May 01, 2014

Associated Press


Serena Williams’ father says he won’t return to Indian Wells, Calif., the site of a tournament his daughter has skipped since 2001, when their family was booed — and subjected to racial epithets, according to his new book.

“I would never go back,” Richard Williams said in a telephone interview.

But he added that it’s up to Serena whether to play at Indian Wells again.

“She was taught to make terrific decisions,” he said. “Any decision she makes, I would be behind, 1,000 percent.”

His book, “Black and White: The Way I See It,” comes out May 6. It goes into detail about how Indian Wells, in his words, “disgraced America.”

Serena was on the entry list for the event this year but withdrew, citing a back injury.

The book covers plenty of other ground, although there is not much that is revelatory about the professional tennis careers of Williams’ daughters Serena and Venus. He said he has another book, focused more on them, in the works.

First taught the game by their father, the sisters have won a combined 24 Grand Slam singles titles and have both been ranked No. 1.

“From the beginning, I decided that if people came to me later on and told me my daughters were great tennis players, I had failed,” he writes. “Success would be if they came up to me and said my daughters were great people.”

Written with Bart Davis, the 292-page “Black and White” reads as part autobiography, part parenting guide (“I feel that we’re way too soft on our children,” Williams says in Chapter 19), part self-help book, part tennis instructional manual.

“I released the book because Serena kept telling me to,” Williams said. “She thought it would help a lot of people.”

It is dedicated to his mother, and much of the early chapters concerns lessons she imparted to him and her influence on his life — and, by extension, his children's lives.

There are meditations on the American dream, ambition — and, above all, racism. The latter is the prism through which he learned to see the world and, as he repeatedly hammers home, still does to this day.

“If a person doesn’t know where they started from, they sure as heck don’t know where they’re going,” he said in the interview. “As they read, they can kind of relate more to who you are and where you’re from and where you’re going to.”

In the book, Williams explains how his world view was shaped by growing up in Louisiana and during his time in Chicago as a young man.

There are tales upon tales of run-ins with the police and confrontations with strangers, often ending in violence.

“I could not embrace a turn-the-other-cheek philosophy,” he writes.

At another point, he writes: “I became fascinated with stealing at the age of eight. I don’t know if the thrill was being able to get away with a crime, or that the crime was against the white man. Either way, it was the start of a prosperous career.”

Parent Category: News
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April 24, 2014

Associated Press


TORONTO — Rubin “Hurri­cane” Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, died April 20 at 76.

John Artis, a longtime friend and caregiver, told The Canadian Press that Carter died in his sleep Sunday. Carter had been stricken with prostate cancer in Toronto, the New Jersey native’s adopted home. Carter spent 19 years in prison for three murders at a tavern in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1966. He was convicted alongside Artis in 1967 and again in a new trial in 1976.

Carter was freed in November 1985 when his convictions were set aside after years of appeals and public advocacy. His ordeal and the alleged racial motivations behind it were publicized in Bob Dylan's 1975 song “Hurricane,” several books and a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, who received an Academy Award nomination for playing the boxer turned prisoner.

Carter’s murder convictions abruptly ended the boxing career of a former petty criminal who became an undersized middleweight contender largely on ferocity and punching power.

Although never a world champion, Carter went 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts, memorably stopping two-division champ Emile Griffith in the first round in 1963. He also fought for a middleweight title in December 1964, losing a unanimous decision to Joey Giardello.

In June 1966, three white people were shot by two black men at the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson. Carter and Artis were convicted by an all-white jury largely on the testimony of two thieves who later recanted their stories.

Carter was granted a new trial and briefly freed in 1976, but sent back for nine more years after being convicted in a second trial.

Thom Kidrin, who became friends with Carter after visiting him several times in prison, told The Associated Press the boxer “didn’t have any bitterness or anger — he kind of got above it all. That was his great strength.”

“I wouldn’t give up,” Carter said in an interview with PBS in 2011. “No matter that they sentenced me to three life terms in prison. I wouldn’t give up. Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people ... found me guilty did not make me guilty. And because I was not guilty, I refused to act like a guilty person.”

Dylan became aware of Carter’s plight after reading the boxer's autobiography. He met Carter and co-wrote “Hurricane,” which he performed on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1975. The song concludes: “That’s the story of the Hurricane/But it won’t be over till they clear his name/And give him back the time he’s done/Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been/The champion of the world.”

Muhammad Ali also spoke out on Carter’s behalf, while advertising art director George Lois and other celebrities also worked toward Carter’s release.

With a network of friends and volunteers also advocating for him, Carter eventually won his release from U.S. District Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who wrote that Carter’s prosecution had been “predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure.”

Born on May 6, 1937, into a family of seven children, Carter struggled with a hereditary speech impediment and was sent to a juvenile reform center at 12 after an assault. He escaped and joined the Army in 1954, experiencing racial segregation and learning to box while in West Germany.

Carter then committed a series of muggings after returning home, spending four years in various state prisons. He began his pro boxing career in 1961 after his release, winning 20 of his first 24 fights mostly by stoppage.

Carter was fairly short for a middleweight at 5-foot-8, but his aggression and high punch volume made him effective.

His shaved head and menacing glower gave him an imposing ring presence, but also contributed to a menacing aura outside the ring. He was also quoted as joking about killing police officers in a 1964 story in the Saturday Evening Post which was later cited by Carter as a cause of his troubles with police.

Carter boxed regularly on television at Madison Square Garden and overseas in London, Paris and Johannesburg. Although his career appeared to be on a downswing before he was implicated in the murders, Carter was hoping for a second middleweight title shot.

Carter and Artis were questioned after being spotted in the area of the murders in Carter’s white car, which vaguely matched witnesses’ descriptions. Both cited alibis and were released, but were arrested months later. A case relying largely on the testimony of thieves Alfred Bello and Arthur Bradley resulted in a conviction in June 1967.

Carter defied his prison guards from the first day of his incarceration, spending time in solitary confinement because of it.

“When I walked into prison, I refused to wear their stripes,” Carter said. “I refused to eat their food. I refused to work their jobs, and I would have refused to breathe the prison’s air if I could have done so.”

Carter eventually wrote and spoke eloquently about his plight, publishing his autobiography, “The Sixteenth Round,” in 1974. Benefit concerts were held for his legal defense.

After his release, Carter moved to Toronto, where he served as the executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993 to 2005. He received two honorary doctorates for his work.

Director Norman Jewison made Carter’s story into a well-reviewed biographical film, with Washington working closely alongside Carter to capture the boxer’s transformation and redemption. Washington won a Golden Globe for the role.

“This man right here is love,” Washington said while onstage with Carter at the Golden Globes ceremony in early 2000. “He’s all love. He lost about 7,300 days of his life, and he’s love. He’s all love.”

On Sunday, when told of Carter’s death, Washington said in a statement: “God bless Rubin Carter and his tireless fight to ensure justice for all.”

But the makers of “The Hurricane” were widely criticized for factual inaccuracies and glossing over other parts of Carter’s story, including his criminal past and a reputation for a violent temper. Giardello sued the film’s producers for its depiction of a racist fix in his victory over Carter, who acknowledged Giardello deserved the win.

Carter’s weight and activity dwindled during his final months, but he still advocated for prisoners he believed to be wrongfully convicted.

Carter wrote an opinion essay for the New York Daily News in February, arguing vehemently for the release of David McCallum, convicted of a kidnapping and murder in 1985. Carter also briefly mentioned his health, saying he was “quite literally on my deathbed.”

“Now I’m looking death straight in the eye,” Carter wrote. “He’s got me on the ropes, but I won't back down.”

Kidrin said Carter would be cremated, with some of the ashes given to his family. Two sisters are among Carter’s survivors, though Kidrin said Carter was alienated from many relatives.

Kidrin planned to sprinkle Carter’s remains in the ocean off Cape Cod, where they spent the last three summers together. Artis planned to bring some of the ashes to a horse farm in Kentucky the boxer loved.

Kidrin spoke with Carter on Wednesday.

“He said, ‘You know, look, death’s coming. I’m ready for it. But it’s really going to have to take me because I’m positive to the end.’”

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

April 17, 2014

LAWT Wire Services


The only post-season high school basketball showcase that is divided along sectional lines will turn 16 on Saturday April 19 at Redondo High School and will again feature the best of the best.

McDonalds All American Thomas Welsh of Loyola and headed to UCLA will join a list of Collision alumni that includes NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Darren Collision, but his task will be to draw the Southern Section boys even with their City Section rivals at Collision XVI.

Welsh will be joined by arguably one of the most successful point guards in Southern section history in All CIF Open Division star Justin Bibbins of Bishop Montgomery who is Long Beach State bound. Ian Fox, Redondo Union; Terell Carter, Redondo Union; Bedhart Ghani, 6’4 Loyola; Brice Mency, 6’5 Chino Hills; Jack Williams, Chaminade  (Long Beach State), Namon Wright, 6’4 Pacific Hills (Missouri); Joey Covarubias, 6’2 Cantwell Sacredhart; Malik Marquetti, 6’6 Millikan  (USC); Brian Beard, 5’9 Orange H. S.; Kameron Murrell, 6’2 Long Beach Poly; and Jerome Bryant, 6’7 Cathedral round out the team.

The City boys, which led the rivalry 8 games to 7, will be led by City Player of the Year Elijah Stewart of Westchester and All City choice Julian Richardson of City champion El Camino Real. Ucheena Okeneme (Narbonne), Reverend Maduakor (Narbonne), Nick Hamilton (Westchester), Cameron Young (Westchester), Devenir Duruisseau (Sylmar), Brandon Crawford (Washington), Darnell Bettis (University) Quincy Thomas (San Pedro), Maleke Haynes (El Camino Real), Olisaemea Nwachie (Fairfax), Sage Woodruff  (Fairfax) and Deric Daniels Dorsey.

The Southern Section girls have dominated the City 12 games to 3, but two of the those three wins by the City have come in the last three years.

View Park’s Mareshah Farmer, who led the City in scoring with a 29 point per game scoring average, will lead a City girl’s team that features Narbonne’s Jade Everage Narbonne and Kayla Brady, Judith Espinoza of Eagle Rock, Irma Munoz of Garfield and LACES dynamo of Sara Mills- LACES and Liran Schahaf. Rounding out the team will be Jasmyne Davis and Brianna Wade of Washington Prep, Stephanie Perez of Torres, Lupe Cruz of Southeast, Palisades’ Kylie Bethel and Hayley Hutt-Palisades. Jessica Torres of Garfield will coach the Girls City team.

The Southern Girls roster could be the tallest in the history of the event touting at least five players 6’0 or taller, including St. Bernard’s 6’2 Chenelle Pelle, 6’0 Ella Stepanian of Crescenta Valley, Long Beach Poly’s Jada Matthews and Redondo Union’s 6’1 Tatiana Maimot.

That’s not all, the Serra’s coach McKinsey Hadley will also have the services of Serra stars Caila Haley (Washington State) and Cydney Bolton, Mira Costa’s dynamic All CIF selection Camille Mills and Lynwood’s Priscilla Lopez.

Collision is sponsored by Hank Salvatori, the Coffee Bean and product provided by Jordan Brand.

Etiwanda’s head coach Dave Kleckner will receive the Jim Harrick Life Time Achievement Award and Albert ‘Cap’ Lavin Scholar Athlete of the Year awards will be presented to the top girl and boy scholar during the game.

The event will begin with several outstanding AAU games starting at 11:30 a.m. and also the top 7th, 8th and underclass talent.

The girl’s senior game will tip at 5:30 p.m. the boy’s game will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and only available at the door.

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

April 24, 2014

Sentinel News Service


Bishop Montgomery’s Justin Bibbins has been maligned most of his basketball life.

He’s too short at 5’7 and too small at 150 pounds dripping wet to achieve an measure of success in a game where height is the most significant component.

However, after four years as starting point guard at Bishop Montgomery and a senior year as South Bay Player of the Year, John Wooden Player of the Year, All CIF-Southern Section Open Division First Team, there was one more statement to be made.

The Collision All-Star Game has created its share of basketball memories over the past 15 years. The 16th annual showcase at Redondo High School on Saturday was no different.

The girls game featured a St. Bernard reunion as DeMoria White and Chenelle Pelle teamed up with former teammates Michelle Curry (Culver City) and Cydney Bolton (Serra) to help power the Southern Section to 76-43 win.

It set the stage for the boys game a few hours later as Justin Bibbins helped the Southern Section to a 110-86 win that tied the overall series at 8-8. The Southern Section girls lead the series 13-3.

White had a game-high 18 points and Curry, named the game’s MVP, finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

“I missed playing with them so it meant a lot ending our season together,” Curry said.

“It feels like a reunion with the family I started with,” White said.

Serra’s Caila Hailey also was pleased to share sides with with not just Curry and her St. Bernard rivals but also her coach McKinsey Hadley, who coached the Southern Section girls.

“It was bittersweet in getting to play with my rivals, but it was also my last game,” Hailey said. “I still had a lot of fun.”

The City Section cut the lead to 24-20 late in the first half but the Southern Section responded with a 14-0 run that carried over into the second half. Tatiana Maimot’s layup made it 38-20.

White had a four-point play for an 18-point advantage, 43-25. The Southern Section’s size also proved tough as Bishop Montgomery’s Janelle Odionu led a frontcourt that featured players well over six feet.

With the City struggling for layups, it settled for jumpers and with Hadley calling for his team to run it soon grew tired trying to keep up with its CIF counterparts.

There was small consolation as Narbonne’s Jade Everage was named the Albert “Cap” Lavin Scholar Athlete of the Game for posting a 4.2 grade point average.

“To know you’re appreciated for all your hard work and not just playing basketball, it’s really special,” Everage said.

The Southern Section boys jumped out to 23-5 lead and never looked back as Bibbins standout had nine points and four assists during the run.

The Southern Section led 57-41 at halftime and looked like the more comfortable team throughout the game.

“Once we set the tone and got a big lead, we could just play our game,” the Bishop Montgomery standout said.

He was named the game’s most valuable player after finishing with 17 points and six assists.

Westchester’s Nick Hamilton, who’s never received less than an ‘A’ in high school, received the boys counterpart of the scholar athlete award.

“It feels good to be recognized not just for your play on the court but even more for academics,” Hamilton said.

Comets teammate Cameron Young led the team with 18 points and Elijah Stewart added 15. It was almost fitting Young would have such a big game, considering Westchester won its last game of the season at Redondo.

“I love playing here,” Young said. “I didn’t expect to play at Collision so I just came to play my best,”

Saturday also marked the last game at Redondo for Ian Fox and Terrell Carter. Fox gave the crowd one last look at his shooting touch with 14 points, including several three-pointers.

“It meant a lot winning my last game at my gym,” he said.

Redondo Beach native Thomas Welsh (Loyola) also relished the chance of playing his last prep game in front of family before moving on to UCLA. The McDonald’s All-American had 18 points and seven rebounds as his coach Jamal Adams watched from the bench.

“It was a lot of fun, especially finishing with coach Adams,” Welsh said.

Parent Category: News
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April 17, 2014


Associated Press


A Jamaican disciplinary panel on Thursday April 10, banned former 100-meter world record holder Asafa Powell from athletics for 18 months after the veteran sprinter tested positive for a banned stimulant last June. In the sprinting powerhouse’s capital of Kingston, the head of the three-member panel of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commis­sion said its decision was unanimous after examining the “voluminous nature of the evidence.”

“In all the circumstances, Mr. Powell was found to be negligent, and he was at fault,” said commission chairman Lennox Gayle, adding the panel would issue a written statement explaining its decision in about a month.

Powell’s backdated ban begins from the date of his sample collection on June 21, 2013 during national trials for the world championships. That means he’s eligible to return to competition on Dec. 20, about a month after he turns 32.

Once the top sprinter on the track, Powell lowered the world record in the 100 to 9.77 in 2005, then 9.74 in 2008 before being eclipsed by countryman Usain Bolt. Powell was the Jamaican athlete who first put Jamaica’s dominating athletics prowess on center stage in the 21st century. But unlike Bolt, he could never win the big one.

The 31-year-old sprinter tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrone at Jamaica’s national trials last June. He'd been suspended from competition since his doping case was disclosed in July.

Powell did not attend the Thursday session, but he issued a statement through his publicist saying his defense team will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He described the ruling as “not only unfair, it is patently unjust.”

Like former teammate Sherone Simpson, a three-time Olympic medalist who tested positive for the same stimulant at the national trials in June, Powell placed the blame on a newly-hired trainer who provided the two athletes with supplements, including one called “Epiphany D1” which lab tests later showed to contain oxilofrone.

“I have never knowingly taken any banned substances, I did all the necessary checks before taking Epiphany D1 and it is my hope that the CAS will prove to be a more open and fair avenue for the review of all the facts in my case,” Powell said in his Thursday statement.

During hearings earlier this year, Powell testified that he received nine supplements from Canadian physiotherapist Christopher Xuereb, including Epiphany D1. Powell said he started taking the capsules in early June after he and a friend researched the supplement for up to six hours online and found no prohibited substances.

But Xuereb has said he never gave Powell or Simpson any performance-enhancing drugs and only purchased major brand vitamins. In July, he asserted to The Associated Press that both athletes were looking for a scapegoat. Xuereb once worked at the Toronto clinic run by Anthony Galea, a sports physician who pleaded guilty to bringing unapproved and mislabeled drugs into the U.S. for house calls.

On the morning of the Jamaican trials, Powell said he took four capsules of Epiphany D1 at Xuereb's suggestion after previously taking two each morning. Powell ended up finishing in seventh place and failed to qualify for the world championships.

The sprinter, who turned professional in 2002, raised eyebrows during his testimony in January when he said he wasn’t acquainted with doping control rules. He also testified that he did not tell a doping control officer about all the new supplements he’d been ingesting, only listing three on his declaration form, because he couldn’t remember their names amid the excitement of the Jamaican trials.

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