Note From Fergie: This Is How To Butcher the National Anthem


If you haven’t heard by now, the pop star Fergie sang the National Anthem before Sunday night’s 2018 NBA All-Star game. And she showed us how NOT to sing the our national song on national television. To quote one columnist, “it was … something. To say the singer put her own spin on the Star Spangled Banner doesn’t even begin to describe what happened here.”  As the former “Black Eyed Peas” singer sang the our national song,  even the all-stars couldn’t hide their laughter. But it was no laughing matter. It was NOT funny, and it was no joke.

Fergie’s “rendition,” if you want to call it that, was worse than wretched. It was past pathetic. It was downright disgraceful. And if anyone needs an example of how to embarrass themselves and set a bad tone, this was it. Singing the nation anthem prior to big games and important athletic events is a time-honored tradition. It’s also an honor for those asked to perform it. 

So why did she do it? Why did Fergie trifle with tradition and rail on a hallowed rite and ritual? This may be a gross over-generalization, but it seems as if this generation has lost the art of respect and the science of reverence. To make light of a custom and best practice is to say that the individual is more important than the whole.  Essentially, Fergie belted out that she is more important that the Country and the customs that we have all come to love and cherish.

Let this be a lesson to the rest of us; some traditions just need to be respected and preserved.


Is Anybody Watching The 2018 Winter Olympics?

Let’s take a unscientific poll: thumbs up for yes and thumbs down for no.

As for me, I’m not. Well, at least not yet. I want to watch and I plan on watching, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. For starters, I’m from Philly, and as a native Philadelphian, I’m still celebrating the Eagles’ Super Bowl win over the Patriots. And rightfully so, since this victory has been a long time in coming. So that’s my excuse. What’s yours?

Let me guess. First, you’re not interested. The 24 hour news cycle is so full of White House scandal and North Korean bramble that you just can’t keep up. That’s understandable. Second, most of the Country (the US that is) has been hammered by storms of some kind. Most of the Midwest and the Northeast have been hampered by winter weather, so people in cold weather watching other people in cold weather isn’t quite such a winter delight. And third, you just haven’t gotten around to it yet. That’s OK. You can use my excuse, as long as you’re happy for my Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. Fly Eagles Fly!

So it’s Sunday. And, hopefully you’ve worshiped God in some form or fashion today. Now that you’ve put God first, let’s support our mother countries and the athletes that represent us. It’s the essence of teamwork and my favorite theme, Team, Team, Team!

Thank You, Dr. King

MLK, Jr.2

January 15th is forever a day that minorities, especially African Americans, can be thankful for. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had vision and foresight, wisdom and prudence, and yes he dreamed. He urged and encouraged this great Nation to live out the content of its creed. In his eternally unforgettable March on Washington speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, Dr. King gave the Nation this challenge:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’

In sports, since Dr. King’s death, we’ve seen many more minorities playing games, and a few more minorities managing teams, and yet fewer minorities owning franchises.  We haven’t overcome all racial and social discrimination yet, but thanks to Dr. King, we’ve come a long way, baby.


Happy birthday, Dr. King.

Running The Human RACE  


I just saw the 2016 film, RACE, “a sports movie that once again shows the triumph of the human spirit and how everyone is equal when the gun goes off.” 

Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy. It’s a solid sports biopic that teaches and entertains and leaves you longing for more. The history lesson gives nuances that you definitely want to explore on your own, such as, what did Owens do after the Olympics?

The racial challenges that Jesse Owens wrestles with in the film are palpable. Jim Crow rules on the American frontier while Hitler and the Third Riech are rising in Germany.  While both are sinful, it’s hard to split hairs or point fingers; the tension between the races presents the viewer with a moral dilemma: when it comes to race, is there a blacker black or a whiter white? The question is asked but not answered. Racism and antisemitism are on full display, and who’s to say which is the more sinister evil?

Sports gives the human race the opportunity to run the race of life with zest and zeal, blocking out all distractions and evil intentions in order to obtain gold.  And now, in this the 21st Century, when it comes to race, it seems that the blending and the melding of interracial relationships present us an even tone instead of the juxtaposition of black vs. white, which are values, not colors.

As for the film, I enjoyed it emensily, but also agree with this film critic: “Perhaps the strongest argument against Race is that a film this important deserves more than a standard, by-the-numbers treatment. Although there’s nothing terribly wrong about the movie, there’s nothing special about the way in which it presents a remarkable 20th century chapter. The bare necessities are there, the performances are competent, and there are some strong moments but Race suffers from a lack of ambition. It’s too safe and that quality mutes its impact and limits its ability to be more than a history lesson.”   (A movie review by James Berardinelli)

Don’t Play With The Game

Bend It Like Beckham

The game of life comes with rules and regulations, directions and instructions and do’s and don’ts. For instance, it’s just not a good idea to drink and drive. Hence the admonition, “Don’t Drink and Drive!” Then there’s the allowance for right turns on red. So that’s a good thing, right?

We’ll here’s one for everyone to follow as well: “Don’t play with the game.”

Life is nothing to play with. Since life is a game, and there are rules for games, then this is one of them. Life is too short, and tomorrow is not promised. Make the most of every moment, and don’t trifle with the sanctity of life. Living is hard enough, so breaking rules and making up your own policies is foolhardy, at best.

In the game of life there’s a game clock and half court and foul balls and penalties. Sometimes someone may commit a false start or run out of bounds or line up off-sides. Even though It happens, most times it shouldn’t. You’ll want and need to play within the rules, right?

But then again, the world has imposed some rules that need to be broken. Ours is to figure out which ones are hard and fast and which ones are flexible. For instance, what about these recent taboos:

The rule to marry within your culture?

The rule to follow the crowd?

The rule to put family first?

The rule to marry for money? (The rule actually says you should marry for love, right?)

Anyway, it takes discernment and discretion and wisdom and good judgment to play this game the right way. And since we all want to win, we should play to win. And playing to win means that you honor the guidelines and bylaws that have been time tested and proven.

So don’t play with the game. Don’t take it lightly or live it loosely. Play hard and play for keeps. And when necessary, bend it like Beckham.

Watch the film Bend It Like Beckham. You’ll see what I mean.

Would You Take A Knee During The National Anthem?


San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick has started a movement.  And his followers are growing.

It seems like everybody is doing it. Taking a knee during the National Anthem, that is. It’s a protest vote started by Colin Kaepernick. He made national headlines recently, not for his play on the gridiron, but for taking a knee during the national anthem as a way of protesting racial injustices and police brutality in the country.


A number of players on other National Football League teams have joined Kaepernick and also taken a knee during the anthem; while others have raised clenched fists while standing, including New England Patriots Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty, as another way to silently protest.


And protesting during professional football games has trickled all the way down into the high-school ranks, as Doherty Memorial High School junior Mike Oppong took a knee during the national anthem Friday in a season-opening game against Leominster at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium in Worcester.


On Sunday, Oppong tweeted to his followers on Twitter that “My coach just called me a couple minutes ago telling me that the coaches and principals decided that I should be suspended for 1 game.”

Oppong’s Twitter handle is @Oppong_5 with the name on the account “BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

He even got a retweet from Kaepernick’s own Twitter account.

A #FreeOppong hashtag started spreading like wildfire on Twitter after Oppong announced he would be suspended for his protest. There was positive feedback and support for Oppong on social media and some hate, however.”


And here’s what Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Detroit Free Press Printed:

“It keeps getting bigger.

One might have expected last month’s protest by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, his refusal to stand for the national anthem, to have blown over by now. Instead, it has caught fire. Sunday, members of the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs all staged protests of their own. This was in addition to earlier protests by soccer star Megan Rapinoe and members of the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. There have even been reports of the phenomenon spreading to high school and college games.

All of this in support of Kaepernick, who said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Apparently, he’s struck a nerve.


For the record, yes, I do stand when the anthem is played. But I don’t do it for America. America breaks my heart on a daily basis. So, I stand for what America is supposed to be, what America could be if it ever took seriously its founding principles, including that “self-evident” truth about equality. But America has yet to do that, and Kaepernick is hardly the first person to notice.

Drew Sharp said this:

Un-American? Colin Kaepernick is anything but that.”

And  Colin Kaepernick said this:

I don’t want to kneel forever.”

On the last night of his life, Martin Luther King said:

All we say to America is, be true to what you said on paper.”

Kaepernick is not even the first athlete to snub the rituals of American patriotism and refuse to “stand” for the National Anthem. This is what one baseball player had to say:

I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”

 The baseball player’s name was Jackie Robinson.

Colin Kaepernick Has The Best-Selling Jersey In The NFL?


So what do you think of Colin Kaepernick? I’ll tell you what kids and millennials and anti-establishment types everywhere think – they love him! Colin Kaepernick’s 49ers jerseys are reportedly flying off the shelves, so it looks like a lot of people have Kap’s back.

Colin Kaepernick might not be the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback, but he’s leading the league in one stat — jersey sales. Since Kaepernick made headlines in late August by refusing to stand for the National Anthem, his jersey ranks as one of the best sellers in the NFL.

The latest stats on NFL jersey sales have Kaepernick’s jersey listed as the top seller on the NFL Shop’s website, ahead of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Wow.

So what do you think? Kaepernick has taken a stand by not standing up. He will not stand idly by and he will not stand for the continued abuse of power by a select number of police officers across the country. And that is the issue. Yes young black men are being disproportionally targeted, but at the end of the day, it’s the abuse of power that we all should be concerned about.   

Not standing for the National Anthem is the 2016 version of burning the American Flag, sort of. Students in the ‘60’s who  protested the Vietnam War, I mean the Vietnam “Conflict,” burned the flag as symbol of their angst and anger over the U.S. involvement in a squabble half a world away. Over 50,000 young lives were lost, and many, many more were injured and maimed for life because of a decision by policy makers to partake in a lost cause.

So, we return to question on the floor: “Is Colin Kaepernick justified in his protest?”   

Even President Obama has weighed in, and had this to day:

My understanding, at least, is that is he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so. As a general matter, when it comes to the flag the national anthem and the meaning that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who’ve fought for us — that is a tough thing for them to get past to then hear what his deeper concerns are,” he said. “But I don’t doubt his sincerity. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that need to be talked about and if nothing else what he’s doing has generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about” (CNN).

Now let’s call Colin in to defend his position and to speak for himself.  Here’s what Kaepernik told’s Steve Wyche:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Wow. That’s a powerful statement. So, agree or disagree, if nothing else, we must acknowledge that Kaepernick is raising awareness. And I do applaud him for that.