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Sport News USA

Sport News

Tennis: Integrity unit assessing Dolgopolov-Monteiro match (Yahoo Sports)

Aug 12, 2017; Mason, OH, USA; Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) charges the net against Reilly Opelka (USA) during the Western and Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) have confirmed they are looking into a match between Alexandr Dolgopolov and Thiago Monteiro after concerns were raised over suspicious betting patterns surrounding the contest on Sunday. A spokesman for the TIU, the anti-corruption body that covers all professional tennis around the world, told Reuters on Monday that they were making an assessment of the match while also insisting that no formal investigation had been launched. Brazil's Monteiro beat Ukrainian Dolgopolov 6-3 6-3 at the Winston-Salem Open, an ATP 250 event in the U.S., in Sunday's first round match.

Posted: August 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

Rushing, receiving milestones reachable for Harris - Winnipeg Sun

Winnipeg Sun

Rushing, receiving milestones reachable for Harris
Winnipeg Sun
Matt Nichols (KEVIN KING/Winnipeg Sun files). Article. Tweet. Change text size for the story; Print this story. Report an error. Andrew Harris doesn't talk all that much about his goals. On Sunday, however, the dominant Winnipeg Blue Bombers running ...
Steinberg's MMQB: Deciphering the ultra-competitive
Harris on pace to eclipse 1000-yards — on ground and in airWinnipeg Free Press
Nichols, Blue Bombers hand Eskimos first loss of seasonTSN

all 6 news articles »
Posted: August 21, 2017, 2:31 pm

Potomaks want to make Winter Olympics a family affair - National Post

Potomaks want to make Winter Olympics a family affair
National Post
CALGARY — With two daughters trying out for Canada's Olympic women's hockey team, Steve and Jane Potomak are prepared for joy, tears or perhaps both. Sarah, 19, and Amy, 18, would be the first sisters to play hockey for Canada at an Olympic Games ...

and more »
Posted: August 21, 2017, 2:27 pm

NFL signs 3-year deal to stream games in China (Yahoo Sports)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers questions during a season ticket member fan forum before practice at the NFL football team's training camp facility, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The NFL has signed a three-year deal to make its games available through digital streaming in China. Tencent Sports announced on Monday that it has partnered with the league to air live and on-demand select preseason games and Thursday, Sunday and Monday night games. Select Sunday afternoon and all postseason games for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons will also be made available in China, along with non-game league programming like the NFL Draft.

Posted: August 21, 2017, 2:09 pm

Millions of Americans hoping for clear sky while awaiting total solar eclipse (Yahoo Sports)

A woman looks through a telescope on the football field at Madras High School the evening before a solar eclipse in Madras, Oregon, U.S., August 20, 2017. Picture taken August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Redmond

By Steve Gorman and Irene Klotz SALMON, Idaho/MURPHY, N.C. (Reuters) - Millions of Americans equipped with protective glasses are taking positions along a ribbon of land cutting diagonally across the United States to marvel at the first total solar eclipse to unfold from coast to coast in nearly a century. After weeks of anticipation, the sight of the moon's shadow passing directly in front of the sun, blotting out all but a halo-like solar corona, will draw one of the largest audiences in human history, experts say, when those watching via social and broadcast media are included. Some 12 million people live in the 70-mile-wide (113-km-wide), 2,500-mile-long (4,000-km-long) zone where the total eclipse will appear on Monday.

Posted: August 21, 2017, 2:03 pm

LSU officially has new live tiger mascot on campus (Yahoo Sports)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Louisiana State University officially has a new live tiger mascot on its campus.
Posted: August 21, 2017, 1:58 pm

Basketball late-bloomer Angela Bongomin helps Canada's program reach elite levels (Yahoo Sports)

Just 19, Regina's Angela Bongomin already has an impressive basketball resume. In the past two years she has twice represented Canada, winning silver at the U18 FIBA Americas in 2016 and then bronze at the U19 FIBA Women's World Cup last month. This week, she'll add the Summer Universiade to that list as a member of the developmental national team Canada is sending to Taipei City.
Posted: August 21, 2017, 1:43 pm

Pastrnak's Contract Transcends Bruins Internal Budget - The Hockey Writers

The Hockey Writers

Pastrnak's Contract Transcends Bruins Internal Budget
The Hockey Writers
In less than one month the Boston Bruins will head to training camp, kicking off the 2017-18 season. For fans starving for hockey it seems like a lifetime away. Conversely, when viewing the time frame through a David Pastrnak-lens it might as well be ...
NHL's best players under age 25 for 2017: David Pastrnak ranks No. 5 after big season in BostonSB Nation
What We Learned: Bruins have to pony up for PastrnakYahoo Sports
Bean: Bruins putting themselves at risk of Pastrnak offer sheetComcast SportsNet New England (blog)
all 10 news articles »
Posted: August 21, 2017, 1:29 pm

Liberty host Unity Game with Minnesota Lynx (Yahoo Sports)

Tina Charles and her New York Liberty teammates have never shied away from speaking out against social injustices. The Liberty players, along with many others across the WNBA, were vocal last summer in support of the black lives matters movement. On Sunday, the Liberty hosted the first ''Unity Game'' in the WNBA with the Minnesota Lynx.
Posted: August 21, 2017, 1:13 pm

Leafs Are Ready to Contend - The Hockey Writers

The Hockey Writers

Leafs Are Ready to Contend
The Hockey Writers
Heading into last season, when Leafs fans were talking online about Toronto making the playoffs, I paid no attention to it. How was a team that finished dead last in the league just a year prior supposed to think that the playoffs were anywhere close ...
Leafs' Brown expected to give No. 12 to MarleauTSN
Toronto Maple Leafs: Five prospects to watch with the Toronto MarliesTip of the Tower
Toronto Maple Leafs: Eye on the Enemy, Part OneEditor In Leaf
Last Word on Hockey (blog)
all 16 news articles »
Posted: August 21, 2017, 12:49 pm

Dominick Cruz Explains How Conor McGregor Can Beat Floyd Mayweather (Yahoo Sports)

Dominick Cruz Explains How Conor McGregor Can Beat Floyd Mayweather

With only six days remaining until the biggest fight of 2017, Conor McGregor has plenty of people doubting that he can actually hand Floyd Mayweather his first career loss. It stands to reason why Mayweather is such a popular pick amongst fighters, journalists, and other fight experts. Add to that, McGregor is stepping into the ring to face Mayweather in his first professional boxing match.

Posted: August 21, 2017, 12:04 pm

Uber raises Hong Kong fares amid legal tangles (Yahoo Sports)

A taxi is reflected in a window at the office of taxi-hailing service Uber Inc in Hong Kong, China August 12, 2015. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/Files

By Sijia Jiang HONG KONG (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc said it raised its Hong Kong minimum fares on Monday by as much as 80 percent following a review. The San Francisco-based technology company, which recently suspended its services for the second time in the neighbouring Chinese city of Macau, told Reuters the price rises would benefit drivers as they pocketed most of the fares. Starting on Monday, minimum fees for UberX and UberASSIST rides would rise by up to 80 percent to HK$45 (US$5.75).

Posted: August 21, 2017, 11:43 am

Speedskater Charles Hamelin qualifies for fourth Olympics - CTV News

CTV News

Speedskater Charles Hamelin qualifies for fourth Olympics
CTV News
MONTREAL -- Charles Hamelin qualified for his fourth Olympics on Sunday after finishing second overall at the Canadian short track team selections. Charle Cournoyer also qualified for the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang on the men's side while Jamie ...
Short track speed skater Hamelin qualifies for Pyeongchang

all 4 news articles »
Posted: August 21, 2017, 11:21 am

Toronto FC's matches with Montreal will be must-watch: Reds, Impact could do rival considerable damage - Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun

Toronto FC's matches with Montreal will be must-watch: Reds, Impact could do rival considerable damage
Toronto Sun
Another weekend. Another performance that has Toronto FC's dressing room feeling like it's on the cusp of making this run something that supporters — and the league — will look back on decades from now when they talk about all-time great teams. This ...
How Toronto FC recorded one of their biggest wins of the season in ChicagoWaking The Red (blog)
MLS week 24: Toronto FC are setting a new standardFanSided
Toronto FC sends message to rest of MLS with win in
The Globe and Mail -Toronto Star -ESPN FC (blog) -Comcast SportsNet Chicago
all 111 news articles »
Posted: August 21, 2017, 10:29 am

Taiwan's Foxconn to build three ancillary facilities as part of Wisconsin LCD campus (Yahoo Sports)

The logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, is seen on top of the company's headquarters in New Taipei City, Taiwan on March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/Files

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn on Monday said it plans to build three facilities in the U.S. state of Wisconsin for operation as early as next year, as part of a campus housing a $10 billion liquid crystal display (LCD) factory due for 2020. Foxconn, which makes electronics under contract for clients such as Apple Inc, announced its $10 billion plan at the White House in July, saying the LCD plant would occupy 1,000 acres in the state's south east. Foxconn, formally Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, said it will begin by setting up a back-end packaging line, high-precision moulding line and end-device assembly line.

Posted: August 21, 2017, 10:25 am

China's Great Wall confirms interest in Fiat Chrysler (Yahoo Sports)

A worker polishes a Fiat logo during the launch of Chrysler's flagship showroom in Los Angeles November 16, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files

By Brenda Goh and Norihiko Shirouzu SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Great Wall Motor Co Ltd is interested in bidding for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), a company official said on Monday, confirming reports it is pursuing all or part of the owner of the Jeep and Ram truck brands. There has been speculation over Chinese interest in FCA since Automotive News reported last week that an unidentified "well-known Chinese automaker" made an offer earlier this month, triggering a jump in FCA's Milan-listed shares.

Posted: August 21, 2017, 10:13 am

Jays swept by Cubs after 10th inning collapse - Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun

Jays swept by Cubs after 10th inning collapse
Toronto Sun
CHICAGO - For the thousands of Blue Jays fans who made the journey here to see their team in a rare visit to an historic baseball shrine, the memories will be many. For the struggling team they came to support, the Sunday afternoon disaster at Wrigley ...
Inside the Blue Jays' 10th-inning meltdown: GriffinToronto Star
Cubs sweep Jays with 6-5 victory in 10 inningsCTV News
Report: Estrada could stay with Jays after 2017TSN
Chicago Tribune -Times Colonist -Comcast SportsNet Chicago -Arkansas Online
all 269 news articles »
Posted: August 20, 2017, 11:18 pm

Chick is gone. Who will be next for Ticats? -

Chick is gone. Who will be next for Ticats?
Tiger-Cats quarterback Zach Collaros is chased down during second-quarter of Friday night's 37-18 loss to Ottawa. - Cathie Coward,The Hamilton Spectator. Chick. Veteran John Chick, left, was traded to the Edmonton Eskimos Sunday. - Drew Edwards,The ...
Edmonton Eskimos acquire pass rusher John Chick from Hamilton Tiger-CatsEdmonton Journal
COMMENTARY: Trading John Chick hurts, but it's the right move for the
Eskimos acquire John Chick from Tiger-CatsCTV News
all 10 news articles »
Posted: August 20, 2017, 11:07 pm

At The Cult of Hockey: Where the Edmonton Oilers should put Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Edmonton Journal

Edmonton Journal

At The Cult of Hockey: Where the Edmonton Oilers should put Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 30: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93 of the Edmonton Oilers faces off against Antoine Vermette #50 of the Anaheim Ducks in Game Three of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers ...
Top 25 Under 25: #2 - Leon DraisaitlThe Copper & Blue (blog)
Vancouver Canucks: Exploring a Ryan-Nugent Hopkins tradeThe Canuck Way
Leon Draisaitl: Signed for 8 years $8.5 millionRealSport101 (blog)
all 13 news articles »
Posted: August 20, 2017, 11:01 pm

Vintage Photos Of The First Modern Olympics Show That Sports Are Timeless

ATHENS, Greece -- As the world prepares for this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, an exhibition in Greece is taking visitors on a digital journey back to the first modern Olympic Games in Athens 120 years ago.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the Benaki Museum, Costa Navarino Luxury Resorts and the Athens International Airport, and features historic photos taken by German photographer Albert Mayer during the 1896 competitions. Prominent Greek visual artist Eva Nathena, who curated the exhibition, used Mayer’s archived photos in a modern-day video art installation.

The 1896 Games were a turning point in the history of athletic events as they brought together the spirit of ancient times with modern internationalism. German photographer Albert Mayer covered the event as the official photographer of the German athletic team. His photos show athletes, officials and spectators enjoying the games under the Greek sun.

"The first Olympic Games journal made up of Albert Mayer's historic photographs is one of the jewels of the Benaki Museum archives and a valuable testimony" to the games' past, the Benaki Museum director, Olivier Descotes, said in a press release. 

"The documentation of the first Olympic Games in the modern era symbolizes the restoration of the Olympic athletic ideals,” Eva Nathena added. “Visitors will get a chance to come into contact with such unique material and explore the values showcased and their importance in the shaping of modern European thought." 

The exhibition will be held at the “Art & Environment” space in the Athens International Airport from May 16 to Sept. 16, and will also run at the Symbol Hall of Costa Navarino resort, in the region of Messinia, southwest Peloponnese, from April 27 to Nov. 30.

Get a sneak peek of some of the century-old photos featured in the exhibition:

This story originally appeared on HuffPost Greece and was translated into English.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Posted: April 14, 2016, 10:52 pm

Woman Really Needs To Know When This Baseball Game Will End

Spotted at tonight's #Bluejays game. In the 2nd inning! Hang in there, trooper.

— Brad Gagnon (@Brad_Gagnon) April 14, 2016

Baseball games are very long. This is something most fans know when they attend one -- by going to the game, you're forcibly subjecting yourself to nearly three hours of sporadic action, but mostly abject nothingness. It's paced slowly, excitement happens in bites and the players do a lot of standing around. 

One fan attending Wednesday night's Toronto Blue Jays-New York Yankees standoff at Yankee Stadium didn't seem to know what she got herself into. In the second inning of the game, a Bleacher Report columnist at the game spotted a woman in front of him searching "Dumb question - How long does a baseball game last?????" on Trip Advisor. 

Most answers from that 2009 Trip Advisor question peg MLB games at between two to three hours. 

Unfortunately for our bored fan, the actual answer, according to an MLB spokesperson in 2015, is closer to three hours -- 2 hours and 52 minutes to be exact -- and even that's a full 10 minutes shorter than it was in 2014!

Still, that's like, as long as a freaking "Lord of the Rings" movie, and those are always worth the length for the battle scenes. Baseball games have no orcs and elves -- just large men moving monotonously a lot. So of course she wanted the game to end already. 

Let's make one thing clear though: Just because the fan's a woman doesn't mean she was more predisposed to plot her subway ride back home. Because that's not true! MLB says 47 percent of its fan base are women

Here's hoping she at least enjoyed Yankee Stadium's wide array of food options. Or at least, held out until the game's five-run eighth inning. But probably not. The seventh inning stretch exists for a reason: To stand up and realize it's time to go.  

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Posted: April 14, 2016, 10:30 pm

Who Is Shocked Rob Kardashian Is In The New 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians' Trailer?

Bless those of you who were able to make it through the Season 12 trailer for "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and not roll your eyes at the sight of Rob Kardashian. 

The only male Kardashian finally makes an appearance after taking some time away from our TV screens. We're not sure how much money Kris Jenner offered him to make a cameo, but we bet it was enough to afford his engagement ring to Blac Chyna

Lamar Odom also shows up in a serious conversation with Kourtney about prayer. Though there's no sign of Kourt's ex-boyfriend in the trailer, based on his amount of screen time in her Snapchats we'll inevitably see a lot of him. 

We literally can't keep up anymore. 

"KUWTK" premieres May 1 at 9 p.m. ET on E!. Duh.  

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Posted: April 14, 2016, 9:55 pm

10 Things I Learned About the Golden State Warriors

I attended the Golden State Warriors last home game on 4/13/16. Here are 10 things I learned:

1. The Warriors now hold the record for most regular season wins at 73.

2. Steve Kerr, Warriors coach, thought that the previous record held by the Chicago Bulls (he was also on the team at the time) would never be broken.

3. Now Kerr thinks this record will never be broken and hopes folks don't have the expectation that the Warriors will break the record next season.

4. The Warriors had no back-to-back losses all season.

5. Their 24-0 start is also an NBA record, sans Kerr, but with the 35 year old Luke Walton as the coach filling in for Kerr who was recuperating from back surgery.

6. Stephen Curry smashed his own record for 3-pointers in a season with 402.

7. The Memphis Grizzlies, the opponents in the final regular season game also were the victims in the biggest point win, 50, and the smallest, 1.

8. The Warriors swept the Grizzlies 4-0 this season, the first time since the 2007-08 season.

9. The 1 point win over the Grizzlies was the first game decided by a single point this season.

10. The tee-shirt give away says "Not on our Ground Golden State Warriors".

Love, peace, compassion and blessings.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Posted: April 14, 2016, 8:47 pm

Worries Mount Over Potential Link Between Artificial Turf And Cancer

The federal government launched a new effort in February to study health concerns related to synthetic turf, as worries grow about possible cancer risks to the millions of athletes who play on artificial fields across the country.

Now, a former top soccer player who helped convince the feds to investigate the issue says more than 200 athletes have reached out to her after being diagnosed with cancer.

Amy Griffin, a goalkeeper for the U.S. National team that won the first women’s World Cup in 1991, has been informally tracking American soccer players with cancer since 2009, when she noticed a “stream of kids” who’d played soccer on artificial fields were getting sick.

Griffin, now an associate head coach for the University of Washington women’s soccer team, told NBC in 2014 that she’d heard from 38 soccer players who’d been diagnosed with cancer. That tally has climbed to 220 athletes -- 166 of them soccer players.

Of the soccer players, 102 were former goalkeepers like Griffin. They spent more time on the ground and were more exposed to crumb rubber -- the tiny rubber pellets found in artificial turf -- than their teammates.

"I am not making any claims about what is happening with these players,” Griffin said. “But this problem isn't fading. It's going the other way."

"This problem isn't fading. It's going the other way."
Amy Griffin, associate head coach, University of Washington women’s soccer team

It hasn’t been scientifically proven that athletes exposed to crumb rubber have higher rates of cancer than the general population, and the synthetic turf industry insists its product is safe. Research shows that crumb-rubber pellets, made of recycled tires, can contain toxic chemicals, metals and carcinogens, but not necessarily at levels that threaten human health.

But the current lack of scientific consensus on the issue underscores why additional federal research is important. The last time the Environmental Protection Agency studied crumb rubber in 2009, it found potentially harmful substances in the material, but only enough to merit a “low level of concern.”

This year, the EPA said it could no longer stand by that study -- which was limited to four crumb-rubber fields -- and announced a follow-up study with other federal agencies that will evaluate existing research, test different kinds of tire crumb and involve outreach to the public, including athletes and parents.

Existing studies by federal, state and local government agencies “were not designed, nor were they sufficient in size or scope, to draw conclusions about the safety of all fields across the nation,” EPA spokeswoman Laura Allen told The Huffington Post. “They cannot fully answer questions about what if any potential risks might be posed from exposure.”

Griffin acknowledges that her list is not scientific, but says it represents an effort to bolster the anecdotal evidence she’d been seeing with numbers. “When my gut instinct and science starts to match up,” she said, “that’s a scary thing.”

Griffin started keeping her list in 2009, after two goalkeeper friends found out they had lymphoma. Both suspected their illnesses had something to do with those “little black dots” that they played on for countless hours, she said.

“I lived on the stuff,” former UW goalkeeper Jorden Alerding told Seattle’s KOMO News. Aldering is now cancer-free, but Griffin’s other friend who was diagnosed with lymphoma, Austen Everett, died in 2012.

Griffin started seeing more soccer players get diagnosed with cancer. The UW coach would visit patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital with her team, and one year, three of the four patients they visited were child goalkeepers battling lymphoma.

At first, Griffin says, she only documented the cancer cases of people she knew through her work or personal life. But as her efforts garnered attention, other players who had been diagnosed started coming forward. She recorded their name, birthdate, type of cancer, date of diagnosis, status of their condition (in treatment, remission or deceased), the position they played, the locations they played, the number of hours they spent on the field per week and the number of years they spent playing the sport.

Griffin wanted to ensure that the data she collected was as accurate as possible, so she submitted it to the Department of Health to check that the names were also in the agency’s cancer registry.

The majority of the athletes on Griffin’s list have been diagnosed with lymphoma, and the next most frequent type of cancer they’ve reported is leukemia. While the athletes range in age, she says most of them were born in the late-1980s to mid-1990s and were active around the time that turf fields became more common.

Ethan Zohn, a former professional goalkeeper who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2009, has kept a list like Griffin’s. When HuffPost spoke to Zohn in 2014, the majority of the 50 or so players on his list had been diagnosed with lymphoma.

Lymphoma and leukemia are among the most common types of cancer for young adults, according to the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. But the prevalence of lymphoma cases in Griffin’s research was a red flag for David Brown, a public health toxicologist who worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and now serves as the director of public health toxicology for the nonprofit Environment and Human Health, Inc.

“You should never get more lymphomas than leukemias,” Brown told former U.S. Women’s National Team member Julie Foudy in a piece she wrote for ESPN last November. “Leukemias are the most prevalent cancer in that [younger] group, and [Amy’s list] has more lymphomas ... her ratios are upside down.”

The inverted data “signals that there’s a chemical involved,” Brown said.

This is the largest failing of the government I’ve seen in my lifetime. ... A whole generation is at risk.”
Nancy Alderman, president of Environment and Human Health, Inc.

There are currently more than 11,000 synthetic fields at schools and parks around the country. The fields, used by children and professional athletes alike, each typically contain between 20,000 to 30,000 ground-up tires. Mercury, benzene and arsenic are just a few of the potentially harmful chemicals they contain, and older turf fields have also been found to contain higher levels of lead, according to reports from the EPA and California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Advocates of synthetic turf fields say they are more affordable and durable, require less water and maintenance, and stay in better shape longer.

But athletes aren’t sold on them. In addition to the health concerns, many players say that the tough turf leads to more injuries and changes the way the ball moves.

The crumb rubber and plastic grass blades can lead to abrasions and turf burns, and because the fields can reach a hotter surface temperature, athletes are more at risk of overheating and dehydration. On an 82-degree day during a UW summer soccer camp, a thermometer placed into the turf registered over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, Griffin told HuffPost in 2014.

A 2013 survey of top female soccer players found that they were 80 percent less likely to slide tackle on synthetic fields. An overwhelming majority of Major League Soccer players in a different 2013 survey said the crumb-rubber fields would increase the risk of injury and physical discomfort and prolong recovery times. One study suggested that the artificial fields put additional strain on players’ joints and muscles, while another found that the best way to prevent ACL injuries is to use cleats on real grass, not the synthetic version.

In 2014, 40 top women’s soccer players, including U.S. National Team Members Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, sued FIFA for gender discrimination because the 2015 Women’s World Cup would be played on synthetic turf. Every Men’s World Cup since the tournament began in 1930 has been played on natural grass.

“Not only are they long-lasting injuries, but there are long-term effects of playing on turf,” Morgan said. In 2013, U.S. forward Sydney Leroux posted a picture on Twitter showing abrasions she had on her legs from sliding on artificial turf. “This is why soccer should be played on grass!” she wrote.

The players eventually dropped their lawsuit in January 2015 after encountering stiff resistance from the tournament organizers and reportedly being intimidated by soccer federations. In the end, they had to compete on artificial turf.

This is why soccer should be played on grass!

— Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) April 15, 2013

Mounting pressure from communities, advocates and politicians is partly why federal agencies are now conducting new research on artificial turf.

But some worry that the government has already taken too long to act on this issue. “In my opinion, this is the largest failing of the government I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Nancy Alderman, president of Environment and Human Health, Inc. “This is our entire country. A whole generation is at risk.” She pointed to research by her nonprofit that found 12 different types of known carcinogens in samples of crumb rubber.

The scientific community and the federal government have not come to a definitive conclusion about the safety of crumb-rubber fields, however. Until recently, both the EPA and Consumer Product Safety Commission maintained the fields were safe. A 2006 report by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health found that crumb rubber contains many potentially hazardous chemicals, but not in quantities that pose a threat to humans.

Chemicals are simply a part of the world we live in – including the food we eat every day.
Al Garver, president of the Synthetic Turf Council

But in October 2014, NBC News aired a major report about synthetic turf. It was unable to confirm that the material posed a risk to young athletes, but made it clear there were gaps in scientific assessments and explored the possible trends revealed by Griffin’s findings. The Scottish newspaper the Sunday Post reported a “litany of carcinogens” in crumb-rubber turf, and a 2015 USA Today analysis found levels of lead “high enough to potentially harm children” in artificial turf used in schools, playgrounds and daycare centers.

Health departments across the country have also been studying the issue. A 2010 study by the Connecticut Department of Public Health detected potentially hazardous compounds at several artificial fields, but concluded the levels didn’t merit concern. Meanwhile, a 2007 report by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment found that as many as 49 chemicals could be released by tire crumbs, and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services determined that lead dust from some artificial fields could pose “a potential public health concern.”

Meanwhile, the Synthetic Turf Council, which represents the industry, cites tests by scientists as well as state and federal agencies to argue that its product is safe.

“During the past two decades, there have been more than 60 technical studies and reports that review the health effects of crumb rubber as it pertains to toxicities from inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact, as well as cancer,” the council said in a statement. “The preponderance of evidence shows no negative health effects associated with crumb rubber in synthetic turf.”

Michael K. Peterson, a senior toxicologist with the environmental and risk sciences consulting firm Gradient who was retained by the Recycled Rubber Council to study synthetic turf, cautioned against rushing to conclusions based on anecdotal evidence like Griffin’s list.

Chemicals found in recycled rubber “include heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium and nickel, volatile organic compounds such as benzene, and polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons,” Peterson wrote in an email, “but it is critical to examine these using context – since for example, the amount of PAHs in recycled rubber is generally similar to that in natural soil, or grilled foods like steak or chicken.”

Al Garver, president of the Synthetic Turf Council, made a similar argument. “While it is true that recycled rubber has a number of common chemicals present, they are at trace levels, well within consumer protection standards,” Garver said. “Chemicals are simply a part of the world we live in – including the food we eat every day.”

After the federal government announced it would conduct more research on artificial turf, Garver and other leaders in the synthetic turf industry said they welcomed the news. “[We] hope this study will show, once and for all, that these playing surfaces are safe, as has been made clear by the extensive research already available on this issue,” they wrote in an editorial for The Hill.

Some cities have already started to phase out synthetic fields or use alternative materials in place of crumb rubber. Hartford, Connecticut banned crumb-rubber turf in January. Voters in Concord, Massachusetts recently approved a three-year moratorium on artificial turf. New York City stopped installing fields with crumb rubber in 2008, and the Los Angeles Unified School District followed suit in 2009. The Department of Health in Washington state, where Griffin lives, is currently studying crumb-rubber fields, as is California.

Federal agencies expect to release a draft report on their findings by the end of the year.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Posted: April 14, 2016, 7:09 pm

8 Lessons We Can Learn From Kobe Bryant's Basketball Career

The illustrious career of Kobe Bryant has come to an end. After 20 years, five NBA championships, 18 All-Star appearances, four NBA All-Star Most Valuable Player awards, two NBA finals MVPs, one NBA MVP and numerous other accolades and awards, he is clearly one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Despite being a diehard Celtics fan, I admire Kobe and the legacy he built with the Lakers franchise. I've followed his career through the ups and downs, and he's always been a class act. Even through adversity, he showed a tenaciousness that is unparalleled.

People loved to hate Kobe Bryant because of his basketball skills, commitment and dedication to a game that he loved. He was unapologetic about his discipline and what it took to be one of the greatest players to play the game. The media thought he was arrogant. In fact, in a scathing article in Rolling Stone titled "Kobe Bryant: Goodbye to the NBA's All-Time Asshole", it states:

In an NBA where hot-take hero worship, gravitas-laden branding and unbridled dickwaddery thrive, Kobe lies at the intersection of all three. His retirement marks the end of early-Aughts hero-ball, and as such, the end of an era. So perhaps, of all the many magical gifts that Kobe has given us, his greatest legacy is, that upon his leaving, we can now -- at long fucking last -- move on to something better.

Kobe is the master of the game. He built the Lakers franchise on his back. There's no denying this. Like Michael Jordan, he succeeded because of sheer will. He practiced and he denied himself of many things so he could focus on being the best. We have to applaud him for that.

Kobe's basketball career can teach us many things about life. He exemplified greatness and there are many lessons we can take from here. These are just a few.

  1. Commitment: When we pledge to give our all, we don't let anything distract us. Like a marriage through the good times and bad, it's important to remain steadfast. Kobe showed us how committed he was to the Lakers when they were good and even now that they're not so good.

  2. Dedication: When we devote ourselves to a goal or purpose, we don't stop until we've mastered it or realize it's time to quit. Kobe mastered the game and rather than stay until he couldn't play or didn't love it anymore, he walked away. His legacy on the court shows us that we can quit strategically.

  3. Practice: Practice makes perfect. If you want to improve and get better you have to do it over and over again until it becomes second nature. Kobe practiced relentlessly. Through sheer talent, ability and practice he set numerous records in points, free throws and games played.

  4. Discipline: To achieve your goals you have to be disciplined. It requires extreme focus in which you don't allow outside influences to distract you.

  5. Tenacity: You have to be able to keep going even when people and things come against you. Challenges will come, but it's how you deal with them that will determine how successful you become. Kobe endured a criminal case, loss of endorsements and a fall from grace as a model player at one time. Yet, like dust he proved that he could still rise.

  6. Vision: From the time Kobe was a young boy he loved the Lakers. He envisioned that if he worked hard he could be a Laker or a Sixer. He was drafted by Charlotte and traded to the Lakers for the rest of his career. The power of vision will allow you to manifest any dream or idea that you have.

  7. Sacrifice: Success doesn't come easy. It comes with sacrifice. Sometimes that sacrifice can be to our detriment but if properly channeled it can be our greatest reward. I don't know everything he sacrificed, but I'm sure time on the road away from his family and friends took its toll. He lost friends and rivals along the way to become one of the top NBA players of all time. He is hated and beloved because of it.

  8. Determination: It's important that we're purposeful about the things in life we desire. Kobe was so determined to play in the NBA that he skipped high school. He knew that if he were drafted he would do everything in his power to be the best. He set a goal and put a plan in place to accomplish it.

Kobe Bryant, a legend, a role model, who with the epitome of grace and class, left the game after leaving it all on the floor every night for the last 20 years. He left us with numerous memories of great basketball games and showmanship. He taught us a lot about the game, but mostly about what it takes to be the best. You will be missed Black Mamba. Salute!

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 7:00 pm

How the Warriors Were Empowered


Great teams have one thing in common. Every player shares the same vision of team destiny. At the beginning of this year's NBA season the members of the Golden State Warriors had one solitary vision -- win back-to-back NBA Championships.

However, for the past month a new collective thought surfaced -- set the all-time regular season record of 73 victories.

Eventually this vision of 73 wins became indelibly etched into the subconscious mind of each member of this great team. "Could they do the improbable?" their fans pondered. This secondary vision started to wake each of them up in the morning and put them to bed at night. Winning is why they practiced and why they took care of themselves physically, mentally and technically.

The best basketball team I ever witnessed was the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. I watched from season ticket seats at every home game at the United Center. The Michael Jordan-led Bulls set the NBA record for wins, finishing the season 72-10. They became the first team to ever win 70 regular season games, easily finishing first overall in their division, conference, and the entire NBA. Most thought this record was untouchable. The experts said, "72 wins will never be broken."

How did the Warriors accomplish such a feat?

During all 82 regular season games you would hear no gossip from their locker room. There was no envy or jealousy, even with their amazing teammate Stephen Curry receiving the most notoriety and acclaim. No racism, prejudice or malice was evident or witnessed. There were no rumors or assumption thinking. Management was not second-guessed, even when head coach Steve Kerr took a sick leave and inexperienced assistant coach Luke Walton took the reins. In fact, under Walton's guidance the team went 39-4. Kerr received "official" credit for the wins and Walton's record would be 0-0 for the year. However, Walton had no negative thoughts or complaints about it (Luke did receive Coach of the Month for October/November).

Words like opportunity, focus, discipline, hard work, relaxed, confidence, details, fight, teamwork, and aggressive were all sprinkled in the player's daily media interviews. Enjoyment was a word not spoken, but showcased. It was evident throughout the season, as their superstar leader Curry was cool, playful, relaxed and poised through it all. You could see how he loved the nuances of game. His team followed suit.

Twelve men prepared themselves mentally, physically and technically to be their best version of excellence each and every night. On April 13, 2016 the Warriors defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 125-104 to capture the improbable.

73 wins is now a reality!

First off, Golden State is extremely athletic and talented. Although there are many components needed for greatness in addition to talent, all great teams possess these three.

Each team member understands and accepts their role within the team scheme. They know what they do well and what challenges them. As the opponent's defense or offense adjusts, Golden State players adjust according to their responsibility. They know who will take out the ball on the side in the last few seconds of play. They know who can and will bring the ball up court. They know when and how to switch defenders on defense. They know who to block out for a defensive rebound. They know and accept their responsibility.

Each player knows the role of the others on their team. They know and respect the coaches for identifying each role in order to win as many games as possible. Staying within these responsibilities wins games. Players know this.

Andre Iguodala knows his role. As the 2015 Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals, he knows that he needs to bring high energy and instant offense off the bench. In fact, he was the first player to garner last year's honor without starting every game. As All-Star teammate Draymond Green says, "Andre's a pro's pro. That's why we're champions."

Members of great teams are responsible for being in the moment. This just doesn't happen for an entire season. Each person is responsible for learning from the past and then burying it. They prepare for the future, then mentally return to perform in the "Now," where the Zone resides.

Does your team have well-defined responsibilities identified, practiced and honed? If you are the coach, have each team member write their responsibilities, as you make your list of what you believe them to be. Are these lists congruent? Finally, does your team spend more time in the future, present or past? Assess the collective thought by listening and observing more carefully.

Champions spend more time in the present.

Each player has the authority to do certain things on the court in different situations, conditions and circumstances. They also know what they DO NOT have the authority to do. When the game is on the line, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green definitely have the authority to shoot the ball behind the 3-point arc. Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Marreese Speights, and Anderson Varejão DO NOT.

Each player has the personal authority to monitor his own thoughts on and off the court. Taking personal authority over one's mind is the mark of a champion team member. The collective mental inventory will showcase the eventual winners and losers before the game begins and while it's being played.

Who has check writing authority in your company? Who can leave early? Who can work from home? Which team member can speak for the team? Who has authority to take the company database home? Hopefully, nobody does. Discuss authority openly with all new hires and even reiterate this to your veterans.

Management fails most in the area of accountability. Leaders give responsibility and authority, but DO NOT always holds people accountable.

Great leaders hold everyone accountable. Period.

The Warriors hold their players accountable on and off the court. More importantly, the culture of the team is built on the players holding themselves accountable. "They are empowered," echoes Coach Kerr. Holding yourself accountable for your actions and or non-actions bolsters cohesiveness, togetherness and team unity.

Negativity is banished through accountability. Thinking and or acting like a victim or a judge after a poor team or individual performance will relegate teams away from the top of their profession. No victims or judges on the Warriors' roster. Holding yourself accountable, while objectively evaluating your performance regardless of the outcome, is the mark of a consummate pro.

Check your team for accountability. Of course, accountability starts at the top and head coach Steve Kerr (member of the great 95-96 Bulls that won 72 games) holds himself accountable for player's minutes on the court, one-on-one match-ups, overall strategy, and minute-to-minute tactics.


Responsibility, authority and accountability are the three legs of empowerment. Each team member must have all three; otherwise the stool will wobble, causing undue stress, imbalance and uncertainty. Once the legs are balanced, confidence soars and finally one can reach his or her highest level.

The Golden State Warriors gave each player the responsibility, authority and accountability to prepare, adjust and evaluate their own performances. This spawned empowerment, which led to the all-time record of 73 wins in a single NBA season.

Is your team empowered? Review your team members and evaluate the three legs of empowerment.

A team is only as great as the thoughts each person has alone.

Three things happen when a team is empowered.

  1. Players feel they are an integral part of something greater than themselves.

  2. Players feel they are appreciated for their contribution to the whole.

  3. Performance increases.

Congratulations Golden State Warriors! You had a vision and you turned it into reality. You were extremely disciplined. You were focused like a hungry cheetah. Never losing back-to-back games this season was remarkable and it showcased your confidence, toughness and resilience. And you were so cool in winning 73 games. Even when things looked grim in close games, you never lost your poise. Your jaws were unhinged and bodies were relaxed, especially when the money was on the table. Seeing Stephen Curry being playful in warm-ups and poised in crunch time was something to be remembered.

Lastly, Golden State, you know the zone. You wore it like an overcoat. Celebrate briefly as the postseason begins. Get back to work and finish what you started in September -- winning a back-to-back NBA championships.

Stay in the Zone.


P.S. If you missed Kobe Bryant's last game, you missed one for the ages. After 20 years of wearing the purple and gold of the LA Lakers, Kobe gave the star-studded crowd one last Zone performance. With the sold-out arena watching his every move, the Black Mambo dropped a staggering 60 points on the Utah Jazz. It was the highest individual point total of the NBA season. As he threw down the microphone after speaking to his thousands of fans after the game, he said with a smile, "Mamba out!" and then the 18-time All-Star confidently walked out of the arena. Zone greatness left the court for good.

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 6:29 pm

Breaking Down UFC on FOX 19: Teixeira vs. Evans

Two former title challengers will headline this weekend's UFC on FOX card (8 P.M. EST, FOX), as light heavyweights Glover Teixeira and Rashad Evans collide in the main event, live from the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay on April 16.

Teixeira (24-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC), a heavy-handed boxer with loads of punching power, has won two straight bouts. And if his last two performances are anything to go by, Teixeira has returned to elite form after dropping a pair of decisions in 2014.

Evans (19-4-1 MMA, 14-4-1 UFC), who is a former light heavyweight champion, predominantly relies on his wrestling pedigree. A winner on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter, Evans earned his first UFC title shot in 2008, after knocking out Chuck Liddell, Teixeira's mentor. But a recent string of injuries kept Evans out of the Octagon for the better of two years, before he made his return in October 2015 in a losing effort to Ryan Bader.

Recently promoted to a five-round fight, this bout is likely to start slow, as both Teixeira and Evans will be hesitant to avoid mistakes. And while they'll spend the better part of the first round establishing range, Teixeira will eventually start to pressure forward to close distance.

Evans will back peddle, employing counter punches and kicks to keep Teixeira at bay. But with the Brazilian stalking forward, the two will end up in the clinch, near the cage, where Evans will be tempted to bring the bout to the ground, but will avoid the mat out of respect for Teixeira's jiu jitsu game.

The fighters will then trade close-range strikes and underhooks against the fence. And, eventually, Teixeira will find an opening to stop the fight via technical knockout.

Co-main event: Rose Namajunas vs. Tecia Torres

Four months after an impressive main-event performance against Paige VanZant, former strawweight title challenger Rose Namajunas is back in action, looking to avenge a 2013 loss to Tecia Torres.

Namajunas (4-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), the UFC's number-three ranked 115-pound fighter, has looked exceptional in her last two UFC appearances. Her technical mastery of both the striking and grappling games has positioned Namajunas as one of the most intriguing figures at strawweight. She not only controls the Octagon, but Namajunas has a knack for finishing fights.

Conversely, Torres (7-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC), a karate-style fighter who trains at American Top Team has never finished an opponent, despite her unblemished record.

Torres does possess a refined kicking game, but it's a lack of finishing power and instinct that has kept her out of the title picture.

Both women will come out patiently and try to establish range. And while Torres will keep Namajunas at bay for the first frame, Namajunas will eventually find her opening to land some damaging shots.

But don't expect a finish here. Rose Namajunas takes the bout via decision.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Darrell Horcher

It's been two years since Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) last fought. The UFC's number-two-ranked lightweight has battled a series of knee and rib injuries since he thoroughly dominated current champion Rafael Dos Anjos in 2014. His comeback fight, which was originally scheduled as a main event against top contender Tony Ferguson, will now take place against late-replacement Darrell Horcher (12-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), a regional champion who will make his Octagon debut.

For Nurmagomedov, the key has always been his wrestling. The Russian national is widely considered one of the best grapplers and takedown artists in the mixed martial arts game. His strength, power, and top control are unparalleled in his division.

Horcher, who has won five straight bouts, stepped up on short notice after Ferguson was declared medically unable to compete. The former Cage Fury Fighting Championship titleholder is a solid prospect, but not quite at the same level as Nurmagomedov. And the difference will show in Tampa.

Look for Nurmagomedov to come out slow and eventually set up his takedowns with strikes. And while Horcher will be able to return to his feet from time to time, Nurmagomedov will keep the bout on the ground, where he will eventually land the TKO, probably by ground and pound, in the second round.

Cub Swanson vs. Hacran Dias

A pair of top-ten featherweights kick off the main card, as veteran Cub Swanson takes on Brazilian Hacran Dias.

Swanson (21-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC), a well-rounded grappler and striker, returns to the Octagon after a yearlong layoff. The California native has taken his time to make a comeback after two straight losses, and upcoming opponent, Dias (23-3-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC), is a stiff test.

Dias, who trains out of famed gym Nova Uniao, has won two straight bouts. His combination of boxing, muay Thai, and grappling make Dias a legitimate threat to finish the fight any time.

As this is Swanson's comeback fight, look for him to start slow, allowing Dias to control much of the action early on. And while Swanson will eventually find his rhythm, it will be too late. Dias takes the decision.

Michael Chiesa vs. Beneil Dariush

Headlining the UFC on FOX under card (6 P.M. EST, FOX Sports 1) is a pair of ranked lightweights.

Michael Chiesa (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), a wrestler who won The Ultimate Fighter in 2012, returns to the Octagon on the heels of two straight wins, and for his stiffest challenge to date, he'll face seventh-ranked Beneil Dariush (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC), a Brazilian jiu jitsu wunderkind.

Dariush, who has won five-straight contests, is a formidable grappler with an improving striking game. But against Chiesa, Dariush will need to employ his BJJ submission game off of his back, as the wrestler is likely to bring the fight to the ground and control position.

A important bout for both fighters, this contest will be scrappy and action-packed, with both athletes controlling the pace at times.

And while Dariush has looked phenomenal during his UFC run, the bigger and stronger Chiesa will emerge victorious here. Chiesa takes the decision in a likely candidate for ""Fight of the Night" on account of his takedowns, top position, and submission attempts.

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 6:15 pm

Why 'Mamba' Showed Us That With Great Power And Love For The Game, Comes Hate


The higher you get to the top, the more haters you accumulate.

You shouldn't let this stop you to achieving your greatness.

What Kobe Bryant has taught us over the last several years is what entails the true heart of a champion.

Although the Black Mamba faced many struggles, many challenges that did not go according to his way, many followers who loved to hate him; this only motivated Mamba to get better, to prove them wrong, and keep going despite what their opinions, hateful words, or negative comments were said.

We all have an 'inner Mamba' that we must tap into.

I salute, Kobe Bryant, the black Mamba.

Thank You for not only providing years of athletic performance of what true basketball, sportsmanship, and love for the game entails, but doing it on your own. When the fans let you down, when your teammates let you down, you still showed your greatness.

When people let him down, he still had faith in his one true passion, that Spalding basketball that never let him down. His love for this sport and the game never let him down. Because people will come and go like seasons, his focus and determination never swayed.

Kobe showed us that haters will hate. This shouldn't stop you. Intimidate you. Or conquer you. All he was focused on was slaying on the court.

Mamba used this as motivation to better himself and the game. Slay away, Mamba.

You know you're becoming successful once people start talking about you, either in a good or bad light. You have to get used to it. You can't do anything about it and shouldn't pay any attention to it as the great Mamba did because in the end they will love you for it anyways, even though they've loved to hate you after all these years.

It is better to be feared than loved because once Mamba steps off the court, all the haters will embrace him with respect, and show their love and support, that he finally deserves.

It's better to not be liked for trying to reach your goals, because you're going to reach them anyways, and those same followers and haters will still be watching.

So give them something to watch, show them that you are great; that you didn't let what they said get to your head.

1. Let the haters hate.

Just do you. After all, they will still be there, watching you as you climb to the top of the mountain and finally ask, how you did it.

2. Resist the temptation to respond to these haters.

You've got a chip on your shoulder. The only way you should respond or act is by improving yourself daily. The only person you should try to compare yourself or be better than is yourself.

Mamba proved this time again as he was on that court, day in and day out, bettering himself, while the haters were still talking.

So you miss a few shots here and there. So you had a bad game. So you don't win a championship one year, and they call you a failure. So what? Everybody fails. Mamba fails. But he overcame his struggles through hard work that he would better prepare himself and get his championship next time.

Michael Jordan once said, I have failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. You shouldn't let failure or haters stand in your way.

3. Don't settle for anything less than great because a true champion always wants more.

Mamba didn't settle for one championship. He kept going. Until banners after banners were hung at the Staples Center.

To have the heart of a lion and a true champion, you cant be complacent with one or two wins, you must keep going.

This is what separates the good from the great from the legendary.

Legends will never stop, until age and health permits of course.

To be the legendary, Wilt Chamberlin, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kareem, etc., you have to attain the desire to want more. More wins. More championships.

Despite what the haters will say, you have to keep going because time is on your side.

When you make it big, those same haters will focus on any negative aspect of your life, probably tell you that they can do what you did too.

Do so good, that they will only be talking about your accomplishments in the end.

Do so good, that they will only be respecting you in the end.

Do so good, that they will only be thanking you in the end.

Be the Mamba.

Thank You, Mamba. You were great. We appreciate you.

Thank you to the haters that kept Mamba driven. With or without you, he was still going to climb to the top of that mountain because Kobe was an unstoppable, born and bred legend.

Thank You, Mamba for making us appreciate the haters because without them, you would still be great.

Thank You, Mamba, for forever changing the game.


LA native Angela Mujukian is a Medical Student at St. George's University, Elite Daily Campus Ambassador, and Jedi. When she's not being a Wizard on the wards, or doing research at Cedars-Sinai, she is co-authoring the best-selling book series and movement, 20 Beautiful Women: Volume 3 Edition. Graduate of UCLA, earning a B.A in English, Angela is trained by the LA Times as a News Reporter/Viewpoint Columnist for Daily Bruin. Tackling her dreams one patient or blog post at a time to make the world a better place. Angela's gift of tenacity, strong-will, and a refuse-to-lose attitude distinguishes her as an unstoppable force.

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 6:09 pm

ESPN's Bomani Jones: A Leading Voice Against Racism in Sports

In a society that can feel overly divided by politics and ideology, the quest for common ground and compromise is often a virtue -- one that we as Native Americans prioritize as we work to strengthen and fortify our communities. However, when we think beyond our day-to-day work and consider enduring moral principles of equality, there can be no compromise. In the fight against bigotry, we must instead aim for steadfast consistency, even if it makes some people uncomfortable.

This truism -- embodied by the great civil rights leaders throughout history -- was most recently put on public display by ESPN's Bomani Jones. An outspoken critic of racism in sports, Jones recently appeared on television wearing a t-shirt illustrating the hypocrisy of professional sports declaring its general opposition to bigotry, while promoting symbols like the Cleveland's so-called "Chief Wahoo" that caricature and insult Native Americans.

Jones' move to spotlight the Cleveland Indians follows similar arguments he's made about Washington's professional football team. Echoing the themes of the "Change the Mascot" campaign, he has pointed out the hypocrisy of the NFL depicting itself as a force against racism, while also promoting, marketing and profiting off a dictionary-defined racial slur.

ESPN, Major League Baseball and the NFL are feeling the heat from Jones' points. They and so many other powerful leaders and institutions tied to professional sports no doubt want to have the flexibility to publicly stand against bigotry only when it happens to be convenient -- that is, when it does not make those with a vested interest in the status quo too uncomfortable.

That discomfort, though, reflects how a society that rhetorically honors the ideals of equality still unfortunately accepts some forms of bigotry. When that society is forced to look in the mirror and see that contradiction, some get angry and some want to look away. In the case of Jones, his superiors asked him to zip up his sweatshirt to hide his illustration of the hypocrisy.

There is no small amount of irony in some of the negative responses that flooded ESPN's comment boards, many of which centered on the "racist" nature of Jones' shirt. A central argument by those supporting offensive mascots has been that calls for change are examples of political correctness run amok. Yet these same opponents cry foul when the shoe is on the other foot or, in this case, the wrong shirt is on a black man's back.

For many of us, though, Jones offers an important and laudable model. We see the effort to illustrate the continued struggle with bigotry -- and the inherent double standards at play -- as a positive step that can help us move toward fixing the situation. America can, for instance, stop promoting symbols that disparage Native Americans.

Cleveland's city council, for instance, recently declared that its public property will no longer be a place to display the baseball team's logo. The NFL could take similar steps to force its Washington franchise to change its name.

Critics of such initiatives accuse proponents of stirring up racial resentments. The idea is that it is somehow a virtue to make the fight against bigotry selective, thereby appeasing the status quo and not offending too many people. The truth, though, is the opposite. As Bomani Jones has shown, the only way to successfully and credibly combat racism is to be consistent -- and to speak out against it wherever it emerges, even if powerful forces would rather us remain silent.

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 5:52 pm

The Only Place Where This Paralyzed Olympic Swimmer Feels 'Disabled'

In the late '90s, swimmer Amy Van Dyken was one of the greatest in her sport. She won Olympic medals, broke world records and earned a host of athletic accolades throughout her career. Even though Van Dyken retired from professional swimming in the year 2000, she was never far from a pool.

But more than just being a place where Van Dyken excelled athletically, the pool also served a spiritual purpose for her, as she explains to "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" on this weekend's episode.

"The pool was my sanctuary," she says. "It was the place where I found myself, it was the place where I could get away from everything."

Then, an ATV accident in 2014 left Van Dyken paralyzed from the waist down. While she survived the trauma and completed months of rehabilitation, the swimming pool has since taken on a completely different meaning for the 43-year-old.

"Now, it has become a place that I just don't want to be," Van Dyken says. "I feel paralyzed there. I don't feel paralyzed any other time.

"I know I have a disability," she continues. "I get really good parking, but other than that, it's just getting into this pool that makes me feel disabled."

Van Dyken opens up more about her life since her accident on Saturday's "Oprah: Where Are They Now?", airing at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

Related: Heather Mills plans to break another skiing record at the next Paralympics

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 5:37 pm

Report Tells FIFA To Protect Human Rights Or Move World Cup From Qatar

International soccer's governing body needs to improve its practices for protecting human rights or consider moving the 2022 World Cup from Qatar, an independent report from Harvard professor John Ruggie recommends.

The report, which was commissioned by FIFA and released Thursday, comes as Qatar faces mounting international criticism for its treatment of migrant laborers who are working on World Cup-related construction projects.

Amnesty International recently interviewed more than 200 migrant workers to document human rights abuses at these construction sites. The global human rights group criticized FIFA for not pressuring Qatar to implement promised reforms, leaving intact a labor system that other groups have likened to "modern slavery."

Ruggie's report also holds FIFA responsible for protecting human rights.

"FIFA is not solely responsible for solving these problems where the actions of others are the primary cause," he stated in a release that accompanied the report. "But it must use its influence to address these human rights risks as determinedly as it does to pursue its commercial interests."

"Where FIFA is unable to reduce severe human rights impacts by using its leverage, it should consider suspending or terminating the relationship," Ruggie recommended.

Ruggie, who helped develop the United Nations' human rights standards, makes a series of recommendations for how FIFA should proceed. He also praised the organization for its initial steps in this effort, including the decision to commission an independent report.

But FIFA needs to follow through, he said, and should adopt a "clear and coherent" human rights policy, promote a cultural shift within the organization toward respect for human rights, and ask human rights experts to join its newly-created independent governance committee. 

FIFA should also "include human rights within its criteria for evaluating bids to host tournaments and should make them a substantive factor in host selection."

The persistence of Qatar's oppressive labor system and concerns that thousands of workers could die on World Cup projects has already earned the country plenty of negative press. But Ruggie's report also mentions problems with other World Cup hosts, including anti-LGBT laws and migrant worker abuses in Russia, which will host the 2018 World Cup. He also warns that events like the World Cup can "displace communities from their lands and livelihoods without due process and adequate compensation," a practice that occurred near 2014 World Cup venues in Brazil.

“FIFA is fully committed to respecting human rights,” new FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a release. “This is an ongoing process and of course challenges remain, but FIFA is committed to playing its part in ensuring respect for human rights and to being a leader among international sports organizations in this important area.”

FIFA needs to take immediate action to protect workers in Qatar, said Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, which has repeatedly called for labor reforms in the country.

"This report makes clear that FIFA must act decisively," Burrow said in a statement. "The system of modern slavery for migrant workers, the absolute denial of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, the poverty wages and the deep discrimination encountered by those who are delivering the huge 2022 infrastructure program is completely out of step with the requirements that Professor Ruggie has highlighted."  

"This report represents a major challenge for FIFA," she added, "and it also gives an opportunity for Qatar to comprehensively reform its medieval labour laws and thus retain the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup."

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 5:27 pm

First Female Head Athletic Trainer in Major Professional Sports, Sue Falsone, Tells Us How to Innovate the Physical Therapy Field

Recently, Lauren Jarmusz -- a Doctor of Physical Therapy Student at Northeastern University graduating in May 2016 -- and I interviewed Sue Falsone, who is nationally and internationally recognized in the field of sports medicine and physical therapy. Sue holds the distinction of being the first female head athletic trainer in any of the four major sports in the United States (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA). Her impressive professional experiences include: Vice president of Performance Physical therapy at Athletes' Performance, head athletic trainer of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and head of athletic training and sport performance with U.S. Soccer's Men's National Team. Sue is a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy (SCS), a certified athletic trainer (ATC), certified orthopedic manual therapist for the spine (COMT), a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) through Yoga Alliance. See our interview below:

Marquis Cabrera: What do you believe are some persistent problems impeding innovation in the physical therapy field?

Sue Falsone: Turf wars, which stem from insecurity. It is hard to be innovative and elevate your field when the major playmakers are in court fighting turf wars. Acupuncturists are trying to stop physical therapists from dry needling. Chiropractors have tried to stop physical therapists from manipulating. Physical therapists have tried to stop Athletic Trainers from billing for services. There are plenty of patients to go around, and there are bigger health care issues in this country. Needless fighting over who owns what technique gets healthcare as a whole nowhere.

Lauren Jarmusz: How do we create interprofessional healthcare collaborations between musculoskeletal providers?

Sue Falsone: Manual therapy techniques will never be outsourced to a computer and that musculoskeletal providers will always have a flow of patients and in order to maximize clinician's skill sets and elevate the professions, they need to learn to work together. acupuncturists, physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers and massage therapists should be working together to provide integrative care. Financially, it makes more sense for clinicians as well.

Traditionally, one clinician will not get reimbursed by insurance for more than about 30 minutes of care, (this is a broad generalization and is dependent on the health care company and state of practice) however, many patients would benefit from more than 30 minutes of hands on care. By working together, interdisciplinary musculoskeletal health clinicians would have the ability to increase the volume of patients they see by "splitting up the work" all the while providing patients with the care they need. For instance, a patient may see four providers each for 20-30 minutes. One provider doesn't have the time to provide all the treatment techniques a patient may need, but in a collaborative care model, the patient has the ability to receive all the care at need utilizing all clinicians on the team. It is a win-win situation for both the patient and the team of clinicians.

Lauren Jarmusz: What do you think of the move towards preventative based care versus reactive care in the physical therapy space?

Sue Falsone: I love it! It is the only way to go. We will never control health care costs as a country by being reactive. We must be proactive and reward those for doing so. Dentistry has done it for ages. If you have dental insurance and need a cleaning, it is usually covered 100 percent. If you need a root canal, you are going to need to pay more money. Premiums are low. Preventative care is rewarded. It incentivizes the patient to stay on top of the bi-annual cleaning visit. Medical care, including physical therapy, should move to that model.

Marquis Cabrera: Do you think an annual physical exam for muscles and bones designed for the general public would increase patient education and decrease prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and diseases?

Sue Falsone: Absolutely! Small problems turn into big problems when left alone. I believe that direct access for physical therapists for musculoskeletal issues is a must in all 50 states.

Physical Therapists are trained to identify red flags: life threatening conditions or conditions that should not and cannot be treated by physical therapists. If a patient is experiencing back or knee pain, their first stop should be a physical therapist, not their primary care physician. Not only would this cut down on healthcare costs by cutting out unnecessary medical visits, but it assists with making the entire healthcare system more effective. By cutting out unnecessary visits, PCPs have more time to see the patients they should be seeing, and patients receive the care they need quicker than having to work through the entire medical system.

Taking it one step further, patients should not only being seeing physical therapists when they have a musculoskeletal problem -- such as neck, back, or knee pain -- but going for regular check-up to prevent these unfortunate aches and pains. As the rest of the healthcare system is learning, preventative care is much cheaper than reactive based care, and physical therapists should be playing a part in preventative neuromusculoskeletal care.

Marquis Cabrera: It seems as if regular preventative musculoskeletal care exams are commonplace for elite athletes, and is imperative for their optimal athletic performance, do you think the same techniques could be applied to the general public?

Sue Falsone: Yes! Any techniques used with athletes can be applied to the general population and are extremely effective. Many times people assume athletes only utilize crazy high level training techniques, but in actuality, my training techniques focus around basic mobility, stability, flexibility and power and strengthening training foundations. These are techniques that everyone, not only athletes, would benefit from. All manual therapy techniques that I utilize are applicable to the general public. I never base my treatments on whether a patient is an athlete or not. They are based on each patient's individual diagnosis and dysfunctions. Therefore, I may be using the exact same training or manual therapy techniques on an athlete as well as a non elite athlete, so yes, I think the same techniques/ exams could be applied to the general public and be very effective.

Lauren Jarmusz: Do you believe the traditional paradigm of PT care will transition from "treating a patient and hoping to never see him/her again for that specific injury" to a model, similar to athletic training, in which a PT would work with a patient throughout his/her life on all aspects of musculoskeletal care.

Sue Falsone: Absolutely. Why should we see people for two visits a week for four weeks then send them on their way? Once a week for two months or every other week, or even monthly, is a better way to manage long term, chronic, recurrent pain that is epidemic in our country. However, the greatest limiting factor from allowing this paradigm shift to occur is public awareness. In order for this shift in care to take place, we need to educate the public.

Lauren Jarmusz: In my experience as a student physical therapist, I have found that the general public doesn't understand that PTs are not just a "massage therapist." How can we create a more positive stigma around the role of a physical therapists to laypeople?

Sue Falsone: James Dunning makes a great point here, he has said that physical therapists may have specialization, but they do not have specialized titles. From a physician standpoint, the lay person knows, if they hurt his/her arm, he/she should go to an orthopedist. If his/her leg is numb, he/she should go to a neurologist. If a person has cancer, he/she should go to an oncologist. In all three of these scenarios, a patient would most likely be referred to see a "physical therapist", but the type of physical therapist would not be specified.

Physical therapists, like MDs, have specialties in orthopedics, sports, geriatrics, oncology, women's health, pediatrics, cardiopulmonary, and neurology, amongst others. Therefore, patients with a certain ailment should be referred to and aware of the proper type of Physical Therapy. The way the system is set up now, physical therapy is such a broad term and does not necessarily explain exactly what one health care provider does compared to another. The first follow up question to "what do you do" after someone says "I am a doctor" is "oh, what kind?" This simple follow-up question would benefit the physical therapy profession greatly.

Marquis Cabrera: You have traveled and trained around the world. What aspects of physical therapy/ athletic training/ health and wellness lifestyle techniques/treatments utilized in other countries should the U.S. adopt?

Sue Falsone: The rest of the world is able to read and interpret English based studies, however, many of us in the U.S. only speak one language and therefore it is more difficult to determine the efficacy and quality of non-english based research. I think the U.S. is missing out on a lot of innovative and effective neuromusculoskeletal techniques because of our hesitancy to trust studies not conducted in the U.S.

Lauren Jarmusz: As the first female to hold the position as head athletic trainer in any of the four major sports, was there one specific personal dogma or passion that drove your success in a male dominated industry?

Sue Falsone: I just had very strong female role models growing up. I never even considered gender being a reason I could or could not do something. My success did not come easy. It required 20 years of hard work consisting of numerous hours of volunteering and non-glamorous jobs that allowed me to work and connect with some of the industry's leading contacts. I have worked 100 hour weeks and traveled a ton. It's about knowing what you would be willing to sacrifice!

Lauren Jarmusz: What advice would you give to a student PT seeking to do something non-traditional in the physical field?

Sue Falsone: Meet as many people as you can. Be prepared to volunteer your time and enjoy the volunteer aspect. Don't focus on your barriers because they are always there. Focus on your opportunities.

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 5:19 pm

Five Mental Obstacles That Prevent Sport Success


In my last post, I introduced you to my Prime Performance System that is comprised of the five essential mental areas that most influence athletic performance. In that post, I described the first of the five mental areas -- attitudes.

In this post, I will explore the second of these mental areas, namely, obstacles, and their make-or-break role in how athletes perform (or rather how they don't perform) when it matters most and what is often at the heart of failures they experience on the field of play.

Mental obstacles refer to any psychological or emotional issue that interferes with your ability to perform your best consistently in the biggest competitions of your life. All of the mental tools in the world that you use in practice and competitions won't help you achieve your athletic goals if you don't have the attitudes in place (as I described last week) that prepare you for success and you have removed the obstacles that set you up for failure. It's one thing to have the capabilities to move forward, physically, technically, tactically, and mentally. It's an entirely different thing to have psychological and emotional anchors that weigh you down and keep you from moving forward with confidence and determination.

Let me introduce you to the five obstacles that I believe can hold you back the most in your sports efforts.


You, of course, want to be invested in your sport. You want to care a lot about our sport and it should be an important part of your life. With this deep commitment, you will give your best effort, respond positively to setbacks, and persevere in the face of the inevitable challenges of pursuing your own personal greatness as a athlete.

But that investment crosses over into the 'too zone' in your sport when you care too much, it is too important to you, and your sport becomes too much a part of who you are. The result is that you aren't going to see the returns you would like on that investment. In fact, your overinvestment may actually cost you psychologically and emotionally.

This overinvestment in your sport results in every competition becoming a life-or-death situation where your physical life isn't threatened, but rather you are putting your self-identity, self-esteem, and goals on the line. This overinvestment causes a preoccupation with results (especially failure!), expectations, and pressure that lead to doubt, worry, anxiety, and fear. The endgame is that you perform tentatively and cautiously.

Your goal is to care just enough so that you give it everything you have. You accomplish this goal by having balance in your life, meaning sport is a part of your life, not life itself. You have other sources of meaning and satisfaction in your life outside of sport. And you recognize that, even if you don't achieve your sport goals, you will be okay (e.g., still loved by your family, liked by your friends, and able to find success in some other parts of your life).


Our culture reveres perfectionists. On the surface, who wouldn't want to be one? They hold themselves to incredibly high standards, drive themselves relentlessly in pursuit of perfection, and usually find quite a bit of success. Yet, there is a dark side to perfectionism that you may not be aware of. The goals they set for themselves are often unattainable, resulting in almost-guaranteed failure (at least in their own eyes). Perfectionists make their self-esteem dependent on how they perform and the results they produce. They berate themselves unmercifully for failing to live up to those unreachable goals. Perfectionists often fear failure more than they are want success. They are also unwilling to take reasonable risks because, by definition, they may lead to failure. Finally, I have never met a truly happy perfectionist because how can they be happy if they aren't perfect (which, as human beings, is impossible).

My antidote to perfection is excellence which takes all of the good things that perfectionism has to offer, for example, excellence still sets the bar very high and excellence is attainable, but also rejects all the bad stuff related to perfectionism. Excellence allows for the mistakes and failure that inevitably occur in its pursuit. It also encourages risk taking because failure isn't threatening and is actually relished because it means you are pushing yourself to your limits. Finally, excellence makes chasing your goals fun and exciting rather than anxiety provoking (thus leading to, rather than detracting from, happiness).

Fear of Failure

Fear of failure is the most common and most harmful of the obstacles I see in my work with athletes. The reality is that failure isn't worth fearing; the most successful people in all walks of life fail frequently and monumentally on the way to success. The fear of failure comes from the meaning that you attach to failure (e.g., "My parents won't love me," "I will be a failure in everything I do."). Young people get this fear of failure from their parents and from our hyper-achievement culture in which being labeled a failure is worse than death. This fear can become so great that you become more focused on avoiding failure than pursuing success. In doing so, you become unwilling to take risks (yes, perfectionists have a profound fear of failure) and even sabotage your efforts to succeed to protect you against the possibility of failure even when the chances of failure are small.

The only way to achieve success is to accept that you might fail and that's okay. Bode Miller, the Olympic skiing champion, exemplified this attitude because he never cared about failing. All he cared about was giving it everything he had and performing as fast as he could. If Bode did that, he was satisfied, regardless of his result. If you don't give it your all, you have zero chance of success. If you do, your chances aren't 100%, but they are far higher than zero. If you can let go of your fear of failure, you free yourself to throw yourself into your sport with reckless abandon.


Expectations are a kiss of death in sport, in other words, if you enter a competition focused on expecting a certain result, you are pretty much assured of not getting that result. Expectations are so harmful because they put you in a mindset in which you have to meet your expectations because, well, it is expected of you. To not meet the expectation would be perceived as a major fail. Directly connected to fear of failure, expectations always conclude with a threat; for example, "I expect to win today", or else. The "or else" may be: people will think I suck, I won't be able to compete for a DI college, my dreams of being a pro will be over, or some other scenario that you think is equally catastrophic. The weight you place on fulfilling these expectations results in immense pressure which, in turn, produces doubt, worry, and anxiety, all of which will make meeting those expectations very unlikely.

Your goal is to let go of the necessity of expectations and embrace the possibility of goals. The goal of "I want to win" is much different than the expectation "I need to podium." With the former, you naturally want to move toward your goal with determination and excitement; with the latter, you want to avoid the expectation like the plague.


The four obstacles I have just described create a unscalable wall of negativity that basically ensures both failure and the complete absence of enjoyment in your sport. You have no confidence and are filled with doubt. You perform with a sense of impending doom. You experience tremendous anxiety and tension so you're physically incapable of performing your best. You are your own worst enemy on game day. Your opponents want to be beat you on game day. If you are your own worst enemy, then you have no chance of performing your best and achieving your goals.

Of all the areas I work with athletes on mentally, the removal of these obstacles is my priority because, with them in place, the chances of success are very low. Your goal is to shift from this position of weakness, grounded in overinvestment, perfectionism, fear of failure, expectations, and negativity, to one of strength that includes a healthy investment in your sport, the pursuit of excellence, striving for high goals, and having a positive attitude.

Of course, this change is easier said than done, but it begins with awareness of the obstacles you or others have placed in your path toward your athletic dreams. The commitment to change also involves the realization that the road you are on just isn't going to get you to your destination. After that, you must understand how the obstacles have come into being, why they hurt you, and then do the work necessary to tear them down. Only then will you have the opportunity to perform your best and achieve your sports goals.

Click here to download your copy of my new Prime Sport: Psychology of Championship Athletes e-book.

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 5:09 pm

Listen To Audio Of Hulk Hogan's Racist Rant

In the months after The National Enquirer broke the story that one of two Hulk Hogan/Heather Clem sex tapes not sent to Gawker revealed the Hulkster going on a bizarre, racist tirade, I often wondered: Why did Hogan continue to be so protective of the FBI records of the investigation into the people who tried to extort him for said tapes?

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 4:36 pm

Lamar Odom Addresses The Latest Khloe Kardashian Divorce Rumors

Lamar Odom has spoken out for the first time since rumors hit that his estranged wife, Khloe Kardashian, is planning on filing for divorce again soon.

The former pro-basketball player spoke to Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Odom was there supporting his friend and former teammate Kobe Bryant, who played his record-breaking final NBA game with the Lakers. He even appeared in a pre-recorded video tribute for Kobe. 

Following the rumors that Kardashian plans on going forward with the divorce, which was put on hold when Odom was hospitalized last year, Odom said, "We did talk, you know, everything is [up for] discussion. We talk about anything. We’ve been through a lot. It won’t ever stop." 

The most recent divorce rumors began swirling after photos of Odom out at a bar surfaced online. Speaking about all the speculation he faces, the 36-year-old admitted, "It gets tough." 

"Only a few people know the truth, and I just keep that close to my heart," he told ET. 

At this point, Odom said he just wants to get back on the court. 

"I still got it," he said. 

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 2:48 pm

This Might Just Be The Worst Slide In The World

Nothing compares to the innocent joy of zooming down a slide. Too bad this kid didn't get to experience it.

A hilarious video from Jukin Media shows a little girl and her mom at the top of a very fun-looking slide. But when mom releases her to slide down, she just inches down at a snail's pace. The unexpected result is undeniably LOL-worthy.

Boo to this slide! 

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 2:43 pm

Kobe Bean Bryant: More Than a Game.

Admit it. Some of y'all don't like Kobe. Over the course of 20 seasons, players have whispered about playing or not playing with him. Even the inimitable Phil Jackson threw a little shade on Kobe between his Lakers coaching tours in his book The Last Season: A Team in Search of its Soul. No disrespect Phil, but it did happen.

Well, news flash. Kobe doesn't care. Never did. And I believe the reason why he doesn't care is because the only thing he loves more than the game of basketball itself is the life lessons it holds for him and for us all. And if it means being hated by a few to bring forward these valuable lessons, so be it.

I've had the pleasure of working closely with Kobe over the years and have witnessed a distinct evolution. Kobe the kid. Kobe the husband. Kobe the champion. And Kobe the leader.

Kobe the Kid
I met Kobe in February 1996 at the NBA All-Star Game in San Antonio, Texas. He was 17. It was me, Steve Koonin, now CEO of the Atlanta Hawks, then head of Sports and Entertainment at The Coca-Cola Company, Arn Tellem, Kobe's agent at the time, my boss Steve Horn and Kobe's father Mr. Bryant. I was a kid myself heading the Sprite brand and we'd just consummated a deal with Kobe (thank you Koonin). During the meeting Kobe yucked it up with Koonin's young son, David, as the rest of us engaged in serious business. Kobe didn't interject a word. He was simply being a 17-year-old kid. Little did I know I was looking at one of the future best players to ever grace any sport in history. The lesson: when you're young, focus on honing your craft and have fun. Leave the big boy and big girl stuff to the big boys and big girls.

Kobe the Husband
As you know, Kobe and Vanessa have two precious daughters. When I lived in California my family, comprised of three daughters, frequented Houston's Restaurant and on occasion would run into Kobe and his family. This was a very different Kobe than the on-court Kobe. He was playful with his wife and his girls. Dare I say even relaxed, just like any other loving husband and doting father. The lesson: context matters. When with family be present. But when on the battlefield of competition be a killer.

Kobe the Champion
Before Kobe won his first title I got the impression he was on an unrelenting chase for the ring. Maniacal in pursuit. After he got the first ring I noticed a different Kobe. No less driven but with broader and more meaningful goals. No longer was it about a ring during a particular season. It was about history. The lesson: the best goals evolve and provide an opportunity for simultaneous self-evolution.

Kobe the Leader
Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trailblazers, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers. What do these teams have in common? On the day when the Golden State Warriors strived for basketball immortality of 72-9, these are the only teams to have beaten them. And it was Sunday, March 6th on the floor of the Staples center where the final score read 112 Lakers-95 Warriors when many witnessed true leadership. Kobe Bean Bryant, a 20-year vet, finals MVP, NBA MVP, 5-time NBA champion, scoring champion, 18-time All-Star, was on the bench motivating his young team to one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. The lesson: leadership is more than superior individual contribution, its motivating other individual contributors to accomplish the impossible.

Finally, I need to address the Kobe smile and the Kobe snarl. Early in his career he loved to smile. There's the first championship smile, the alley-oop to Shaq during the Sacramento playoff game smile, and the 81-point game smile to name a few. Then, seemingly and suddenly he didn't smile anymore. But I assert that he never stopped smiling. The difference is that he's been smiling through you rather than himself for years. His unrelenting love of basketball now pervades the minds and souls of countless others and the smiles on your faces are as a result of his genius play. Don't believe me? Look into a mirror as you read this blog about the one and only Kobe Bryant and watch yourself smile. With each accomplishment we all smiled so Kobe didn't have to. He smiled through us.

It's easy to love Magic. We all know this. Ervin, you're my homeboy and you know how highly I think of you as a basketball player and a human being, so please don't spazz when we see each other again. But, your 1000-watt Hollywood smile made it easy for the world to love you. It's why an extraordinary amount of empathy was created as you dealt (and deal) with enormous health challenges with dignity and grace. Kobe didn't have your smile and didn't need it. Rather, he needed a canvas on which to paint a masterpiece in hopes of inspiring others to paint their own unique masterpiece.

To be clear, Kobe and I are not buds and we do not hang out together. Rather, we're two uber-focused people attempting to extract all the knowledge life has to offer. This is why I admire Kobe Bean Bryant, and it's why I submit you should too.

Kobe, thanks for the countless lessons you've provided about life far beyond basketball. And thanks for the many smiles on my face and on the faces of millions of others.

Cheers to a remarkable game and the beginning of a remarkable new reign.



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Posted: April 14, 2016, 1:59 pm

Dear North Carolina Coaches, Please Speak Out Against HB2

Dear Coaches Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski and Mark Gottfried,

My name is Anthony Nicodemo and I am the boy's varsity basketball coach at Saunders High School in Yonkers, NY. I also happen to be openly gay.

I have admired all three of you as coaches for the duration of my career. I like to consider myself a student of the game, attending clinics and reading as much as possible.

Recently I read John Feinstein's The Legend's Club. One of the best parts of the book was the author's recounting of coach Dean Smith's passion for standing up for the wrongs of society, in particular segregation against African-Americans. This was in 1964.

In 2016 a great injustice to the LGBT community is being done in North Carolina, Mississippi and I'm sure other states in the near future. Transgender people can no longer safely use restrooms and locker rooms. Gay couples might be asked to leave a restaurant because of their sexual orientation. Please understand that Governor McCrory's executive order changes very little. This is a law that must be repealed and directly violates the civil rights of human beings.

The state of North Carolina loves its basketball. You three men carry as much weight as anyone in the state. Because of this I implore you to speak out and let state leaders know how much their actions are hurting an entire community.

Coach K, I can't tell you how powerful it was to closeted athletes everywhere when you voiced your support for now-openly gay college coach Chris Burns. Saying that you would embrace an openly gay player speaks volumes and gives thousands of kids hope.

Chris and I have known each other for 15 years. Laws like HB2 forced us to live in fear most of our careers. I was closeted until I was 35 and Chris until he was 30, what will turn out to be half of our lives (give or take). Seeing people like Jason Collins live an authentic life set the stage for us sharing our own stories and hoping to inspire others.

I often see college coaches speaking out about the NCAA for ridiculous rules and schools who allow students to storm the court. Why not do the same for LGBT folks that live in your community? Think about one of your players or staff members who could be living a double life. They are now considered less-than in the eyes of the law in North Carolina.

I've had the privilege of forging friendships with so many gay athletes and great people since coming out. Friends like Derek Schell, who played Division 2 ball at Hillsdale College, or Matt Kaplon, a division III baseball player from Drew University in New Jersey, struggled for so long because of laws like this. No one should have to suffer the way they did.

While I could never put my success on the basketball court on par with you three, we have the common bond of caring about our players. I receive countless emails from closeted athletes who are struggling and thinking about taking their own lives. I try to treat them like I would my own athletes, nurturing them to a good place in life. I would never want my players to feel this way.

You have a tremendous opportunity and platform to positively promote change. All three of you have contributed to so many causes and have bettered our society. Please take the time to speak out against HB2, because it is the right thing to do. I promise you will help change lives.

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 1:16 pm

This Changes Everything: Out of FIFA's Turmoil Comes a Game Plan to Comply With Commitment to Respect Human Rights

When FIFA made a commitment to align itself with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, no one could imagine how the crisis-ridden organisation could deliver on that promise.

Into the gap between rhetoric and reality stepped John Ruggie, the Harvard Professor and former assistant secretary general at the United Nations, who developed the very principles which FIFA had committed to uphold.

An advisory contract between FIFA and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where Ruggie teaches, was agreed as FIFA's top leadership were arrested or deposed and while thousands of workers who are building the 2022 World Cup facilities and infrastructure are virtually imprisoned in the slave state of Qatar.

Forced to live in squalor with poor quality food and often inadequate amounts of clean water workers in Qatar are paid poor wages and often not paid for months on end. No worker can leave an unsafe or abusive work environment or even exit the country without the employer's permission.

FIFA knew all of this when it ignored alleged corruption in the voting practice and awarded the World Cup to Qatar. They didn't care and for five years have ignored any responsibility for demanding an end to the Kafala system of modern slavery and for ensuring the respect for human and labour rights that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights upholds.

FIFA stood by and watched the vital infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup including roads, rail lines, hotels, malls all be constructed or maintained by the use of men and some women who had no freedom, were denied fundamental rights and are treated as less than human.

But today the report by John Ruggie for FIFA lays out their responsibility for respecting human rights.

Ruggie's straight talking language which has brought together the sometimes incompatible world of business and human rights has defined for FIFA's elected officials, staff and member organizations exactly what human rights means.

"Internationally recognized human rights include rights to life and physical security, non- discrimination, rights to freedom of thought, expression and religion, freedom of assembly and of movement, rights to education and work, to family life and privacy, to food and water, freedoms from torture, slavery or forced labor, as well as rights to fair and decent working conditions, including freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively."

This could change everything.

It puts FIFA on notice that a massive change in their operations is necessary and it offers Qatar an opportunity to change if it wants to retain the World Cup in 2022.

There should be no World Cup in Qatar without workers rights, and Ruggie has laid bare for FIFA its responsibilities.

"Where FIFA is unable to reduce severe human rights impacts by using its leverage, it should consider suspending or terminating the relationship. Where this is not possible FIFA should at a minimum explain its efforts to mitigate the impacts as transparently as possible."

The independent public report makes a total of 25 recommendations on how FIFA can respect human rights and meet international standards in upcoming tournaments in Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 and in future World Cup bids.

"Short-term priorities must include addressing human rights risks in tournaments that are already scheduled, and using every opportunity to press host countries to support FIFA's new statutory human rights commitment."

It's clear there can be no cherry picking of individual recommendations; it is one package that FIFA must pick up. But three paragraphs which define human rights, the power of FIFA and the need to act now, from a 42 page report could make all the difference for workers lives in Qatar.

FIFA has a statutory responsibility on human rights. It can simply set the conditions for Qatar that will improve conditions for more than 1.8 million workers. They include:

• Reform of the kafala system, starting with the elimination of the exit visa;
• Worker representation - a collective voice with elected representatives, collective bargaining and workplace safety committees;
• Employment contracts through direct employment or via large, reputable recruitment companies;
• End the race based system of wages with a non-discriminatory living minimum wage rate; and,
• Put in place an effective grievance procedure inclusive of contractors, and an independent labour court.

Ruggie's report will serve as a benchmark not only for FIFA but for all sports federation. No sporting organization can do it alone. We need an international independent process to reinforce this, but for today, thank you John Ruggie.

FIFA, Qatar - the world is watching.

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Posted: April 14, 2016, 12:42 pm

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