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The NCAA let down the Utah women’s basketball team

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The NCAA must have known higher.

On March 21, members of the University of Utah women’s basketball travel team – players, coaches, associate athletic director, cheerleaders and band members – arrived in Spokane, Washington for the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament after which achieved a rating of 33.5 – a mile trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where their hotel was situated.

A short while later, while walking to a restaurant, group members said a white pickup truck pulled up in front of them, the driver revved the engine, then shouted the N-word and drove away.

When they left the restaurant two hours later to return to the hotel, two trucks they were supposedly waitingagain revving the engines in a threatening manner and shouting epithets.

Utah worked with the NCAA and Gonzaga to maneuver the group to a hotel in Spokane for the remainder of their stay. The Utes won their first game against South Dakota State and lost in the second round to host Gonzaga.

Days later, Utah State officials and players are still processing racial trauma and pointing fingers at the NCAA.

On Tuesday, an announcement issued by the University of Utah and signed by athletic director Mark Harlan, associate athletic director Charmelle Green and coach Lynne Roberts read partially: “We proceed to supply support and resources to all those impacted by the situation. As we proceed to get better, we’re very disillusioned with the decision to allocate our team to hotels situated to date from the competition venue in one other state.

“We will work with NCAA leadership to clarify that this distance from the scene was unacceptable and was a contributing factor to the impact of this incident.”

I believe anyone reading this knows that anti-black sentiment is all over the place on this country. This is what it was built on.

However, the NCAA and Gonzaga failed these young women and their team’s support staff, in addition to UC Irvine and South Dakota State, the remaining teams that were forced to stay in Coeur d’Alene.

Gonzaga guard Esther Little takes a shot against Utah during the second round of the 2024 NCAA women’s tournament at the McCarthey Athletic Center on March 25 in Spokane, Washington.

Myk Crawford/NCAA photos via Getty Images

If there’s one place on this country that could be called the home of hate, it’s northern Idaho. Lake Hayden, about six miles north of Coeur d’Alene, is where the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations was founded in 1977 and held annual meetings until the late Nineties. According to state statistics20 of the 50 reported hate crimes in Idaho in 2022 were reported by Black people. Although the situation improved after the bankruptcy of the Aryan Nations and their eventual expulsion from the city, the Southern Poverty Law Center, who tracks hate groups, claims that the variety of white supremacist cells in Idaho has increased in recent times. And now a few of these groups apparently have the support of state and native politicians, with far-right Republicans gaining ground in the state GOP.

Just this week, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed a bill banning “diversity statements” and other activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion teaching and advocacy. shouts about it on Facebooktacitly condoning those that stoke racial animosity (while ignoring the indisputable fact that DEI initiatives also aim to assist women and folks with disabilities).

It must be emphasized that it was pure coincidence that Spokane hosted the first two rounds of the men’s and women’s tournaments, and since a big youth volleyball tournament was held on this relatively small city last weekend, accommodations were scarce. The men’s teams play all rounds at neutral sites, and Spokane has long been awarded first- and second-round games in the 2024 men’s tournament. On the women’s side, the top 4 seeds in each region will host the weekend’s opening matches. Since Gonzaga was the No. 4 seed in the Portland area, that meant much more athletes headed to Eastern Washington. Gonzaga asked and received permission from the NCAA to position teams in Coeur d’Alene since it is greater than half-hour away from the host stadium.

But given all the history, how could anyone involved on this case think it was a very good idea to place any teams in the city, let alone two that included several black players, coaches and support staff? The UC Irvine team includes one in every of the few women’s college basketball players who wears a hijab. Given the hatred that many white supremacist groups have towards Muslims, one shudders to think what might occur in the event that they saw the Anteaters guarding Diaby Konate.

A University of California, Irvine official said that after hearing what happened to the Utes, the group moved out of Coeur d’Alene.

Green, the Utes’ associate athletic director and a Black woman, told Utah online news site KSL.com that she was upset after the horrific events.

“We were all in shock and looked at each other like, did we just hear that? … Everyone was in shock – our cheerleaders and the students who were in the area who heard it clearly just froze,” Green said. “We kept walking, just shaking our heads like I couldn’t believe it.”

After the second hate incident, as the band was leaving the restaurant, ‘I became emotional and commenced crying’ – said Green. After ensuring the group returned safely to the hotel, “I got here back and just had a while to myself. I used to be just numb all night.

Couer d’Alene Mayor Jim Hammond condemned the abuse, apologizing and saying he would really like to talk to the staff and team. The police chief said investigators are on the lookout for video footage and witness reports The FBI is now involved.

Gonzaga officials quickly issued an announcement expressing remorse. But as of this writing, the NCAA, the same organization that gave Gonzaga the green light to position these teams in a spot famous for being a haven for extremists, has remained silent.

Utah coach Lynne Roberts speaks to the media after a loss to Gonzaga during the second round of the 2024 NCAA women’s tournament at McCarthey Athletic Center on March 25 in Spokane, Washington.

Myk Crawford/NCAA photos via Getty Images

Given the way the NCAA has treated women’s teams over the years – remember the low standard “weighing room” were delivered during the 2021 tournament? – the organization does not benefit from the doubt that it simply did not know the history of Coeur d’Alene, not this writer. Not when she tried to explain the clear evidence of poor facilities and treatment of female athletes an external investigation conducted almost three years ago found that the NCAA intentionally undervalued the Division I women’s basketball tournament “in a way that creates, normalizes and perpetuates gender inequality.”

A second investigation into sports beyond basketball revealed more gender inequality, which “while disappointing, is not surprising,” the report said.

What must have been a joyous time for the Utes, a likelihood to point out off a rapidly growing program and rejoice seniors, will as an alternative be remembered for the worst of reasons.

They deserved more.


This article was originally published on : andscape.com
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“Either pay up or stop wasting my time”: Did Sha’Carri Richardson quit the Miramar Event because he wasn’t valued by the organization? Fans matter

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Track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson didn’t compete in the Miramar Invitational track and field competition at the Ansin Sports Complex in Florida on April 6. The 2023 World Championships 100-meter gold medalist was scheduled to start out her 2024 campaign in each the 100 and 100 meters. The event will feature 200-meter races.

“Hello everyone, I just want to let everyone know that I will not be competing in Miramar this weekend,” Sha’Carri said in an Instagram announcement posted on April 3. “I won’t be like most individuals who just let you discover through the vine. You’ll all hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. I won’t be racing this weekend in Miramar, so I don’t desire anyone to get their hopes up.”

Sha’Carri encouraged her fans to proceed to support the other athletes participating in the meet though she’s going to not be in attendance.

Videos of the day it got here to light that she supported and helped other runners, showing that she was a great athlete (not less than to a few of her peers).

What was missing from Sha’Carri’s message to fans was his reason for withdrawing from the competition. Although silent on the matter, social media quickly picked up on rumors about an alleged dispute over the track and field star’s performance pay.

EUGENE, OREGON – AUGUST 21: Sha'Carri Richardson reacts after finishing last in the 100m race during the Wanda Diamond League Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field on August 21, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OREGON – AUGUST 21: Sha’Carri Richardson reacts after ending last in the 100-meter dash during the Wanda Diamond League Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field on August 21, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Unconfirmed online sources say the appearance fee demanded by the 24-year-old athlete has skyrocketed, reportedly reaching a six-figure sum. However, nothing has been officially confirmed by the track star or her team. Nevertheless, social media users shared their opinions on the matter.

“It’s worth 150,000. dollars at the lowest level. 100 thousand dollars is a real bargain. It’s an “I don’t mind” deal. 150 thousand dollars is my lowest price if I am her. 200 thousand dollars is really my minimum to show up. $250, I’m in (flight)” – one person he wrote.

“I don’t blame her, you either pay up or stop wasting my time,” one other person he said.

The third person he said“It’s crazy how many people want athletes who kick ass to devalue themselves!”

After winning the 100 meters at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary last 12 months, Richardson is widely considered considered one of the most famous figures in track and field, with loads of support to point out for it. She recently appeared in Paris to assist Nike roll out Team USA’s latest Olympic uniforms.

Her next appearance is scheduled for the opening of the Diamond League season in Xiamen, China, where she’s going to start in the women’s 200 meters on April 20. The millionaire sprinter has already qualified for the upcoming Olympic trials in the USA. The last time she qualified for the world’s biggest competition, she was disqualified from competing in the 2021 Tokyo Games after testing positive for marijuana. Richardson probably won’t let that occur this time.


This article was originally published on : atlantablackstar.com
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Blake Griffin was a cultural phenomenon for the LA Clippers, but not for the reason you might think

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A player’s impact on sports culture can best be measured by the moments that come to mind when his name is mentioned.

The best basketball players have them: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and so forth.

For LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who announced his retirement on Tuesday after 14 years, when his name is mentioned, many moments come to mind: “Lob City.” Dipping over the Kia. Blake’s face. Straight up baptizing Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins. Former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

The Sterling saga that began in April 2014 when Sterling was recorded on tape saying that it bothered him that his mistress brought black men to “his games.” is a blip on Griffin’s profession radar. In 2009, he was the No. 1 overall pick by the Clippers. Winner of the Rookie of the Year award in 2011. In Griffin’s seven full seasons with the Clippers, they made the playoffs in all but one yr.

But Griffin and his teammates protest against Sterling before Game 4 of the first round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors following the public release of his comments, it is probably the most lasting legacy of an illustrious profession marked by the extraordinary highs and typical lows of talented superstars who never achieve off-season success.

LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin dunks during a game against the Charlotte Hornets on February 26, 2017 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Griffin’s partnership with guard Chris Paul made the Clippers relevant again and, more importantly, cool again. Between the Clippers’ move to Los Angeles in 1984 and Griffin’s election in 2009, the team made the playoffs only 4 times, never winning 50 or more games. From 2010-11 to 2016-17, Griffin’s last full season in Los Angeles, they won a minimum of 50 games five times.

The success of the Lob City era legitimized the Clippers franchise to the point where two things happened. After NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the league for life, the team was sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion in May 2014, at the time the largest team sale in NBA history. Griffin also turned the recalcitrant Clippers into a place where All-Stars like Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden would play. “We were the old Clippers,” Griffin wrote in The Players Tribune in 2014. “We were a joke in the eyes of the media back then. They just desired to laugh at us.”

You can argue his Hall of Fame bona fides all you want, but Griffin is a very important piece of NBA history. He was involved in a landmark moment in Los Angeles that influenced followers. “Dunk City” doesn’t have the same impact, does it?

As the game evolved — and as he got older and multiple lower-body injuries began to build up — Griffin did, too. When he entered the league in 2009, it was still a league of giants. He relied on his athleticism to play off the rim in addition to anyone in the league. Joining Griffin in warmups was the equivalent of throwing a fastball to Barry Bonds or facing Derrick Henry right at the line of scrimmage. It was a senseless endeavor.

But by the time Griffin was shockingly traded to the Detroit Pistons in 2018, there wasn’t much left in the knees. Like the remainder of the league, Griffin moved behind the three-point line. From the 2010-11 to 2016-17 season, Griffin shot 29.9% on 0.6 three-point attempts per game. From 2017-18 to 2022-23, he shot 33.4% on 4.7 attempts per game. He hasn’t grow to be Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but he has grow to be a stretch-4 who can shoot reliably from deep. Many big players didn’t last in the league when the need for more three-point shooting arose. Griffin prospered.

However, he achieved most of this under Sterling, whose teams normally recorded the lowest attendances in the league. Sterling is understood to have been prejudiced against black people, as illustrated by a federal housing discrimination lawsuit, for, amongst other things, his claim that his black tenants “smell and attract vermin.” Former team general manager and Hall of Fame player Elgin Baylor alleged in the lawsuit that Sterling told him he wanted a roster composed of “poor black boys from the South” and a white head coach. Sterling settled a housing discrimination lawsuit, and a jury ruled in his favor in Baylor’s suit.

LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin (left) receives congratulations from owner Donald Sterling (right) after winning the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest at Staples Center on February 19, 2011 in Los Angeles.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

After the Clippers drafted Griffin, Sterling paraded him around a swanky party at his mansion as if Griffin was his best ox, continuously prodding his newest black worker to speak about his sexual prowess.

Griffin said he felt powerless at the time because he was only 20 years old and interacting together with his supervisor. The power imbalance is a harbinger of silence because Sterling has been allowed to operate this manner for a long time. “This guy was my boss” – Griffin – wrote in “The Players Tribune”. six months after the Sterling tape was revealed. “Ask yourself, how would you react if your boss did the same to you?”

After Sterling’s tapes were released in 2014, in the middle of the team’s series against the Warriors, Griffin and his teammates had the weight of the world on their backs. The owner of the team they played for was caught saying racist things, but all the pressure appeared to be on him. They needed to boycott. They needed to demand a takeover of Sterling. They needed to take all the risk while the audience got to enjoy the reward of Sterling leaving.

Instead of refusing to play the fourth game of the series, the players took off their warmup shirts, turned them inside out to cover the team logo, and walked to midcourt to throw all of them into a pile. It wasn’t exactly on the front lines of the protest — Griffin said he was one among the players who advocated for a boycott of a Warriors game — but as I recall, it was one among the few times the team stood as much as team owner. Sterling would not survive what he said on those tapes, but swinging around like that in public still carries risks.

Five years before the release of Sterling’s tapes, Griffin was too afraid to ask his boss to stop touching and grabbing him at an all-white party, but here he was together with his teammates and principally told Sterling to kick rocks.

“We tried to decide what to do, but everyone said we should boycott, we shouldn’t play.” Griffin told ESPN in 2019. “The idea was: OK, we didn’t play for him in any respect. We didn’t get together before the jump ball and say, “Donald Sterling three-pointer!” One two Three!’ “

The Clippers’ demonstration followed in the footsteps of the Miami Heat in hoodies following the 2012 murder of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, further illustrating that when NBA players talk, people have to listen. The Clippers’ response, in fact, resulted in Sterling’s ouster, but it also showed that players have some power in the NBA: eight years later, after an ESPN investigation found that then-Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver had made racist and sexist comments, players like the Los Angeles Laker LeBron James (“Misogyny, sexism and racism has no place in any workplace”) and Suns guard Paul (“I was and am horrified and disappointed by what I read”) expressed their dissatisfaction. Sarver sold the team in 2022.

“It was a sign of respect,” Griffin told ESPN in a 2019 article. “At the end of the day, that is what it’s all about. It’s respect for the human race. It was just a small incident that was in a position to spark something much greater and produce understanding to the issue.

“I always come back to the idea that it takes a very educated and thoughtful person to be able to hold a thought without accepting it.”

Martenzie Johnson is a senior author at Andscape. His favorite moment in the cinema is when Django asks, “Do you want to see something?”

This article was originally published on : andscape.com
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The WNBA is riding the wave and taking center stage as it welcomes star players into the 2024 draft

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“Who will be next?”

This is your query while you get to the pickup match in progress. You then ask if there are any spots left on the upcoming team(s). If not, this is your moment to make your most declarative statement out of court:

“I’ve got another one.”

These words hit harder in basketball because the team consists of only five players. With the right sensational player and three solid players, you’ll be able to all rule the court for some time. All you want to do is personally not suck.

Players chosen in the WNBA draft on Monday weren’t anxious about upsetting their college team. They helped generate interest and excitement over the past two seasons, resulting in record-breaking television viewership for the NCAA Tournament. This yr’s women’s title match attracted more viewers than the men’s title match, which is an unprecedented feat. The women’s tournament also set an all-time record total attendance record for the second season in a row.

I used to be there too, extending my viewing to the Monday night telecast. Other than learning about the next stop for big-name players like South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso and LSU’s Angel Reese (each of whom went to Chicago), I do not find the draft showcases particularly interesting. But I even have a soft spot for the emotions that arise when young adults pursue their childhood dreams surrounded by family and friends.

The matches didn’t look bad either.

Female athletes are having their moment in college, and that is expected to proceed in the pros. The Indiana Fever, which chosen Iowa’s Caitlin Clark with the No. 1 pick, will play 36 of 40 regular-season games national television, ensuring maximum exposure for the flutist of the sport. The ESPN analyst predicted record viewership for Clark’s May 14 debut and her first games against powerhouses Las Vegas and New York.

Viewership for the Indiana-Chicago game on June 1 also needs to take a success because Clark faced Reese. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert compared the upcoming season to 1979, when the NBA’s popularity soared with the addition of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

Clark and Reese have the potential to spark similar growth in the WNBA, which last yr enjoyed its most-watched season in 21 years. “This is our Magic Bird moment” – Engelbert he said USA today.

I recently wrote that Reese should return to highschool and work on her game, but apparently I’m an idiot. She placed seventh overall and immediately humbled herself by acknowledging the challenges faced by adult women. Dominating one other yr of school can be easy, but…

“I wanted to start over,” she added he said Monday. “I feel like I’ve been at the top since the national championship and now I want to hit rock bottom. I want to be a rookie again. I want the vets to knock me down, I want to get up and grow and become a sponge.”

Unfortunately for many college stars, including some drafted this yr, there aren’t enough options to go around. The WNBA has just 12 rosters and a complete of 144 roster spots; many teams only have 11 players resulting from salary cap rules. Only seven players from the 2021 draft remain on WNBA rosters shortly before the last season has come to an end.

The No. 1 pick in 2021 (Charli Collier) was amongst the draft picks and not using a job in 2023. Engelbert said the WNBA is “pretty confident” that can occur. expand to 16 teams by 2028, creating opportunities for more players. In the meantime, we will expect a deluge of selling and promotion, with Clark at the helm.

Judging by the media’s constant drooling over Clark, some consider that ladies’s basketball almost didn’t exist before she got here along. Her shooting and playmaking skills are truly exceptional and a highlight for hordes of latest fans. But she’s doing her best to teach those whose knowledge of the sport goes back to Iowa’s games with South Carolina and LSU over the past two years.

“We really have to look back at the women in front of us, and I know people keep saying this is a historic draft class, but there were many, many talented draft classes ahead of us,” Clark said Monday. “I just want to offer my props to the Dawn Staleys, Sheryl Swoopes and Lisa Leslies because they’re the reason I’m here because I watched them grow up. I just hope I can proceed that legacy for young women.

Women “were next.”

I can not wait to see what they do on the court.


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The post WNBA rides the wave and takes center stage as it welcomes star players to the 2024 draft appeared first on TheGrio.

This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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