All Articles Tagged "nfl"

Will Smith Surprised Concussion Didn’t Have A Bigger Impact On People And Football

September 29th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Will Smith is one of the biggest stars on the planet, and therefore, a major box-office draw. But over the last few years, the conversation about whether or not he can still bring people to theaters and deliver a good piece of work has gained traction. This was particularly the case after his high-budget film After Earth stumbled at the box office.

As pointed out by Smith in an interview with Vanity Fair, he often doesn’t care if critics aren’t a fan of his work (“It’s one day, then I’m over it”), but he did care that one of his most important projects to date, Concussion, wasn’t well-received by critics or fans. The issue of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and its prevalance in people who’ve had brain injuries, specifically former American football players, is one Smith hoped people, including the NFL, would take more seriously after watching the film.

“I thought Concussion would have a bigger impact,” Smith told Vanity Fair. “I knew it would be hard because people love the game, but the science is so overwhelming, and it’s something that we really need to take a look at. I thought that people would get behind the mission of that. I was surprised that people were absolutely like, ‘Nope, I’m not stopping watching football, so I don’t want to know.'”

Research published by Frontline on the brains of 91 deceased NFL players found that a whopping 95 percent (87 out of the 91) tested positive for the degenerative brain disease. The study was done last year by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University. The NFL has spoken out about such findings and even donated $1 million to fund research.

Smith did say that not all was lost, though. Former C.I.A. director David Petraeus told Smith that after initially wanting to avoid the film like the plague, he watched and was moved. Smith recounted Petraeus’s comments with the publication: “‘Listen, I just watched Concussion. My wife made me watch it; I didn’t wanna watch it. I had refused to watch it. That’s the best movie you ever made.’ That was the first time that someone had actually, specifically said they didn’t want the pain of watching it.”

Still, as Smith pointed out, he felt that a majority of people weren’t interested in facing the ugly truth about what happens when men sacrifice their bodies — and brains — for football. He joked about it, comparing Concussion to his box-office hit, I Am Legend. 

“I got away with choking a dog to death—but you are not gonna choke football.”

Are You Ready For Some Football? 11 NFL Players That Will Make Sundays Worthwhile

September 15th, 2016 - By M A
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Time certainly flies when you’re having fun. After a summer of beaches, bikinis and just good ol’ fun in the sun, fall is upon us. And how do we know? Because football season is in full swing. And while football isn’t everyone’s game of choice, we can all agree on at least one thing: The NFL is filled to the brim with some of the most deliciously attractive men in sports. And don’t just take our word for it. Please enjoy frame after frame of pure yumminess as we pick our top 11 hottest players in the league.

Chameleon… Adapt to survive.

A photo posted by Odell Beckham Jr (@iam_objxiii) on

Odell Beckham Jr

As if his face, and body, and accent aren’t enough, the Giants’ wide receiver has a zeal for life that will keep any woman laughing — just check out his Instagram page. Plus we love the amount of class and maturity he showed in the fact of all that Lena Dunham drama.

Man Convicted Of Killing Adrian Peterson’s Son Sentenced To Life In Prison

November 20th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Joseph Patterson, the man who was  found guilty of beating Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson’s son to death, was sentenced to life in prison in South Dakota, yesterday.

Tyrese Robert Ruffin, 2, died in October 2013. The Associated Press, reports that an autopsy showed Ruffin sustained four blows to his head. Doctors said they could have been accidental.

In September, a jury convicted Patterson, 29, of second-degree murder, a charge that carries a life sentence.

Tyrese was the son of Ann ‘Ashley’ Doohen, Patterson’s then-girlfriend, and Peterson. The NFL player had just learned that Tyrese was his son two months before his tragic and untimely death.

Peterson had been in the process of arranging a time to meet the boy when Tyrese was hospitalized. Peterson was able to see Tyrese in South Dakota the day before he died.

Pop Mom Daily: The Secret Behind Warrick Dunn Giving Away 145 Homes To Single Moms

October 19th, 2015 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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warrick dunn

The name Warrick Dunn didn’t mean anything to me a week ago, but like a Kardashian headline, he’s everywhere. The program was inspired by his mom, a police officer and single parent, who never realized her dream to own a home because she was killed performing an off-duty security job. Warrick was just 18-years-old. This is how he honors her.

It’s the type of story that left me wondering about this woman who would inspire a man to go down a road of giving back when he could have spent his life mad as hell. And who could blame him? You don’t just go and kill a man’s mom. Yet here’s Warrick blessing families like the New Home Santa. How did he choose this path? What’s his secret?

I do a little digging and discover that when Warrick’s mother, Betty Smothers, was killed by two bank robbers while making a bank deposit as a security guard – it was her second job – he was a high school senior just a few weeks shy of choosing among his many college football scholarships. It should have been the best time of this family’s life. After all, Warrick was the oldest of six kids and he was going to college- on a full scholarship. This alone could shift the trajectory of this family’s life. ‘If Warrick can do it, so can I,’ his siblings would be able to think. Oh, the possibilities. I can only imagine what it took this single mom of six to get her first child to this point.


Then tragedy struck. His mom was killed and Warrick was forced to become dad to his five younger siblings. Yet he still managed to enroll at Florida State and go on to have a stellar college career that resulted in him being selected into the FSU Hall of Fame. From there he went on to be drafted in the first round of the 1997 draft pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Again, he proved himself to be a stellar athlete for both the Buccaneers and eventually the Atlanta Falcons. He was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl three times. But no matter how successful Warrick was on the field, the murder of his mom still followed him like a dark cloud, shadowing his whole existence.

He talks about his struggle in his 2008 autobiography “Running For My Life: My Journey in the Game of Football and Beyond.” It was there that I was able to get a glimpse as to how Warrick was able to pick up the pieces, find peace and become the incredible philanthropist and pillar of hope that he is for so many today. In an excerpt from his book, he talks about a meeting he had on Death Row with a man named Brumfield – one of his mom’s killers.

Warwick talking to Brumfield:

I’ve had some serious issues over the years in my personal life: afraid of commitment; not wanting to have kids or get married; not enjoying life, laughing or smiling; not letting people love me.

Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to be at peace with things in my life because I have to move forward. I am yearning for something new, a new start. Family, kids — just to get my life started. I guess I am searching for answers. You guys have short-changed my family. But I’m here to forgive.

And then Warrick tells what happened next…

He [Brumfield] told me a story that in 1987, when he was a kid, my mother, working security at a store, caught him stealing and made him put back what ever he took, and let him go. Brumfield said my mom told him, “Boy, get your butt out of here.” Brumfield said my mom could have made an example of him that day, but she elected not to. I thought to myself, that was Mom — always giving people second chances to do right.

So the secret behind how Warwick was able to become the man he is today, and ultimately find peace in his life, is forgiveness – one of the oldest tricks in the book.

Want to start a new life? Try forgiving someone. I believe the bigger the forgiveness, the greater your blessings. When I look at Warwick, I see a man who is a blessing to many. His mom was a special lady, and obviously, the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree.

Erickka Sy Savané is a freelance writer and creator of THE BREW, a social commentary blog. Before that she was a model/actress/MTV VJ. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Forget Empire: When Will Black Men Boycott Fox Sports?

October 6th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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I really have no idea why menfolks like Dr. Boyce Watkins object so harshly to Lee Daniels’ smash hit television show “Empire”?

Actually I do: it’s about the women and the gays. It’s always about the women and the gays…

That is certainly the theme in Watkins’ latest essay entitled, Why I refuse to support the coonery of the show, “Empire.”

I use “latest” as a relative term here considering this was originally posted in March of this year. Still this link, along with similar sentiments about the show, have been making the rounds again in lieu of the Empire’s second season premiere. As such I thought it best to address some of the “finer” points in the essay.

In particular:

When the Fox Network released the new show, “Empire,” I was concerned about what I might see on screen. Fox is not known for producing the most favorable images of black people, so I figured this show wouldn’t be any different. For some reason, black dysfunctionality makes for great television, and there is a long line of white guys getting rich off of our willingness to celebrate all that makes us miserable.

If you do some research, you might notice some of the same things I’ve seen in this ghetto-fied hood drama: Pimps, hoes, thugs, gangsters, emasculated black men, and all kinds of other kinds of stereotypical coonery that many of us have grown tired of seeing portrayed on-screen. Lee Daniels is apparently the man responsible for this televised monstrosity, and I wonder if a day will ever come that the majority of us will refuse to support directors who pimp their people to help bigots like Rupert Murdoch get rich from modern day minstrel shows.”

I am not going to bore you with the rest of the essay, but rest assured it is filled with the same ugly vitriol you would find in most essays and social media rants about the effeminate men and Black women.

And to be clear: Watkins may try to hide it inside a need and desire for more favorable images of black people” as a whole, but this is an attack on Black women too.

In fact, Watkins has made a habit (some would say a career) railing against programming created for the entertainment of Black women. “Scandal” is one. Reality television is another. And now “Empire” which, according to this article in Vulture Magazine, is the ratings share “equivalent of a Super Bowl” among African-American women between 35 and 49 years old.

Without saying it directly, Watkins, as usual, lays the onus of both the destruction and the repair of the community falls on the shoulders – or in this case, the eyeballs – of Black women. After all, it is our entertainment and viewing habits, which are allegedly hurting our image. And it is our support of “Empire” that is allegedly helping evil media mogul Rupert Murdoch get wealthier.

And if us Black Queens [eyeroll] would stop watching these frivolous programs that do nothing but distract us from raising children and making sandwiches for our men (that’s why they are emasculated), our men would be free to get jobs, stay out of prison and get down to the business of nation building.

But let’s suppose it’s all true. Let’s imagine for a moment that “Empire” is nothing more than a high-tech minstrel show, bankrolled by FOX with an agenda to turn all Black men into the gays and Black women into weave-wearing, White-men screwing NeNe Leakeses. My question is when will menfolks like Watkins lead by example?

What I mean is why are there never any essays connecting the dots between Murdoch’s evil plans to harm the Black community and FOX Sports?

Besides reality shows and “Empire,” there is no other more problematic image of Black people on television than what has come out of the NFL. I’m talking sexual assaults and domestic violence. I’m talking the financial castigation of Black men through exploitive contracts and poor ownership opportunities. And I’m talking head traumas, broken backs and other permanent physical damage to the players themselves.

Murdoch gets paid handsomely off of that oppression too. In fact, his Fox Sports networks are gaining ground on ESPN in terms of ratings, including in Black households. Taking a stand against the “coonery” by boycotting Murdoch’s sport networks and broadcast of NFL games would be the ultimate opportunity for the brothers to flex that invigorated-brand of masculinity, which they are always claiming is being snatched away from them by Black women, effeminate Black men and The Man.

And yet there aren’t any scathing essays imploring the menfolks to empower themselves through a boycott of the upcoming Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcon or the New England Patriots vs Dallas Cowboys games on FOX Sports. To be fair, Watkins, in 2008, did call for a boycott of NCAA basketball season, some of which might have aired on FOX Sports. But that was solely about getting college athletes paid. And he made no mention of how our support of March Madness contributed to FOX or Murdoch.

I guess he was cool with us lining Murdoch’s pockets back then. Just like how it was cool when we all went to go see X-men, Planet of the Apes, Alien vs Predator, Fantastic Four, and other action films produced by FOX. You know because Murdoch owns a lot of shat including the film studios, production and distribution companies and television stations in which great deal of our entertainment comes from?

Nope. Watkins, and others brothers who charge others with the task of fixing the Black community’s image, rarely seek empowerment through self-control and personal accountability. Instead, these fellas mostly seek validation of themselves through the policing of what the we women can say, do or even enjoy.

What’s most interesting in Watkins’ angst over “Empire’s” alleged role in bankrolling Murdoch’s empire is that Watkins himself has been a guest quite a few times on FOX programming. Talk about contributing to one’s own demise. But I guess that was different, huh?

A First Look At Will Smith’s Latest Biopic, “Concussion”

August 31st, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Will Smith's Latest Biopic


Will Smith’s latest biopic Concussion tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu , the Nigerian forensic pathologist who discovered the disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after performing an autopsy on Mike Webster, a retired Pittsburgh Steelers’ player, in 2002. Usually found in football players and wrestlers, CTE causes early-onset dementia which potentially leads to death.

In the film, Dr. Omalu (Will Smith) is faced with opposition from the NFL after he diagnoses several football players with the disease. Instead of addressing the health problems their athletes face, the NFL intimidates Dr. Omalu in order for him to deny CTE is real. Not backing down, Dr. Omalu makes it his mission to make the public aware about CTE and how it affects the mental health of athletes.

See how Dr. Omalu’s story unfolds in the trailer below.

Concussion premieres in theaters on Christmas Day.

Game, Set, Match: 15 Black Athletes Who Are Dominating

July 15th, 2015 - By Desiree Bowie
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Serena Williams Wimbledon


The world’s biggest athletes will receive honors for their achievements at the 2015 ESPY Awards tonight. With so many Black athletes commanding their courts, fields, stages, and rings, we decided to look at 15 of today’s biggest and most dominant Black athletes in the world of sports.

Atlanta Falcon Linebacker Released After Killing Ex-Girlfriend’s Dog

May 30th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Prince Shembo might want to think through his decisions next time.

The 23-year-old Atlanta Falcons linebacker has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty and a felony after his ex-girlfriend accused him of killing her dog! According to E News,

 The Gwinnett County Police Department states that Denicia Williams called the cops on April 19 to report that four days prior, she had taken her dog with her to Shembo’s apartment and, after leaving them alone for a time at some point, she returned to find the dog unresponsive. Williams then took Dior to Duluth Animal Hospital, where he died shortly after arrival.

Police also confirmed that Shembo made multiple comments about hurting and kicking the dog. The comments were made to ex-girlfriend after she broke up with him. Also, a necropsy performed on the puppy, showed he had sustained intensive internal injuries and the cause of death was blunt-force trauma.

The incident not only cost him a slap on the wrist, but the Atlanta Falcons have also decided to waive Shembo.


Credit: Gwinnett County Police Department)

Credit: Gwinnett County Police Department)

Why The NFL’s ‘DeflateGate’ Ruling Is A Slap In The Face To Women

May 12th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Tanvier Peart Baltimore Ravens NFL Fan

I’m an NFL gal through and through who can sip on a cocktail (not into beer) and quote stats with the guys. The game has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My uncle played for the Baltimore Colts before they quietly left Charm City in the midnight hour to call Indianapolis home. My dad was recruited by the Dallas Cowboys but ended up turning them down as basketball was his game. While it would’ve been cool to have a father who played in the league, I more than likely wouldn’t have been born if he did.

Coming from Baltimore, I proudly bleed black and purple for my Ravens. I remember when we first got the team from Cleveland and voting on the name. Even though I no longer live on the East coast, I make sure to catch every game and stay abreast of what’s going on.

When news and video broke that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hit his wife unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator, I was appalled and angry. Yes there should be room in our hearts for forgiveness, but that doesn’t take away the consequences of our actions. Who knows what went on behind closed doors (that’s their business), but I thought the league was a bit soft on Rice, only suspending him for two games. Sure he was indicted and took a reduced deal (a 12-month intervention program), but they still had video of what happened. At least to me and other female fans, two games was a light tap on the wrist and doesn’t show a strong stance on the issue.

After heavy scrutiny and reports revealing the NFL had prior knowledge of what happened, the Ravens eventually released Rice that later led to an indefinite suspension. He has since been reinstated and allowed to play.

While I’m happy the NFL finally had to take a look at their policies on violence against women, you mean to tell me New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gets twice as many suspended games because it’s “more probable than not,” he knew about deflated balls during the AFC Championship game? The team also received a $1 million fine and the loss of draft picks for 2016 and 2017.

How does that make sense?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of the Patriots and am well aware of their questionable dynasty, including “Spygate” where coach Bill Belichick and the team were fined for illegally filming their opponents for five years. At some point karma will come back to bite you in the butt.

Obviously the two incidents — a repeat of cheating in the case of the Patriots — are different. I get that. What infuriates me and other women I know who love the game is how quickly the NFL was to reprimand the New England Patriots and how long it took to get a consequence with a more serious issue. Folks want to say they don’t agree with domestic violence…but since it did not happen on company time, he can still play. While it might not be normal practice, there are way too many examples of celebrities and regular people getting fired from their job due to poor off-the-clock behavior.

Does the NFL not realize that women in many cases are the backbone of the game? Sure we don’t play or coach, but we surely do make up 45 percent of the fan base. We also happen to the be the fastest-growing fan demographic with our viewership rising each year. I don’t think it’s a smart move to drag your feet when dealing with players involved with domestic violence, especially when you have clear footage.

Since news broke about “deflategate,” comments and opinions have questioned what the heck the NFL is thinking. Conversations on and offline have also been interesting. While many of my gal pals and guy friends think a two-game suspension for beating your wife is ridiculous, there are some who think it was enough for Rice. Here’s my question, if the roles were reversed–and Tom Brady was Black and Rice was White–do you think there would be a bigger outcry of injustice?

main image courtesy of Tanvier Peart

NFL Introduces More Strict Conduct Policy

December 17th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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The National Football League has instituted a new, more strict conduct policy after months of scrutiny and backlash over the handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case and other issues within the NFL ranks.

Among the new policies, as outlined by The Chicago Tribune:

-“The appointment by the commissioner of a league office executive with a criminal justice background to issue initial discipline.” This is a new position, with the appointee determining punishment for violations.

-“[A]  new league conduct committee comprised of representatives of NFL ownership that will review the policy at least annually and recommend appropriate changes with advice from outside experts.”

– “A baseline suspension of six games without pay for violations involving assault, battery, domestic violence, dating violence, child abuse, other forms of family violence, or sexual assault, with consideration given to possible mitigating or aggravating circumstances.”

There’s also an emphasis on education and services for survivors.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, making the announcement last week, said that he’s consulted with a number of outside organizations to come up with the policies. Among them was the Black Women’s Roundtable, who we spoke to about their recommendations last month. We were in touch with some specific questions about whether some of their recommendations were taken or how they felt about the policy and only got this statement in return from Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the organization: “The Black Women’s Roundtable is reviewing the NFL’s new personal conduct policy. We plan to provide feedback as the NFL works to implement its new policies.”

More definitively, The Huffington Post called the policy merely a start.

The NFL’s updated conduct policy is by no means a cure-all. But it is a step in the right direction. It clearly articulates consequences. It shows support for and provides resources to survivors. It tells the fan base that domestic violence and sexual assault are not ok under any circumstances–in the NFL or frankly in society at-large.

Any thoughts on the policy?