Black-Owned Franchise

To the shock of many, Jerry Richardson decided to put the Carolina Panthers franchise up for sale at the end of the 2017 season. This all comes on the heels of allegations of him sexually harassing female employees and directing a racial slur at an African American employee. While some are still trying to wrap their heads around this situation, some are getting their checkbooks ready to purchase the Charlotte-based franchise.

One of the first people to do so is entrepreneur and rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs. Diddy released a video shortly after the news broke of the Panthers going up for sale announcing that he wants to buy the franchise and his plans as the next owner. Diddy’s announcement was met with plenty of praise, criticism, and of course, jokes that he will rename the stadium to “Ciroc Stadium” and have the uniforms made by Sean John. But there’s also excitement about the possibility of having the first black owner in the NFL.

In a league where over half of its players are African American, somehow there are no African American owners in the mix. As a matter of fact, there has never been an African American majority owner in the mix throughout the history of the NFL. So in the case of a league where most of the talent is African American, it’s about time we see an African American owner. It would be great to see someone like Diddy own an NFL team, and it would be even better if Colin Kaepernick was apart of Diddy’s ownership group. To own a franchise after the other NFL owners wouldn’t sign you to their rosters would be the perfect revenge for Kaepernick.

While it would be exciting to see Diddy own a team, many are skeptical of his ability to manage an NFL franchise, let alone purchase one. But even if the idea of Diddy owning an NFL franchise might be far-fetched or even completely unrealistic there are still some other African Americans that can be in line to become the first black majority owner in the NFL:

  • Oprah: With a net worth of 2.8 billion, Oprah Winfrey could definitely be in line to be the first African American majority owner in the NFL, and the first African American woman at that. Running the highly successful OWN Network, Oprah’s business background speaks for itself, and her net worth is over the Panthers’ estimated 2.3 billion net worth, so she could definitely be someone who can possibly purchase the franchise.
  • Michael Jordan: He already owns one Charlotte franchise, why not another?
  • Robert F. Smith: Investor and Chairman of Vista Equity Partners, Smith could invest in the Carolina Panthers franchise.
  • Robert L. Johnson

Even if the people I pointed out are somehow unrealistic picks to purchase the franchise, the point is there are many African Americans that can step up and make history. In a league that makes money off the talent of mostly African American athletes, there is no reason for there not being at least one black owner in the mix. This opportunity has been a long time coming, and hopefully, we won’t have to wait any longer.

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The Matrix: The Endless Cycle

About a week or two ago, I went to an art gallery in Columbia along with a couple of people to help my friend shoot his mini-series. There was a scene that took place in the gallery that had two of the characters on a date and they were trying to decipher the meaning of one of the paintings on the wall. While in the gallery, one piece of art that caught my attention was this shirt on an ironing board. From afar it looked like a perfectly normal shirt, but upon closer inspection, I noticed a phrase stitched into the fabric of the shirt. It was the phrase “NEED TO GO TO WORK, NEED TO MAKE MONEY, HAVE TO GO NOW.”

For some reason, out of all the works in the gallery, this work kept pulling me back in every couple of seconds for another look. While it wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing piece in the gallery, for me, it spoke the loudest out of most of the artworks there. To me, the shirt and the words stitched into its fabric was a symbol of the modern-day matrix we live in today.

This was a symbol of the endless cycle of Monday-Friday, 9 to 5 that many live in now. We repeat this cycle day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year until we retire…if we are even able to retire. Working at jobs we don’t even like just to make some money for the rest of our lives, this is the endless cycle that most people live in every day.

 

Take a Knee

As a war with North Korea continues to come closer and closer to becoming a reality thanks to our Bum in Cheif (shoutout to LeBron), we as Americans continue to battle a war that has been going on since the inception of this nation; the war on racism and injustice.

From slavery to Jim Crow and segregation, and institutionalized racism, the United States has been plagued with this cancer for centuries and we are still trying to find a cure for it. For years, Americans have tried to convince themselves that racism is pretty much dead, but the truth is that racism has never died, it only evolved and found better ways to hide.

However so far during Trump’s already tumultuous presidency, racism and bigotry have once again reared its ugly head, and this time its more bold and comfortable than it has been in recent decades.  From failing to condemn the White Supremacists in Charlottesville as swiftly as he can condemn Jemele Hill for standing up against his bigotry to pardoning a sheriff with a history of racial injustice against minorities, Trump has proven over and over again that he welcomes racism and bigotry in this country. He has proven that protesting for white supremacy only gets a slap on the wrist while protesting for racial equality and justice means that you should “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now!” and fire them.

But in the midst of all the hate that Trump’s presidency has brought,  it has also brought a call to action that is being answered by some of the country’s most polarizing figures. The league-wide protest of the national anthem during Sunday’s slate of NFL games and comments from athletes of different professional leagues condemning Trump’s comments from Friday evening show that athletes, celebrities, and the people will not let Trump continue to divide us.

Trump kept making a promise to make America great again, but the truth is that America was never great, to begin with. This country has the potential to be great of course, but as long as racism and inequality continue to exist, and Donald Trump continues to “lead” this country, America will never be great. But the actions and comments of NFL players, NBA players, and other athletes and celebreties alike, can at least give us hope that America might be trying to take a step in the right direction.

Ballin’ Out of Control

Since bursting onto the basketball scene last year, the Ball family has been getting plenty of press. While Lonzo, LaMelo, and LiAngelo have been getting plenty of attention for their play, their father Lavar has stayed in the news for his boastful nature and confidence that often puts him at the center of controversy.

From his hype over his sons and shoe brand to his confidence in his own playing ability, Lavar Ball’s personality has made him such an entertaining figure in the sports world that the media gravitates towards. And whether you like it or not, he’s going to be around for a while.

When Ball kept bragging about how good Lonzo was, many people thought he was hurting Lonzo’s draft stock by doing this. But instead, it gave Lonzo more attention from fans and NBA players and would go on to be drafted #2 overall to the Lakers, just like Lavar predicted. People laughed when Lavar decided to start a shoe brand for the Ball Family instead of commending him for his entrepreneurial venture. I’ll admit that many of the things he does are questionable in many aspects. But, as much as we don’t want to admit it, the man’s a genius.

Lavar is showing the world that his son can take a different route and can be the first to rock his own unique shoe coming into his rookie year. He is teaching his sons to be confident in everything they do no matter how much the odds are stacked against them. It takes a very confident man to challenge legends like Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Michael Jordan knowing he averaged only 2.2 points during his playing career. I see many of Lavar’s antics as part of a genius marketing strategy with a very small hint of good parenting mixed in. Critics complain about Lavar Ball and wish that he would just fade away and become irrelevant but fail to realize that whenever they bring up Lavar in any context they are giving him more publicity, keeping him famous and impactful.

Lavar Ball has stirred up plenty of controversy since rising to prominence and it’s not stopping anytime soon. Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t deny the impact he has made in his short time in the spotlight. You also gotta give the man respect for being involved in his sons’ lives and careers to a level that we often don’t see amongst athletes, especially for African American athletes. As much as many of us say we can’t stand Lavar Ball, we just can’t get enough of him.

Squad Up

Since Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors last summer, superteams have been a hot topic in the NBA for a while now. After KD left OKC for a stacked team that was one win away from winning the Finals in 2016 and went on to win this year’s Finals, many have argued whether or not superteams are good for the league. Now as the 2017 offseason kicks into gear, it appears that the superteam building will once again be in full effect this year.

Recently, there have been reports that the Cavs could potentially trade for All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler. Not to mention that the Cavs could be in play for Paul George, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony (add D-Wade to the mix and they might have a banana boat crew reunion in Cleveland). With the chance of the Warriors and Cavs strengthing their already strong teams this offseason, we could see these “superteams” continue their dominance over the league for the next few years.

But what is a super team really? Many of us think that a super team is a team loaded with talented big-name players that can dominate and win games and championships. But we have seen in the recent years that even teams loaded with big name talents did not dominate like many expected they would. After the Celtics traded Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to the Nets, we all expected the Nets to win a lot of games and make deep runs in the playoffs. We all know how that panned out. Then we thought the Lakers were going to be a dominant team after they signed Steve Nash and Dwight Howard,  but they barely made it to the playoffs and only lasted a year. Then many thought that after the last offseason, the Knicks could challenge Cleveland’s reign over the East, but they were finished before the season began.

So are super teams really bad for the NBA, or any other league? In terms of competition and parity, yes. It sucks when you know exactly who’s going to be in the championship game every year, which can hurt interest in the event and hurt ratings. Vice versa, super teams can be very entertaining as well. Everyone loves a good fight, and with two teams constantly competing to be at the top, bad blood is bound to form between the two. That sets the stage for trash talk, fights, and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. Even though we knew the Cavs and Warriors were going to be in the Finals again, many of us still tuned in to see spats between LeBron James and Kevin Durant or altercations such as Tristan Thompson and David West (minus the mouth to mouth contact).

But in the grand scheme of things, there’s not much we as fans can get mad about. Teams will do what they have to do, even sell their souls to the devil, just to win championships. And players want to win championships during their career, and sometimes they will join teams that will give them the best chance to do so, even if it makes them the most hated person in the sports world.

Warm Welcome

For college students, graduation is one of the biggest days of their lives. These students spent the last four years of their life grinding day in and day out for this day, this ceremony, this moment. For them, graduation is where they are commended for their hard work and receive their degrees. And just as important as the degrees they will receive are the words of wisdom they will hear from prominent figures.

But what good are these words of wisdom if they come from someone who practically paid to be in the high position that they’re in now?

For Bethune-Cookman’s class of 2017, they were given these wise words by the controversial Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos…well at least she tried to anyway. With there already being enough anger over her becoming the education secretary with little to no knowledge or experience in education, the last thing she should be doing is giving a commencement speech at a college graduation. With this in mind, BCU’s graduating class welcomed  DeVos with a cascade of boos and many of the graduating students turning their backs towards her in protest of her speech.  As the boos continue to rain down, the university’s president intervened and threatened to have the student’s degrees mailed to them if the boos continued.

It was like the stars were perfectly aligned for this moment.

This was not just a moment for these graduates, it was a moment for Mary Bethune and her university’s legacy. It was a moment for HBCU students to use their voices to protest a figure that does not have their best interest at heart. It was a moment for African-Americans to stand up against the oppression that this country has put us through and continues to do until this day.

These young men and women stood up against the harm that Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump, and the rest of the Trump administration could inflict upon HBCUs and the rest of the educational system in our country.  For DeVos to even be allowed to speak at an HBCU graduation is an insult to the hard work every one of those students put in and to the legacy of Bethune-Cookman University and other HBCUs. And for DeVos to think that HBCUs were created out of school choice shows how little she knows education in this country. The fact that she didn’t know that HBCUs were created due to the fact that African Americans could not attend the same colleges as whites should have automatically disqualified her from speaking at any college graduation, let alone being the education secretary.

 

WOLF Blog Update

For those who keep up with, and support my blog, I would like to inform you that starting next week, this blog will no longer only discuss sports. In an effort to expand my writing skill as well as reach a wider audience, my blog will shift focus to topics such as politics, society, life, music, and a variety of other topics. I will still discuss sports of course, but I want to also have an outlet to express my views on other topics as well. The blog will still be under the domain of wolfsports.org until January 2018, so until then I will work on a new title for this blog. I hope you will continue to support me and enjoy the new articles I will put out soon touching on a wider variety of topics. Thank You.

-Cody J. Dallas

BlackBall

Weeks after the start of free agency in the NFL, many players have either resigned to their team from the 2016-2017 season or found a new team to call home. Since free agency opened back on March 7th, we’ve seen players like Brandon Marshall, DeSean Jackson, and Latavius Murray switch teams. There were also plenty of quarterbacks on the market who signed with new teams this season. As a matter of fact, many quarterbacks flew off the market this offseason. Many except for one: Colin Kaepernick.

I’m pretty sure you heard by now how Mr. Kaepernick decided to not stand during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against minorities and then after the season ended, he end his protest. Well now even though Kaepernick has ended his protest, teams are still passing up on him for other quarterbacks that aren’t much better than him.

“Well, he’s just a bad football player.” That’s bull. You mean to tell me that a guy like Mark Sanchez can get signed to a team even though the last time he was in a game he stunk it up like the butt he ran into almost five years ago, but Kaepernick can’t get signed? Let me get you to understand that this is the same Colin Kaepernick that led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in the same timeframe and almost did it again a year later. Even though the read offense is all but dead in today’s NFL, Colin Kaepernick still has the talent to play for a team and, with the right coaches and players, run a good offense. And many NFL teams know this.

So why is Mr. Kaepernick still waiting in the unemployment line? Because he has fallen into the same game that other athletes who stood for something fall into, blackball. Guys like Chris Jackson and Craig Hodges who spoke out against injustices in America in a notable way would find themselves informally banned from their pro league, never able to find another club to sign him again (In their case, the NBA). Now Kaepernick has found himself in the same game with the NFL. NFL owners won’t touch him due to the controversy surrounding his anthem protest last season and they’ll use his play as of late as an excuse to not sign him. Yet those same owners will go out and sign guys like Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and, EJ Manuel. Even Johnny Manzeil might get a second chance after not being in the league for a whole year and he has a chance to play under Sean Payton and mentored by Drew Brees.

Colin Kaepernick’s situation should be a reminder of what happens when black athletes use their platform to take action on injustices in America. Kaepernick’s actions was a spit in the face of the majority white management in the NFL just as Chris Jackson and Craig Hodges’ actions were in the face of the majority white management of the NBA.

The Madness

With almost two full rounds of matchups, the 2017 NCAA Men’s basketball tournament is shaping up to be another exciting tourney. After the rounds of 64, we’ve seen teams like the University of Rhode Island, and Mid Tennesse upset higher ranked teams. And with the round of 32 underway, we have already seen the likes of FSU, and even defending champion Villanova fall.  Now with the guarantee of a new champion being crowned, the tourney just got even more interesting.

So far for the Sweet 16, there’s Wisconsin vs. Florida, Gonzaga vs. West Virginia, and Xavier vs. Arizona, with more matchups to form by the end of the day. After losses from Villanova, and Louisville, many fans have already found their tournament brackets busted before sunset yesterday. As the tournament continues, more brackets will be busted as the Sweet 16 showcases matchups that will have fans uncertain about higher-ranked teams making it to the Elite Eight.

Even so, this year’s tournament promises excitement, uncertainty, and heartbreak as college teams watch their hopes of going to Phoenix dashed and fans watch their hopes of having a perfect bracket tear to pieces. As for me, my bracket is down but not out. Even though my matchup up of Villanova vs. North Carolina in a rematch from last year won’t happen, I did have North Carolina winning it all 74-70so there’s still hope.

Standing Tall

Last season, quarterback Colin Kaepernick stirred up plenty of controversy for his decision to not stand during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Now, Colin Kaepernick is causing controversy again, but for doing the opposite this time.

Last week, Kaepernick announced that he will end his protest of the national anthem and stand during the anthem next season. Now even though Kaepernick has decided to end his protest, many people are still angry at Kaepernick for ending his protest.

Kaepernick already faced a plethora of hate from what many felt was “disrespecting the country”, he receives more backlash for ending his protest right before free agency.  People think that he ended his protest just so he could have a better chance of being re-signed by the 49ers, or signed by another team during free agency.

Honestly, I think his decision to kneel and now stand during the anthem are both justified. When he protested, he started a movement that brought light to the police brutality issue that America is facing. While police brutality was already a hot topic in the country, Kaepernick’s protest helped bring this topic to a bigger audience. Throughout his protest, Kaepernick was able to bring more awareness while also inspiring other athletes to follow in his footsteps and protest for justice.

And when he decided to stand again, I think at this point he realized that although he has brought awareness to this issue, there are still unarmed citizens being hurt and killed by police brutality. There is but so much a peaceful protest can do.