red, white, and BLUES: HOW WE ARE SLOWLY STRIPPING EACH OTHER OF FREEDOM

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“Break free from yourself.”


It has become redundant at this point, but another issue has spiraled out of control regarding President Donald Trump. This time it took place between him and players of the National Football League. This past weekend, he made comments in Huntsville, Alabama before a crowdd of his supporters regarding their protesting on the football field during the National Anthem. And the response was, as you guessed it, swift and wide spread. Because the very next day you saw over 200 players and team owners locking arms and dropping to one knee in solidarity with each other. So the response from those on the opposite side of the the protest say, “Well, we’ll show you by not patronizing football.” And the only issue with that form of protest is the flip side which is to come after you once again. Now as I sit here typing, I can’t help but to be shocked by rights we are taking away from each other. And might ask how are we doing so.

Well, I remember not even a year ago when political commentary Anne Coulter wanted to speak at Berkeley University in California. The uproar over her coming to the campus led to vandalism and rioting. The upheaval caused the event to be discontinued. Then as Colin Kaepernick took his knee to protest police brutality in America, he was ostracized in the same manner as Anne for his freedom of Image result for ann coulter berkeleyprotest. And to me the losers in all this are the American people. Not for going against the two individuals, but the fact that we are willing to attack each other’s rights because we disagree. You may not like what someone says or does, but I was under the impression that as long as no one is being physically harmed what’s the problem. Because we attack everything that is offensive to us, then everyone will be out of jobs. Since what offends us is so broad and ambiguous in our society. What is offensive to you might not be offensive to me and vice versa.

And where does it lead to next. If the people push back against the NFL, and NFL forces players to stop, then what. Now it leaves people on the conservative side open. Because it won’t stop there, it will be this constant ping pong game. And like I said prior, the only people getting hurt are the countless people that represent organizations Image result for freedomsthat don’t make big money who could lose their jobs because of the constant fighting. But that is something that does not seem to sink into the minds of so many people. We hurt those, who for the most part just want to work and make it home to their families. I’m not saying that we should stop giving our opinions, I’m simply saying, everything is not meant to be fighting. What ever happened to the right to be offended. If you don’t like something, disconnect.

And in the end, that is the main problem. People hate to have something they feel passionately about go on deaf ears. But is it real passion, or just a reason to be mad. You never know because no one is honest with how they truly feel. But why are people losing everything they work for because I disagree. I pride myself on being more liberal than conservative. But I am not compelled to boycott someone just because I don’t like what they speak about or protest. We have become our own enemies. With a $700 billion defense budget to protect us against so much, it is internal where the main problems lie today.


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WHEN PERSONAL INTEREST COLLIDE WITH CORPORATE INTEREST

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“Know that you represent them inside and out.”


The above photo is of sports journalist Jemele Hill of ESPN. She recently came under fire for her comments aimed toward President Donald J. Trump. She stated via her Twitter account that she felt President Trump was not only a voice for White Supremacy, but a member of their organizations. It sparked criticism enough to catch the attention of the United States Press Secretary SarahImage result for espn jemele Huckabee Sanders who stated that Jemele’s comments were “fireable.” Even the president himself felt that she should be relieved of her duties for making such comments about him. And it must have struck a nerve with someone because ESPN issued a statement regarding Hill’s comments directed at the president. So they must have really taken issue to the comments that Jemele made to put out a statement. Or was there another reason they decided to issue a statement regarding her (Hill’s) comments.

ESPN is a multinational cable television provider of worldwide sports. And as a company owned by Walt Disney, they are aimed at trying to maintain a certain level of decor on their television programming. Now, Hill has her freedom of speech, but ESPN has the ability to take a stance as well. Meaning that if they truly wanted to, they could fire her. Not on grounds of what she saidImage result for espn because that violates her freedom of speech. But if they feel what she said could cost them in monetary damages then they are in their full right to let her go. Now, those in Jemele’s corner might say she spoke the truth, but here is what you don’t realize. You represent the brand that is ESPN; and while under that brand you have to abide by their rules and regulations. Meaning, if politics are to not allowed then you don’t discuss politics. But if they are allowed , the speech has to be in alliance with company regulatory measures.

It sounds unfair, and it is, but that is what happens when you work for a company. You see, prior, Jemele and her colleague Michael Smith ran a podcast show that became popular. And that popularity opened doors for them in much more lucrative and diverse business environments.But with that bump in exposure comes the rules when playing the game at that level. And what Image result for walt disney company you can say and do on a podcast is not the same as when you are representing a brand like Walt Disney. Yet many still feel she should be able to express herself because it is her rights. And once again, here is where you are put into this weird trick basket which is why people don’t voice their opinions. You can freely say anything you want; but it’s an organization’s right to fire you if you don’t align within their company policies and/or cost them in monetary damages.

And a lot of the sentiment in the sports world is still stemming from the fact that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was shut out of football for choosing to not stand for the national anthem. A move against him that has even sparked protest outside of the NFL’s headquarters in New York City. So with so much going on, it’s no wonder they are trying to distance themselves from her statements. But in the end, Hill is still an employee of ESPN. So for now it’s a waiting game to see the final decision. And as much as I agree with freedom of speech, you have to be willing to also take the lose from a company not willing to continue to do business with you.


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A DYING SPORT: WHY NASCAR CAN’T COMPETE WITH OTHER SPORTS

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“An aging fan base with no real replacements.”


NASCAR is a family owned sporting events organization that governs over auto-car racing series. It has been in existence for 70 years and popularity has held on strong all these years. But with an aging generation, what is to come of NASCAR. Also in combination with the social climate and lack of global competitiveness, NASCAR is a dying sport. Now you might ask yourselves, what do you mean by the social climate, aging fan base, and the lack of competition. From the looks of the audience attendance, socially it looks fine. People are having a good time and getting along just great. And the competition could never be greater. So what am I eluding to that is why the sport could possibly be dying out.

For starters, the social climate of NASCAR that is unlike any other sport. For years, the “image” of NASCAR has been the good ole boys. Whether true or not, Confederate Flags, racial sentiment, and hardcore right wing conservatism has been the face. NASCAR for years have fought against these claims Related imagestating they are in no way shape or form associated with such degradation. Yet, when the CEO Brian France decided to make the move and endorse Donald Trump for president, more questions started to arise. So now, NASCAR has that image, an image no other sport has attached to it. Me, myself, I have never been to an event, nor have I ever seen a NASCAR event, but you just know that image exist. An image which turns you off at a young age.

Well, well, is that the only reason that NASCAR could be dying out. No, another reason is that there is an aging generation associated with NASCAR. The real lovers of NASCAR are so much older, and younger generations are turning to sports like football, basketball, hockey, soccer, and baseball. Who is to keep NASCAR going with so many older fans, and young fans fleeing for something else. Certain well known names synonymous with NASCAR have made the sport popular. But even they are nowhere near the popularity of other sports athletes. This sport makes you feel old when you watch because of the fan base. Everyone seems like my grandfather’s era who loves the sport. Yet, there is still another reason why NASCAR is falling in popularity.

And here is my biggest concern with NASCAR, the lack of global competitiveness. For example, Danica Patrick is great, but is she better than a race car driver in Russia, China, or Italy. Lebron James is great because he not only competes in the NBA, but have competed in the Olympics against the greatest in the world. So when you watch the NBA, you know you’re Image result for global sportswatching the greatest on Earth. And that’s what NASCAR need to do; open up the competitions to a global base. Find the best who do what you do elsewhere, bring them into the loop and then win. Now when people show up, they are given the pleasure of watching the greatest in the world. Right now, you know they’re good, but I know someone elsewhere who can beat you. So what is your greatness really?

And in the end, it all comes down to competition. You would think maybe it’s age, but the fan base who patronize the games of a lot of pro sports is middle age. You might say, what about diversity, but tennis, golf, and hockey are not as diverse, yet more popular than NASCAR. It all comes down to the competition. NASCAR is very isolated from the rest of sports on Earth. The globe competes in everything else: MLB has been known to have global games, Track and Field, NBA, NHL, Wimbledon, PGA, Soccer, even the NFL has Canadian, European leagues, and now, regular season games overseas. Yet NASCAR is left out because they have created an organization of isolation. And the problem with isolation is that it’s dangerous because you kill your ability to grow.


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LEBRON HATE: WHY PEOPLE WANT HIM TO FAIL SO BAD

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“He’s not the first and won’t be the last.”


NBA All-Star Lebron James has been dealing with controversy ever since he decided to leave Cleveland the first time and head to the Miami Heat. Since then, he has returned to Cleveland, yet the hate has still been going strong. And now that he has surpassed Michael Jordan as the all-time leader in scoring in the playoffs, people having been making the comparison. Now, more hate than ever has popped up because he’s being compared to arguably the greatest NBA player in history. So I started to come up with a theory as to why people may have an issue with Lebron being compared to Jordan. And it has to do with two things: his move to Miami and breaking records.

The first issue people have with Lebron and being compared to Jordan is that Jordan never left the Bulls for another team. When he left basketball, it was to go to play baseball and that was for a short stint. Jordan also never asked other athletes for help because he couldn’t win a championship with the Bulls himself. So that move caused a lot of people to not like him also. Nonetheless, he went 2-4 in wins in the NBA finals with the Miami Heat before returning to Cleveland. Then, as he returned, his first year back, he was defeated by Golden State Warriors, then beat them next year. Now, he is in the conversation with the greats. People are still not willing to let go of the Miami move and don’t feel he earned his rings. But another reason for the disdain is the broken records.

We look at Michael Jordan as this deity of basketball, so when Lebron surpassed him, it was major. Lebron has not only broken his playoff point record, but also seems to show no signs of slowing down. We look at Jordan like this unbeatable God that no one in our lifetime could beat, then James comes along and crush. And that’s the hate he receives, he crushed so many belief systems in the impossible. When you think you have witnessed something special and someone comes along and completely kills the idea of the impossible. But people, come on now, records are meant to be broken. Just as Lebron broke MJ’s record, someone will eventually come along to beat Lebron’s records.

See, in the end, Lebron is not the only person to be compared to a past beloved athlete and get rejected. And now James is in the NBA finals and more people want him to lose more than ever. They want him to lose so bad, and it’s sad. Sad, not just because people are routing another man’s failure. Sad because their greatest moment in life might be another man’s misfortune.


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THE PATRIOT AGENDA: WHY PEOPLE REALLY ARE UPSET WITH KAEPERNICK

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“Disrespecting the flag; there has to be more to the hate.”


It has been nearly six months since the end of the 2016 NFL season and quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still without a job. For those who are unaware of Colin Kaepernick, he is an NFL quarterback who last played for the San Francisco 49ers. Colin received adulation from many as he aided in rallying his team to the NFL Super Bowl back in 2013. Although they lost against the Baltimore Ravens 34 – 31, Kaepernick saw himself becoming a prospect among top NFL quarterbacks. But last season in 2016, Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem sighting he was protesting police brutality against minorities. He stated he could not stand and pledge to a flag, which represented freedom while innocent Black men were being killed by cops.

It immediately sent people into a rage. He was receiving everything from hate mail from fans to sportscasters attacking him. But my question is, “Are people really this patriotic?” Because as I walk the streets on a daily basis, I see plenty of opportunities to be patriotic, but people don’t. You walk through the mall and see military recruitment offices. With how patriotic people are being, you would think that recruitment offices are packed. They are not, as a matter of fact, they are having a hard time recruiting in military. Why in a nation where a president just said we need a stronger military is there limited military enrollment. Because no one want to risk their child going into battle over something they may not agree with.

So why not just be honest about how we really feel. Memorial Day was yesterday and we all had flags flying. Gave discounts on food at restaurants, and some people even shook the hands of troops. But on a daily we don’t live that way. So once again, where does the real sentiment over Colin Kaepernick come from in America? I’m sure there is a demographic of people who take issue with Kaepernick, but what is the real reason? To me, I have two positions on why people take issue with Colin. The first is a racial aspect and the other financial.

The reason I say racial is because outspoken Black males have been an issue with a lot of people throughout history. Jim Brown was criticized in the past and now Kaepernick. And it not only is in sports, it extends itself to all sorts of American life. I wonder would the same outcry of emotion come when it’s a popular White player. I have a theory and my theory is such. I feel people want to say, “You shouldn’t even be in your position.” “Be lucky you’re there because if not for sports you probably wouldn’t be doing nothing with your lives.” “I’m sick of Black people talking, shut up do what I say, and leave it at that.” Patriotism is real, but it’s not this real in America. How about another reason to be angry?

That other reason could be financial in America. We are living in society where so many people are stressed from not having their money right. Now this millionaire athlete they feel is complaining, so they are fighting back. I come from the Midwest, and plenty of people are barely surviving. So they are bringing their own financial woes into the equation. To them, they don’t know one moment to the next if they will survive or not, so they need a reason to be upset. A lot of people angry don’t watch football, or don’t even watch the team that Colin plays for in the NFL. So it’s just another aspect of America that gives people the reason to be angry.

In the end, people may have a legitimate reason for not liking what he did, but the level of disdain is not real. It’s not real because we are not this patriotic on this level in our daily society. If it were reflective in our daily lives I wouldn’t mind. But we are also very selective in our fights. We are for what people believe as long as it is for something we like in life. Good is good if it’s good for me. But at this point, I don’t see Colin on a team anytime soon. For now he is in limbo and only time will tell.


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GRABBING LAVAR BY THE BALL: WHY HE SHOULD BE MORE MENTAL AND LESS VERBAL

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“Success comes from mental strategy, not verbal emotion.”


Over the recent months there have been a man in the news whose son is a potential NBA draft pick. His name is Lavar Ball, and his UCLA collegiate basketball playing son is Lonzo Ball.  Lavar has been in the news lately surrounding his parenting style with his sons as well as his business dealings in their lives. Now, I have written about Lavar in the past, and I commend him on his parenting. As a matter a fact I think that most boys, especially young Black boys in inner cities across America could use a Lavar as a father. People say that his sons fear him. Good, a respectable fear of their father. A man preparing them for the world.

My issue is not his parenting, I have an issue with the branding of his son. And it’s not what you think as it pertains to making his son a brand. It has to do with giving too much of yourself away. You give too much to people who are actually in a position to stifle you, before you can actually attempt. How so you might ask? Well, for starters, Lonzo is not a boxer, Lonzo is not a tennis player, and Lonzo is not a golfer. He will be on a team and not a singular athlete. He need to come into the environment, scope out the landscape and then make decisions for business. If anything Lavar should try to encourage his son to hold off on endorsements. And they should be strategist behind closed doors.

Another reason Lavar might want to fall back a little. It has to do with the idea that just because we draft him, don’t mean we have to play him. Your son will be made an example of, which could effect the Big Baller Brand. You as his father want him to play, you lie in the cut and observe the landscape. Then mentor him on what you’re seeing and what moves to make off the court. Lavar is making himself and his intentions way too obvious. You’re giving people who may not want to see you succeed, too many of your golden nuggets. Now, he may not see it as that, but there are ways to keep you from becoming the star on the court. Because if he kills in basketball, then the shoes will sell. But if he is not allowed to play, then he can’t kill, and ultimately the shoes don’t sell and bye bye to Big Baller Brand.

Now you must have a little more strategy. Some People might take that as me bowing down to the system. But it’s not about bowing down, it’s about like I said before; not making yourself obvious. Because if you are telling people your platform before you get the platform, they will systematically stop you from having the platform. So what do you have to do? You have to come in, look around, peep out how things move. See the people who are the movers and shakers. Then manipulate it to work for you and your son. Then you hit with the Big Baller Brand. There are steps to take to be the great thing you aspire to become. But understand, that in order for you to rise, you have to take shares from someone or another entity. So, be ready for the backlash.

In the end, you have to not make yourself or your intentions appear obvious. Lie in the cut, then hit them with the Big Baller Brand. People will feel you not only deserve it, but are willing to patronize. It’s unfair, but America and the world at large is about perception. Perception in business can typically be greater than reality. So play into the perception, with the real intentions. Meaning, Lavar should say, “My son and I have come to a mutual agreement that he won’t be pursuing an endorsement at this moment.” “We’re going to let him come in, feel the game, and go from there.” “We are open to partnerships/joint ventures, but first I want to see how he performs at the next level.” All the while, you’re building the Big Baller Brand from ground level. This way when he hit, you hit on the business side; thus also setting your next two sons who are currently in high school up for greatness via their brother’s platform.


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PAY FOR PLAY: SHOULD THE NCAA PAY ITS PLAYERS?

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“What is wrong with payment?”


The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been a strong organization that has served as a platform which has launched the careers of so many well-known athletes. But the topic in recent years have came up regarding the payment of athletes for their performance in sports. Should they be paid for their skill or shouldn’t they be paid? It makes sense considering how much money the universities and the NCAA make off these athletes. Others say they are receiving a free education so what’s the use of giving them payment as well. Well, let’s observe both sides of the argument and see the point of view from both perspectives.

On the side of paying athletes, a reason to pay athletes is because the value of a college education versus the what they are making the university does not equate. Meaning, an Ivy League education is of the highest value, and that is only a few million dollars. Not a few million dollars per year, but that is the value over the person’s entire career in life. In addition to that, the university is pulling in major television, internet, and endorsement deals, meanwhile athletes make nothing. The athletes are the ones people are coming to see. So why are the main people who are the reason for this monetary gain not being compensated. Even the coaches are pulling in salaries, some of which making 5, 10, even upwards of $20 million in a year as a coach. With all that has been said, athletes typically spend more time playing their sport than going to class anyways, why not compensate them?

But what about the other side of argument. How come athletes are being paid? For starters, paying students to go to school sets precedent where now they are not attending to receive schooling, but income. They are far less inclined to learn anything if you are already on your day job. In addition, paying to play does not translate into anything in the work environment. The majority of athletes will not be going pro in sports, so what job can they get with college athlete on their resume. But an even bigger issue is the competitive nature of recruiting for sports. Whereas prior to payment, Ivy League schools would now start to get in the business of sports. They have more capital than a lot of other schools, so they would dominate given they have such an access of finances. As well as other public and private institutions with much larger endowments; they would monopolize NCAA sports.

In my opinion, even with the the amount of money coming it still would be a problem to pay. And my argument is not them receiving a free education. Why, because an education is not what gets you employment in society. Think of it as baking a cake, a college degree is just icing. Everything that goes into making that cake is you not your education. My issue would be the players with funding to come into the sports game monopolizing the system. Even with an implementation of a sports cap, you would still have New York Yankee style recruiting, out bidding other schools for athletes. So in the end, paying athletes could actually hurt the NCAA. Not just monopolizing, but sports agents would come into play, endorsement companies that serve a system would now be in athletes interest. And athletics would no longer be team sport, rather a chase for dollars. So as irritating as it may seem, paying collegiate athletes could hurt sports competition rather than help.


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