Walking the Talk: I checked out a Vlog piece on Yahoo featuring former Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman. It’s a worthwhile education she lays down, in which she covers her sexual abuse at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar; how the system treats victims of abuse and how some people feel that she should just stop talking about it and ‘move on’; as if this were a speeding ticket.
This young woman’s message struck such a chord with me that I actually tweeted her some encouraging words. Me! The gist of it was to keep talking about it, and to never stop talking about it. Because her courage is an inspiration to so many of the victims of abuse. And for those who don’t get it, well, they’re just never going to get it.
Aly was one of the greats of her sport. But as a human being, she has far exceeded all of her many achievements. By being true to herself and the countless others who once lived in the dark, she has provided a light. What a hell of a young woman, and a true hero of any week.
LeBron James ain’t getting Anthony Davis. Or Kyrie. Or Durant. No more team building and very likely, no more title runs for King James.
The Empire Strikes Hack: The big zero of my week is Jussie Smollett. The former star of Empire and any other gig in the foreseeable future.
I feel badly for this kid, who made an absolutely horrible choice and in so doing, has basically thrown away his career. But he did this to himself. And while he may not have stopped to consider the damage his stunt would incur, it’s quite evident. Because the world is divided enough without made up stories of racial attacks. Smollett has affected the wrong kind of change, at a time when we need the right kind, desperately.
His story had me shaking my head as soon as the MAGA stuff came out. I mean, show me the white conservatives who are hanging out in Chicago with rope and bleach at that hour. And please, show me the white conservatives who even know what the show ‘Empire’ is about. Puhleeze. When Al Sharpton chimes in by saying Smollett should be held accountable for making up a racially charged story, you know this thing has become a dumpster fire.
Roger Stone is a meme wrapped in a vine, inside a forgettable joke scrawled on the wall in a men’s restroom.
Me, Myself and Why?- The ultimate diva Antonio Brown just keeps digging himself into a bigger hole. He’s ruined any chances of reconciliation with his current team, and now he’s laying waste to the field as well.
I was willing to give Brown the benefit of the doubt when this whole episode began. His quarterback does come off as a phony, not to mention a diva himself. And his coach does tend to run a loose ship. But Big Ben and Coach Tomlin can’t be blamed for most of the shit Brown has pulled before and since his trade demands. That’s on AB. Brown might yet luck into a marriage with Aaron Rodgers, in spite of himself. But my lasting image of the man has nothing to do with his achievements on the field. Nope, I’ll best remember him for how he accorded himself off it. What a dolt.
Did I dream that whole thing about El Chapo scoring the gig as host of the Oscars?
And finally, a doubleheader to finish up this week’s installment of Heroes. Because the MLB doesn’t offer up the antiquated two games for one ticket price any longer, and it’s one of the many losses us fans have to bear.
Because in the span of a couple weeks, the game lost two of its stalwart members- Frank Robinson and Don Newcombe.
Frank Robinson hit 586 career home runs, which currently places him 10th on MLB’s all time list (7th on mine). He won Rookie of the Year with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956. He won an AL and an NL and a World Series MVP. He was a Triple Crown winner, a Gold Glove winner, a 14 time all star and a two time World Champion. In 1974, Robinson became the first black manager when the Cleveland Indians named him their player/manager. After his playing days, he went on to manage the San Francisco Giants and then the Baltimore Orioles, where he won AL Manager of the Year honors in 1989. He was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1982.
Don Newcombe began his career with the Newark Eagles of the Negro League before being released from his contract in order to sign with Branch Rickey’s Brooklyn Dodgers. Newcombe made his pro debut in 1949, becoming the third black pitcher to pitch in the majors. He proceeded to win 17 games while leading the league in shutouts while helping the Dodgers win the pennant. He won Rookie of the Year honors for his efforts. Newcombe was an integral part of Brooklyn’s first and only World Championship in 1955, when they took down the mighty Yankees in seven games. A year later, he would win twenty seven games and the Cy Young Award.
Newcombe could turn a baseball into a vitamin and make the fiercest hitter swallow it whole. While Robinson could take a one way ticket fastball and quickly turn it into a round trip. Their talent resulted in plenty of hardware, and an abiding respect among their peers. But their baseball lives didn’t stop there. The two men remained inextricably linked to the game they loved until their final days. Today’s players owe a tremendous debt to these two men, one that could never be repaid. Robinson and Newcombe always played down their struggles as young players in a racially divided culture where many still considered them outsiders. They overcame every obstacle and they changed the game for the better. Theirs was the power of dreams come to life. And the passing of these two giants brings to mind a quote by Homer. And what he greatly thought, he nobly dared.
Says it all.