The NFL, Domestic Abuse and My Story

9 Sep

I will never forget the first time I was abused. Everything happened so fast, the attack, the police, my family getting involved, it was the worst night of my life. Until the next time it happened, and the next, and every time after that. When I hear the names that people call Janay Palmer (Rice) I cringe knowing that I was ridiculed the same way. Idiot. Stupid. Weak. I know the judging looks, the shame, the excuses, it seems like it never ends. I also know the pain, the torture and the fear and I am lucky enough to know the relief of being free of an abusive relationship.

It is very easy to judge someone who stays in an abusive relationship, especially if you’ve never been in one. If you’ve never woken up next to the person you love only to later go to sleep next to them after being beaten, you might not understand. If you’ve never been holding hands with them and a minute later had to beg them to stop hitting you, you might not understand. If you’ve never cried and screamed while they kicked you, as lay on your back in an alley, after they’ve dragged you by your hair from your car, you probably won’t get it. Maybe you’ve never been thrown around or been choked on the floor while your abuser is on top of you trying with all his might to kill you. If you did, maybe you will understand. Of course there are many out there who have never been abused that do understand, and for those people, I am grateful.

I’ve heard so many angles on this Ray Rice situation. The amount of ignorance surrounding the story made me angry at first, but now, it just makes me sad. Don’t be so presumptuous to assume you know what goes on in their relationship, that this was the first time, or the last.

Don’t assume that it is so easy to get up and leave an abuser. You have no idea how compelling the man you love can be on his knees begging and crying for your forgiveness. Reminding you of your beautiful daughter and your family, and all the people and the money and the time and on and on. You love this person, and one night of darkness may not be enough to make you forget that.

Only once you forgive them they turn on you. Convincing you that you brought it on yourself. You had an attitude or you didn’t do what he wanted. They degrade you and manipulate. Making you think no one will ever treat you better, they tell you you’re unlovable, useless and you believe them. After all, you must be terrible to make someone treat you so horribly.

I am not a weak person. I have endured years of abuse since I was a child. I never thought as an adult I would allow someone to take my power and control me. I defended him and stood by him. I lied for him. I threw out my morals and convictions. I was very blessed to have people around me who were stronger than me. People that pushed me to leave and reminded me every day despite my depression and darkness that I could take control and leave.

Some people are lucky enough to get out at the start. I made the decision to forgive my abuser, and I suffered the consequences. I don’t know what happens in the Rice home, I don’t know how long the abuse has been going on or if it has continued, but this story is bigger than Ray and Janay.

The NFL let down it’s millions of fans in the way they handled this situation. Men and Women. As a survivor of domestic abuse I’m completely disappointed in their lack of a compelling punishment, lack of integrity and lack of compassion towards the victim. They put her in a room with her abuser and demanded she tell her story. They placed blame on her through the Ravens twitter account. They rolled out a weak suspension and then justified it fiercely in interviews and statements. It wasn’t until the “truth” was unveiled that they felt compelled to do the right thing. If the NFL had done the right thing from the beginning, they would not be dealing with this public outrage.

There is one good that has come from this terrible story and embarrassing moment for the sport. That some people have learned about the issue of domestic violence and have educated themselves on just how elaborate it is.

If you or someone you know is being abused, please get help. Visit womenindistress.org.

Danielle Lyn: Controversial Call in Marlins Reds questions the future of the MLB

2 Aug

On July 31, 2014 the MLB took six minutes to make a decision that could possibly change the future of baseball. The Miami Marlins were leading the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 in the eighth inning when what seemed like a flawless double play to end the inning was called into question.

Jeff Mathis tagged Red’s Zack Cozart at the plate and the ump called him out, then the umpires convened to review the play. After 360 seconds of useless deliberation the MLB collectively made the wrong decision and reversed the call, citing the obstruction as the underlying reason and tying the ball game. In case you wondering just how bad the call was, here’s Mike Redmond’s rant following the decision– which resulted in his fourth ejection of the year:

According to the MLB Rule 7.13:

“Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher, without possession of the ball, blocks the pathway of the runner, the Umpire shall call or signal the runner safe.”

At first glance, Mathis had full possession of the ball before turning to “block” (or pursue the only imaginable way to contest the run) the path. So I looked again and again and again and again and aga—— basically the video showed the same reality at first glance as it did at 56th glance. The umpire even went as far as to tell Mathis he agreed with him, though to be fair I’d expect any umpire to agree with the call they initially make in the first place.

In layman terms, the MLB got this one wrong. Unfortunately, it goes beyond yesterday’s game. The league sent out an affirmation statement following the controversy but their statement went far beyond words. It served as a message to the players. As the years go on contact and competition are largely reduced in an intentional attempt to lessen athlete injury but it also unintentionally wipes out the heart of the game.

The Replay Official judged that the catcher did not provide a lane to the runner and hindered his path to the plate without possession of the ball. The throw also did not force the catcher into the runner’s pathway. As a result, in accordance with Rule 7.13, the ruling on the field was overturned and the run was allowed to score.

We realize that people may reasonably have different opinions regarding the application of Rule 7.13 in any particular instance because it is a judgment call. We are continuously evaluating the application of the new rule, and we anticipate a full review with all appropriate parties in the off-season in order to determine whether any changes should be made. We also recognize that the exorbitant length of last night’s review, which was more than three times the season average, must be avoided in the future.

That said, the most important goal of this rule has been to eliminate dangerous collisions at home plate, and it cannot be disputed that the rule has been very effective toward achieving this purpose.”

So basically, the league is 100% standing strong with this decision, and is blind to not so sudden changes these newly implemented rules with ensue.

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Danielle Lyn: The New Era of College Football

14 Jul

Amidst NBA Free Agency and the FIFA World Cup yearnings for the return of football season have been brewing. Three days after the world found out LeBron James will re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the day after the World Cup came to a close, traces of football have begun to surface.

College-Football-Playoff-trophyToday, College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock uncovered the latest national championship trophy to accompany the newly implemented Playoff system in college football. According to ESPN, the trophy is over 2-feet-tall, weighs approximately 35 pounds and has a “priceless” price tag label.

Made from 24-karat gold, bronze and stainless steel, the bottom of the trophy is shaped like a football and rises to form an actual-sized ball at the top.

The arrival of the tThe-Coaches-Trophyrophy marks the end of a 15 year FBS era and thus ends the production of the inaugural Coaches’ Trophy, the national championship trophy that preceded the College Football Playoff’s 2 foot 24-karat gold keepsake.

The Coaches’ Trophy is relatively 8-pounds and valued at $30,000. It’s made entirely of Waterford Crystal and takes three months to make.

The two are vastly different in every aspect but one: the team that hoists it into the air at the end of the last game of the football season will be dubbed the National Champion.

The new look reminds fans that a new age of college football has arrived.

What does the College Football Playoff system change? The major change is the selection committee and their responsibilities. Instead of the No. 1 and No. 2 team playing for the Title, the committee will select four teams to battle in a playoff style series of games until two teams are left to battle for the Championship. The teams will be chosen based on strength of schedule, head to head results, comparison of results against common opponents, championships previously won, and other minor factors.

Another change the public will notice is the rankings, the playoff system has forgone the weekly rankings and decided to release only seven rankings throughout the season. For the upcoming season the ranking dates are as follows:

  • c01-sline-logo-30_001-4_3October 28
  • November 4
  • November 11
  • November 18
  • November 25
  • December 2
  • December 7

December 7, officially dubbed as “Selection Sunday” will reveal the selection committees four picks for the championship playoff as well as the match-ups for the six bowl games that will be played outside of the playoff. [All State Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, AT&T Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl]

The structure of college football is surely changing, but any way the cake is sliced– football is almost here.


 MEET THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SELECTION COMMITTEE

Jeff Long – 35 years college football experience. Assistance coach, student-athlete, administrator.

Barry Alvarez – 38 years college football experience. head coach, assistant coach, student-athlete and athletics director.

Mike Gould - Former Air Force aide to the President of the United States. Former Superintendent of U.S. Air Force Academy.

Pat Haden – Two time College football national Championship winner with USC. NFL Pro-Bowler

Tom Jernstedt – executive NCAA career for 38 years.

Oliver Luck – Two time MVP, record setting quarterback at WVU. NFL experience.

Archie Manning – its Archie Manning, enough said. ( College Football Hall of Fame, SEC most valuable player, NFL Quarterback, two time Pro-Bowler, SEC quarterback of a quarter century.)

Tom Osborne – College Football Hall of Fame, 3 college football national championships, ESPN coach of the decade (1990′s), 42 years college football experience- head coach, assistant coach, student-athlete and athletics director.

Dan Radakovich - 30 years college football experience as student-athlete, athletics director and associate athletics director.

Condoleezza Rica - Former United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor.Chosen four times as one of Time magazines “100 Most Influential People. Twice named “Most Powerful Woman in the World” by Forbes Magazine.

Mike Tranghese - Longest-serving commissioner of the Big East Conference.

Steve Wieberg - Top college football writer for USA Today and a sportswriter for more than 30 years.

Tyrone Willingham - 36 years college football experience as head coach, assistant coach and walk-on, two-sport student-athlete

By: Danielle Lyn

By: Danielle Lyn

Cait Anderson: White Hot Marlins?

6 Jun

As the Miami Heat find themselves in the midst of their fourth consecutive NBA Finals, it’s easy to forget about the city’s more hidden gem: the Miami Marlins.

In an 8-5 win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night, youngster Christian Yelich set a new career high with four hits and four RBIs in a game. With the victory, the Marlins increased their record to 34-30 and tied the major league record, also shared by the Yankees and the Rays, for 13 consecutive interleague victories. Doesn’t sound like the same Miami Marlins who ended the 2013 season at the bottom of the divisional totem pole, does it?

Yelich doubled to deep center in the top of the fourth, scoring two, then hit a two run go-ahead single in the seventh, taking back the lead from the Rangers and putting the Marlins up 6-5. Casey McGehee also scored Yelich with an RBI single in the top of the sixth inning, and the Marlins finished the game with 14 hits.

For a team who went 62-100 last season, things definitely seem to be looking up.

Win, lose, or draw, the Miami Marlins are undoubtedly a lot more fun to watch this season, with key players like Giancarlo Stanton stepping up to lead the team in bigger ways than ever. Stanton, who was pretty touch-and-go last season, is currently leading not only the team, but the National League, in stats across the charts. Stanton, who is tied for the NL lead with 17 home runs, has racked up a NL leading 53 RBIs, and has hit five 450-foot home runs so far-more than any MLB team combined. Yes, you read that right.. more than any entire team. Is he human? We haven’t yet decided.

Stanton, the Marlins’ very own home run machine, has also risen to second among NL outfielders in MLB All-Star voting, according to the last voting update. So, keep voting Marlins fans!

If the Fish continue to play at this level consistently, could the city of Miami be looking at a World Series run and a possible NBA Championship all in the same year?

Be sure to tune in to Fox Sports Florida tonight at 7:30 pm ET, as the Fish attempt to defeat the Rangers and set a new MLB record of 14 consecutive interleague victories.

By: Cait Anderson

 

Danielle Lyn: Stanton Leads the Marlins over the Nationals

27 May

The Miami Marlins are continuing on a quest to turn their organization’s negative performance ratings around. The teams’ road to redemption brought them to Nationals Park where outfielder Giancarlo Stanton led the Marlins to victory.

The last two years Miami has gone 1-12 at Nationals Park, making the Memorial Day victory in Washington D.C. the latest Stantonof the Marlins recent stamps of approval from fans and league alike. Wearing camo-laced uniforms to honor the holiday, the Marlins struck early in the ball game when Casey McGhee singled on a ground ball that sent Stanton to his first run of the day in the top of the  1st. Stanton looked the part in his Captain America red, white, and blue American flag sleeve when he launched a home run in the top of the 3rd that scored Derek Dietrich and himself.

The Marlins beat the Nationals 3 runs to 2.

Fans have begun to rally around Miami’s renaissance season thus far. The organization is 27-25 and has gained respectable accolades including “Best home record in baseball” earlier in the season. News began to circulate that the face of the Marlins’ redemption and 2013 Rookie of The Year RHP Jose Fernandez was injured in early May, and fans believed the May 10th Tommy John surgery on his right elbow was the end of a pleasant and successful Marlins season.

Stanton’s performance proved the Marlins are still on the right track. And the demonstration couldn’t have come with a more significant opponent. Today, the Marlins proved the era of the Nationals reaping havoc has ended, and add yet another stamp of approval to a new and improved team.

Claudia Emanuels: Marlins, Are We Contenders?

2 Apr Miami-Marlins%E2%80%99-Jose-Fernandez-Proving-To-Be-Real-Deal1

No doubt the Miami Marlins have been the team most criticized in recent years by moves made by the front office of the organization that many, said would cause irreversible damage.

A year ago, I stood with my baseball “Billy Beane” philosophy, moneyball.

033114-fsf-mlb-miami-marlins-opening-day7-GI.vnocropresize.940.529.medium.7After all, we had criticized Loria for not getting us “contending” players, etc… but in reality, they did. They signed Jose Reyes and probably every notable free agent going into the 2012 season. They did as promised. It didn’t work.

A year ago, I presented this in a less biased view. I approached it as a business deal, if you invest $200 Million in a team that will end up in the cellar of the NL east regardless, why wouldn’t I go for the $30 Million dollar team, and get the same results?

So we got rid of everyone, and started looking into our farm system. Names like Jose Fernandez, Marcel Ozuna, Christian Yelich came up, not to mention those acquired via trade: Nathan Eovaldi, Jacob Turner, Derek Dietrich, amongst others

Turns out, the year was a loss, BUT YET, we still managed to have quite the shining silver lining. Jose Fernandez. Think about it. Though it was a matter of time for his call up to the big show, if we hadn’t made the trades of the 2012 off season, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, would probably have no throne to thrive on.

The Marlins are an organization that builds on those young guns. Now some may argue “but we wont keep him long term”.. The Marlins have vowed to keep the players they NEED and have no other person in their farm system to currently replace. They are NOT an organization that will keep players past their prime, or that have only a few more years left, They keep the sport evolving, eager to bring Miami fans the NEXT best thing. 628x471What people fail to know is that the Marlins minor league system is packed with young and eager talent, probably more that most teams. With names like Justin Nicolino, Andrew DeSclafani, Nick Wittgren, Kyle Jensen, KJ Woods to name a few, you still have more than enough talent coming up to contend for years to come.

What the Marlins did will take time to develop but it is developing. I was present at Spring Training this year, and for the first time flashes of 2003 came back. I could say, with confidence, the Marlins will make a run. If not this year…the next.

Opening Day 2014:

Jose Fernandez shows the Colorado Rockies, what he’s got. Giving up just one run. Impressive but not surprising for the NLROY! Coming up, Henderson Alvarez looks to pick up where he left off when he no hit the Detroit Tigers in the last game of the 2013 season. With an impressive ERA during spring, the Marlins’ rotation is solid, making them a contender in the NL East.

Adding Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Garrett Jones to create depth in the lineup can only help the young club to achieve big things that may surprise Miami fans, and convince them to support Marlins Baseball. It’s a beautiful sport nonetheless.

See you at Marlins Park!

By: Claudia Emanuels

By: Claudia Emanuels

 

Gabriela Lopez: Duke vs. Mercer

21 Mar

Dayton has already beaten Ohio State. Harvard beats Cincinati. The next major upset I hope happens is NC State beating Saint Louis, but I am writing this piece pre game time. My next upset, maybe the biggest is Friday morning when the 3rd ranked Duke Blue Devils play the 14th ranked Mercer Bears. The Bears haven’t been to the dance since 1985. The Blue Devils are making their 19th straight post season appearance. The Bears come from the Atlantic Sun Confernece. Duke is ACC. Duke also has huge season wins over Michigan, Pitt, and Syracuse. Mercer went 21-4. They never lost another game and won 8 out the last 10. This team shouldn’t be overlooked. Led by an all senior starting five, Mercer is no stranger to big games or big moments. Over the last three seasons, they hold six high major wins and two Atlantic Sun Championship appearances.Mercer has 5 senior guys for the start which not only gives them a lot more college playing time advantage, but maturity in maybe tough stressful situations. Duke is an extremely deep team with Hood, Cook and Sulaimon yet Duke rides on Jabari parker, who may not be able to work alone against the Bears. “He’s a freak, “ Mercer senior forward Bud Thomas said of Parker, The 6-8, 235 pound national freshman of the year.” That’s essentially the bottom line.” Parker averages 19.3 points per game and shoots 47.8%. Mercer will be lead by Langston Hall who averages 14.7 ppg and 5.6 assists, 26th in nation to top Bear scoring sensation Anthony White Jr. with 19 ppg. If these two get going offensively with a defense who relies heavily on Daniel Coursey rebounding and blocking inside the paint, this will be a hard battle for glamourous Duke, Jabari Parker and the Blue Devils. Mercer is relying heaivily on defense. Duke has always started tournament play rocky and inconsistent only winning 3 out of the last 7 tournament starts. Reputation for Duke is a key postitive. Playing essentially a home game is another huge favorite, but with Mercer I see energy and 5 senior players with one last thing to prove.

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