Cam’s Sexist Comments……?

As a female sports podcaster, who is trying desperately to make it in the world of sports broadcasting I feel compelled to speak up about the circumstances surrounding the Cam Newton incident yesterday.

Do I think it was wrong of him and that he should know better?  Yes, Absolutely!  Am I mad at him or do I feel disrespected by what he said? No.

Jumping to judgments and being angry at things does not solve the problem. Lets separate the fact that he is an NFL QB from the fact that he is a man making a perceived sexist comment.

I have been doing my podcast for well over a year now, and guys are still surprised and even somewhat dumbfounded by my passion for and knowledge of sports. I hear a lot of “Wow” “That’s so cool” and even the occasional “I’m impressed by how much you really know about sports.” Here’s the thing, it has become common place for women to be interested in sports, but there are still plenty of women that are just content wearing a jersey and cheering for a particular team without knowing what’s actually happening on the field, court, ice, etc. Instead of being mad at someone who is surprised or finds it funny that I as a woman probably know more about sports than they do, I realize that a lot of the time it is simply a lack of experience or just naivety on their part.

It is absurd to believe that the world will grow and evolve all at the same time. What happens is that while some of us (men, women, black, or white) have decided to break away from gender roles and societal norms, others have not. It creates pockets of ignorance due to a lack of exposure to a world that has evolved beyond black and white, and is now a constantly changing color wheel of options and choices for everyone in it.

It should not be surprising that not all men or women for that matter have been exposed to women that feel compelled to report and analyze a sport that has predominantly been ruled by testosterone and where any sign of estrogen means weakness. We as a society have to become open to the idea of acting instead of reacting. Instead of addressing this as sexism and reacting with anger, realize it is a learning opportunity. It is a chance to expose more people to something that might be out of the norm that is their life.

I realize I made this vague, but I did it intentionally, because like sexism, racism will obviously not end over night. The answer to ending both is eliminating ignorance through education and exposure. Moments like this present us with opportunities to expose the next generation to the ever-evolving world around them. Take the opportunity to educate the person by exposing them to other things outside of their comfort zone. It requires a willingness and acceptance from both parties involved. Removing the anger is the first step to creating a bridge that opens communications. The first question should be “why is that funny?” If the response to that is sexist, you have my blessing to get frustrated, but if it is one of ignorance, make the most of this learning opportunity.

Now to Cam Newton, the NFL quarterback. He has no excuse to make such a comment to any reporter that has the credentials to be in the pressroom at an NFL stadium.   Jourdan Rodrigue is a credible journalist who has earned the right to be there and ask practically any question she so desires. Now maybe Cam has not been exposed to women that take such an interest in sports in his personally life, but he most definitely has in his professional life. Cam is in his 7th season in the NFL, and women reporters and analysts are an integral part of NFL coverage on a daily basis. Ultimately he is not a bad guy. He is just a guy that said a dumb thing, and unfortunately for him, his celebrity means he will get crucified for it.

Since it does not appear that anyone asked Cam, why a woman asking him about routes was funny, I do not know if he is sexist or just ignorant.

NFL Protest

I do not like to make things political, and I can honestly admit that I’m first in line when it comes to wanting politics to stay out of my sports. They are my source of entertainment, and I simply want to relax from the stress of the world and enjoy them. However, we have reached a point where there is so much hatred and bigotry in the world that sticking strictly to sports is simply impossible. So I would like to provide an honest perspective on my change of emotion regarding the NFL protests.

Personally, do I think kneeling during the National Anthem is wrong? Absolutely! A year ago when Colin Kaepernick first decided to make a stand by sitting on the bench during the national anthem, I like many could not understand why a young man with the privilege of making millions of dollars by playing the game he loves be so disrespectful to the country that allows him that privilege through the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women willing to risk their lives for this great nation. However, President Trump’s comments this weekend prove why athletes and celebrities must use their power, platform, and voice to speak up for what is good and right in the world (Choose wisely).

At a rally in Alabama, President Trump made the following remarks, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!” (https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/22/donald-trump-nfl-national-anthem-protests). Most of us are at the mercy of our employers in regards to the amount of social and political activism we can display on company time, and many are even limited in regards to the social media posts they are allowed to make on their own time. So, I can understand where President Trump is coming from, but as a leader he should be asking, “Why sir are you kneeling?”

Colin Kaepernick felt strongly enough about the social and racial injustice in this country that he was willing to use his platform (The NFL), likely the largest platform in the country, to make a statement about what he felt was right. Last year in an exclusive interview with NFL Media he said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder” (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000691077/article/colin-kaepernick-explains-why-he-sat-during-national-anthem). Mind you, he agreed to stand for The National Anthem if signed this year, because he already brought a voice to his cause.

One has to be ridiculously narrow minded and short sighted to not see that social and racial injustices are still major issues in this country, and Colin decided to take a stand to help bring this issue to the attention of a greater audience. Unfortunately for him, many of us chose to be short sighted and protest his lack of patriotism, when in fact he is probably more patriotic than all of us whom have not enlisted to fight for this country. “Patriot: a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion; a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government” (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/patriot).  By definition he is a patriot, (I am not even going to get into his charity work) because he risked his livelihood to bring a voice to the beliefs he was passionate about.

It serves the values of The United States of America for individuals with influence and power to stand up for those without it, and while I did not agree when he did it, I recognize why Colin Kaepernick had to use his platform to bring attention to this. It has been over a year since he decided to sit for his beliefs, and our government refuses to acknowledge and discuss the issues he and others have brought to their attention. Instead the government has used the peaceful protests of Kaepernick and other NFL players to redirect attention away from their cause and slander their names.

Were the acts of protest displayed this Sunday anti the President and the government? I cannot say that for a fact, but how could they not be? Any one of us would want to take a stand against a person or group that used such derogatory language about us, and as Americans we have the right to peacefully protest that, just as the NFL players chose to do. Ben Franklin under the pen name Silence DoGood said, “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech; which is the right of every man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or control the right of another. And this is the only check it ought to suffer, and the only bounds it ought to know” (http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/courant/issue49.htm). It would serve us all well to remember that, as our great nation is as divided as ever.

So whether you agree or not with what the players did and do moving forward, the purpose of a protest is to express disapproval in something, and as Americans we should listen to what our brothers and sisters have to say and work together to build each other up instead of being hateful and divisive. Since the NFL started this stand, I leave you with the words of the man himself, Vince Lombardi, “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society” (http://www.vincelombardi.com/quotes.html).

Written with Love,

Melody

NFL Week 1 Reaction

Even though two teams have yet to play a regular season game, week one of the NFL season is officially in the books. Let the overreactions and wild assumptions begin! Week one saw some anemic offenses, explosive defenses, and surprising standouts, but what is the biggest overreaction takeaway from the week? No one was surprised that the Seahawks offensive struggles from last year are still and issue, and everyone including Chuck Pagano knows that the Colts without Luck (both literal and figurative) are probably the worst team in the league.   Yeah Sam Bradford looked good, but the Vikings did start the 2016 season 5-0 only to finish the season 8-8. Shout out to Dalvin Cook though!!! 👏 👏 👏   However, Cincinnati getting shut out by the Ravens and the Giants total lack of offensive productivity without Odell Beckham were definitely a bit surprising, but the most surprising and over reaction provoking event from week one, was hands down Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs 42-27 upset of the reigning Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. The take: Alex Smith will lead his Kansas City Chiefs deep into the playoffs and win the MVP.

While the Chiefs did have an extremely impressive showing against Belichick and the Patriots, the idea that a QB in his thirteenth season with an average QBR of 85.8 is going to be the MVP of the league seems like a bit of a stretch after only a single week of play (ESPN I). First things first, we know that the MVP is notoriously awarded to a QB or RB on a team that is a serious playoff contender, so do I think this could be the year of the Cheifs? It should be, but they do play in this year’s most competitive division, the AFC West. They have been a playoff team the last two years, and despite the loss of Jamal Charles and Jeremy Maclin this could be their best team to date. With weapons like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, Chris Conley will have room to shine, and it showed in his two receptions for 43 yards on Thursday. After losing Charles this offseason the running game became a point of concern for the team, but some kid out of Toledo named Kareem Hunt, who fumbled on his first career carry, squashed any concern by redeeming himself with 239 total scrimmage yards in his debut (ESPN II).

The offense seems primed and ready, but on defense, with Eric Berry out for the season it could provide foes with a chink in their armor to pick away at. On Sunday we see if they can derail the Eagles’ Wentz Wagon and if Smith can repeat his performance from week one. Remember this is the same Alex Smith that has delivered spotty performances his entire career. So spotty in fact many were hoping/expecting the rookie Patrick Mahomes II to take the helm after his impressive preseason performance. I do think the Chiefs could be the real deal, but I question if Alex Smith has evolved beyond “game manager” status. Yes, he was good, but I really put the weight of the win on Hunt’s shoulders. The first quarter ended with a 7-7 tie. In the second and third quarters the Chiefs managed a touchdown in each, and the Patriots put up ten points in each to make the score 21-27 going into the fourth. Anytime a team puts up 21 points in the fourth, it is a sign that the defense has worn down, and the best way to do that is running the ball, i.e., Kareem Hunt. I am in no way discrediting the throws that Smith made, but a good running game is a QB’s best friend.   With that said, we all get lucky from time to time, so I reserve my judgment on Smith until he proves that his performance Thursday was not a fluke. Breakdown: Are the Chiefs a playoff team? As it stands, yeah they are. Is Alex Smith getting my MVP vote (I know I don’t have a vote yet, but let a girl dream ok)? Yes, if the vote was today, but its not.

Basically we are all Jon Snow, because we know nothing!!!! Its week one folks, and with preseason play being so limited for key players it takes at least one if not two regular season games to knock the rust off and better evaluate what is actually going on with these teams. I mean come on man! No one really believes the Bills or Jaguars are winning their respective divisions, yet there they sit alone at the top. To assume that we should hand the MVP to Smith or Bradford out the gate is just as ludicrous of a suggestion. We still have two teams that have yet to see regular season action. If your team did not perform up to your expectations, take a breath, because things might not be as bad as it seems (unless you’re a Colts or Jets fan). If your team did well, have yourself a toast and enjoy it while it lasts, because there is a lot of football left to play.

by: Melody Murphy

Stat Sources:

ESPN I; http://www.espn.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/8416/alex-smith

ESPN II; http://www.espn.com/nfl/player/_/id/3059915/kareem-hunt

And we’re off….

As it stands I’m five weeks away from completing my MBA.  I really wanted to wait about starting the podcast until after I finished that, but there is just too much happening in the world of sports next week to miss out on the opportunity to start now, right in time for the start of the NFL season!  Next Saturday September 10th is also UFC 203 (Miocic vs Overeem), which could also be CM Punk’s UFC debut, but currently reports are saying he is still well above the 170 he needs to hit for welterweight status.  Sunday is the real kickoff for the NFL with our first full Sunday of games, and two games coming on Monday night.  The WWE has a PPV on Sunday as well, and Backlash marks the first Smackdown Live PPV since the brand split back in July.  Its just too much for a true sports fan not to be excited about.  I can’t wait to share my predictions with you guys and hear what you have to say!!!!