Category: Sports

Ex-NFL Player and Teacher Aaron Maybin Raises Money to Keep Freezing Baltimore Public School Students Warm

Former NFL linebacker-turned-educator Aaron Maybin has raised money and national awareness about Baltimore students in desperate need of heat and warm gear.

Last week, Maybin, who currently works as a teacher at Baltimore’s Matthew A. Henson Elementary School, shared on Twitter a video of young students complaining about the frigid conditions inside of their classroom. “I’m super, super cold,” said one boy. “Yesterday, I had frostbite,” revealed another little boy who appeared to be wearing a winter coat. “This is unacceptable,” wrote Maybin as the caption of the tweet, which went viral.

In another tweet, the former player and Baltimore native expressed outrage about the way taxpayer dollars are allocated and prioritized.

According to BaltimoreBrew.com, the temperature inside of his classroom hovered around 40 degrees. “How would your kids concentrate if you sent them to school in a refrigerator for eight hours? With failing lighting. Two classes in one room?” Maybin told the site. “We tried our best as educators. They tried their best as scholars. But they are dealing with a lot already. And now they are supposed to learn in the dark and in the cold.” He added that about half of the school has been without electricity since the beginning of the month. “I’m told it was due to nobody being there during the holidays to make sure the heat stayed on and pipes didn’t freeze.”

In addition to voicing concern about the horrid conditions, the 29-year-old artist and activist also encouraged his Twitter followers to donate to a GoFundMe campaign, titled We Need Heat In Our Public Schools, that aimed to raise $20,000 to purchase 600 space heaters and winter clothes for students.

“Baltimore City Public Schools are currently operating with an inadequate heating system,” reads the GoFundMe page. “Students are still required to attend classes that are freezing and expected to wear their coats to assist in keeping them warm. How can you teach a child in these conditions?”

On Thursday, Maybin tweeted that the page raised over $8,000 after he shared a link on Twitter. That same day, he shared a photo of himself picking up clothing and other donations for the children. By Monday afternoon, the page had raised more than $76,000.

In response to the crisis, the Baltimore City Public Schools system released a statement on Sunday assuring that the heating issues were addressed late last week when city schools were closed. The statement also promised that “every student will be in a safe, warm learning space, or the school won’t be open.”

Source: http://www.blackenterprise.com/aaron-maybin-freezing-students-baltimore/

Jordan Greenway Becomes 1st Black Athlete to Make U.S. Olympic Hockey Team

Team USA Hockey Team Member Jordan Greenway (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)

by Bruce C.T. Wright via newsone.com

African-American athletes are displaying Black excellence on the ice. Nearly a month after it was announced that 17-year-old Maame Biney made history as the first Black woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speedskating team, Jordan Greenway broke a similar racial barrier by becoming the first African-American man to be on Team USA’s hockey roster at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Korea, The Undefeated reported.

Greenway, 20, has had a standout athletic career at Boston University. He was selected in the 2015 NHL draft by the Minnesota Wild, but made the decision to stay in school and continue to pursue his degree. During the winter Olympic games—which are slated to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month—Greenway will be one of four college students who will play for the United States. It’s the first time in three decades that the USA men’s hockey team is comprised of college athletes, players from overseas and some retired athletes since the NHL didn’t send any of its players to compete in the Olympics.

Greenway—who hails from Canton, New York—said he was humbled by the honor and wanted to use his platform as an avenue to increase the racial representation in the sport and encourage Black youth to play hockey.

“I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of good things and just allowing a lot of African-American kids who are younger than me who see kind of what I’m doing, I hope that can be an inspiration for them,” he told the Undefeated. “Go out and do something different against the typical stereotypes that most African-Americans play basketball, or whatever the case is.” There are only 13 Division 1 players who are Black, according to The Undefeated.

Black athletes will be making historic moves during the next Winter Olympics. Prior to Greenway and Biney’s milestones, Nigeria’s women’s bobsled team became the first group of Africans to qualify for that category in the Olympics.

Source: https://newsone.com/3767720/2018-olympic-hockey-jordan-greenway-black-usa-african-american-member/

University of Georgia Defensive Back and Scholar Aaron Davis Named to 2017 SEC Football Community Service Team

Starting defensive back Aaron Davis has started 40 games at Georgia after coming to UGA as a walk-on.
(A.J. REYNOLDS/SPECIAL)

via sicemdawgs.com

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – University of Georgia graduate student and defensive back Aaron Davis has been named to the 2017 SEC Football Community Service Team.

Each year the Southeastern Conference highlights one player from each school in all 21-league sponsored sports who shows exemplary community service.

The Locust Grove, Ga. native has been recognized for his effort in the community already this year. Davis was among 11 FBS players named to the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team in September. The finance graduate was also on the preseason watch list for the Wuerffel Tropy, an award given a college football player, “who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”

Davis has had his hand in numerous activities while in Athens. Specifically he has been involved in: UGA Athletic Association’s Leadership Academy (LEAD), Spokesperson for “No More,” which is a public service announcement against domestic violence and sexual assault… Visitation at Camp Sunshine, which is a camp that provides support programs for children with cancer and their families…Worked with individuals involved who are part of Extra Special People (ESP), which is an organization that assists with individuals with developmental disabilities … Speaker at the UGA Athletic Association’s “Learn, Play, Excel” program, which has UGA coaches and student-athletes visit and talk with elementary and middle school students on topics such as education, leadership, anti-bullying, respect for authority and the value of participation in athletics.

In the classroom, Davis picked up his second CoSIDA Academic All-District award in November. He has been named to the Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll each of the last three years.

The six-foot-one defensive back has started every game this season to bring his total to 42 starts in 50 games played at Georgia. The former walk-on has 40 total tackles, 2.5 for a loss, one sack, and two quarterback pressures this season. In coverage, he has four pass break ups and one interception.

To read more, go to: https://www.sicemdawgs.com/2017/11/aaron-davis-2017-sec-football-community-service-team/

Maame Biney, 17, Becomes 1st Black Woman to Win Spot on U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team

Maame Biney reacts after winning women’s 500-meter during the U.S. Olympic short track speedskating trials Dec. 16, 2017, in Kearns, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

by Associated Press via nbcnews.com

KEARNS, Utah — Maame Biney became the first black woman to qualify for a U.S. Olympic speedskating team with a pair of victories in the 500 meters.

The 17-year-old native of Ghana cruised to victory in the first 500 final at the short track trials on Saturday, beating Olympians Lana Gehring, Jessica Kooreman, and Katherine Reutter-Adamek.

“I can’t believe it, aww geez,” she said after squealing with joy. “It’s a really good feeling, but it has to set in first because it takes me a while. I’m like, ‘Holy cow.'”

Before the second final, her father sitting in the stands held up a sign reading: “Kick some hiney Biney.”

She sure did.

Biney set a blistering pace in taking an early lead that widened as the wild and wooly race went on. She crossed the finish line on the hockey-sized rink and began clapping and then pumping her arms so hard she lost her balance and fell.

 She went down laughing all the way.

“When I realized that I made the Olympic team, I started cheering like crazy and then I made my epic fall,” she said.

Biney will be the second black speedskater on a U.S. Olympic team. Shani Davis, the first African-American athlete to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics, was 19 when he qualified for the short track team in 2002. He later switched to long track and won four medals, including two golds.

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/maame-biney-17-first-black-woman-make-olympic-speedskating-team-n830481?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_blk

Akron Board Greenlights Plan for LeBron James’ Foundation to Open “I Promise” Public School

LeBron James (photo via reviewjournal.com)

via newsone.com

NBA star LeBron James is using his platform to advocate for education. Through his organization—The LeBron James Family Foundation—he will open up a public school in his hometown Akron, Ohio, USA Today reported.

The educational institution—dubbed the “I Promise” school—was recently approved by the city’s board, the news outlet writes. It’s specifically designed for students who have faced obstacles and setbacks when it comes to excelling in school. In efforts to get students who have fallen behind in their studies on the right track, the new school will have extended school days and start classes during the summer season to ensure that learning and education becomes a priority in the lives of its students. The school is an extension of his foundation’s “I Promise” program that was created to prevent kids from dropping out of school. According to the news outlet, the school is slated to accept third and fourth graders next fall and other grades will subsequently be added in the coming years.

James said that his experiences while coming of age in Akron inspired him to open the school. Through his organization’s initiatives, he wants to provide the youth in his hometown with a sense of hope. “I walked those streets, and it was just like there’s no way I’m going to be able to get out of this situation. I just thought about that every day. I had dreams and I had mentors, and they allowed my dreams to become who I am today,” said James, according to the source. “The basketball thing, I love it and I enjoy it, but to give back and open up a school, that’s something that will last way beyond my years.”

USA Today reports that James’ company SpringHill Entertainment and the production company Warrior Poets will team up to work on a documentary about the creation of the school.

In an age where activism and sports are intertwined now more than ever, James has continually used his platform to speak out about social and political issues. This summer he called out Donald Trump for his failure to condemn White supremacists who were involved in the Charlottesville chaos, he’s been outspoken about the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick, and during the Cavaliers’ season-opener against the Celtics this season he wore sneakers that read “equality.”

SOURCE: USA Today

Serena Williams to Have Building Named in her Honor at Nike’s World Headquarters

by Melissa Minton via teenvogue.com

Serena Williams, undoubtedly one of the most important athletes of all time, has certainly had an extraordinary year. Aside from her many professional accomplishments, the tennis player has gotten married and given birth. And now she will lend her name to something totally unexpected: a building in Nike‘s Beaverton, Oregon, world headquarters. The company announced Wednesday that four new structures will open in 2019 as part of its campus expansion. Two buildings will be named after athletes, Serena Williams and former track-and-field star Sebastian Coe, while a fitness center will be named after Mike Krzyzewski, better known as Coach K, of Duke University.

When completed, the Serena Williams building will be the largest structure at the headquarters (deserving), spanning more than 1 million square feet and nearly three city blocks. Serena, for her part, was so excited about the development that she took to Instagram to reflect on her year of major accomplishments.

She wrote, “What a year it has been. First a grand slam win followed by a awesome baby… than the most magical wedding. What next? How about a building!!… Nike announced yesterday that one of its new world headquarters buildings will be named after me. It will be the biggest on campus and is scheduled to open in 2019. I am honored and grateful! #TeamNike @nike.” Serena has been a Nike athlete since December 2003, and the company declared her “one of the greatest athletes of all time and one of the most inspiring people in sport” in their recent statement.

To read more, go to: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/serena-williams-nike-headquarters-building

Colin Kaepernick Receives 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

Colin Kaepernick (GETTY IMAGES)

by Michael Rosenberg via si.com

“If I was walking down the highway with a quarter in my pocket and a briefcase full of truth, I’d be so happy.” – Muhammad Ali, Sports Illustrated, Feb. 19, 1968

Colin Kaepernick made his truth known when he first decided not to stand for the national anthem. He had a lot of football left to play and a lot more money to make when he made his decision. It was late August, 2016. People who were anonymous in life had become famous in death. Philando Castile. Eric Garner​. Alton Sterling. Freddie Gray. They were tragic symbols of a society that had taken a terribly wrong turn. As the anthem played ahead of the 49ers’ preseason game against the Texans, Kaepernick, San Francisco’s 28-year-old quarterback at the time, quietly took a seat on the bench.

It took two weeks for anyone from the media to ask him about it. Kaepernick explained that he was making a statement about inequality and social justice, about the ways this country “oppresses black people and people of color.”

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he added. “There are bodies in the street,” he said then, “and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In the last 16 months, Kaepernick’s truth has been twisted, distorted and used for political gain. It has cost him at least a year of his NFL career and the income that should have come with it. But still, it is his truth. He has not wavered from it. He does not regret speaking it. He has caused millions of people to examine it. And, quietly, he has donated nearly a million dollars to support it.

For all those reasons—for his steadfastness in the fight for social justice, for his adherence to his beliefs no matter the cost—Colin Kaepernick is the recipient of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Each year SI and the Ali family honor a figure who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world. “I am proud to be able to present this to Colin for his passionate defense of social justice and civil rights for all people,” says Lonnie Ali, Muhammad’s widow. “Like Muhammad, Colin is a man who stands on his convictions with confidence and courage, undaunted by the personal sacrifices he has had to make to have his message heard. And he has used his celebrity and philanthropy to the benefit of some of our most vulnerable community members.”

Previous Legacy winners—including Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Jack Nicklaus and Magic Johnson—were deserving. But no winner has been more fitting than Kaepernick. Ali lost more than three years of his career for his refusal to serve in the military in opposition to the Vietnam War. Kaepernick has lost one year, so far, for his pursuit of social justice.

When Kaepernick first protested during the national anthem, he could not have envisioned the size and duration of the ensuing firestorm. But he knew there would be fallout. So much has changed in America since the summer of 2016, and so many words have been used to describe Kaepernick. But his words from his first explanation remain his truth:

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

Kaepernick kept his job for a season before being blackballed by the NFL—and yes, he has been blackballed. This should be obvious by now. Scott Tolzien, Cody Kessler, Tom Savage and Matt Cassel have thrown passes in the league this year, yet nobody has tried to sign Kaepernick, who is fifth in NFL history in touchdown-to-interception ratio. Kaepernick has been called a distraction, which is laughable— his coach last year, Chip Kelly, says there was “zero distraction,” and his 49ers teammates said the same. Most NFL players would rather be “distracted” by Kaepernick than try to tackle the guy who just intercepted Brock Osweiler.

Kaepernick has paid a price beyond missing games and losing paychecks. He has been battered by critics who don’t want to understand him. Some say Kaepernick hates America; he says he is trying to make it better. Others say he hates the military, but on Sept. 1, 2016, as the then-San Diego Chargers played a tribute to the military on the stadium videoboard, Kaepernick applauded.

Nobody claims Kaepernick is perfect. Reasonable, woke people can be upset that he did not vote in the 2016 election. But the Ali Legacy Award does not honor perfection, and the criticisms of Kaepernick are misguided in one fundamental way: They make this story a referendum on Kaepernick. It was never supposed to be about him. It is about Tamir Rice and the world’s highest incarceration rate and a country that devalues education and slides too easily into violence.

When Ali was drafted into the military in 1967 and refused to report, much of the country disapproved. Ali explained his refusal by saying: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam after so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”

Time ultimately shined a softer light on Ali. For the last 40 years of his life, Ali was arguably the most popular athlete in American history. But in the late 1960s, he was deeply unpopular and his future was uncertain.

Ali was 25 when he was banned from boxing and 28 when he returned to the sport. Boxing historians sometimes wonder what he would have done in those prime years. But Ali did not look at it that way. Instead of focusing on the piece of his career that he lost, he talked about what he had gained: a sense of self, and of purpose, greater than he could ever find in the ring. He risked prison time. He did not know if he would ever be allowed to fight again. But he knew he was clinging to his truth. As Ali later told SI’s George Plimpton: “Every man wonders what he is going to do when he is put on the chopping block, when he’s going to be tested.”

Someday, America may well be a better place because of Colin Kaepernick. This is hard to see now— history is not meant to be analyzed in real time. But we are having conversations we need to have, and this should eventually lead to changes we need to make. Police officers, politicians and citizens can work together to create a safer, fairer, more civil society. Kaepernick did not want to sacrifice his football career for this. But he did it anyway. It is a rare person who gives up what he loves in exchange for what he believes.

To read full article, go to: https://www.si.com/sportsperson/2017/11/30/colin-kaepernick-muhammad-ali-legacy-award

Former JP Morgan Chase Managing Director Kim Davis Joins NHL as Executive Vice President

NHL EVP Kim Davis (photo via pinterest.com)

via nhl.com

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League announced today that Kim Davis has been named Executive Vice President, Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs. Ms. Davis will join the NHL on Dec. 4, and will be based in the League’s New York office, reporting to Commissioner Gary Bettman and collaborating across the League’s clubs and stakeholders.

Ms. Davis is a highly respected leader in the corporate and philanthropic community, and joins the NHL from leading CEO advisory firm Teneo. As a Senior Managing Director, she built and ran the firm’s Corporate Responsibility and Inclusive Leadership practice, advising CEOs and Fortune 500 companies daily.

Prior to Teneo, Ms. Davis enjoyed a 20-plus year career at JPMorgan Chase, where she most recently served as Managing Director of Global CSR, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Her responsibilities included leading and managing approximately $300 million in annual giving, employee and civic engagement, and strategic corporate marketing sponsorship programs.

“Kim’s professional experience uniquely qualifies her to ensure that our League is continuing to improve lives and strengthen and build vibrant communities through hockey as well as provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for anyone associated with our League,” said Commissioner Bettman. “We are thrilled to have Kim join the NHL family.”

“The impact of sports on community development can be powerful,” said Ms. Davis. “Sport can, and does, make a profound and positive impact on individuals, communities and has the opportunity to drive positive social change. Having had the privilege of advising the NHL on its CSR practices, I’ve experienced an organization that is truly committed to contributing positively to society and fostering inclusiveness. I’m looking forward to advancing the League’s mission and working with Commissioner Bettman and the executive leadership team to help drive the continued growth and success of the NHL.”

Ms. Davis’ passion for equity and leadership led her to build the first women of color affinity group at Chase Manhattan Bank, developing a mentoring program for senior women that became an industry best practice in investment banking, and later developing the initial corporate sponsorship model for Women Moving Millions.

Ms. Davis has been named to The Business Journal’s 100 Most Influential Women and Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. In 2012, she was profiled with Michelle Obama in Essence magazine’s “28 Most Influential Black Women in America.”

Source: https://www.nhl.com/news/kim-davis-appointed-as-nhl-executive-vice-president/c-293406100

Nigeria’s Women’s Bobsled Team Qualifies for 2018 Olympics, Country’s 1st Ever Winter Olympians

Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team (photo via nytimes.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to ESPN, Nigeria will be represented in the Winter Olympics by the African nation’s women’s bobsled team, which qualified for the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Driver Seun Adigun and breakpersons Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga completed the fifth out of the five required qualifying races and became the first African team ever to qualify in the bobsled category.

The squad, led by Adigun, a former African 100-meter hurdles champion and 2012 summer Olympian, completed the qualifying races in Utah and Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday. “This is a huge milestone for sports in Nigeria,” driver Adigun told ESPN. “Nothing makes me prouder than to know that I can play a small role in creating opportunities for winter sports to take place in Nigeria. Our objective now is to be the best representation of Africa that the Winter Olympics have ever witnessed.”

As blavity.com reported, it comes as a shock to many fans of the team and athletes individually, that they have been able to accomplish such a feat, considering they are in fact representing a warm climate country and the sport, for lack of better words, is designed for anything but that. In a recent interview with ABC News, shared to one of the women’s Instagram account, the ladies discuss how they do in fact host the majority of their training in the warm climate.

To read and learn more about this story, go to: http://www.newsweek.com/women-bobsled-team-first-nigeria-qualify-winter-olympics-713962 or http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-17/nigerias-bobsled-team-off-to-winter-olympics/9163162

102-Year-Old Runner Ida Keeling Offers Advice on How to Keep Going in Memoir “Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down”

motivation from Ida Keeling
Ida Keeling (Photo courtesy of Zondervan)

by Alisa Gumbs via blackenterprise.com

Ida Keeling’s life story is rife with motivation. The 102-year-old began working at age 12 to help provide for her immigrant family, lived through the Great Depression and the Civil Mights Movement, raised four children as a single mother, and then set world records as a runner—in her 90s.

Keeling is sharing that inspiring story in her memoir, Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down: Chasing Myself in the Race Against Time, which will be released next February and is available for pre-order this month.

“I was feeling so blue,” Keeling writes of the period after her two sons were murdered, less than three years apart.

“My psyche had slowed down and it felt like I was moving around in a bowl of thick oatmeal. Not a pleasant feeling, but me and the icky sensation were becoming well acquainted. Too well.”

Keeling credits her daughter Cheryl, herself a runner, with saving her life by pleading with her to run for the first time at the age of 67. Running is “an answer to grief, stress, obesity, bad health, and bad habits,” Cheryl writes. “It is a survival tool.”

More than 30 years later, Keeling is sharing some motivation from her journey:

Stick it out, even when it hurts

“It was my first race. I took off and all these people was rushin’ past. It felt like somebody pulled a sheet off me; it was horrible,” Keeling writes, “but I said I can’t slow down now. I got to keep going.”

“I started thinking this is too much, then all of a sudden, I started picking up a little speed and I thought, gee maybe this is good for me.” Continue reading “102-Year-Old Runner Ida Keeling Offers Advice on How to Keep Going in Memoir “Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down””