A Great Man

Our life’s journey is about the people that touch us – Stuart Scott

I’m not a sports fan. I don’t get into sports. But I’ve always been around sports. My brother is a sports fan. My ex is a sports fan and apparently every man I know likes sports. So, I know some things about sports (although reluctantly). I know what ESPN is. I know who Stuart Scott was and I am saddened by his death.

Stuart Scott died earlier this week on January 4th when he lost his battle to cancer. He was 49. He was an incredible sports anchor, a father, a son and a brother. Many other roles would describe this man. Too many to name, but know that he was a cool dude by many standards.

I  remember the first time I heard him say his signature “Boo- Yah” and almost died. I never knew people talked like that on television. I was witnessing a trailblazer. He was that man who had “swag” whether it be from anchoring at the desk or in his interviews. He was a rarity.

So, when I decided I wanted to write this piece to honor a great man it came as a surprise to me to learn so many things about Stuart Scott. ESPN did a great job. Thanks to the internet you can see old interviews, research his history and review photos of Stuart’s life. He loved ESPN and ESPN undoubtedly loved him which is what I read in an article written by Steve Wulf that..

“He was a trailblazer,” says ESPN anchor Stan Verrett, “not only because he was black — obviously black — but because of his style, his demeanor, his presentation. He did not shy away from the fact that he was a black man, and that allowed the rest of us who came along to just be ourselves.”

“Yes, he brought hip-hop into the conversation,” says Harris, “but I would go further than that. He brought in the barber shop, the church, R&B, soul music. Soul, period.”

Amazing huh? How many journalists can you name that are as smooth as he and can weave hip-hop and barbershop into an interview?  This man was brilliant. A man whose legacy will forever live on. He is worthy to be remembered, studied and included in our history books because he changed the game. Not just in sports, but in journalism as well.

His ESPY speech brought tears to my eyes. Stuart Scott reminded us that…

“When you die it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live. So live.”

That message is for everyone and not just those with cancer. Understanding that your life has purpose. Regardless of the time you may spend on this earth. Know that like Scott says “how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live” are important.

RIP Stuart Scott.

To check out his ESPY speech watch the video below:

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I Remember

I remember seeing domestic violence first hand as a child. I remember the sounds of fists flying and blood curdling screams. I remember. I remember broken glass and bruised body parts. I remember crying and wanting it to end. I remember.

By now, you all have seen the Ray Rice video that was posted by TMZ on Monday that showed Ray knocking out his then fiancee, Janay Palmer (now wife), in an elevator in Atlantic City last February. I was heartbroken. I talked about domestic violence a couple of months when Stephen A. Smith made that asinine comment about provoking violence. It seems that I need to say more.

How about this? Safe Horizon states that:

  • Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
  • Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
  • Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner

The Families Suffer too:

  • Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
  • Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%).
  • A 2005 Michigan study found that children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic.
  • A 2003 study found that children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death.

I Remember

The Ravens dropped Ray Rice from their roster and he is no longer employed after the video was posted. Now, there is a question of whether they had seen the full video prior to the two game suspension or were they just doing it after the full video was posted and everyone was outraged. No one knows. That situation is still being fleshed out and will come to light shortly about who knew what when, but what was surprising was the Instagram post by Janay.

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Wow! Is Janay really worrying about Ray having to get a job after knocking her out? I know she didn’t want her life thrust into the public, but when you marry a professional athlete and he knocks you out in public, you can’t hide. Think Rihanna and Chris Brown. Rihanna probably wished that her abuse wasn’t made national news, but remember what the Bible says:

For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.  Mark 4:22 (NIV)

I can’t imagine the humiliation she feels, but this situation right here needed to come to light. We needed to see this so that we can shed light on the fact that 1 out of every  4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. We need to talk about it. We need to get help and we need to hold each other accountable for our choices. Choices have consequences. Good or bad, you must live with the decision. I know that if Janay had a clock she would love to rewind the events that occurred that fateful evening, but she doesn’t. She will always remember.

My advice is simple: Stand up. Be accountable. Get help. Use this tragedy for your triumph. Teach others and know that you will always remember.

Provoking Violence

Today we found out that Stephen A. Smith, ESPN commentator, was suspended after his comments regarding Ray Rice knocking out his girlfriend earlier this year. Smith said last week that women should avoid provoking men into assaulting them. The internet went on fire. Tell me Stephen, how does a woman avoid provoking a man into assaulting them? Are you saying that women are responsible for the assaults against them because the men are inadequate or incapable of controlling their tempers? We, women can prevent men from knocking us out? Please Stephen tell me how?

It was Smith’s own colleague at ESPN, Michelle Beadle, that called him out on his disturbing remarks by saying that “Violence isn’t the victim’s issue. It’s the abusers. To insinuate otherwise is irresponsible and disgusting”. Thank you Michelle! This is the basic premise that we are all trying to educate men on. Some men get it and sadly other’s don’t. ESPN took a firm stand in suspending Smith for his comments and for that I am happy. Does it take away the sting of his comments? No, but at least they are trying to stand up for women’s rights to not be abused.

This situation runs close to home for me. As a child I watched domestic violence in the form of my parent’s marriage. My first understanding of love and family came at the sound of fists flying and broken glass. I don’t wish that childhood on anyone. I felt helpless. As a mother to a young boy, his father and I stand united on the fact that he should never put his hands on a woman. He’s too young to understand our concern. But, even in his playing with his female friends, I watch his interactions and use it as a teachable moment when he gets too rough with the young girls. Not to hurt his feelings, but to remind him that we keep our hands to ourselves and that you should never hit a girl.

I’m tired of having to stand on my stage and scream that women matter too. I don’t deserve to be abused because I hurt your feelings and emasculate you. You’re grown. You know better. That whole “sticks and stones” nursery rhyme comes to mind. Words never hurt. I know some men will probably say that some women do “provoke” men into hitting them. I offer you this simple explanation: No, they don’t. Life is about choices. You chose to be violent when you put your hands on a woman. Walk away. Women aren’t responsible for your lack of self-control. We all have choices. You can choose right or wrong. I implore men to choose wisely.