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Obama Says Women’s Soccer Team Taught Nation Lesson

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President Obama welcomed the United States Women's National Soccer Team to the White House to honor the team and their victory in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The team presented Obama with a jersey with the number 44 on it. The FIFA trophy sits on a table next to the podium. "These champions deserve all the attention they've been receiving," Obama said. (Cheriss May/HUNS)

President Obama welcomed the United States Women’s National Soccer Team to the White House to honor the team and their victory in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The team presented Obama with a jersey with the number 44 on it. The FIFA trophy sits on a table next to the podium. “These champions deserve all the attention they’ve been receiving,” Obama said. (Cheriss May/HUNS)

By Erika R. Whitehead
Howard University News Service

WASHINGTON – It may or may not have been the most delicate of phrasing, but President Obama made it clear what he thought was the message sent by the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team in its World Cup victory.

“This team taught all of America’s children that ‘playing like a girl’ means you’re a badass,” Obama said of the women during a special White House presentation to honor the team.

The team beat Japan in the Women’s World Cup final in July to claim its third title since 1991 and second since 1999. The president used his 11-minute speech to drive home the importance of women’s equality both on and off the field.

“These champions deserve all the attention that they’ve been getting,” he said. “After 16 long years, too many heartbreaks, they flew north to put America back on top of the soccer world. And they did it in style.”

Obama kept his remarks jovial and lighthearted, congratulating bi-racial forward Sydney Leroux on her recent marriage and taking note of her dog’s 10,000 Twitter followers, “which makes me thankful that Bo and Sunny don’t have their own accounts, because I don’t need them trolling me from my own house,” he said.

He also mentioned that Megan Rapinoe’s face was the inspiration behind the design of a California farmer’s corn maze.

The president concluded his remarks with a reminder that the team stands for challenging outdated stereotypes and being the best.

“Playing like a girl means being the best,” he said. “It means drawing the largest TV audience for a soccer match, men or women’s, in American history. It means wearing our nation’s crest on your jersey, taking yourself and your country to the top of the world.

“That’s what American women do. That’s what American girls do. That’s why we celebrate this team. They’ve done it with class. They’ve done it with the right way. We are very, very proud of them.”

Abby Wambach, a forward for the team, echoed Obama’s remarks.

“This isn’t just about soccer,” Wambach said. “This is about women and equal opportunity across the board. I think that’s what we’re here for and that’s what we represent.

Our whole team represents so many different people, so many different backgrounds and different walks of life. I think that’s why we are America’s team. We are the melting pot. We do represent every person in this country, and I think that’s what makes our team so inspiring.”

In May, team launched #SheBelieves campaign, an effort to inspire young girls and young women to achieve their dreams and avoid common sexist stereotypes associated with their gender. Obama praised the team for launching this campaign.

For more information about the #SheBelieves campaign, visit http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2015/05/12/16/37/150512-shebelieves-community-launch-rel.

Freddie Allen is the Editor-In-Chief of the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com. Focused on Black people stuff, positively. You should follow Freddie on Twitter and Instagram @freddieallenjr.

Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Serena Williams gets first Wheaties box cover, hopes to inspire next generation

MINNESOTA SPOKESMAN-RECORDER — Serena Williams started July off with a bang, becoming the new face on the cover of Wheaties cereal boxes. The cereal giant announced the honor on June 25 with a tweet: “She’s an athlete. She’s a fashion designer. She’s a philanthropist. She’s a mother. @serenawilliams is a Champion. #ShesAChampion”

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Wheaties Box Cover with Serena Williams (Photo by: General Mills)

By Paige Elliot

The tennis champ follows in the footsteps of Althea Gibson

Serena Williams started July off with a bang, becoming the new face on the cover of Wheaties cereal boxes. The cereal giant announced the honor on June 25 with a tweet: “She’s an athlete. She’s a fashion designer. She’s a philanthropist. She’s a mother. @serenawilliams is a Champion. #ShesAChampion

For Williams, the achievement fulfills a long-held goal. “I have dreamt of this since I was a young woman and it’s an honor to join the ranks of some of America’s most decorated athletes,” Williams said in a press release.

One of those decorated athletes includes tennis great Althea Gibson, who became the first Black female tennis player to grace Wheaties cover in 2001.

On Instagram, Williams made sure her 11.1M followers knew the score. “In 2001, Wheaties paid homage to a true champion and an icon by putting her on the cover of a Wheaties Box. Althea Gibson was the FIRST Black Woman tennis player to be on the box. Today, I am honored to be the second.”

Gibson and Williams are among just a handful of Black women to covet a “Breakfast of Champions” cover. Gymnast Dominique Dawes received hers in 1996 and Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 2004.

“Serena exemplifies all of the personal attributes that Wheaties looks for when choosing who its next champion will be,” stated Wheaties Marketing Manager Tiffani Daniels in a press release. “On the court, she has been named the women’s most valuable player seven times, while off the court she uses her voice to inspire and spark change to make the world a better place.”

Williams, widely considered one of the greatest athletes of all time, is currently competing at Wimbledon in both women’s singles and mixed doubles with Andy Murray. She’s on a quest for a 24th Grand Slam singles title. She’s won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles and four Olympic gold medals.

The limited-edition Wheaties box featuring Williams will be on the shelves for the month of July. “I hope my image on this iconic orange box will inspire the next generation of girls and athletes to dream big,” said Williams.

This article originally appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.

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Afro

Bodden Foundation to Address Mental Health

THE AFRO — Former NFL defensive back and Prince George’s County native Leigh Bodden knows all too well about dealing with pain and putting on a brave face.  Most of Bodden’s contemporaries hid behind the mask on the field and in the locker room, as it was recognized as a sign of weakness if there were moments of vulnerability that exposed mental health issues.

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The Leigh Bodden Foundation in partnership with Lauryn’s Law, is collaborating to raise awareness about the causes of suicide and mental illness in Maryland. (Courtesy Photo)

By Mark F. Gray

Former NFL defensive back and Prince George’s County native Leigh Bodden knows all too well about dealing with pain and putting on a brave face.  Most of Bodden’s contemporaries hid behind the mask on the field and in the locker room, as it was recognized as a sign of weakness if there were moments of vulnerability that exposed mental health issues.

Bodden has also seen how the effects of not dealing with mental health issues can have fatal consequences.  So as he did during his eight-year pro football career, he’s attacking the unspoken killer of so many people in his community head on.

The Leigh Bodden Foundation in partnership with Lauryn’s Law, is collaborating to raise awareness about the causes of suicide and mental illness in Maryland.  It will kickoff during a charity kickball game August 4 at Bowie Baysox Stadium. A group of local celebrities and former professional athletes will compete following the Baltimore Orioles Minor League affiliate’s game.  Their goal is to address these very personal issues that plague so many Americans and raise money to help those who have been affected.

“There are stresses in life that affect people in different ways,” Bodden told the AFRO.  “People need to understand when they need to talk to someone about their problems they shouldn’t be ashamed.  Suicide is not like cancer or HIV, its a silent killer.”

Bodden personally understands the devastation of mental health issues leading to suicide.  When he played for the New England Patriots, two of his former teammates would ultimately take their lives prematurely.  He recalls how Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau was one of the most gregarious and fun loving players in the locker room.  However, after he retired his life spiraled downward to the point where he committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest in 2012.

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez also led a destructive life, which ended his career as he appeared to be on the cusp of greatness.  After signing a massive free agent contract he was convicted of killing Odin Lloyd and sentenced to life in prison in a well publicized case. He also ended his life by committing suicide while in jail.

Those deaths were attributed to chronic traumatic encephalopathy

known as CTE. CTE is a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to repeated hits to the head and is common in former NFL players who have taken their lives.  The onset of CTE developed because of brain damage that began while Seau and Hernandez were playing football.

However, the game changer for Bodden was the death of his best friend Barry who committed suicide after struggling with personal issues that he never talked about.  Barry never opened up about the feelings that were beneath the surface after he had been bullied. Bodden still recounts how he could have been an ear to listen for his fallen friend.

To honor that relationship, “Barry’s Game” is what the charity kickball game will be known as, and it also served as the impetus for his foundation to partner with Lauryn’s Law.  Lauryn’s Law requires that school counselors receive proper training to spot warning signs of mental illness, trauma, violence or substance abuse.

The law was passed in 2013 after Lauryn Santiago took her own life at 15 years-old. In the months leading up to Lauryn’s death, her mother Linda Diaz, was aware that her child was facing difficulty at school. Lauryn’s mother reached out to the school and asked for the counselor to set up a meeting with Lauryn about being bullied but it was too late.

This article originally appeared in The Afro

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Afro

Highlighting BSU 2019 HOF Class

THE AFRO — Two former NFL players, a two-time championship winning basketball coach, a three time CIAA Track Coach of The Year, and a championship team headlined the Bowie State Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2019 during its banquet June 29 at the Marriott BWI Airport Hotel.

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Bowie State University held its Hall of Fame banquet on June 29 at the Marriott BWI Airport Hotel and honored several standout athletes and coaches, including current men’s basketball head coach Darrell Brooks. (Courtesy Photo)

By Mark F. Gray

Two former NFL players, a two-time championship winning basketball coach, a three time CIAA Track Coach of The Year, and a championship team headlined the Bowie State Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2019 during its banquet June 29 at the Marriott BWI Airport Hotel.

Approximately, 350 people were on hand as several contemporary Bowie State University (BSU) athletes and coaches were honored for their individual success that led to championships in football, basketball, and women’s track & field.

Current men’s basketball coach Darrell Brooks took his place in the BSU Hall of Fame in the same year where he earned a postgraduate degree from his alma mater as well.  Brooks was a student-athlete who played basketball for the Bulldogs as an undergraduate,has returned to become arguably its most successful men’s basketball coach in school history.

When Brooks left the Bronx, New York in 1974 he never envisioned BSU would literally change his life. He has led the Bulldogs to CIAA Basketball championships in 2013 and 2017 when he was also named Coach of the Year. Brooks is second-all-time in victories after rebuilding the program following a successful tenure as an assistant coach at George Washington University under Karl Hobbs.

While earning his place in Bulldogs lore, Coach Brooks also had the chance to share his Hall of Fame moment with his team that was inducted as well.  Brooks’ first CIAA Championship team from 2013 joined its leader for a unique place in HBCU sports history.

The irony of that season was that the expectations were limited because of disappointing conclusions to the previous seasons where they were prohibitive favorites only to fall short.  That team personified getting hot at the right time as they won four games in four nights to win the title.

However, that season began with four straight losses and with 11 upperclassmen, tensions grew as they approached the tournament following three consecutive wins to close out the regular season.  Behind the brilliant individual performance of senior Byron Westmoreland, they concluded one of the greatest Tournament runs in CIAA to win the title. In the finals Westmoreland scored 38 points to lead BSU to the upset over Livingstone and earned the most outstanding player award.

Former women’s track coach Marc Harrison was honored as well after building a program from ground zero.  Harrison was named CIAA Coach of the Year from 2004 – 2006 and trained 35 all-American athletes while coaching at BSU.  His 2006 team, which is also in the Hall of Fame, won the CIAA Women’s Outdoor Championship and beat the dynastic St. Augstine’s program coached by legendary George “Pup” Williams.  It was the first championship won in that program’s history.

Harrison was inducted with two of his former athletes this year.  Tyhler Johnson was team captain of that 2006 team and won the 60 meter indoor championship also.  Damara Parrish was an all-CIAA long jumper on that 2006 team was also a member of the class of 2019.

Former NFL players Isaac Redmon and Chuck Alston were honored as well.  Alston played for the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers during four NFL seasons before a four-year Canadian Football League career with the Edmonton Eskimos. He also earned the distinction of being the only NCAA student-athlete who played football and basketball games in the same day and those uniforms are in their Hall of Fame.

Redmond was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers XLV AFC Championship team that lost to the Green Bay Packers.  He graduated as BSU’s all time rushing leader with 3,300 yards and rushed for 1,148 five TDs in his NFL career.

This article originally appeared in The Afro

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Black History

Local legend referee excelled in more than sports

MINNESOTA SPOKESMAN-RECORDER — It’s been said that any two people on Earth are at least six acquaintance links apart. James “Jim” Robinson is no exception. The late Bill McMoore first hired Robinson, then a St. Paul high-schooler, to referee games at Hallie Q. Brown. McMoore, as Minneapolis Public Schools athletic director in the early 1980s, gave me my first high school basketball coaching job in Minnesota.

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Jim Robinson (Photo by: Charles Hallman | MSR News)
By Charles Hallman
It’s been said that any two people on Earth are at least six acquaintance links apart. James “Jim” Robinson is no exception.

The late Bill McMoore first hired Robinson, then a St. Paul high-schooler, to referee games at Hallie Q. Brown. McMoore, as Minneapolis Public Schools athletic director in the early 1980s, gave me my first high school basketball coaching job in Minnesota.

Ed Prohofsky, who succeeded McMoore as MPS AD, saw me attending local basketball coaching clinics and told McMoore about me. Both he and Robinson sit together at Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx games, and this columnist purposely pays his respects to these two elders.

After high school, Robinson was convinced by the late James Griffin, St. Paul’s first Black deputy fire chief, to pursue officiating as a second career and began to ref all over the state of Minnesota. I got to know Griffin, who along with Jimmy Lee was one of the first Black officials in Minnesota. He often advised me on my writing.

I first met Robinson when the late Kwame McDonald, a colleague, mentor and friend, introduced us at the summer league he ran and asked me to coach in the late 1980s. McDonald once coached Lisa Lissimore, the Minneapolis Public Schools(MSHSL) associate director, on the Summit-University women’s basketball team.

Lissimore recommended Robinson for one of the seven NCAA Living Legend awards handed out during the Men’s Final Four in April. She included a Black History Month piece I wrote in 2018 as part of her supporting documentation.

If you’re keeping count, that’s five degrees of separation of James Robinson, the first Black official to referee in the Minnesota State Boys’ Basketball Tournament in the 1970s; in total, he worked seven state tournaments. He refereed both football and basketball for many years in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota, then focused solely on hoops both at the high school and college levels.

The Big Ten selected Robinson in 1971 as a basketball official, and he became one of the first Black referees to work Division I sports. He worked Big Ten, Division I, II, and III games for 16 years before a knee injury forced him to retire. He then became a supervisor of officials both for the Big Ten and as MSHSL high school basketball officials coordinator and supervisor ever since.

A longtime advocate for Black officials, Robinson for many years has held officiating camps, helped found a minority officials association in Minnesota, and was a National Federation of Basketball Rules Writing Committee member.

During the late 1960s, local community folk approached Robinson to apply for the director of the Summit University Teen Center, which was developing a new social services concept, the “drop-in center.” He has now been at “The Loft” since 1967.

What I didn’t know about Robinson was that he is a master barber and served on the Minnesota Board of Barber Examiners. I later learned that as a youngster growing up in St. Paul he was the first Black elected as the citywide student chief of the school patrol boys, and as a teenager was selected to attend Minnesota’s Boys State where his peers selected him “Mayor of Boy’s State.”

Robinson’s impressive resume includes inductions into the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Honor and the MSHSL Hall of Fame.

“Who determines a legend?” Robinson, ever modest, responded when asked where the NCAA Living Legend honor ranks. “I would not rank [myself] so high.”

This article originally appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

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Florida Courier

CDC issues warning about ‘crypto’ in pools, water parks

FLORIDA COURIER — Outbreaks of “crypto,” a parasite found in swimming pools that causes long-term diarrhea, are on the rise, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC says outbreaks of the summertime parasite increased an average of 13% each year from 2009-17.

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The fecal parasite can survice for days in chlorinated water in pools and water playgrounds (Photo by: Dreamstime | TNS)

By Stephanie Sigafoos

Outbreaks of “crypto,” a parasite found in swimming pools that causes long-term diarrhea, are on the rise, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC says outbreaks of the summertime parasite increased an average of 13% each year from 2009-17.

Cryptosporidium is spread through the infected fecal matter of humans or animals. The CDC says people have been getting sick after swallowing the parasite in contaminated water or food or after coming in contact with infected people or animals.

It is said to be the leading cause of disease outbreaks in the United States linked to water, specifically outbreaks linked to public pools or water playgrounds.

Kids susceptible

According to the report:

  • 35% of outbreaks were linked to treated swimming water in places like pools or water playgrounds
  • 13% were linked to contact with infected people in childcare settings
  • 15% were linked to contact with cattle, and 3% to drinking raw milk or apple cider

Young children are particularly susceptible to spreading the disease and experiencing severe symptoms, said registered nurse Michele Hlavsa, chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program.

“They don’t know how to use the toilet and wash their hands, or are just learning how,” she said. “But we as parents can take steps to help keep our kids healthy in the water, around animals, and in childcare.”

Tough to kill

The concern with crypto, according to the CDC, is that it’s tough to kill.

It can survive for days in chlorinated water in pools and water playgrounds, and even on surfaces disinfected with chlorine bleach.

Someone sick with crypto can have diarrhea for up to three weeks.

Outbreaks of crypto are most common in the summer, the report says, and anyone with diarrhea should not swim or enter public pools or playgrounds.

Children sick with diarrhea should stay at home and away from child-care facilities.

This article originally appeared in the Florida Courier

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Hip-Hop

US Women’s soccer champ Megan Rapinoe quotes Nipsey Hussle after victory

ROLLINGOUT — To call soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe “bold” is an understatement. She is one of the few athletes audacious enough to take up the cause with Colin Kaepernick and kneel during the play of the national anthem. She has publicly declared that she may never sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” again because of the multiple instances of inequality in America.

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Megan Rapinoe with girlfriend, WNBA legend Sue Bird, after the USA Women’s soccer team took home the World Cup. (Photo: Instagram – @mrapinoe)

By Terry Shropshire

To call soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe “bold” is an understatement.

She is one of the few athletes audacious enough to take up the cause with Colin Kaepernick and kneel during the play of the national anthem. She has publicly declared that she may never sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” again because of the multiple instances of inequality in America.

Most of all, Rapinoe generated all kinds of quakes when she told outlet “Eight by Eight” that she’s “not going to the f—-ing White House” if the U.S. women’s national soccer team won the World Cup — which it did — inciting a vicious backlash from the right wing of America, especially from the Oval Office.

Furthermore, when Rapinoe won the most valuable player of the record-breaking U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) that won the World Cup on Sunday, July 8, 2019, one of the first things she did during the post celebratory festivities, was quote the late, legendary rapper, Nipsey Hussle.

Rapinoe, an activist athlete who ardently advocates for gender and racial equality, posted this message on her Instagram page as an ode to the slain founder of The Marathon Clothing store in South Los Angeles.

Rapinoe, who is dating basketball legend Sue Bird of the WNBA, has also quoted Martin Luther King Jr. as sort of a clue into her sociopolitical philosophy.

This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com. 
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