Friday, July 24, 2009


In April 2007, Michael Vick's football career was in jeopardy after allegations surfaced about his role in a dogfighting ring. What would follow would be a guilty plea in August 2007 and the beginning of his 23-month jail sentence in December 2007, and the knockout blow in his fall from grace after being an icon from 2001 to 2004.

Even before the trials, Vick's questionable moves have ranged from receiving a civil lawsuit in 2005 after a female contracted an STD from him to flipping off the Atlanta Falcon faithful after a 2006 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Those moves, including a paltry completion percentage and a "look at the tight end, and he's not open, then run like hell" mentality, questioned many sportswriters on will Vick ever be a "prototypical" quarterback like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. This was two years after the Falcons went all the way to the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and four years after he became the first visiting quarterback to defeat the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field in a playoff game.

However after his guilty plea, Vick lost EVERYTHING. Endorsements from corporations such as Nike and EA Sports were dropped, he was ordered to pay back some of his signing bonus money to the Falcons, and he was suspended indefinitely by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He even lost fan support as Atlanta became a city divided, and eventually after the Falcons selected Matt Ryan third in the 2008 NFL Draft, that support became further suppressed as slowly but surely Ryan won the hearts of Atlanta fans.

With that being said, Vick became the MC Hammer of this decade by essentially dropping from millionaire to bankruptcy, but yet he could face another four-game suspension from the league? This man deserves to play again and deserves to make enough money in order to get out of debt. Plus, I believe that even the HINT of a possible suspension would be unfair. When former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue gave Ricky Williams a four-game suspension in 2004 for violating the substance abuse policy, Williams retired and missed the 2004 season. However, when he came back in 2005, the suspension was upheld. The difference between Williams and Vick though, was that Williams ran away from the punishment and Vick met his crime head-on from the law. Besides, don't you think two years is enough for someone to think about what he has done? One thing will be true though, some team will pick him up amidst the negative fan reactions, work him into the system, and try to pick up the pieces of a broken Vick as he heals his wounds.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Note: This was posted by me on November 10th, 2008 from Facebook

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a racist, nor do I promote racism...I just wanted bring to light events that's happened since Tuesday. I am best friends with many whites and blacks and others, and basically I wanted y'alls on to our regularly scheduled programming, lol*

Do you know where you were on Tuesday, November 4th at 10:00 p.m. Central Time? I know where I was. I was with three of my friends in my dorm room, when we switched the TV over to CNN to watch the results of some of the other states, until the following statement was announced..."Barack Obama has clinched the election to become the 44th President of the United States". As we all walked out the door to take in the atmosphere, nothing could prepare us for what was about happen next.

We all stepped outside to cheer and to yell "Obama!", when five to ten seconds after we stepped outside, a lot of black people who heard the word as well had opened their door and cheered, jumped, ran, screamed, and anything else to show their jubilance. Now don't get me wrong, I loved every bit of the exuberance, and it showed that we as black people can band together for something positive, but I thought though, "Was this TOO excessive?" The only reason why I thought that was because, the majority of white people have never given us nothing for 400 years, when they give us a chance (reluctantly), sometimes our actions are what causes us to be shut out or to get further in a position. However, there were even more bizarre things to come in the next day.

Right as many black people were putting Obama-related statuses on Facebook and Myspace, some white people put down ones like "I want to move to (fill-in-the-blank: such as Canada, Denmark, or Australia)". What those people fail to realize is that if they move from what fear (which what they fear won't happen), they will be moving TO what they fear (in actuallity...yes, to my knowledge Canada is socialist). However those were tame as compared to the stuff that Lindsay Boggs and Buck Burnette said. Boggs and Burnette used the dreaded "n-word (with the er)", which caused a firestorm at Louisiana Tech and the University of Texas. Burnette was even kicked off of the Texas Longhorns football team for his comments, while Boggs' comments have been posted all over Facebook.

All in all, you can compare this plight to the O.J. Simpson trail from 1995, where the split was greatly defined. However, this was a lot worse, instead of a fine line a wide gash was opened. But despite of all of this, why can't we all get along after 400 years of us sharing America, 150 years after the abolishment of slavery, and 40 years after the civil rights movement? Some states don't have to worry about race (the Northeast, Florida, and the Pacific Corridor, for examples) but it's the backwards South that constantly makes you think, there's still racism? Hopefully, our 44th President can unite the nation, prove doubters wrong (again), and continue to make people believe with three words..."YES WE CAN!"

Monday, July 6, 2009


Last Thursday, I posted up this statement on my Facebook status, "LaMar 'Primetime' Gafford is saying this...the Williams sisters and Tiger Woods have done more in non-major sports for Blacks than anyone else, hands down!", and the comments were pretty good. One guy agreed with me, but another girl disagreed with me. However, she brought up a good point. She said, "Arthur Ashe paved the way for African-Americans in tennis", which was also very true and it actually made me modify my statement to include the pioneers of the two sports as well. Also, seeing that we were captivated with a Serena/Venus Wimbeldon final, along with Tiger winning the AT&T National tournament over the weekend, this would be the absolute best time to delve into that topic.

First, I want to say that my status was actually true in someways. Tiger, Venus, and Serena give many blacks (and many others) a reason to follow, watch, and play tennis, and that comes with them winning different tournaments.

Woods has won 68 PGA tournaments, including 14 major tournaments, since he started playing professionally in 1996. His winning performance and his emotional hug to his father Earl after in the 1997 Masters in Augusta, Ga. captivated a new, fresh, and young audience that which in turn generated more revenue for the sport. Now granted, there are still not any blacks on the PGA Tour except for Woods, but it takes time. According to NBC Sports, since the PGA Tour started its First Tee program to target minorities and other inner city youth, Blacks have made up 27 percent of the 450,000 participants in the program, a sign that change is coming as long as there is positive development and growth.

Combined, the Williams sisters have won 75 tournaments and 18 Grand Slam events in singles play since their debuts (Venus in 1994 and Serena in 1995). They have constantly been a beacon of light for not just other blacks, but many women and Americans during their dominance during this decade. However, like Woods, since their debuts there has been little black participation on the grandest stage as James Blake is the only other regular on either the ATP or WTA Tours. I don't know if any one of the two tours are actively targeting the inner city youth about tennis like what the PGA is doing with golf, but at my school, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, we have one black tennis player that is great, and also I see some black students and youth play at one of our nearby tennis courts on campus, meaning again that change will come soon as long as the interests are there.

That can be said with their pioneers 25-50 years ago. In golf, there were not many blacks that set firsts like Lee Elder. Elder won 4 PGA Tour events in his career and was the first black to participate in the Masters when he did so in 1975. There were also Pete Brown (the first black PGA Tour winner), Charlie Sifford (the first black to receive a PGA Tour card), Calvin Peete, Jim Dent, and Jim Thorpe, all of who paved the way just so that Woods would not have to encounter death treats like they all had to encounter. On the tennis side, there was no greater black player than Arthur Ashe, who won 33 titles and won three Grand Slam events (the Australian, Wimbeldon, and the U.S. Opens), and was also a civil rights icon after his playing days. Althea Gibson was another standout as a tennis icon as she won five Grand Slam events despite having to go through discrimination as well. Both success stories inspired players like Yannick Noah (1983 French Open champion, and the 2nd black to win a Grand Slam), Lori McNeil, Zina Garrison, Chanda Rubin, and MailVai Washington (just to name a few), and that enabled the Williams sisters to take the game into new heights.

All in all, the pioneers of the game had someone to follow them along in order to get the ball rolling, and while Woods and the Williams sisters are winning at a pace not experienced by many blacks before in their respective sports, we must remember the ones who put them in that position and gave them that inspiration. Also, with the both of them doing well, it may inspire the next generation of black golfers and/or tennis player to do even better or to prove that the sport that they play can indeed be a game that they can play and that the stereotypes will not even matter anymore.