Author: vickfemia

Athletes & Activism

The 3 Most Influential Athletes who took a stand for Social Justice.

Several African-American athletes who have advocated heavily for social justice

Whether it be the Black Lives Matter movement, protests against the Vietnam war, protests against racial discrimination and most recently, tensions between China and the NBA, sports athletes have been very effective at causing social change. 

The reason is these superstar athletes have an incredibly large fan base behind them. The platform they have to voice their opinion is unparallelled to any other industry. These are three of the most influential athletes and their social change.  

The People’s Champion

Muhammad Ali is undoubtedly one of the greatest boxers to enter the ring. His devastating power combined with his untouchable agility, made him a force to be reckoned with.

Ali showcased his cool, calm and composed nature back in 1967, refusing to join the army during the Vietnam War for religious reasons. US forces didn’t take to kindly to such a famous face being so fervently anti-war. Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title, banned from boxing, just narrowly avoiding jail time, and then fined $10,000 for his actions.

Muhammad Ali (Left) advocating alongside Martin Luther King (Right)

The punishment handed out by the American government was very harsh and unjust. Ali says it best in his public broadcast statement to the country, essentially stating that the Vietnamese people and their culture did absolutely nothing wrong or harmful towards him. Fighting in a war would resolve nothing. 

Seven years later, Ali had the last laugh. He knocked out his opponent (George Foreman) and rightfully reclaimed his prestigious heavyweight title.   

The Knee

It’s a Monday night, Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season, and Colin Kaepernick is about to make one of the biggest statements in NFL history. 

Tension is at an all-time high between the police force and the African-American community, during the wake of police injustice towards black males. Such as the infamous George Zimmerman case or Eric Garner’s death, to name a few. 

Eric Reid (Left) kneels alongside teammate Colin Kaepernick (Right) raising awareness to police injustice

So what does Colin Kaepernick do, he takes a stand on what he feels and believes is right. Better yet, he actually kneels during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” alongside teammate Eric Reid. 

Following the game, Kaepernick told the media “[he was] not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Although their actions were supported by fellow athletes, celebrities and politicians, Kaepernick has been a free agent and unsigned ever since. 

Take a Stand 

It’s considered one of the original protests in sport, also one of the most controversial stands, on a worldwide stage. It’s the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Tommie Smith and John Carlos just won gold and bronze respectively in the 200 metre final. 

Peter Norman (Left) during the medal ceremony beside Tommie Smith (Middle) and John Carlos (Right)

Tommie Smith and John Carlos took to the podium shoeless and each with a black glove. They raised their fists above their bowed heads to silently protest racial discrimination. 

Only a few supported Smith and Carlos, while many conservatives and the mainstream media criticized the pair for their actions. As a result both of them and their families received many death threats. 

It was a strong act of defiance against all of the flaws in society at the time. It seemed that many couldn’t understand the bravery and intestinal fortitude displayed by Smith and Carlos that day. 

Many people don’t know the underlying story. They were also making a statement about poverty, by not wearing shoes.  But the only one not talked about on the podium is Peter Norman, from Australia.  He gave Smith and Carlos the black gloves, that will always be remembered as the fists of freedom. 

Tweet: “Go check out my latest article called ‘Athletes and Activism’ which takes a look at some of the greatest sports athletes, and the impact they have made for social justice. Feel free to share the article with your friends and families all over social media. #Athletes&Activism #SocialChange” @Quinn_MacD

U Sports Football Deserves Our Attention

Negotiating a New National TV Contract Non-Negotiable


Queen’s Gaels wde receiver Chris Osei-Kusi is tackled by Toronto Varsity Blues defensive back Paul Kozachuk in a game in 2017. (Courtesy: U Sports/Martin Bazyl.

By: Ben Browne

What do many football fans on both sides of the border spend their late-summer-to-early-winter Saturdays doing, you ask?

Watching U.S. college football.

But there are many folks who prefer to spend that time viewing Canadian university ball. Unfortunately for them, however, their sole option to do so – at least for the Ontario conference of U Sports, the Northern equivalent to the NCAA – involves creating an online account and watching games online.

Simply put, our Canadian athletes deserve better.

For the last six years, Sportsnet has been the national TV rights holder for U Sports football (hockey and basketball, too). Knowing that, you might say, “What is there to gripe about?”

Well, for one, that contract expired in the spring of this year, and a new one has yet to be inked, and second, although Sportsnet held the rights, the extent of said rights only allowed them to air the National Final Four for football and National Final 8 for basketball and hockey.

That is inexcusable. That assertion is especially true when speaking about football because, with no disrespect intended to our University basketball and hockey programs, U Sports football serves as the largest springboard to the CFL in the country. 

We should be seeing our future CFLers shine. No questions asked.

Now, let’s not be naïve to the fact that this is a multifaceted arrangement that involves concessions from both parties – U Sports and the prospective rights holder – and lots of work on the part of U Sports to become a more appetizing property for that prospective broadcaster.

However, if you are one of those who follow the game, you know that there are plenty of athletes in our country who are deserved of national exposure. It is simply unacceptable that we are less than six weeks away from the Vanier Cup, and no national network has pledged to broadcast the game.

Of course, televising only the biggest game of the season is only the beginning. That isn’t nearly the level of exposure required to make a tangible difference (and don’t underestimate the impact that exposure can make on a young kid’s career and life). There needs to be, at a bare minimum, a “Game of the Week” that is aired nationally every weekend, as was the case on The Score Television Network in the early-to-mid 2000’s.

Quite frankly, nothing else should suffice if you’re U Sports. If that means having to spend more money (which it undoubtedly will), then sobeit. It would also make being the rights holder more profitable and worth it, for the lack of a better term, for whichever network steps up. While viewership was down for last year’s Vanier – 168,000 viewers in English Canada – part of the reason for that is the fact that it’s one of three nationally-televised University football games a year.

Three.

Most people can choose between that many NCAA games at one time on any given Saturday between the beginning of December and the middle of January. 

Part of gaining popularity is providing exposure, and a not-so-small part of providing exposure is ponying up to make it happen.

There are a slew of remarkable athletes across the country who are worthy of our viewership, and that should be more easily accessible than logging into an online webcast. The RSEQ (Quebec conference) has it straight with their local broadcasts on TVA Sports, and that’s something that the national body can use as a blueprint as to how to do this right. 

No one is saying every game needs to be aired nationally, but we can do much better than three country-wide telecasts a year. We have done better, and eventually, we will once again do better.

It’s Time To Notice Racism in Hockey

Discussing racism in the sport of hockey.

By: Raegan Subban

Chase Hardwell talking to teammates at practice

Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another. Racism in the form of discrimination persists in society. It is one of the major issues which occurs at many different levels in certain fields. In sports, racism is happening more often, also becoming a much bigger problem.

Sports Racism is a belief that people of different races have different qualities and abilities, and that some races are superior or inferior. It occurs in both team and individual sports, but does not induce racism itself. Despite efforts to be an open and inclusive game, racism in hockey unfortunately exists. Over the past decade there have been a number of alarming incidents that have made national headlines in Canada and the United States. Imagine the amount of incidents that have not been reported? This is an issue that needs to be taken more seriously.

Sports are meant to be a colorblind activity that sticks to the concept of fair play. In any sport, there’s an element of trash-talking that players use to get in the heads of the opponent. “Chirping” is going to happen, but racists slurs crosses the line.

In 2003, Cecil Harris did a full ​study​ on racism in the NHL. Harris found that “Each black player…has to wage a personal battle for acceptance and respect…. Facing abuse that is verbal, physical or psychological because of their color has been an unfortunate reality for almost all of them.” A much more ​recent study​ found that South Asian players in Canadian hockey are consistently subjected to racist treatment.

Canadian Former professional hockey player, Joel Ward tweeted on September 2017: “I’ve experienced a lot of racism myself in hockey and on a day-to-day occurrence.” New Jersey Devils forward Wayne Simmonds has had bananas thrown at him on the ice. In 2014, Bruins fans sent racial nicknames to PK Subban on social media when he scored a game-winning goal for the Montreal Canadiens.

Despite the amount of racism at the highest level, it is found at all levels of the game as well. In April 2018, Detroit Red Wings prospect Givani Smith had to have police escort him to junior league playoff games after receiving numerous racially motivated hate messages and death threats on social media.

You think that’s horrible? Well, the fact that this sort of hate is happening in small-town hockey rinks is difficult to fathom as well. In March 2018, the parents of a twelve year old child from Nova Scotia reported that he receives at​ least one racial ​slur​ per year​. While on the West Coast, a fourteen year old was faced with similar abuse in British Columbia in March 2018. A teen as young as 14 had the audacity to call him the N-Word.

The consequences for racism are clearly not heavy enough since the issue is still prominent in the sport. Awareness needs to be raised for the visible minority these athletes face. More people need to be educated on incidents like the ones mentioned above so they don’t happen again. Leagues need to be more strict with the issue; a few games suspension is visibly not enough. Parents should be reporting to their local newspaper about their child’s incident, while news stations should be making it a headline. Head coaches should have a group talks with their teams and power skating camps should have information sessions.

Racism in hockey is still apparent and it shouldn’t be. The hockey community needs to do better as a whole.

The Drake Effect

It’s only a game, let the man cheer.

Throughout the course of the 2018-2019 NBA season, more so in the playoffs; athletes,
fans and coaches seemed to have a problem with Drakes “antics.” But was it really too
much?

From heckling at any player on the court that was not apart of the Toronto Raptors to
actually ​ giving Raptors head coach Nick Nurse a shoulder massage on the sidelines,
Drake was able to poke fun at everyone in the NBA.

As the chances of the Raptors winning a Championship started to increase, so did
Drake’s excitement, and his actions not sit well with Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike
Budenholzer.

Budenholzer took aim at the Raptors Ambassador publicly, saying, “there’s certainly no
place for fans — or whatever Drake is for the raptors — on the court. There’s
boundaries and lines for a reason.”

Well Mike, he’s the Ambassador so he can cheer if he wants to. The Bucks staff still
wasn’t done there. ​Georgios Dimitropoulos, a senior executive of the agency that
represents ​Giannis Antetokounmpo​ also took to the media saying,

“​Imagine a gig & an athlete on VIP seats, right next to the band, stands up on the
stage just to show off during the entire game, knowing cameras are on him,
occasionally even massaging the singer. Security and him both allow it. Never seen
anything as disrespectful as this before…”

Let’s be honest, if the Bucks had done better against the Raptors than Drake wouldn’t
even have been a topic of discussion. Maybe Budenholzer should’ve paid more attention
to his team than to Drake.

Continuing his antics in the finals against the Golden State Warriors, Drake was starting
to get under star players like Klay Thompson and Draymond Green’s skin, and it
showed.

Green and Drake were spotting sharing some unkind words to each other during and
after Game 1, while Drake rocked a Raptors Dell Curry jersey. Drake yelled “trash!” as
Green walked passed him off the court.

Although after the game Green made sure to talk about the alleged “scuffle” saying,

“So many people have complained about it, like, ‘You don’t let other fans do that.’
Yeah, any other fan isn’t Drake, so he should be able to do that…He’s worked his a**
off to be who he is and when you do that you get a longer leash than others. There’s so
much talk, ‘the NBA needs to…’ No, they don’t. He worked to be who he is, you should
get more leash. I don’t mind it. It’s fun for me.”

So, a round of applause to Draymond Green for not crying about a fan cheering for his
team.

Fans across the world act the same way Drake does when they’re favourite team or
player is doing well… Drake just gets to do it court side, so let the man cheer.