Monday, June 25, 2012
UPDATED June 25, 2012
By Greg Couch of FoxSports.com
The basics of the typical inspirational comeback story go something like this: Athlete suffers, keeps faith, works hard, overcomes. And we fall for that every time.
It’s like the story of Tyson Gay, Olympic 100-meter sprinter. In March, following hip surgery, he still couldn’t even jog. On Sunday, he qualified for the Olympics. That would be so nice and neat, but for one thing: He finished second in the Olympic trials.
The winner was Justin Gatlin, who won gold at the Athens Olympics in 2004, then missed the Beijing Games. Now, at 30, he ran a 9.80, just ahead of Gay's 9.86, and is a serious threat to win a medal at the London Olympics.
But Gatlin is a new kind of comeback story for us: He has impressively returned this far after suffering from, a, uh, four-year steroid suspension.
“I’ve been tested multiple times since I’ve been back,’’ he said. “When I was away, I was still getting tests. It’s not about judging myself or whatever I’ve been through. I’m focused on what’s in front of me.’’
What he’s been through? Sure, he’s focused on the future, and the fans in Eugene were cheering for him when he was introduced. It’s unlikely he’ll get that reception in London, where he’s always going to be seen as a cheat.
This is a somewhat new thing for track and field. It went through its low points of Marion Jones and others, when steroid cheats disgraced the sport and went away. Then, replacements came in, and Gatlin was among the young athletes promising to clean up the game’s image.
Then he was gone. And now, in plenty of sports, actually, the suspensions are over for athletes, who are coming back to the games. In fact, just before Gatlin won his race, American LaShawn Merritt, back from his own 21-month doping suspension, won the 400 meters and a shot to defend his 2008 Olympic gold.
You’re going to have to decide for yourself how you feel about these guys. Alex Rodriguez seems to have been accepted back in baseball. But the mark is always there.
Gatlin says he never knowingly doped, and that a massage therapist must have rubbed the stuff into him. Whatever. He was out four years.
Contrast that to football doping cheats, who miss four games, or those banned in baseball, who miss one-third of one season.
Gatlin has served his time and also lost his big sponsors. He should be free to come back. But that doesn’t mean the slate is entirely clean. It can’t be.
“I’ve been through some dark paths,’’ Gatlin said. “What really has been able to help me keep my faith was the faith of my fans. Them believing in me, wanting me to come back, knowing I’m a true athlete, a legit athlete.
“I’ve been responding to emails, going to talk to kids, traveling, telling them the right and wrongs of life.’’
See? That just sounds a little off. Gatlin is talking to kids about right and wrong. He might well be doing everything right, everything he can to rehab his image. But that can go only so far.
With sports, the one thing that does tend to fix an image is success. Gatlin has a chance to compete again for the U.S. And it’s a sport dominated by Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans.
Gatlin already has started a bit of a feud with Bolt through the media. He said he thought that Bolt was beatable, and Bolt responded that Gatlin needed to get by a bunch of other runners before setting his sights so high.
Maybe so. And maybe Gatlin, in getting past Gay, has gotten to the top of the game again.
At least, the top of the game under Bolt.
“I don’t think I would come back to a sport where I would be OK with getting second or third,’’ he said. “We (the US sprinters) all have our eyes on the prize, wanting to get the gold. If that’s the Jamaicans in our way, the whole world in our way, that’s OK. Go around them and get the gold.’’
His comeback has been incredible, actually. The money stopped coming in, and he gained weight for a try at getting into the NFL. His confidence was shot. So was his technique.
He talks about some blog writing, when he started to come back, that he looked like a pro wrestler in a unitard. Some race officials didn’t want him in their meets.
Those were the hard times for Gatlin. He kept the faith, worked hard and overcame.
A modern day comeback story, I guess. It doesn’t feel quite the same.
Monday, June 18, 2012
UPDATED June 18, 2012
HAMPTON — City Council members will support a request by Hampton University President William Harvey to hire a consultant to create a plan to revitalize the downtown area.
Harvey outlined his proposal to the council on Wednesday night, his first public comments about the project since taking a lead role in the effort last fall.
"I don't just want to get a report about another part of our city," he said. "I thought the thing to do was to look at this in a holistic approach and that is what we'll do."
Harvey has spent about nine months assembling a 24-member board, Hampton First, that will lead the project. The board includes pastors, real estate developers, bankers, artists and small business owners.
HU's president said the group will take community input and use those ideas to help guide consultant Sasaki Associates. He's asking for $280,000 from the city to hire the Boston-based planner to create a new master plan for downtown.
City Council member were overwhelmingly in favor of Harvey's proposal.
"If we are going to be successful, then we need to hitch our wagon to the things he's doing," Councilman Donnie Tuck said.
Tuck said that even though he aims to closely watch the city's funds, he is excited about Harvey's proposal.
Harvey agreed last fall to lead the downtown redevelopment project after Steiner+Associates, of Columbus, Ohio, published a report outlining challenges Hampton will need to overcome and goals it will need to achieve to increase tourism and business development.
Harvey said he wanted to use the Steiner report as a springboard for the Hampton First board, whose members are participating as volunteers.
Sasaki is already creating a master plan for Fort Monroe, and has been hired by the city to update the Phoebus and Buckroe master plans. Revamping those neighborhood plans is expected to cost the city about $250,000 each. City Manager Mary Bunting said the money to hire Sasaki will come from money from an account originally earmarked for a private development that never materialized.
A report distributed by Harvey outlines Hampton First's vision for downtown that includes opening the waterfront to the public by relocating buildings, developing an aquatic theme and hosting more water-based events such as sailing regattas and boat shows.
Public transportation could also take downtown visitors to neighboring communities such as Coliseum Central, Phoebus, Fort Monroe and Buckroe.
"We would like for Hampton to be an urban waterfront destination with a particular interest in weekend and summer activities," wrote Harvey in a report.
The report calls for the downtown experience to include areas to walk along the waterfront, a central facility with indoor and outdoor seating and a grocery store offering organic foods. Other proposed attractions include an artist marketplace, clothing stores and a pirate museum. Hampton holds the Blackbeard Pirate Festival annually.
At the Wednesday evening meeting, Harvey emphasized that plans are preliminary, although there are short term goals that could be achieved within a year.
"Some people say I'm a pusher, and I want to push them to get started this summer," said Harvey of Sasaki.
The master planner will have a mound of past consultanting work to add to. Last fall, Peninsula Town Center developer Steiner+Associates created a report outlining the strengths and weaknesses of Hampton and the impediments to redeveloping downtown. The existing master plan for downtown was put together by Urban Design Associates, of Pittsburgh, Pa., in 2004.
"We're talking about making this one of the loveliest villages on the East Coast," Harvey said."We can't be all things to all people, but we sure can do good things here."
Consultants' ideas for downtown
Copyright © 2012, Newport News, Va., Daily Press
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
UPDATED June 13, 2013
Howard University yesterday announced Dr. Wayne Frederick as its new provost and vice-president of academic affairs. Dr. Frederick is an alumnus of Howard three times over, and has received a number of professional accolades as a surgeon and professor.
As Professor in the Department of Surgery at Howard, Frederick is a master teacher who has received teaching awards every year since the beginning of his tenure. As a member of the faculty, he fulfilled what he called “a career aspiration” of working with his mentor, LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D. – an opportunity that was expanded during this current academic year when Dr. Leffall asked Dr. Frederick to serve as Interim Deputy Provost for Health Sciences.“We are indeed fortunate that Dr. Frederick has accepted President Ribeau’s request to serve alma mater,” Leffall said. He is an accomplished surgeon, teacher, administrator, leader and public servant.”
UPDATED June 13, 2012
LAS VEGAS (AP)
Lawyers for Floyd Mayweather Jr. say the undefeated champion is getting out of shape in solitary confinement and may never fight again if he's not released from the cramped Las Vegas jail cell where he began serving a three-month sentence earlier this month.
In an emergency motion filed Monday, lawyers asked the court to move him into the general jail population — something that jail officials had avoided out of fear for the celebrity's safety — or put him in house arrest for the rest of his sentence.
The jail's ''conduct may cause, not just huge financial harm to Mr. Mayweather, but also huge emotional harm if he is no longer able to pursue his boxing career because of the deconditioning he has suffered,'' lawyers wrote.
Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa said she'll decide later this week whether to ease jail conditions for Mayweather.
Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell declined to comment on the specific claims in the motion, but said jail administrators were keeping Mayweather in isolation to prevent fights.
Mayweather lawyer Richard Wright said he'd be willing to have the boxer serve the sentence in an apartment or somewhere less luxurious than Mayweather's posh Las Vegas-area home.
''I'm not looking for special treatment for Floyd Mayweather,'' Wright said. ''I'm looking for fair treatment.''
But prosecutor Lisa Luzaich said softening the sentence would be just another accommodation, similar to when Mayweather's jail surrender date was postponed for months after sentencing so he could fight Miguel Cotto in May.
''They keep chipping away, chipping away, chipping away,'' Luzaich said.
Mayweather pleaded guilty in December to misdemeanor domestic battery and no contest to two harassment charges that stemmed from an attack on his ex-girlfriend while two of their children watched. He was sentenced to three months and entered the jail June 1.
Mayweather's jail stay will be capped at 87 days because the judge gave him credit for three days previously served. It could be reduced by several weeks for good behavior.
In the motion, which was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, lawyers say Mayweather's personal physician, Dr. Robert Voy, visited the jail Friday and was concerned the 35-year-old fighter appeared to have lost muscle tone.
Voy estimated the boxer was consuming fewer than 800 calories a day — a drop from his usual 3,000 or 4,000 calories — and wasn't drinking enough because he isn't allowed bottled water and doesn't usually drink tap water.
Mayweather has been getting a little more than 30 minutes twice a day in a couple of barren recreation areas in the administrative segregation unit, Cassell said. His cell, no larger than 7-by-12 feet, has barely enough floor space for pushups and situps.
But prosecutors argued he's ''deconditioning'' by choice, and declining much of his food.
''He has the ability to exercise, he just chooses not to,'' Luzaich said. ''It's jail. Where did he think he was going? The Four Seasons?''
Voy and Wright also pointed to Mayweather's declining emotional state.
''I am concerned about Floyd withdrawing, developing anger he cannot dissipate through the usual means of dedicated exercise and training,'' Voy wrote in an affidavit. ''Boxing has been Mr. Mayweather's life since he was a young man and we need champions of this type to continue to their natural retirement and hopefully their contributions to society thereafter.''
UPDATED June 13, 2012
News One today reports on a first for arts culture in the city of Tallahassee courtesy of Florida A&M University; a full exhibit of Chinese art. The exhibit is on display in FAMU’s Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery.
“In Tallahassee, it’s hard to get this kind of art show,” said (FAMU assistant professor of art Dr. Liu) Nan. “In New York City you can see this at the Metropolitan Museum and visit Asian and Latin American cultures, but in Tallahassee I think this will be a good cultural event.”In two weeks, Liu selected 29 pieces —including paintings from his students and his own son, Ethan.
Monday, June 11, 2012
UPDATE June 11, 2012
By Associated Press
LAS VEGAS (AP)
Timothy Bradley promised to shock, though the biggest shock in his fight with Manny Pacquiao came from the judges' scorecards.
In a fight Pacquiao seemed to have in hand, two judges decided otherwise, giving Bradley a split decision Saturday night and ending the Filipino fighter's remarkable seven-year unbeaten run.
Promoter Bob Arum fumed, the crowd at the MGM Grand arena booed, and Pacquiao seemed stunned when the decision was announced. Arum said there would be a November rematch, though he blasted the way the decision went down.
''I've never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight,'' said Arum, who handles both fighters.
Bradley came on strong in the later rounds, winning five of the last six rounds on two scorecards and four on the third. He won 115-113 on two scorecards, while losing on the third by the same margin. The Associated Press had Pacquiao winning 117-111.
''I did my best,'' Pacquiao said. ''I guess my best wasn't good enough.''
Pacquiao tried to turn the fight into a brawl, using his power to hurt Bradley in the early rounds. But Bradley changed tactics in the middle rounds and used his boxing skills to win enough rounds to take the narrow decision for the welterweight title.
It ended a 15-fight winning streak by Pacquiao dating to 2005 that turned him into a boxing superstar and made him a national hero in the Philippines.
''I thought I won the fight,'' Bradley said. ''I didn't think he was as good as everyone says he was. I didn't feel his power.''
Ringside punching statistics showed Pacquiao landing 253 punches to 159 for Bradley, who vowed before the fight to take the 147-pound title from Pacquiao. The Compubox statistics showed Pacquiao landing more punches in 10 of the 12 rounds.
Bradley was so confident that he had oversized tickets printed up for a Nov. 10 rematch that will now likely happen.
Bradley seemed hurt in the fourth and fifth rounds, but Pacquiao had trouble landing big punches after that. Still, he seemed in control of the fight everywhere but on the judge's scorecards.
''Can you believe that? Unbelievable,'' Arum said. ''I went over to Bradley before the decision and he said, `I tried hard but I couldn't beat the guy.'''
Bradley said he hurt his ankle in the second round, and that trainer Joel Diaz said he could either quit or try to take the fight to Pacquiao.
''I got my second wind in the sixth round,'' Bradley said. ''I worked the angles, sticking and moving.''
Pacquiao said he studied Bradley on tape before the fight and wasn't surprised by anything he did. He said he thought he was in control of the fight and was shocked when the decision went against him.
''He never hurt me with his punches, most of them landed on my arms,'' Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao tried to brawl with Bradley and seemed to hurt him in both the fourth and fifth rounds. But Bradley started moving and counter punching, though he never seemed to land any shots that hurt Pacquiao.
Pacquiao had vowed to look impressive against Bradley after struggling in his last outing with Juan Manuel Marquez, a fight many thought he lost. And he did early, landing good long left hands while beating Bradley to the punch on most exchanges.
''He hurt me a couple of times with his left,'' Bradley said. ''He's a beast.''
Trainer Freddie Roach told Pacquiao after the 10th round that he had control of the fight, and urged him to fight hard the final two rounds.
''You have six minutes to go, son,'' Roach said. ''It's your fight.''
But it wasn't Pacquiao's fight, with Bradley getting credit for winning some of the close middle and later rounds. After the 11th round Bradley went back to his corner and trainer Joel Diaz told him he needed to win the final round.
''I listened to my corner,'' Bradley said. ''I got to give him a rematch now.''
Arum said there will be one on Nov. 10, though he thought Pacquiao won easily, as did most writers at ringside.
''I'll make a lot of money off the rematch, but this was outrageous,'' Arum said.
It was the biggest fight of Bradley's career and it came with a minimum $5 million payday. The rematch will be even richer, though Pacquiao's loss could damage any plans for a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather did not see the fight because he is serving a sentence on a domestic abuse charge at a jail a few miles from the MGM Grand.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
UPDATED June 7, 2012
There’s plenty wrong with Black America’s media agenda. Our most prominent figure in cinema and television rose to prominence through cross-dressing, Bible-thumping and gun-toting. The only thing shrinking faster than newsrooms across the nation are the number of African-Americans working within them.
Of the media outlets owned and operated by black people, a disparate percentage of them are dedicated to themes and images that largely degrade and devalue the African-American lifestyle and experience.
But in the midst of these issues that required immediate attention 25 years ago, the greatest threat to the black media agenda is the depiction of the HBCU student. Sex tapes, cafeteria brawls, drug use and hazing are the dominant, inaccurate themes representing black scholars from historically black colleges in new media and quickly creeping into mainstream themes.
It’s unreasonable to expect young adults to lead a new age of media literacy and creation in the face of so many celebrities, so much sex and stereotype programming over so many years, but our reality demands their creativity and commitment to change the future of media for all minorities.
One story, one quote, one headline can change the course of how African-Americans view ourselves and are viewed by others. When WorldStarHipHop profiles criminality, sexuality or general ignorance, it’s a blow to the culture. But when those same elements are on display by HBCU students, the best and brightest hope of the culture, it sharpens the attack on black culture and perceptions of how the culture will conquer generational stereotypes.
Commonly, when black students and their white counterparts at PWIs engage in the same activity, they are commonly regarded as “that crazy student” or “that ignorant dude/chick.”
When HBCU students do it, it’s labeled as “HBCU students are at it again.”
It is a skewed and painful reality of how an entire student body on any given HBCU campus can be unfairly and unreasonably represented by the extreme immaturity of one or a handful of students. Illicit videos produced and uploaded by HBCU students feed the racialized depiction of their classmates, and all black folks as oversexualized, under-educated citizens, and advance the stereotype of HBCUs as factories producing mediocrity at double the rate of greatness.And the conversation doesn't stop with media production, but with media consumption habits as well.
The more HBCU students lend their large, vibrant social media presence to commentary on sports, entertainment and controversy, the harder it will be for all of Black America to rise to new leverage in media control and representation. As sites like Necole Bitchie, the YBF, Media TakeOut, TMZ and WorldStar can claim the invaluable 18-24 African-American audience demographic, corporations seeking to capture this audience will continue to invest millions in the outlets feeding the stereotype of black celebrity worship and controversy-lust.And a group of educated, politically nuanced, socially conscious Americans will go unaccounted for and will remain on the outside looking in of having its interests, perspectives and values covered in media.
It’s up to HBCU students to become new media producers and consumers across politics, sports, culture and entertainment. Young people at historically black colleges have to expand existing media dialogue on the political process and ways to have their values accounted for in local and national media. They have to become the new, more aggressive generation of bloggers and commenters on news media sites, and dominant voices in talk radio programs that set the voice and agenda on topics that matter most to them.
No objective depiction of African-Americans in mainstream media can happen unless the students at the institutions built to sustain African-American culture create the outlets and lead the audiences that demand it.
UPDATED June 7, 2012
By Brian S. Yeldell
OK, I don’t do this often, because I genuinely like to let things play out before I weigh in. I guess you can say that I don’t like to “jump the gun.” However, recently, some occurrences have come to be and I HAVE to say something about it, offer a spin, and try to develop something sensible and positive about even a pretty terrible situation. WHAT IN THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THESE FOLK WHO ARE EATING OTHER FOLKS?!?! I saw, in the news, where two guys had eaten other human beings – straight up, cannibalism! Are you kidding me? Maybe I missed the memo on what one should and should not consider ingesting. Well, it got me to thinking about what it means to see something, take in something, ingest something, eat something. And, what I came up with is that we all better watch what we eat!
I try my best to stay on topic when I write anything, but in this essay, stick with me, because I may be all over the place because the subject matter is so vile, so pernicious, so heinous, so egregious, so filled with impossibility and of an unbelievable nature. Eating is what we do to nourish ourselves. We also have to take in other things in order to survive, such as water (which makes up over 50% of our body), exercise (or we suffer from atrophy), books (or we suffer from dementia) and love and affection (or we shrivel up from lack of love) amongst other things that we need to survive. When we eat something, there are customs and norms and practices and acceptable behaviors, so we are taught that we should eat fruits, vegetables, maybe some starch, maybe some meat or fish or poultry, but not each other. This screams of some other things that MUST be going on or have been going on with these two recent incidents, as well as the guys who committed the acts. I don’t think any restaurants will soon put humans on the menu, but given this latest incident, we all better watch what we eat.
Even though we are becoming more health-conscious, as a society, people do eat some interesting things. I am as close to a mea, potatoes and veggies kind of guy as they come. These days, it is less meat and more chicken and turkey, but the point is that I am not very experimental when it comes to the things that I eat. I am probably in the minority in this instance. With the melding of society and people from different cultures, certain things have become more common and acceptable as far as what is editable. As far as the more “exotic” things that are eaten, there is a bug eating festival that takes place in North Carolina every year. In San Francisco, people eat salmon candy. When I checked out crazy things that people eat on the internet, I saw in China where people eat lizards, fried scorpions, and some other “unmentionables.” Well, many people say “don’t knock it, ‘til you try it,” but there are some things I can look at and KNOW that it would turn my stomach. So, I, for sure, will be watching what I eat.
I have encountered a lot of things, a lot of people, thus a lot of sayings. Both of my parents were quote machines. I won’t list them here in this essay, as I have in the past, but as I was writing this essay, one quote came to my mind that my mother repeated fairly often. I have heard variations on this theme, but my mother often said, “everything good to you ain’t good for you.” This could be applied to a lot of areas of life, but none more poignant and applicable than eating. The tastes of various foods are part look, smell, words and descriptions that others have spoken about the food and in the end, how it hits your taste buds. Some things go down REAL nice and easy and seemingly good and tasty. However, some of those same food items and seemingly good tasting stuff can have an after taste, linger in your mouth, cause a stomach ache or make you sick as a dog in the ensuing days. My mother was generally referring to when I would come home after meeting a lovely young lady, thinking that I had found the woman of my dreams and think that I was in love (or, as some would say, lust). That can also be the case when you think that you have found a great opportunity with a business or career choice, only to be a sham of a product or company. Many other such situations exist like buying some clothes, only to have a defective fabric. All of these represent something that seems to be good TO you, but not necessarily the case, as in being not good FOR you.
Who judges the good and the bad things to take in any way? Who are the eating or ingestion cops? What are their sensitivities? Each generation stretches the bounds of decency and decorum. I don’t know what to attribute it to, other than the often held opinion that we are “going to hell in a hand-basket.” I have a friend that swears that things like this mean the world is coming to an end. I was quick to point a couple of incidents that were previously, sort of unprecedented, such as Charles Manson murder spree, the inability sometimes to distinguish the difference between summer and winter, the killing of a President (Lincoln and Kennedy), various hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. What I also told her is that if one’s mind can conceive it, then you can achieve it, meaning that people’s thoughts can be as varied as the people themselves. I pointed out people like Stephen King and Tom Clancy and that the bounds just keep on spreading and expanding, so you just have to be careful how you conduct yourself, watch your back and implicitly, watch what you ingest or take in
This same friend alluded to the fact that she may have had a rather sheltered background and upbringing. She was not exposed to some things because her mother wanted to shield and shelter her from some of the bad that is in this world. I can feel (or understand) that, but that is a double edged sword, because when you finally are confronted with different situations, the later you encounter them, the more shocked and traumatized you may be. In short, it’s tricky. People, particular children, need to ingest good stuff in order to be good big people. I have a copy of a poem that I keep in full view for my daughters. It’s called “Children Learn What They Live” by Dorothy Law Nolte, PhD. In the poem, she notes several actions and reactions, which in effect suggest that you “are what you eat.” Some of the nuggets include the following:
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
One of the reasons why people do things like the recent incident of cannibalism is that people are tired, frustrated, and at wits’ end. I know they are. They are prepared to do unthinkable things. They are desperate and probably don’t care what the outcome of their actions are, because they are not desirous of going on, or living from one day to the next. Couple the immediate aforementioned with the FCC (Federal Communications Committee) letting more and more things come across our airwaves. And, maybe the FCC can’t stop it because it comes from everywhere and at break neck speeds. There are so many ways for content to be produced and put out. It’s almost like when a leak springs and you fill one leak and another one springs. Everything gets wet. Well, with everything that comes out, gets eaten or ingested and people are prepared and will do anything. If you have all this stuff around you, it’s almost impossible to watch what you eat. And, as mentioned, you are what you eat and you do what you take in, EVENTUALLY!
It is almost impossible to watch everything you take in. We have all run into situations where we are startled and surprised by something that seems to appear out of nowhere. You ever had a deer run across the street while you’re driving? You ever left the room while a nice wholesome program was on the television, only to come back and have some lewd and unsuitable show come on? How about going somewhere and having someone put something in your food or drink when you walk away? Or, you look at a menu and you think that you are ordering one thing that was prepared another way at another restaurant and this particular restaurant prepares it different and you eat something that you either don’t like or that doesn’t like you, as in being allergic. Well, what I am asking and suggesting is that we all try to control what we can and do as much digging as possible, because people can and will try to feed you just about anything, so you better watch what you eat!
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