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NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out

The coolest most awesomest thing ever happened today. Jason Collins an NBA basketball player for the Washington Wizards came out as a proud gay African American man. This guy has no idea how many young African American men he’s helping by coming out. When you live in a small town in the bible belt of America all you hear is negative things about being gay and it can make you feel extremely lonely and isolated. After a while you start to believe all the negative things and begin to hate yourself. Seeing someone like Jason Collins come out can help change that… and that is a very huge big deal.

When Jason was a student at Stanford he became very good friends with Chelsea Clinton and the Clinton family. After he made his announcement today, Chelsea and her father former president Bill Clinton released statements.
President Bill Clinton’s statement:

I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.

Chelsea Clinton’s statement:

I am very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength and courage to become the first openly gay athlete in the NBA. His decision marks an important moment for professional sports and for our country. I echo what my father said in his statement and similarly hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.

After receiving a ton of public support via twitter, here’s Jason’s response:

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me thru email, texts, calls, tweets, letters, and every other form of communication. #support
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) April 29, 2013

Oprah to NBA Player Jason Collins: “You Are a Pioneer”

The day NBA center Jason Collins sat down to tell his coming-out story to a reporter from Sports Illustrated, he read a quote from the daily prayer book his grandmother gave him. Watch as Oprah recites the quote and asks Jason how it felt to take off the mask he’d been wearing for so many years. Plus, find out how Jason’s liberation has affected him—emotionally and physically.

College Basketball Slavery

While flipping through channels the other night trying to find something good to watch, I came upon a very interesting story on PBS’s news-magazine show “Frontline”.  It’s kind of like “Dateline” on NBC, but 10 times better, and not controlled by a multi-national major conglomerate who’s only agenda is to make as much money as possible by churning out the same substandard regurgitated thinly veiled crap with new packaging accompanied with a vaguely familiar title designed to trick the viewer into watching at least long enough to see a few commercials so they can sell you more crap that you do not need and show you expensive stuff that you can not afford, and just when you’re starting to feel depressed about all this, a precisely timed commercial for a new antidepressant medication comes on and seems to have a cure for something you did not have until you started watching tv a half hour ago… but I digress. lol
So, I’m watching this news story on “Frontline” about the NCAA college basketball organization and how much money they make off of the basketball players, but pay them noting in return.  I’m not a big sports fan at all, so everything they mentioned in this broadcast was completely new to me.  After watching it, I was in total shock at how screwed up this organization is, and amazed at how corrupt the people that run it are.  Here’s a few key points they discussed in the broadcast.  The NCAA alone rakes in BILLIONS each year by selling the broadcast rights of their games to television networks, plus signing huge commercial endorsement deals, plus ticket sells plus licensing their brand and the players names to sell merchandise, and god knows what else.  This all adds up to BILLIONS!  Yes, you heard me right, BILLIONS (believe it or not, that isn’t a typo).  The coaches get huge salaries (most receive upwards of 2 million a year).  The people on the board get huge salaries… and that goes for almost everyone that holds a high position in the organization.  All of this money is being generated because of the players… and they get paid ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.  Appalling isn’t it?  The NCAA treats their players like slaves or indentured servants.  I couldn’t believe the level of exploitation that goes on in college basketball.  A crass but fitting analogy would have Mark Emmeret (the president of the NCAA) playing the role of a pimp, and the NCAA college basketball players in the role of his prostitutes…  Actually, Mr Emmeret treats the players worse than prostitutes because pimps would at least let their hoes keep some of the money they make.  The players give these teams their all and work very hard to play each game to the best of their ability.  A future in the NBA isn’t promised to these guys.  They could easily get injured in a game, and their career as a pro athlete would be over before it even began.  I also learned from watching this that the players are required to sign a ridiculous contract that gives the NCAA the right to use their names and images in perpetuity for whatever purpose they choose, and keep 100% of any revenue that it generates.  For example, they created a video game with EA Sports that used players as characters in the game.  Some of the players they used had already made it in the NBA, and some of them weren’t lucky enough to transition into professional sports after college.  But because of the contract they signed in college, the NCAA didn’t have to share any profits with any of the players at all.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg with these guys.  There was another situation described in the news report that caught my attention.  It’s arguably the most appalling part of it all.  The NCAA does not offer free tickets to the families of the players.   These tickets can be quite expensive…  so if a player comes from a low-income household, the only way their parents can watch them play is on tv.  How despicable is that?  The investigative reporter exposed a number of situations that were extremely exploitative and designed to put huge sums of cash into everyone’s pockets, except the players.
After watching the program in its entirety, I began to think about how long this has been common practice in the NCAA.  This has been going on for decades, so why haven’t I seen this discussed on the news before.  Why haven’t I read about this in the paper anywhere, or seen it questioned in any magazines?  Why is “Frontline” the first news show to do a complete in-depth investigation into this?  Then the answer hit me, and it made perfect sense.  Frontline is a PBS news show.  It’s not owned by any corporation.  They do not generate revenue to pay for operating costs by selling commercial time slots to advertisers.  Because of this, they aren’t beholden to any corporate pressure, or higher-ups with hidden self-serving agendas, like ALL of the other tv networks and news programs.  College basketball brings in a ton of money to whatever tv network they choose to license the broadcast rights to.  This gives the NCAA the power to kill any story that shows them in a negative light.  It’s stories like this one that shows us the importance of a network like PBS (LONG LIVE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS).  It’s time for the NCAA to set aside their greed, and get rid of their policies that exploit and use their athletes.
Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.
If you’d like to watch the full news story, follow this link:
Here’s an update: Apparently the NCAA President Mark Emmeret, who was interviewed in the story, saw how awful and greedy him and his organization looked on the broadcast, so he released a statement saying that he has changed his position on not paying student athletes. He didn’t give any specific information on what policies he’s actively seeking to change, but he said that the idea of compensating student-athletes should be considered. Vague, I know, but it’s a start headed in the right direction.
( link to the short clip displayed above).

Church Fight Caught On Video

Recently I posted a video of an incident that took place at a church here in North Carolina. I could explain the video’s content, but it wouldn’t do it justice. So if you haven’t seen it, then I’d suggest you take a look at it before you read the rest of this blog. (watch it directly from my blog, or click on this link:

This video sparked a very interesting discussion about the current state of churches in the Black community. Here are a few of the comments I found most interesting. The first of which belongs to me:

I miss the “civil rights” era of Black churches. It was more about community, fellowship, togetherness, a safe place to worship and exchange ideas. Now it seems to be more about money and power. I think the mega-churches have done a huge disservice to the Black community, & that’s what turns a lot of people away from the church. Back in the day what made a good pastor was how well he spoke the word of God, not how much money he has or how big his church is or how many books he’s sold.  -T DeMon Spencer

Comment #1:
The lady at the end said this is GOD’s house but what she fails to understand is that GOD does not live at every church you see. Pastor Donnie McClurkin made that so clear at a service he did on Southern University’s campus last Friday.

Comment #2:

This has to be THE MOST embarassing situation I have seen to date. Clearly, this is nothing more than a worthless power grab by those that have NO CLUE of what the true church “ekklesia” represents.
Once again, we have people that are more interested in practicing religion and “playing church,” having made a complete ass of themselves once again. When, oh when, will these people learn?!

Comment #3:
I saw Pastor Donnie McClurkin preach at Southern University last Friday and you are just saying what he said. But in a nutshell. He blasted those Baptist preacher with all their man made religious crap. I mean it was awsome. His preaching was awesome.

Comment #4:
Hate to say it but its true….and it didnt use to be that way, thats why the black community is in the shape its in now. Too much mess going on in the “LAWDS” house. I was brought up in the church, sunday school, BTU (baptist training union) say no to drugs, youth choir, young adult choir…EVERYTHING lol. As I got older I saw how SOME church members were. How many are hypocrites and judgemental. I still go but not as much, I stay home and have my own personal relationship with God.

Broken Spirit

Today I feel so very sad, tired, and somewhat defeated. My initial outrage and anger (that I felt when I first became aware of Uganda’s gay death penalty bill) has slowly turned into angst on the cusp of despair. I grew up in a very rural extremely small White town in the south right in the heart of “The Bible Belt”, so I’m very well aware of the homophobia that exist in most conservative and Christian households here, so I’m not at all naive about their beliefs and opinions about gays. I usually just chalk-it-up to ignorance, and continue living my life as open and honest as I can. I’ve always believed that my character as a person who happens to be gay, is a lot more effective in changing the minds of those that are homophobic, way better than any magazine article, movie, argument, debate, march, or protest can. By knowing someone who’s gay, they can see them as a person with the same hopes and dreams as they have, and not just an issue to be for or against. But when I learned that an American “Christian” evangelical group were going back and forth to Uganda to aide them in committing the worst human rights atrocity in my lifetime, I began to lose my faith in the goodness of man and doubt the compassion and love in Christianity. I know this particular situation with Uganda involves only one of many religious organizations and/or churches, but I feel that a majority of those groups and churches share equal blame in this. By not speaking out against an injustice of this magnitude, it makes them culpable. The few that have came out with public statements are choosing their words very carefully so they can appear sympathetic to the gay community without admitting that their homophobia indirectly contributed to the creation of this “kill the gays” bill. The only thing that frustrates me just as much as homophobia is unacknowledged and/or unaddressed hypocrisy. And these people are pushing both buttons at once.

While I was reading the latest developments about this story, searching different blogs and established print media (on the web); I stumbled upon something that switched my anger into utter despair. I noticed that a majority of the comments that were left on all the African American targeted blogs were siding with Uganda’s attempt to execute gays. That just blew me away. I really didn’t expect that amount of hatred from my own race. A race that I’m proud to be a part of, a race that has first hand knowledge of how oppression and violent injustice feels. I just don’t understand… why, or how this came to be. I would of never guessed that my race would ever under any circumstances, take on the role of the oppressor. I just can’t get my head around that one. I’ve tried and tried and tried to make sense of it all, but disappointingly, it turns into a contest of futility. If I can’t convince my own race to change and see things rationally, then what chances do I have to convince a whole country.


Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is a piece of proposed legislation under consideration in Uganda. It was proposed on 13 October 2009 by… more

Ousting the Ayatollah (Iran’s Uprising)

For the last 48 hours, I’ve been glued to CNN watching the political unrest unfold in Iran. If anyone has ever doubted the power and usefulness of the Internet and social networking sites, now is the time to say “I TOLD YOU SO”. If it weren’t for these new tools of communication, I really don’t think we’d know what the hell was going on in Iran. The Ayatollah has tried to shut down all outside communication, but with today’s technology, that’s virtually impossible. Right now the United States has an amazing opportunity. We’ve tried to remove the Ayatollah in some form or another for decades now. Our biggest misstep, was publicly backing The Shaw way back in the 60’s. The Ayatollah used the common Muslim fear of western influence and control to slowly discredit and remove the Shaw. This plot worked so well, that it has been adopted by many Muslim extremist groups (i.e. Al-qaeda, Hamas, etc) as a powerful recruiting tool ever since. Keeping that in mind, our country needs to take a laissez-faire approach, and let this political uprising take it’s course. That’s the absolute best help we can give Iran right now. President Obama has been very smart to do so. If we take any kind of official stance siding with the uprising, then that gives Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah more ammunition to scare the protesters into submission. The threat of western influence is the most powerful tool they have right now, and we can not play into that.

What concerns me the most is not weather Ahmadinejad or Moussavi won the election, because if you look at where the real political power resides in that country, you’ll see that The Ayatollah holds all the real power. An Iranian president is nothing like an American president. Iran is more Imperialistic than they would like us to think. Ahmadinejad won the election because The Ayatollah wanted him to win the election. Simple as that. They tout the Ayatollah as some sort of religious adviser or councilor, but ask yourself, what kind of religious adviser has the gaul and the power to threaten military action against a group of protesters. It would be a huge step in the right direction for the people to prevail and place Moussavi in power as president, but Iran’s oppressive political policies and any real change toward freedom will not happen with that alone. The only way we will see any change in Iran, is by removing The Ayatollah from power. Anything less would only serve as window dressing.

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