Archive for sports

How the NBA Could Miss | Not the Way to Magic Happen

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on April 28, 2014 by substanceandstyledc


On so many levels Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is a hero to me. Although I have never met the man my observations of him through media have played a role in shaping my identity. It is for that reason that I sincerely hope that Mr. Johnson, someone that I look up to and admire for his significant contributions to athletics, business, media and philanthropy does not take an active role in buying the Los Angeles Clippers basketball franchise.

Several days ago a recording was leaked of an alleged conversation between Donald Sterling, current owner of the Clippers and V. Stiviano his former girlfriend, in which the man on the tape makes racially discriminatory remarks. The voice on the tape goes on to say that he would prefer that Magic Johnson wouldn’t come to any Clippers games. Since the tape became public and accusations of current and past racist remarks and behavior by Sterling surfaced there has been an outcry from fans for a response from the league and others.

Media outlets are reporting that a group of investors led by Johnson has expressed interest in purchasing the franchise. Unless Johnson was already in the market to buy into another professional sports team and this unfortunate incident has been laid at his feet as the perfect opportunity to do so, I think this is a bad idea and the wrong way to address racial discrimination and pursue structural change in professional sports leagues.

Magic Johnson and his partners buying the team would not address the root issue and in some ways would reward Mr. Sterling. Isn’t it Sterling that would be making an immediate profit and living off the residual income of the well invested money for years to come while Johnson and his team were still working to recoup their investment?

If people are really angry about the comments allegedly made by Donald Sterling then those comments and the sentiments behind them should be confronted. Selling the team to Johnson & Co. doesn’t achieve the goals of demanding the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the other professional leagues to have a more serious dialogue around franchise ownerships or creating higher benchmarks and timelines for teams to have more people of color as owners, major investors, stakeholders and front office staff.

I would much rather see Sterling fined or penalized in a way in which, maybe he would continue to make money, but a percentage of the team profits from tickets, licensing and other agreements, would go directly to funding proven organizations that tackle racial justice and wealth inequality in the United States. That would be a slam dunk. Mr. Johnson just buying the team would be more like taking two free throws – there is an opportunity for a miss. The NBA doesn’t need to miss this one.


A Real Knockout

Posted in Culture with tags , , , on March 10, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

His story has been framed by the media for decades. At one time he was one of the most controversial figures in sports and entertainment. April 26 and April 27, Mike Tyson brings his one man autobiographical show Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth to the Warner Theatre. Directed by Spike Lee the performance is described as a rare, personal look inside the life and mind of one of the most feared men ever to wear the heavyweight crown. From the streets, to the boxing ring, film, television and now the stage, Iron Mike Tyson is finally telling his story in his own words.

Next Stop: red line

Posted in DC: Dining & Cocktails with tags on February 15, 2011 by substanceandstyledc

The next time you want to watch a sporting event in great comfort and great company, or even if you just want to connect with friends over a burger, beer and cocktails, hop on the red line, get off at Gallery Place and walk across the street to Red Line GastroLounge. They refer to their menu as American with a French flair but diners just call it good food. With ample seating, 40 flat screens, and an 11-foot projection screen and beer taps at every turn it is fun and full of life. Make it your next stop!

Advancing the Dialogue

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 25, 2011 by substanceandstyledc

Since Fritz Pollard and Bobby Marshall became the first African American players in the National Football League in 1920 a lot has changed about the game and the business of professional football. The racial mix of players on the field has grown much more representative of people of color but the presence of African American coaches hasn’t changed nearly as much. This issue is explored in great detail in the book Advancing the Game by N. Jeremi Duru. He’ll bring his insight to Washington this Saturday, January 29 at a reading and signing at Politics and Prose from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. Perfect reading as we prepare to watch Mike Tomlin and his Steelers in the Super Bowl once again.

The Heinous Mr. Haynesworth

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 17, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

Most people who get paid to go to work show up. Most people who are told by their boss that they plan to adjust the management and operation systems typically adjust their work style. It is part of being what people love to call on their resumes a ‘team player’ and after all they have been told by their employer to do so. However, this is not the case with professional football player, Albert Haynesworth of the Washington Redskins.

Haynesworth has decided to skip attending the Redskins mandatory minicamp citing that he doesn’t agree with the new defensive strategy the team intends to run this season. Mr. Haynesworth your behavior lacks both substance and style. His actions are a let down to his teammates and the fans of the Redskins. Truly, this athlete is not a role model.

In April of this year Haynesworth got a $21,000,000 bonus check  – yes, which is on top of his salary. And the fact that puts all of this in perspective and should deeply trouble every Washingtonian and every Redskin fan is that his bonus is $1,000,000 more than what will be spent by the District of Columbia to finance the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). The SYEP is a seven week employment and training program that allows nearly 20,000 District youth, ages 14 to 21, with an opportunity to work. The budget for the program this year is $20,000,000.

A star athlete from a local sports team refusing to show up for work after receiving a  bonus check for practically the same amount of money as it costs the city to try to teach and instill in its young people the value of working, earning an honest living and staying out of trouble is quite ironic. Or maybe it is just sad.

Now Serving DC

Posted in Culture, DC: Dining & Cocktails with tags , , on June 2, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

She may be out of the French Open, she will soon be in DC. Venus Williams will be the  speaker for the July 7, 2010 lunch series at the National Press Club. Lunch begins at 12:30pm but a much earlier arrival is best for a good seat. Make your reservation here today as this will surely sell out quickly. Later she will be signing copies of her new book Come to Win: How Sports Can Help You Ace Your Goals and Top Your Profession at the Barnes & Noble on 12th Street NW at 3:00pm. What will she wear?


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 15, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

Women continue to make history.  It is only appropriate that during this Women’s History Month Natalie Randolph is expected to be named the first female head coach of a high school varsity football team at Coolidge High School in NW Washington, DC. The formal announcement will be made on Wednesday.  A collegiate athlete, former member of the DC Divas women’s football team and educator, Randolph has previously served as a wide receivers coach for HD Woodson High School.

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