Archive for June, 2013

Alex LenI have been more critical than most about Alex Len’s draft stock after only 2 seasons at the University of Maryland. Even with his size and natural ability, he looks a little lost at times. I thought he probably could use one more year in college, partially out of my selfishness of wanting to have him in the competition of our last year in the ACC. Still, all the conversation recently pushed him to the top of the draft and leaving early definitely paid out for him in the end.

Congratulations to the newest Phoenix Sun! Make your Maryland family proud.

 

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It is only fitting that I get to have such a phenomenal topic to serve as my 100th post on this blog. The Supreme Court made some remarkable steps toward real progress with their decisions announced earlier today. Equal rights in relation to marriage are a step closer to actually being true.

DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was officially pronounced to be unconstitutional in a 5-4 decision. Of course Justice Scalia dissented but it does not matter in the end. This is also not the end of the debate. the Supreme Court did not officially endorse gay marriage or equal marriage, but rather denied the block to the future opportunity. This does serve as a real accomplishment but it is also a major moral victory. It allows gay couples and advocates to feel like there is more acceptance of partnerships beyond “traditional” heterosexual ones.

In addition to DOMA, the Supreme Court also dismissed the case for California’s Prop 8, which looked to ban same-sex marriage. While this did not get rid of the bans in 35 other states, it sets a precedent for additional battles with other state bans. This also brings back the rights of people in California looking for love to mean the same thing for all people.

This was a good day!

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/26/politics/scotus-same-sex-main/index.html?hpt=hp_inthenews

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For as long as I can remember, the Washington Redskins have been under fire for the organization’s refusal to change its name. One of several nationally-recognized sports franchises to use a Native American pseudonym for its name, being placed in the heart of this nation’s politics makes it a high target for social justice advocacy groups.

I am a proud supporter of the team, its history and its future, but I am also deeply troubled by the name. The word is derogatory. It negatively classifies a selection of our population in the same way as the n-word or other stereotype and discriminatory slang. No amount of symbolism that gets thrown into the mix can hide the fact that the word is not one synonymous with anything appropriate.

Dan Snyder is probably one of the most hated owners in all of professional sports but he continues to find ways to get more and more people angry and upset with him. He is not the only only to receive a name change pressure but he has public said, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.” Besides the concepts of tradition and history, may question is why not?

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In comparison to the Redskins drama, you can look at examples of other Native American-based teams and how they have handled the controversy. The Florida State Seminoles met with their counterpart tribe and were able to come to a mutual agreement over the use of the tribe’s name and likeness in their festivities related to the campus and its sports. This is a situation where the tribe provide the acceptance for the use of their name. The Redskins cannot make the same case. There is no Redskins tribe. It is just a derogatory name used to classify all Native Americans. There is no one available to get approval from.

The Golden State Warriors used to use Native American imagery in their promotions but were pressured enough in 1971 to remove the Native American influence and switch to something representing the state of California. The Atlanta Braves eliminated the human imagery with their logos but retained the tomahawk chop cheer and image of the tomahawk on their uniforms. The Chicago Blackhawks and the Cleveland Indians eliminated some of their imagery but retained some logos on parts of their uniforms, as well as the names. The Washington Redskins have no ability to just change the image (which they tried once before with the spear) because it is still the name that is the main focus. The Indians and the Blackhawks still have some work left to do as well.

There is a part of me that wants to get behind Snyder (*cough*) and VP Karl Swanson and say that you can change the meaning of the word to something more sacred and acceptable, like courage, dignity and leadership. Part of me wants to fall back on the concept of history and tradition. But the reality is that it is not up to me to decide this. In the same way that other populations have chosen which words offend them and which can be reclaimed in positive ways, I to have to respect the Native American population’s right make the choice for themselves. If they deem the name to be racist, then it is racist and needs to be changed.

But still, there is one other problem…what do you change it to? I think the biggest challenge in this fight and why it has been so difficult for the organization to accept their role in continuing to discriminate against a selection of our population is the fact that they have not exerted the energy to and no one has provided a compelling name for the team to be changed to. Unfortunately, a number of great names have already been taken that would be perfect for a team in the nation’s capital (Eagles, Patriots, Nationals, Capitals). Using a name like the Senators would fall flat with the public’s distrust of Congress’s ability to get things done. Maybe these are possibilities…

  • Skins: The abbreviation of the current name may just be a little too ridiculous to justify, though.
  • Warriors: Snyder already trademarked the image for another team but used it in 2002.
  • Braves: Similar to the baseball team, there would have to be a sense of care for the imagery used but this could be one of the best options.
  • Federals: This is just too hokey with the Capitals and Nationals already around…though at least it’s not the Wizards.
  • Natives: This could be similar to the Warriors and Braves but lacks the catchy-ness needed to rally a fan base.
  • Hogs/Warthogs: Another nickname for the current team, it would be a shift but I also don’t think people would get on-board with making this the featured name.

It probably comes down to the Warriors or the Braves, which could both keep the colors and most of the imagery but make the biggest change needed (the name). The Braves would pay tribute to the original Boston Braves. The Warriors could also take on more of a tribute to the military, which the NFL has a great affinity for. The colors could remain and be representative of the army and marines, while the logo could be altered to include elements of all branches. My vote would be for one of those two.

Check out this other commentary if you are interested in reading more about this issue.

I was flipping through channels this evening when I came across the Guys Choice program. I happened upon the show when they were getting ready to honor Vince Vaughn with the Guycon award. It all started off with a performance by Snoop Dogg and a group of dancers in Girl Scout uniforms. While I understand that the uniforms were supposed to mimic one of the scenes from Vaughn’s movies, the image of adult women dancing around in uniforms for underage girls feels a little dirty and pedophile-ish. I can only hope that this was not the intention, but I have to believe that a better choice could have been made to not project an image of women in an inappropriate costume that is not just simply sexual but underage sexual.

I may be over-thinking this just a bit, but it felt wrong the instance I saw it.

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A New Hope for Tebow

Posted: June 12, 2013 in Football

While there is a really polarizing atmosphere surrounding Tim Tebow, the Patriots have decided to bring Tebow-mania to Boston. After only getting a year to perform in Denver and getting turned into a freak show in New York, he will now be sitting behind Tom Brady with a chance to learn from a future hall of fame quarterback.

Patriot-way-conquers-Tebow-mania-N0NNFLM-x-largeWhether you like Tebow or not, his stint with the Jets was a nightmare. He was a winning QB with the Broncos and was only forced out because of an opportunity to land one of the greatest QBs playing the sport today. This was not a surprise, and neither was the interest from the Jets for taking him. They were struggling with an overhyped Sanchez who had failed to live up to any expectations. Rather than giving him a chance to truly compete for the starting job, Rex Ryan committed fairly early to the continued Sanchez circus. Meanwhile, Tebow became a sideshow with only few attempts passing and a handful of plays lined up as a runningback or receiver. He became and remained a joke for the rest of his time in New York and was cast aside during the off-seaon when the Jets loaded up on possible QBs.

This move makes sense for the young QB, who will probably never get a chance to fully start again but could develop into a fine backup. There could be a chance that he builds up his skills under a successful, veteran player. He knows this time around that he is a backup and there is no chance that he takes the starter’s job. Let’s see if the new environment can breed life back into his career.

Evolution of Music: Pentatonix

Posted: June 5, 2013 in Music

Recent winners of the Sing-Off, Pentatonix have been creating quite the name for themselves. It is unusual that an a capella group would be able to sell out shows and get more attention than just a gathering on a college campus, but these five singers are quite talented. Whether it is the lead singer’s range or the one guy’s ability to beatbox, it is difficult to be less than impressed with these five performers.

Here is a sample of their talent:

Our society has found new ways to sink lower into the entertainment basement. While there are plenty of mediums out there that are debasing and crude, screaming obscenities that go viral is now apparently as good as a glowing resume.

The first incident that happened was at the University of Maryland, where a sorority student got angry at her sisters for their lack of participation in Greek Week activities and events and sent them a very colorful and angry email. Somehow, this email was leaked and became an overnight sensation over the internet. The student quickly went into hiding and even the sisters had no idea where she went. Within no time, this student began to receive offers to conduct interviews about the incident and then had job offers thrown her way. Even Vanity Fair and Cosmo wanted to get in touch with her. Meanwhile, the rest of the sorority was sitting back at the College Park campus awaiting the possible sanctions that could be handed down in response to the negative public attention.

The other incident occurred on a news show when the first-time anchor began swearing as they began rolling. His co-anchor was thrown off but eventually recovered. This became the man’s first and last show on this network but he immediately became an internet sensation and has been offered jobs at many other news organizations. He was even, probably jokingly, offered a job with Live with Kelly and Michael.

At what point did it become okay to lack decorum and get offered opportunities that others have worked so hard to achieve? Neither of these individuals deserve what has been thrown their way. Their only claim to fame is losing their cool and overreacting to a simple situation.