salvageable after all. The NBA owners and players came to a tentative agreement early today that will bring the current lockout to a close. The season is reportedly going to begin on Christmas Day. At this point, the deal is more of tacit strength than signed, sealed, delivered on paper – the deal still needs to be ratified by the owners and players.
THE BAD
Police are now investigating the home of Syracuse assistant men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine, who is alleged to have abused two former Syracuse ball boys. Could it be that PSU’s ongoing Jerry Sandusky scandal is bringing to light similar situations across the country? Syracuse’s Bernie Fine situation is continuing to unfold, while the Citadel finds itself apologizing for not pursing an abuse allegation against camp counselor in 2007 (while said counselor was recently charged with sexually abusing five boys).
THE FUGLY
In Thanksgiving Day’s first football game (Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions), Lions DT (and 2nd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft) Ndamukong Suh was ejected from the game after Suh “stomped” on a Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith (the big guys were tangled, and it appeared that when Suh finally was able to free himself, he treaded heavily on Dietrich-Smith’s arm). After initially denying he did anything wrong, Suh is now apologizing for the entirety of the situation (his action, reaction, and his being a detriment to his team in what was ultimately a losing effort).

The Good, The Bad, The Fugly – November 16 Edition

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I’ve been silent for long enough. As a Penn State alumna, surrounded by Penn State friends all over New York City and digitally connected to many others, I’ve struggled to know what to say publicly about everything surrounding the Jerry Sandusky affair. From the bottom of my being, I have felt so sickened by everything I’ve read and come to understand about the case – from the alleged sexual abuse of minors by Jerry Sandusky to the moral failings of many of Penn State’s faculty, most notably Joe Paterno. I, along with all of my Nittany Lion closest, have been wildly ashamed, angry, confused, distraught, heartbroken.. there aren’t enough potent words. After the extremist media flurry (sound reporting was very nearly nonexistent), in which the victims and the alleged perpetrator were pushed out of the spotlight (when I started reading Facebook posts about Joe Paterno, not Jerry Sandusky, molesting young boys, I nearly lost it), I finally feel like I have regained some footing. I have a mite of perspective. This horrible time is not over, but there are some bits of light in all the darkness. If I could name one, it would be the outpouring of support by the Penn State community for RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. This is the kind of thing that Penn State needs to focus on. For the thousands upon thousands of us who were not involved in any way with what happened, we can do something to help educate and, more importantly, help prevent sexual assault.

THE GOOD
– In a unanimous vote, Detroit Tigers Pitcher Justin Verlander was declared the AL Cy Young Award winner on Tuesday and is in consideration for the AL MVP (which will be announced next Monday). Verlander, with an MLB-leading record of 24-5 this season, struck out 250 batters and carried an ERA of just 2.40. Verlander also tossed his second career no-hitter and was an integral part of the Tigers winning the AL Central.
THE BAD
-On Tuesday, the Associated Press was granted access to an email sent last week to an unidentified source by Penn State Wide Receivers Coach Mike McQueary (who the grand jury report identifies as the then-graduate assistant who walked in on Sandusky allegedly sodomizing a young boy in a locker room shower). In contradiction with the grand jury report, McQueary writes in the email that he made sure what was happening in the shower was stopped and also that he spoke with police about what he witnessed. Speaking to the police was never part of the original statement, which was part of what fed the public fury. Per McQueary’s testimony, he spoke with his father about what happened, then spoke with Paterno, and finally spoke with AD Tim Curley and senior VP Gary Schultz – but never went to the police. This awful story continues to get murkier.
THE FUGLY
-It’s very possible there isn’t going to be an NBA season this year. On Monday, NBA players rejected the league’s latest offer, which boils down most importantly to a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. NBA players also began disbanding the union and are reportedly preparing to file an antitrust suit against the NBA. Does it seem like anything but greedy at this point? Does anyone even care if there isn’t a season? This is a HOT mess.

White Girls Can Root.

Last week I read an interesting article on the declining interest of white people when it comes to the NBA.

In the article, Buzz Bissinger writes, “I also make a habit of asking every white sports fan I know whether they watch the NBA. In virtually every instance, they say they once watched the game but no longer do. When I ask them if it has anything to do with the racial composition, they do their best to look indignant. But my guess is they felt very differently about the game when Larry Bird and John Stockton were playing.”

I found this wildly intriguing. It’s true that viewership of the NBA is down and many complain that the NBA All-Star shenanigans aren’t what they once were, but on Saturday night, three white girls (myself and two roommates) hunkered down on a couch in Brooklyn, set our table with snacks and beer, and watched (and “ohhhh!”-ed at) most of the All-Star Game challenges, and returned the next night for the game.

Two of us even voted during the Slam Dunk contest (Blake Griffin jumped over a car. I mean, come on.).

Sick.

One other roommate was returning from a trip home to Pennsylvania, and when she arrived she found us lit up with the basketball festivities, shouting at the three-point shooting contest. She entered with her parents and grandmother. I thought her dad might weigh in on the competition, but it was her grandma who offered a comment on the shooting prowess of whoever was running around beyond the arc at the time. And as her mother walked by with groceries for our refrigerator, she paused to watch a struggling contestant.

“He’s not squaring his shoulders.”

I nearly died. It was perfect.

So, I don’t discount the numbers or research when it comes to the alleged dwindling interest in the sport on the whole, but this year the All-Stars put on a show. And we were very appreciative.