Dec 8, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) wears an ” I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt during warm ups prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
There was once a time in sports where it was cool to be an anti-hero. Charles Barkley ran a money-making campaign to prove he was not a role model. Michael Jordan, the best to ever do it, never made it his business to prove that he cared about the community either, despite how the hood’s love of Jordans has kept his money long in the years after basketball.
“Republicans buy shoes, too,” he once said. (Or possibly didn’t. Either way, Jordan was famous for his non-political stances during his playing career.)
The 1980s and early 90s, the years of modern excess, were years where anyone could say anything what they wanted, because everyone seemingly had everything they wanted. It was easy not to care, especially if you were one of the world’s biggest athletes.
But something’s changed in a major way. There’s something very special happening in sports right now. People care.
So there was this little recap in the Daily News last week of a happy-sounding practice of the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant, the pride of Lower Merion, attended the practice, which he doesn’t very often anymore because he’s 36 years old and has been playing pro basketball since he was 18, and his legs are kind of iffy anymore. His teammates must be really happy that his legs are bad, if all the practices he shows up for are going to be like this one. He spent it screaming at his teammates, belittling them, telling them they suck, and generally being the Worst Person in the World, in, of course, the guise of That One Guy Who Cares About This Team. Read more »
Rob Kearney and Maya Winters, victors in this weekend’s Couples Strong(wo)man Competition in Windsor, Connecticut.
Big news, sports fans! Last week I told you about local athlete Maya Winters, the college arts education professor who also just so happens to be the reigning middle-weight title holder of America’s Strongest Woman. (Go ahead, swoon, lesbians!)
Winters tells me they competed in a variety of challenges: the max log press, 12-inch deadlift with chains, couples tire flip, sandbag medley and the atlas stone load. If you don’t understand what all that is, just imagine muscles bulging, veins popping, and impossibly heavy objects being tossed around like rag dolls.
Whitley (with Coach Keelan) is fast enough to qualify for the 2016 Olympic trials. Photograph by Jared Castaldi
When the grueling pace of kindergarten life overwhelmed him, Reece Whitley would escape to the bathtub. Two hours of soaking soothed his tired mind and prepared him for another tough day of coloring and story time. Even if the water cooled or his skin pruned, Whitley stayed in. “I just liked the feel of the water,” he says.
Whitley still loves the life aquatic, although those restorative soaks have been replaced by punishing swimming workouts. The Penn Charter freshman is one of the hottest young swimmers in the nation, owning a stack of age-group records and already posting fast enough times in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke to qualify him for the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha. At this past summer’s Junior (18-and-under) National Championships, 14-year-old Whitley finished third in the 200 and won the 100-meter “B” final.
Philadelphia 76ers’ Nerlens Noel, left, holds his head after scrambling for a ball against Houston Rockets’ Trevor Ariza, right, in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Houston. The Rockets won 88-87.(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
The Sixers didn’t play last night, which was a blessing. They’ll play again tonight, which isn’t. In case you haven’t heard, the team is off to a brutal 0-and-13 start. One of those was a one-point loss, but a lot of the rest haven’t even been close. The team’s been blown away by the Pacers, the Heat, the Raptors, the Mavs, the Spurs and the Suns. Among others. The stands are so empty during this losing streak that if you bring a box of macaroni-and-cheese to tonight’s game, you get two free tickets to another game. Supposedly, this is to benefit Philabundance. In reality, it’s to get some butts in seats for a change. Read more »
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, during happier times.
I once met and interviewed Adrian Peterson.
He greeted me, as he does everyone, with a vice-grip handshake that stuns you to your core, a handshake that I found extremely peculiar. A firm handshake is what most men do. But this was ridiculous. It was as if Peterson was out to exert and display his power for no particular reason at all other than to exert and display that he was stronger than you. And it was like he didn’t want you to forget it.
With that story, I make a rather lengthy, but pertinent leap to his case of child abuse. Adrian Peterson whupped up on his 4-year-old boy, perhaps as a form of backwater punishment, but certainly as an exertion of power. After reading about this case and seeing the photos of a bruised 4-year-old, I come to the conclusion that Peterson is a loathsome and contemptible man.
But this is not just a story about a bad human being. It’s a story of how the National Football League has turned into a joke when it comes to governing their employees. Their punishment of Adrian Peterson for the rest of the NFL’s regular season may pass a moral test, but it’s another ass-backward attempt to gain public trust by manipulating rules and regulations solely upon the whims of an empty suit named Roger Goodell.
On Sunday, Stonewall Kickball wrapped up its fall season with a tournament and booze-fueled celebratory banquet at Field House, but fans of the league won’t have to wait till spring to slip into their short shorts and move balls into goal thingies. Stonewall announced it is branching beyond kickball to launch its first-ever Philadelphia dodgeball and volleyball leagues, both starting in January.
Registration opens on Wednesday, November, 19th, when LGBT athletes can sign up for either (or both) sports. Here are the details on each, according to volleyball league organizer Justin Nordell: