March 06, 2014

I have watched and listened to all of the so-called experts (people who used to be Black) and those who aspire to become Black again respond to and comment on the National Football League’s banning of the ‘N’ Word.

That four letter sports network even had one of their reporters ask Eagles receiver Riley Cooper if he thought the word should be banned. What a joke!

What does anybody expect anyone to say in a public forum, other than what might be politically acceptable. After all some of the people are employed by the same four letter sports network.

Almost as sensible as the LAPD investigating itself after brutal beating of a Black motorist. Duh!

First and foremost the National Football League is just that a professional football league that has monopolized the sport of football, voiding itself of any competition, with federal antennas that branch out form K Street to the White House and beyond.

If any of their players are fortunate enough to play out their contracts, chances are they won’t have a memory of what they were not supposed to say.

It is the only sports league with partially guaranteed contracts, meaning they can get rid of you at their own choosing.

It is a modernized slave ship that is a vivid reminder of the days of auction block purchases. A league whose front office and coaching fraternity is dominated by non Blacks.

We would rather you not treat us like ‘N’ Word, than say you are banning the word so that we can’t say it among ourselves.

In other words, No more Rap Music, next will be haircuts and not eating or drinking any product that does not have an agreement with the NFL.

All I want from the NFL is an occasionally close Super Bowl when the best two teams are playing.

I don’t need the NFL or any of its operatives to tell me what I can and cannot say. Of course they are not talking to me because I am not an NFL player, but if you look close enough they are talking to you. I think the ‘N’ letter should be banned from N-F-L! How do I legislate that?


Just Tank It


The Lakers began this week with a 20-39 record and among the laughing stocks of the NBA season.

During a season without Kobe and a makeshift roster of players auditioning for a chance to play pro ball, the NBA’s golden nugget is resembling a copper penny.

Oh, and if you believe in what former Lakers great Jerry West had to say about the NBA draft class, then there doesn’t appear to be any help on the way.

West doesn’t believe this will be a great draft at all, and says it highly over rated.

He’s in the minority in that opinion, because most believe this will be one of the great draft classes in memory.

No one can say for sure how great, but with freshmen Jabari Parker of Duke and Andrew Wiggins of Kansas among the top of most projections this draft will be deep and transformational.

The NBA is an Over 30 League and the product with all these veterans is just not that good. It’s expensive, but the basketball ain’t pretty at all.

So, if you are going to have a league that isn’t that good anyway, you may as well infused it with young exciting raw players that fans would at least be interested in watching.

Regardless where the Lakers land in this NBA draft, they will get a player who is better than many they have and one who can be a foundational piece for their long rebuilding future.


The Great Silence


I ran into legendary Muhammad Ali photographer Howard Bingham the other day in a local grocery store.

Advancing in age, he was grabbing some fruits and veggies.

I had to ask him how the champ was doing.

Sadly, it’s not good! Ali, according to Bingham can’t speak at all anymore due to Parkinson disease. Ali’s vital signs are in good shape according to his long time photographer, but we will never hear him say “I’m The Greatest!” or another speaking word again!

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March 06, 2014

LAWT Wire Services


The MLB Educational Devel­opment Program began when the Academy was found in 2006 as afterschool tutoring, mentoring, academic counseling and homework support for Academy members. In the last three years, the program has expanded to offer SAT and ACT preparation classes, credit-recovery opportunities, College Preparatory Checklist workshops, and Funding Your Education workshops that are designed to help the student-athlete navigate through difficult courses needed to get into college and be successful.

The program has had much success which validates the hard work done by the staff.

Dominic Smith came to the Academy at an early age with tremendous baseball potential, but in his own words, “school was not his favorite place to be.” After attending weekly mentoring, academic counseling, tutoring, SAT prep help, and credit recovery for two classes that he had failed, Smith scored a 1240 on the SAT, improved his grades and graduated from Serra High School in Gardena with a 3.2 GPA. Smith was offered and signed a full scholarship to play baseball at the University of Southern California.  He was eventually selected 11th overall by the New York Mets in the first-year player draft and opted to play professional baseball at this time.

Juan Avena of Compton started at the Academy as a youth and was faced with daily challenges of living in the middle of gang territory.  At age 11, Avena began working on his academic skills at the Academy daily and worked his way to star for the Compton College baseball team.  His success on the field and inside the classroom has paid dividends.  He was also drafted by the Mets (37th round) earlier this year. However, because he had improved so much academically, he was offered and has since accepted a full scholarship to attend Sterling College in Sterling, KS, choosing not to play professional baseball at this time.

The Mayfair High School baseball team from Lakewood completed a SAT prep course at the Academy in 2013. Their scores on the SAT were very high (averaging 1350) and head coach Joe Magnolia was extremely pleased with his players’ results.

In 2012, the Centennial High School baseball team from Compton attended the Academy for mentoring, homework support, and one-on-one tutoring on a weekly basis. Most of the players were doing so poorly in their classes that head Coach Gerald Pickens threatened to cancel the baseball season until their grades improved.  After working hard at the Academy for several months, the players’ grades improved dramatically and the baseball season continued.

Also in 2012, the King Drew High School softball team from Los Angeles went through the MLB UYA mentoring and homework support program. Though these girls maintained excellent grades in their classes, they dedicated themselves to doing extra work while gaining weekly tutoring and homework support. Their hard work has paid off and several of the student-athletes are currently attending Division 1 colleges and playing softball on scholarships.

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February 27, 2014

LAWT Wire Services


The head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the NFL, expects the league to institute a rule where players would be penalized 15 yards for using the N-word on the field.

John Wooten, the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, anticipates that the NFL’s competition committee will enact the rule at the owners' meeting next month.

“We did talk about it, I’m sure that you saw near the end of the year that Fritz Pollard (Alliance) came out very strong with the message that the league needs to do something about the language on the field,” said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who is on the league’s competition committee. “So we did discuss over the last three days.”

“We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room. Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere.”

— John Wooten, head of Fritz Pollard Alliance

Newsome also said the committee talked about other slurs coming under any possible new rule, including homophobic slurs.

Wooten, who previously has urged all players to stop using the N-word, thinks the NFL will rule an automatic 15-yard penalty for first-time offenders and an ejection for second infractions.

“I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we’re trying to do,” Wooten said, according to “We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room.

“Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere.”

Wooten thinks the competition committee will officially agree to the rule next month before presenting it to the owners.

“I think they’re going to do what needs to be done here,” he said. “There is too much disrespect in the game.”

The competition committee meets for several days in Naples, Fla., next week, where they will decide what will be presented to owners at league meetings in March.

“We will now go down to Naples starting next Friday and spend more time talking about it,” Newsome said. “We had some officials in our meeting that actually out there on the field and hear the language. We’ll be able to put all that together and if there’s a need to we will present something to our owners in Orlando.

“With any rule that we put into play we have to look at it from A to Z and find out any unintended consequences as much as the consequences. So, as it was stated in our meeting, there are mics everywhere, so if something has been said it’s probably going to be captured somewhere. So there will be an opportunity to get it verified if we have to.”

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March 06, 2014


SINGING FOR THE CHAMPS: The rematch of Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley is one of the most highly anticipated boxing events of the year. Fans attending or tuning in to the April 12 showdown will get a special treat. Pop star Ashanti has accepted Pacquiao’s invitation to sing the national anthem.

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February 27, 2014

LAWT Wire Services


GREENBURGH, N.Y. —Raymond Felton is determined to keep personal turmoil from affecting what was already his most trying season professionally.

A day after his arrest on felony weapons charges, Felton returned to practice with the New York Knicks on Wednesday, saying that was “not a distraction” to the team.

Felton spoke for less than a minute and did not take questions. He thanked family, friends and teammates for their support and insisted his thoughts were on the Knicks’ game Thursday night in Miami.

“This is not a distraction to this team,” he said. “I’m focusing on finishing out this season, finishing out these games with my teammates and going down to Miami, focusing on this next game at task versus the defending champs.”

The Knicks are barely hanging on in the playoff race and Felton’s struggles have been among their biggest problems. Slowed by nagging leg injuries early, he’s averaging a career-worst 10.4 points on 40.3 percent shooting for a team with a 21-36 record.

He’s also dealing with the breakup of his marriage, and he was arrested early Tuesday after authorities said a lawyer for his wife turned into a police precinct a loaded semi-automatic handgun allegedly belonging to the point guard, claiming she no longer wanted it in their home.

Felton was released on $25,000 bail, and his next court appearance is scheduled for June 2.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he never considered not letting Felton play against the Heat.

“The bottom line is Ray is a part of our team, and as his coach I’m going to support him and make sure he’s doing everything the right way from here on out, and to try to get him to just concentrate on basketball and practice and playing games,” Woodson said.

Felton was charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and criminal possession of a firearm. The firearm charge is punishable by up to four years in prison. The weapons charge is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

He had turned himself into police not long after a 110-108 loss to Dallas dropped the Knicks farther back in the playoff race. His wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton, filed for divorce last week, according to court records, and Felton acknowledged recently dealing with personal problems.

He said he wouldn’t comment on the case, referring any questions to his lawyer.

“But other than that, I’m here to concentrate on this team, finish this season out with the New York Knicks and see what happens, man,” Felton said. “Trying to make it to the playoffs. We’re 5-1/2 games out, 25 games left, so I’m really focusing on that with these guys, with the team and trying to make that happen.”

Felton was playing well in his first stint in New York before he was traded to Denver in the middle of the 2010-11 season as part of the package for Carmelo Anthony. He had a dismal 2011-12 season for Portland, admitting he reported out of shape because he wasn’t sure if, or when, the lockout might end.

Yet the Knicks surprisingly re-signed him that summer, a move that paved the way for them to let Jeremy Lin leave as a free agent. Felton rebounded with a strong performance last season in helping the Knicks to their first Atlantic Division title since 1994, but neither he nor the team has been able to build on that.

Felton has played better lately, and center Tyson Chandler said he was focused at practice Wednesday.

“He seemed like he was no different,” Chandler said.

Felton still could face punishment from the NBA, though likely not until the legal process has been completed. He is set to earn $3.8 million next season and has a player option that would pay him $4 million in 2015-16, and any attempt by the Knicks to void his contract would be met with a strong challenge from the players’ association.

For now, Felton and the Knicks are just trying to salvage the season.

“My job is to continue to coach and try to get guys to do the right thing on and off the basketball floor. I take pride in that, so when things creep in like this, it’s a surprise, but again we’ve got to get through it,” Woodson said.

“Again, I don’t know the legal part, the severity of it. All I know is Raymond is still with us and I’m on Raymond’s side in terms of trying to make sure that he’s doing the necessary things to play basketball and I'm going to continue to do that.”

Notes: The Knicks plan to sign veterans Shannon Brown and Earl Clark to 10-day contracts Thursday and have them available to play against the Heat. ... Anthony missed practice for personal reasons but will be with the team in Miami.

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