Sports Blog

The ReCap by Rachele Lena: 12.12.18 by HWTP Sports Talk

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This week we were joined by The Japan Times’ Ed Odeven to discuss the life and legacy of George Foreman. Born on January 10, 1949, George has had a long boxing career winning 76 of his 81 total fights.  

Odeven opens the conversation discussing Foreman’s childhood in Marshall, Texas. Odeven claims, “in his youth he was a trouble maker. He was in the streets, he was bullying people, he was getting in fights.”  He describes Foreman as growing up in a rough neighborhood and cites this as a possible reason for his behavior in his childhood. 

Despite his rough beginnings, Foreman quickly changed his ways and turned his life around. Odeven claims that, “he decided to join the Job Corps after seeing a commercial with Jim Brown”. After seeing this commercial, Foreman left Texas and went to northern California. Odeven explains that, “he began to study carpentry and construction skills” and that “there was discipline in his life and that guided him in the right direction”.  

Carpentry is not the path that Foreman took in life, despite his time in the Job Corps. Ed Odeven explains that, “a man named Doc Broadus convinced him to try boxing.”  After moving to Oregon for another Job Corps program, Foreman began boxing and training. Having won a few amateur events, Foreman was invited to the U.S. Olympic team for Mexico City. Odeven tells us that, “Doc Broadus, who was the mentor in Mexico City, coached [Foreman] throughout his time there.” 

Foreman can be described as a “potent” puncher and has won 68 matches through knock-outs, but was this through training or was he born with it? Odeven explains that, “Foreman thought that it was God-given ability, just the strength, force and inertia”. He also explains that Foreman, “worked on [his punches and form] by watching boxing and training”. When asked about Foreman’s inspiration, Odeven claims that, “he never forgot where he came from and throughout his career he thought he had something to prove.” 

George Foreman and Muhammed Ali developed a strong relationship throughout their boxing careers. When asked about their history, Odeven describes that, “they were not friends in the lead up to and during “The Rumble in the Jungle,” but that this all changed when, “Foreman became a preacher after his religious conversion and began to calm down.”  Odeven claims that, “periodically, Ali began to call [Foreman] and in the 80’s and 90’s they got closer and closer, especially once Ali’s health began to deteriorate quite a bit”. 

Ed Odeven explains the “cell phone in a briefcase” story, recalling, “Foreman was training in Miami and Ali shows up at the hotel that he was staying at. They were doing a T.V. promotional interview for Foreman and the producers did not want Ali around because he was loud and they wanted all of the soundbites centered around Foreman. Later that day, Ali was speaking to Foreman and claimed, “This is what you can get if you become Heavy-Weight Champion of the World” and opens his briefcase to display a very primitive mobile phone.” Ed Odeven then explains that once Foreman became heavy-weight champion, he bought a mobile phone for himself.  

When discussing Foreman’s current life, Odeven explains that Foreman “hits the bag a bit, but he doesn’t seem to be sparring”. While he has a youth center in Texas, he is not a “full time couch, but he does offer pointers every once in a while”.   

A fan wrote in to ask Ed Odeven, “Did you ask George why he named all of his kids George Foreman.”  Odeven responded that, “[he] did not ask him that, but has heard various answers to that question.”  A few of the reasons Odeven has heard is, “you get hit in the head as a boxer and you don’t have to remember other names, as well as, George is their identity but they all have middle names.”  A listener called in named Mo joined the conversation to ask, “When Odeven said George was angry after the fight with Ali and later said Ali was the better fighter that day, what was Foreman’s anger directed at about that fight?”  Mo asked, “was part of the anger that Ali did not get disqualified? [Ali] knew if he did not hang over the ropes, the fight against George was essentially over and his actions were completely illegal.”  

In response, Odeven claims that he has not heard anything regarding this question from Foreman himself, but he has heard other people, boxing observers and analysts say that the “officiating did not take that into account though and were ineffective in stopping [Ali’s] actions.”  Odeven explains that anger grew from “The taunting that Ali did in the lead up to the fight,” and that “there was a jealousy between Foreman and Ali because Foreman felt everyone was against him.”

o to www.japantimes.co.jp to read more articles from Ed Odeven regarding George Foreman’s boxing career.

The ReCap by Rachele Lena: 11.28.18 by HWTP Sports Talk

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This week HWTP Sports Talk were joined by Kareem Copeland from The Washington Post, A.J. Perez from USA Today and Marcel Louis-Jacques from the Charlotte Observer. After a week of hot sports news, including the Washington football club’s signing of Reuben Foster,  a nail-biting match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and Eric Reid’s random drug testing.  

Kareem Copeland joined us to discuss Reuben Foster’s addition to the Washington football club after his dismissal from the San Francisco 49ers after a second domestic violence occurrence. Copeland tells us that Washington players are in a strange position when it comes to answering questions regarding how they feel about Foster’s addition to the team. He explains that, “this is someone that could be their teammate and they don’t want to get off on the wrong foot, but at the same time, no one wants to condone the allegations.”  Reuben Foster played college football at Alabama and Kareem Copeland tells us that four other players on the Washington team also have roots in Alabama spoke very highly of Foster and gave him “glowing recommendations.” When asked why Copeland thinks the Washington team took a risk on a player that is on the Commissioner’s Exempt List as opposed to a player like Colin Kaepernick who is known for being “outspoken, but not with the law” he explains that, “from a pure football standpoint it makes sense” and that “he’s a first round talent and does not need to be paid a lot since he is being kept on his first contract.”  Copeland describes this as “purely and clearly a business decision” instead of a decision that was made with taking public relations into account.  

Our second guest, USA Today’s A.J. Perez, joined us to discuss the golf match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson that lasted 22 holes. This match, which was a pay-per-view event, faced streaming difficulties and other technical issues. These technical difficulties have led to a public outcry from those that paid to watch the match and were unable to stream it. Perez explains to us that, “this event was supposed to be a trial event” and that he has received multiple messages from people that have yet to receive their refunds for the match that they played for.  

Our third guest, Marcel Louis-Jacques from the Charlotte Observer, joined us to discuss the “random” drug tests that are being administered to Eric Reid, a player known for kneeling during the national anthem. Louis-Jacques claims that, “it is a 1 in 500 chance that a player is tested 5 times in 8 weeks out of a 72-player pool”. Despite Eric Reid being continuously tested for performance enhancing drugs, Marcel Louis-Jacques claims that “Reid has never registered a positive test and has never shown evidence of using these drugs.”  He also explains to us that the independent administrator of the tests, Dr. John Lombardo, “has the sole discretion to decide what players are tested, when they are tested and is not allowed to override the random computer program”.  In response to whether or not these random drug tests are affecting Reid’s play out on the field, Louis-Jacques states that, “Reid is arguably the best member of the secondary so far this season except for their corner Dante Jackson.”

The ReCap by Rachele Lena: 11.7.18 Podcast by HWTP Sports Talk

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This week we were joined by Emily Giambalvo from The Washington Post who covers the University of Maryland athletics news. We were also joined by author and professor Andrew Billings who co-wrote Mascot Nation: The Controversy Over Native American Representations in Sports.  

Emily Giambalvo joined us this week to discuss the reinstatement and subsequent firing of Coach DJ Durkin for the University of Maryland’s football team. Durkin was originally taken out of power due to allegations of inappropriate behavior including a toxic culture of intimidation and humiliation against players. Once Durkin was reinstated on Wednesday, there was a major outcry from the players and the community. Giambalvo states that players using their voices to protest against policies and those in power, “is not something that we usually see in college sports.” 

Giambalvo states that on a college football team, “the head coach holds a lot of power,” and believes that now that Durkin has been removed there will be major changes for the team. She states that much of the pressure and criticisms against DJ Durkin stem from his inability to control the strength and conditioning coach, Rick Court. Those on the athletic board claimed that DJ Durkin was a good man and simply did not receive the correct training, which Giambalvo claims “may have swayed their decision heavily”.  

We were also joined by author and professor Andrew Billings who spoke about the use of Native American culture in sport team’s mascots. Billings claims that the controversy over Native American mascot use is based on various questions, asking “is it the name, is it the image or logo, or is it the rituals that go along with it?” Billings also discusses the backlash against those that are told they “have” to change their actions. He explains that when people are asked, “Should someone do something?” the answer is most usually yes, but when the question is phrased as, “Should someone have to do something?” the answer is most usually no.  

Andrew Billing’s claims that many that oppose the changing of these team’s names do so on the basis of the worry that the fandom of the teams may change. Billings explains to us that it is possible for many teams to drop the most offensive aspects of their teams, including name, mascots, or rituals, and still maintain their history and pride while remaining inoffensive. The public has begun to take part in a practice called “de-mascoting” that removes the offensive aspect from team regalia while maintaining a person’s ability to show team pride.

Listen to the entire episode below. Don’t be shy! Send us your questions and/or comments!

 

The ReCap by Rachele Lena: 10.24.18 Podcast by HWTP Sports Talk

“We still need due process to play out…and that the claims of a cover-up [from] USA Gymnastics don’t really hold up when you consider ...” Will Hobson, Washington Post

“We still need due process to play out…and that the claims of a cover-up [from] USA Gymnastics don’t really hold up when you consider ...” Will Hobson, Washington Post

This week HWTP Sports Talk is joined by Will Hobson from the Washington Post to talk about the recent arrest of former USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny. This scandal comes after the Larry Nassar case regarding sexual assault allegations in USA Gymnastics hit the headlines, placing the spotlight on USA Gymnastics in the news.  

Steve Penny, the ex USA Gymnastics president, was arrested and indicted last week on state tampering charges. Penny is alleged to have taken and hidden documents that the ongoing investigation occurring in Texas would have benefited from. Hobson claims that, “law enforcement did a preliminary investigation [of the USA Gymnastics training center outside Huntsville, Texas] two years ago when Larry Nassar was initially arrested and determined that no crimes had occurred other than Nassar’s abuses,” but then went on to tell us that due to backlash from Nassar’s victims, the case was reopened. 

David reminds us that it is unclear whether the evidence that Penny is accused of tampering with has been destroyed or if these documents are hidden in an office somewhere. The question remains on whether or not we are rushing to judgement on the guiltiness of Steve Penny without getting all of the facts and discovering what information is contained within those hidden documents. Will Hobson claims that, “we still need due process to play out…and that the claims of a cover-up [from] USA Gymnastics don’t really hold up when you consider [that USA Gymnastics] did report Nassar to law enforcement”. Suspicions do rise when it is considered that despite Nassar being reported to law enforcement, USA Gymnastics still asked victims not to speak publicly about the abuse.  

Hobson reminds us that, “there are a lot of different organizations and institutions that had the chance to stop this sooner and they didn’t”. Due to the fact that it is unclear what information these documents contained, it is difficult to determine the guilt of Steve Penny in this investigation.  

This investigation has made it difficult to find another person to fill this position as president of USA Gymnastics and the most recent president, Mary Bono, resigned after four days on the job. Will Hobson describes that, “the turmoil [we] are seeing at USA Gymnastics…speaks to the tunnel vision that the Olympic committees have had.” We are also reminded that these type of sexual assault cases have occurred multiple times throughout the years and these organizations have been able to easily keep these issues out of the spotlight, but since the Nassar cases, these stories have been given more precedence.

Full episode below.