Michael Sam, Donald Sterling, and Politics in Sports

May 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Inevitable Politicization of Sports (Lompoc Record)

New column by me in today’s Lompoc Record, ends with a call for both local high school teams to change their crappy mascots.

In a week of headlines dominated by Michael Sam and Donald Sterling, one of the most frustrating responses has been from commentators and fans who wish we could “away from all the politics” and “just focus on sports.”

Not only is their wish for a politically neutral entertainment world impossible, it would ruin sports.

If openly gay NFL draft pick Michael Sam makes the NFL, it may not be a Jackie Robinson moment, but he will undoubtedly add a new thread to the tapestry of personalities that make up the landscape of sports. Similarly, when NBA forward Kevin Durant, in tears, thanked his mother while accepting his MVP trophy, it was an inspiring moment for me and thousands of other sons of single parents who grew up poor.

We watch sports not just for the times when our team wins, or the pure aesthetic marvel of top athletes doing things no one else can do. We watch to follow stories like those of Kevin Durant, Michael Sam and even Donald Sterling and the players working for him. And in cases of identity politics, like that of Michael Sam, the personality and the politics are inextricable.

Read more (from lompocrecord.com).


Lessons Learned from Occupy Lompoc (Lompoc Record)

November 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Lessons Learned from Occupy Lompoc (Lompoc Record)

New column by me up at the Lompoc Record.

When Occupy Wall Street first set up their tents in New York City, much of the media was left scratching their heads. There were no leaders, there was no single demand. Instead, Occupy united around two principles.

The first was economic justice, or the idea that all people deserve the opportunity to survive, thrive and prosper in a world that fairly rewards work and recognizes basic human dignity.

The second principle was direct democracy. After the economy crashed, governments and corporations were not interested in economic justice. We would have to try to achieve it ourselves.

I knew the Occupy movement had to come to Lompoc, a town where demanding economic justice holds real weight. And I soon heard about a small gathering in Centennial Park to kick off a nascent Occupy Lompoc group.

Read more (from lompocrecord.com).

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