05-20-2018  4:53 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

Oregon State study says it's OK to eat placenta after all

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — First experts said eggs are bad for you, then they say it's OK to eat them. Is red wine good for your heart or will it give you breast cancer?Should you eat your placenta?Conflicting research about diets is nothing new, but applying the question to whether new mothers...

US arrest, raids in Seattle pot probe with China ties

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. authorities have arrested a Seattle woman, conducted raids and seized thousands of marijuana plants in an investigation into what they say is an international black market marijuana operation financed by Chinese money, a newspaper reported Saturday.Authorities are still...

State sees need to reduce elk damage in the Skagit Valley

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Elk are easy to spot against the green backdrop of the Skagit Valley, where much of the resident North Cascades elk herd that has grown to an estimated 1,600 is found.For farmers in the area — especially those who grow grass for their cattle or to sell to...

Famed mini sub's control room to become future exhibit

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport has a new addition to its archives — the salvaged control room of the legendary, one-of-a-kind Cold War-era miniature submersible NR-1.Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy, conceived the idea for the...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Guess who's coming to Windsor? Royal ceremony weds cultures

BURLINGTON, New Jersey (AP) — With a gospel choir, black cellist and bishop, Oprah, Serena and Idris Elba in the audience and an African-American mother-of-the-bride, Saturday's wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle was a blend of the solemn and the soulful.Guess who's...

A royal wedding bridges the Atlantic and breaks old molds

WINDSOR, England (AP) — The son of British royalty and the daughter of middle-class Americans wed Saturday in a service that reflected Prince Harry's royal heritage, Meghan Markle's biracial roots and the pair's shared commitment to putting a more diverse, modern face on the monarchy.British...

First class for Mississippi school after desegregation deal

CLEVELAND, Miss. (AP) — A small Mississippi Delta town whose rival high schools were combined last year under a desegregation settlement has held its first graduation ceremony.No longer Trojans and Wildcats, they're all Wolves now at Cleveland Central High School, whose seniors collected...

ENTERTAINMENT

Reggie Lucas, who worked with Miles Davis and Madonna, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Reggie Lucas, the Grammy-winning musician who played with Miles Davis in the 1970s and produced the bulk of Madonna's debut album, has died. He was 65.The performer's daughter, Lisa Lucas, told The Associated Press that her father died from complications with his heart early...

Broadcast networks go for milk-and-cookies comfort this fall

NEW YORK (AP) — If provocative, psyche-jangling shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" are your taste, head directly to streaming or cable. But if you're feeling the urge for milk-and-cookies comfort, broadcast television wants to help.The upcoming TV season will bring more sitcom nostalgia in the...

Met says it has evidence Levine abused or harassed 7 people

NEW YORK (AP) — The Metropolitan Opera said in court documents Friday that it found credible evidence that conductor James Levine engaged in sexually abusive or harassing conduct with seven people that included inappropriate touching and demands for sex acts over a 25-year period.The Met...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Small clubs cross fingers for World Cup windfalls

TORCY, France (AP) — The ideal scenario for the club where Paul Pogba played football as a kid might go...

On time, on target: LeBron, Cavs pound Celtics in Game 3

CLEVELAND (AP) — Before taking the floor, LeBron James stood in the hallway with his teammates outside...

US, China agree to cut American trade deficit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China have agreed to take measures to "substantially reduce"...

Insect ambassadors: Honeybees buzz on Berlin cathedral

BERLIN (AP) — On the roof of Berlin's cathedral, bees are buzzing.Beekeeper Uwe Marth pulls out a honeycomb...

Love and fire: Text of Michael Curry's royal wedding address

WINDSOR, England (AP) — And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and...

Episcopal bishop Curry gives royal wedding an American flair

WINDSOR, England (AP) — Nothing quite captured the trans-Atlantic nature of Saturday's royal wedding as...

Venus Williams
Omar Tyree, The Black Athlete

"Venus Williams" by Edwin Martinez from The Bronx - US Open 2013 Licensed under CC via Wikimedia Commons 

After watching a half dozen college football bowl games and the first two rounds of the NFL Playoff over the past two weekends, I continue to be proud of how many women are now involved in covering professional and college sports. My favorite sport of football seems to employ the most women. I can’t even name all of the professional sports broadcasters now, with a line-up of women that includes Whites, Blacks, Asians and Latinas. It’s great!

I was only a kid when CBS first hired African-American actress and model Jayne Kennedy for reporting and interview duties on The NFL Today. WHAT? Jane Kennedy is covering football? It was the coolest thing in the world for a kid who had a bunch of Jet magazine “beauties of the week” taped on his walls, wearing swimsuits. But to have a bonafide fox like Jayne Kennedy covering my favorite game and football stars on TV was way cooler.

With a weekly subscription to Sports Illustrated magazine before I was even teenager, my original love for women in sports started with track and field. I remember watching the television movie of Olympic track star, Wilma Rudolf, with my mother and being inspired by it. From there, we watched the 1980s Olympic track stars together, including my mother’s favorite, Evelyn Ashford, alongside Mary Decker Slaney, Valerie Briscoe-Hooks, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and who could ever forget Florence “Flo Jo” Griffith Joyner. In the 1990s, we watched Gail Devers and Gwen Torrence.

My mother and I also watched Carol Lewis—the younger sister of decorated Olympian, Carl Lewis—go from being an Olympic long jumper in her own right, to becoming one of the first African-American women to cover track and field broadcasts. I was very proud of Carol for that. Don’t just compete in sports, become one the experts who analyze it. I was as proud to see Carol on TV for every track event as I was to see the athletes. I loved listening to Carol speak her calm knowledge about track and field. You go get it, sister!

Before there were the Williams girls—Venus and Serena—in professional tennis, my mother told me stories about she and her friends rooting for African-American legend, Althea Gibson, when they was younger. Althea Gibson played tennis and golf with passion, fearlessness and dignity, inspiring a nation of Black women to not only dream about it, but to do it.

However, my most intimate love for women in sports came from my own hometown of Philadelphia. In my last few years of high school at Central in the late 1980s, there was this city-wide hype and conversation about a girl from North Philly.

People were crazy excited about this girl, explaining the scene in all of their Philadelphian vernacular. “Yo, you gotta see this girl play, cuz. She ballin’! Straight up!”

So I caught the train and bus into the heart of North Philadelphia—where I had no friends, family members or security detail—to attend a girl’s basketball game at Murrell Dobbins Tech High School for my first glimpse of Dawn Staley, up close and personal. My friends thought that I was crazy.

“You went to Dobbins by yourself just to see a girl’s basketball game?”

Yes, I did. And my mind was blown away forever. Dawn Staley was not only the point guard at Dobbins, she led the team in scoring, steals, rebounds, assists, blocked shots and highlight moments before ESPN ever existed. She had the whole Harlem Globetrotter thing going on in with the around the back passes, dribbling through the legs, stop and gos, twists and turns, look-aways, finger rolls, girls tripping and falling down in front of her, and then she would stop and pop 3-pointers on fast breaks before Steph Curry was even born.

You could barely drink a cup or a can of soda when Dawn Staley played. People were constantly screaming, yelling, pointing, jumping and grabbing you every couple of seconds, whether she was on offense or defense.

“Did you see that steal? You see that block? You see that pass? You see that shot?”

Dude, I’m watching her just like you’re watching her. Of course, I saw it! Now can I enjoy the game in peace for a minute, please? God!

After winning several Philadelphia Public League Championships and a national high school player of the year award, Staley went on to star at the University of Virginia, where the Cavaliers were never quite able to get over the hump for a national championship, but she kept them in the hunt for a title every single year. She then played balled overseas, became a WNBA star, a 3-time Gold Olympian, and the head coach at North Philadelphia’s own Temple University—my mother’s proud alma mater—before coaching the University of South Carolina, where Staley’s undefeated Gamecocks are presently the number #1 ranked women’s basketball team in the country.

And me? I went on to cover dozens of live sports events and write interview features as a print journalism major at Howard University, including plenty of exciting girl’s games and track meets, all up and down the East Coast. I’ve also rooted for national television legends; Cheryl Miller, Sheryl Swoops, Chamique Holdsclaw, Candace Parker, Angel McCoughtry, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins on the college level, as well as for Cynthia Cooper, Tina Thompson, Teresa Edwards, Diana Taurasi, Lisa Leslie and Seimone Augustus in the WNBA.

I could go on and name many more competitive women, including Marion Jones, Allyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross, Dee Dee Trotter, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and dozens of young girls, who have competed inspirationally in track and field at Philadelphia’s annual Penn Relays carnival, hailing from Vere Tech Jamaica to Long Beach Poly, California. Don’t forget about Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles in American gymnastics, along with Claressa Shields, Marlen Esparza and the gifted veteran, Liala Ali, in boxing.

And what about Philadelphia’s Mone Davis, pitching a no-hitter in Little League Baseball this past summer?

The point is that women’s excellence in sports is here stay, and it will continue to grow. So there should naturally be more professional women available to broadcast, prognosticate and critique their peers, as well their husbands, sisters, brothers, cousins, nephews, nieces, sons and daughters.

I stand as a proud supporter of women being involved in sports in every capacity. If it’s good for the competitive and professional spirit of men, then it’s also good for that of women. And I will continue to watch, report, listen, enjoy, learn from and be inspired by you all.

Omar Tyree is a New York Times bestselling author, an NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Fiction, and a professional journalist, who has published 27 books, including co-authoring Mayor For Life; The Incredible Story of Marion Barry Jr. View more of his career and work @ www.OmarTyree.com

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