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Blog: Our society needs a look in the mirror regarding domestic violence.

A little over a year ago, I was told a story about domestic violence. I only heard this secondhand from the person that was in the room when the information was revealed.

It involved an athlete – I believe it was a football player but cannot remember for certain; based on the time of year, it would have made more sense had it been basketball instead.

The player was going through a mock interview of what sort of questions would be asked during a draft combine / at some point before a pro draft.

“Would you ever hit a woman,” I was told the interviewer asked.

“Yeah,” the athlete responded. “Bitch deserved it.”

The story, which was told to me by a female, was meant to be humorous – nobody would be that stupid to actually tell a potential employer that you hit women, right? Yes, the answer was ridiculous. But I remember at the time feeling uneasy about what I had heard.

If I knew the identity of the athlete, trust me, I further action would have been taken immediately.

Instead that player was corrected that an answer such as that would not be looked too favorably by a team. To the best of my knowledge, he was not instructed that what he had done was morally wrong and criminal.

When I saw the video of the Ray Rice incident this morning, the uneasy feelings I had felt a year ago now felt a general sickness to my stomach. To actually see a man strike a woman really put things in perspective. It’s something I had never seen besides in a movie, but to know that actual pain was suffered by a human being – to see it – it got my blood boiling a little bit.

As I cooled off to begin a very exhaustive day, I began to think: why, because you wear a jersey, are some violent actions against women not only brushed aside, but the clearance celebrated?

Look just weeks ago at the Ray Rice situation. A two-game suspension was arbitrarily tossed in by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. It was only because of backlash that Goodell instead later on announced violators of domestic violence would be subject to a six-game ban instead. When Rice showed up to training camp, he was cheered by Baltimore fans.

Why? Because he can run with a catch a football.

While I’m understandably upset at these athletes, countless others that we have heard about, and the many more we haven’t, I’m just as upset as us as a society.

We have let women down.

It’s time we all take a step back and reflect about what this Rice situation has brought us. We can, and I believe we are, making great strides to see how egregious this really is. Now let’s do something about it.

The next time this happens – and it will happen – we need to show our character and tell the perpetrator that violence against a woman is not OK.  Maybe after extensive rehabilitation we can begin to accept once again, but anything else besides championing the victim is, quite simply, a failure.

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Blog: Don’t shoot the Oklahoma State messenger

You should see some of the letters from readers that either cross a sports editor’s desk or make their way into his inbox.

They are bizarre, to say the least; accusations of bias are common, of incorrect quotes are head scratchers (interviews are almost always recorded), and of such poor writing that the author of a piece should be fired.

It’s happened to me whether it was during my few years at the Daily Illini – at a time where I was learning – in St. Petersburg working for Major League Baseball, or during my first real job in Port Charlotte, Fla., with a community daily. Read More…

How Will The Rookie Quarterbacks Play in 2013?

With the announcement that both Geno Smith and EJ Manuel will start from the beginning for their respective clubs, the 2013 quarterback class just stepped up a bit. While neither might be trusted in most fantasy football leagues right away, they could have some sleeper potential like Russell Wilson just a season ago. So how will the two AFC East gunslingers do in year one?

Read More…

Blog: Players win concussion battle, but NFL winning greater war

A doctor may not have diagnosed it, but I’ve had concussions.

I didn’t see Tweety Bird circling around my head, but I remember the headaches after an intense high school football game or practice.

The physicality was natural back then. Even though we were drilled to keep our heads up, we still took multiple blows to the head on a daily basis; using a helmet that I believe would keep me safe. Read More…

Preps Recap: Martin County once again ends Tarpons’ season

Original run date: Nov. 17 in Charlotte Sun

PUNTA GORDA — The sight of Martin County High School driving down the field to go ahead with little time remaining on the scoreboard was all too familiar for the Charlotte High School football fans.
History repeated itself Friday night as the Tigers scored the go-ahead touchdown when running back Dan Fillhaber punched the ball from a yard out with2:13 left on the clock. For the second year in a row, the host Tarpons found themselves on the losing end because of it, this time in a 35-32 decision that ended their season.
Fillhaber had two touchdowns and 159 yards, but the real star ended up being Jermohn Queen, who torched the Charlotte defense for three scores and 341 yards on 32 carries.
“We didn’t have an answer for it,” Tarpons coach Binky Waldrop said of the consistent seal blocks that opened space for the two running backs. “We put 10 people up there against that, and we still couldn’t stop it. They just out-physicaled us all night.”
Neither Queen nor Tigers coach Chuck Kenyon said they could have even imagined the video game-like numbers Queen put up, especially considering that he usually makes his name on the basketball court as one of the better players in the state. But Kenyon said it just showed Queen’s athleticism.
“We knew that he was going to be our feature … but Queen’s just special,” Kenyon said. “We know that this is fun for him, he’s tough as nails.”
Though Charlotte’s defense didn’t fare well, the same couldn’t be said of the offense, led by Clyde Newton.
The senior running back ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns and caught another 12-yard score in the losing effort. Tarpons quarterback Brennan McGill threw for 257 yards on the night and a pair of touchdowns with a pick on 13-for-22 passing.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Martin County had seized the momentum thanks to Janarie Jones interception and three touchdowns in the third to lead 28-17. But Charlotte fought back at the start of the fourth thanks to an 80-yard drive that featured 30 yards rushing from Newton and a 12-yard touchdown reception.
The Tarpons converted a two-point conversion to bring it to within three but finally took a 32-28 lead when Newton was able to punch it in again from a yard out.
That’s when Fillhaber took over, rushing for 55 yards of an 80-yard drive to give Martin County the lead for good.
Charlotte received the ball with two minutes left and had a shot but a pair of false start penalties backed the Tarpons up enough to stall any chance at pulling out a win.

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