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2 coaches of Chivas USA allege team fired them for not being Latino
The emblem of the Los Angeles area-based Chivas soccer team is pictured above.
May 30th, 2013
09:15 AM ET

2 coaches of Chivas USA allege team fired them for not being Latino

By Michael Martinez and Jaqueline Hurtado, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - Two former coaches have sued Major League Soccer team Chivas USA, claiming they were fired this year because they are not Latino.

Daniel Calichman and Theothoros Chronopoulos, who worked in the team's "academy," or player development, program, accused team owner Jorge Vergara Madrigal of Mexico of enacting a Latino-only employment policy, according to a lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles County court.

Calichman and Chronopoulos, who are both white, also accused Vergara of implementing a discriminatory practice that was carried over from Chivas de Guadalajara, a pro team in Mexico owned by Vergara that allegedly has hired only Mexican soccer players since 1908.

The two men, both former pros and members of the U.S. national team, are seeking unspecified damages for discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination, their attorneys said in a statement Wednesday.

The team fired the two coaches "as part of an ethnocentric policy and practice of discriminating against and terminating non-Mexican and non-Latino employees," the suit alleged.

FULL STORY
Washington Redskins' Owner: "We will never change the name of the team"
May 10th, 2013
02:19 PM ET

Washington Redskins' Owner: "We will never change the name of the team"

By Rob Goldberg, Bleacher Report

(Bleacher Report) - There has been plenty of debate recently about whether the Washington Redskins will change their controversial name. However, team owner Daniel Snyder expects things to remain the same.

According to Erik Brady of USA Today, the owner stated:

We will never change the name of the team. As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.

We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER—you can use caps.

The emphatic nature of the statement is certain to offer encouragement to fans looking to maintain the organization's long tradition. The Redskins have used this moniker since 1933.

While this debate has been going on for decades, it has resurfaced this offseason after a group of Native Americans recently took to the courts to bring about a resolution (via Sporting News).

FULL STORY
'History has already been written' for Kentucky Derby's black jockey
Kevin Krigger, a 29-year-old from the Virgin Islands, is the first black rider to compete since Marlon St. Julien in 2000.
May 4th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

'History has already been written' for Kentucky Derby's black jockey

By Sheena McKenzie, CNN

(CNN) - History is against Kevin Krigger. A black jockey hasn't won America's most prestigious race - the Kentucky Derby - for over a century.
But in Krigger's mind, history has already been rewritten - we just don't know it yet.
"I know I'm going to win. Why? Because I'm riding Goldencents," he told CNN in his lilting Caribbean accent. "I couldn't be this confident on any other horse."

The bookmakers appear equally assured, placing Krigger as the second favorite to win the $2 million "Run for the Roses" - so called for its iconic blanket of ruby-coloured flowers draped over the winner.

Kentucky is the first race of the U.S. Triple Crown series - followed by the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
But for many, the Derby - run on Churchill Downs' historic dirt track - is also a fabulous festivity, capturing the public's imagination in a way few horse races can.

History repeats?

If Krigger's prediction is right, he'll be the first black jockey to win the premier race since Jimmy Winkfield took the trophy back-to-back in 1901 and 1902.

Today, look out across any U.S. race track and you'll likely see an ocean of white - and increasingly Latin American - jockeys at the helm.

But turn back the clock 150 years and African Americans ruled the field - when the Kentucky Derby first launched in 1875, 13 of the 15 jockeys were black.

Much like the NBA today, black athletes dominated horse racing for the next three decades, winning 15 of the first 28 Derbies.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Black in America • How we live • Sports
Opinion: The difference between Brittney Griner and Jason Collins coming out
Brittney Griner, selected number one in the 2013 WNBA draft by the Phoenix Mercury, is openly gay.
May 1st, 2013
02:20 PM ET

Opinion: The difference between Brittney Griner and Jason Collins coming out

Editor’s Note: Cyd Zeigler is co-founder of SB Nation's Outsports.com. He has reported on LGBT sports issues for over a decade and told the coming-out stories of many athletes including Wade Davis, John Amaechi and Alan Gendreau.

By Cyd Zeigler, Special to CNN

(CNN) - When Jason Collins announced that he is gay, it made headlines.  But when the WNBA’s No. 1 draft pick, Brittney Griner, made the same announcement recently, it was met with less fanfare.

Part of that is the result of a stereotype that has persisted that women who play basketball are lesbians, while most men who play basketball are straight.

When a professional male athlete for one of the major sports comes out, it is breaking news, and start planning ticker-tape parades, despite men like David Kopay and John Amaechi already proving beyond a doubt that gay men are pro-athletes.

When a female athlete comes out of the closet, it is often met with a big, collective yawn. Griner coming out drew facetious comments like, “Shocker, there’s a lesbian playing basketball.” In fact, the lack of reaction in the news ended up being bigger news than her actual announcement.

It would be easy to blame the double standard in coverage only on stereotypes, but here are legitimate reasons Collins is getting the attention Griner’s announcement never saw.

Collins is the first active player in his league to come out, and he is the first active player in any of the major men’s sports –from hockey to tennis, basketball to golf – to come out publicly.

This is new ground. FULL POST

D.C. council member pushes name change for Washington Redskins
A member of the D.C. Council wants Washington's football team name changed from the Redskins, a term he calls derogatory.
April 30th, 2013
02:30 PM ET

D.C. council member pushes name change for Washington Redskins

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) David Grosso, 42, was born and raised in the metropolitan Washington area so it's not tough to see why he's a diehard Washington Redskins fan. Been going to games since he was a boy. Season ticket holder.

But Grosso, like so many others, objects to the name and mascot of his favorite team.

"The term Redskins is a racist and derogatory term," he says.

These days, Grosso has the power to do something more than air his opinion. He was elected to the D.C. Council in November, and he plans to introduce a resolution Wednesday to rename the team to the Washington Redtails. That's a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, though, Grosso says, there are plenty of redtail hawks in the area.

He's open to other suggestions. He just wants the current name gone. FULL POST

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Filed under: Discrimination • Native Americans • Race • Sports • Where we live
April 30th, 2013
12:02 PM ET

Opinion: Good for Jason Collins, but not for Carla Hale – sports and schools last places to come out

Editor’s Note: David M. Hall, Ph.D., is the author of the book “Allies at Work: Creating a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Inclusive Work Environment.” Hall teaches high school students and runs a graduate program in bullying prevention and diversity at bullyingpreventionstudies.com. He is on twitter @drdavidmhall.

By David M. Hall, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Times are changing for being openly gay or lesbian. The president has endorsed same-sex marriage, as are a growing number of politicians. The Boy Scouts are considering allowing Scouts to be out.

Even in the world of sports, Jason Collins, an NBA veteran, has come out of the closet.

But things don’t seem to have changed that much in some high school gymnasiums as it has on the NBA basketball court.

Carla Hale worked as a physical education teacher at a Catholic school in Ohio, but lost her job after being “outed” in her mother’s obituary, when she listed her female partner as her spouse. According to reports, an anonymous letter was sent to the Catholic Diocese of Columbus by a parent.

The next week, Hale was fired.

Sporting events and schools are the very places where people from every corner of our society come together. But in some ways, schools bring a different set of complications than the macho world of professional male athletes.

What is the difference between being out on the court or on the field, and being out in a classroom? FULL POST

In Jackie Robinson's birthplace, a new generation draws inspiration
Aniyah Peters, 13, belongs to a Boys and Girls Club that was recently renamed to honor Jackie Robinson.
April 27th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

In Jackie Robinson's birthplace, a new generation draws inspiration

By Moni Basu, CNN

Cairo, Georgia  (CNN) – Aniyah Peters wishes her white teachers would talk about Jackie Robinson as much as her black teachers do. After all, Aniyah, 13, goes to school in Cairo, the small southwest Georgia city where Robinson was born in 1919.

Jackie Robinson

The man who broke modern-day baseball's color barrier could serve as inspiration for all children, Aniyah says. Just as he has inspired her.

This year, Aniyah came in second in a local essay contest on "How has the life of Jackie Robinson changed my life?"

"He showed the world that African-Americans can be just as good as Caucasians during the time of racial discrimination," Aniyah wrote. "Since I really love softball, he has shown me I can make it to the major leagues and become famous one day."

Aniyah has no shortage of ambition coursing through her veins. She wants to be a lawyer, an archaeologist and a fashion designer all at once.

She and her friends Destiny Tice, 14, and D.J. Donaldson, 14, hang out every day after school at the Grady County Boys and Girls Club, which was recently renamed to honor Robinson. On this warm afternoon, Aniyah says she is excited about going to see "42," the new Hollywood biopic about Robinson. Maybe over the weekend.

On the previous Friday, when the movie opened, the kids formed the number 42 on the baseball field and released red and blue balloons into the spring air. FULL POST

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Filed under: Black in America • History • Race • Sports • Who we are
Opinion: It's Jackie Robinson Day, but black boys no longer dream of playing baseball
Jackie Robinson, subject of the new film "42," helped integrate Major League Baseball as a player for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
April 15th, 2013
12:17 PM ET

Opinion: It's Jackie Robinson Day, but black boys no longer dream of playing baseball

Editor's note: Kevin Powell is an activist, public speaker, writer and president of BK Nation, a new national and multicultural organization focused on civic engagement and community development. He is the author of “Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King: Blogs and Essays.” Follow him on Twitter: @kevin_powell.

By Kevin Powell, Special to CNN

(CNN) I love baseball, deeply.

I played stickball and punchball growing up on the potholed streets of Jersey City, and dreamed of becoming a second baseman for the New York Yankees.

I hungrily digested book after book on historic and mythical figures such as Joe DiMaggio and Ty Cobb, and played Little League, Babe Ruth League and high school baseball.

Little did I know that Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball in the modern era, had created the possibility of dreams for black boys like me. As a child I only vaguely knew that he broke baseball's color line.

In the new film "42," this weekend's top-grossing movie, more Americans will learn  about how Robinson heroically integrated Major League Baseball.

But on Jackie Robinson Day there are fewer African-American players in the sport, and many black boys no longer aspire to play baseball.

FULL POST

Native American mascots: Pride or prejudice?
Many Native Americans consider the Washington football team's name racist.
April 4th, 2013
03:36 PM ET

Native American mascots: Pride or prejudice?

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – Suzan Shown Harjo remembers when she walked into a store with her grandfather in El Reno, Oklahoma. She wanted to get something cool to drink on a summer day. It was the early 1950s and the storekeepers told the 6-year-old she had to leave.

“No black redskins in here,” they said.

At that moment, Harjo felt small, unsafe, afraid. Because she was a dark-skinned Native American Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee she was being identified by just her coloring. She wasn’t even a whole human being. Not even her grandpa, whom she saw as all-powerful, could do anything to protect her.

Later in her life, that incident made her angry. Angry enough for Harjo to launch a lifelong mission to protect her people.

Suzan Shown Harjo has been fighting for decades to remove Native American mascots from sports teams.

Part of her work took aim at sporting teams that use Native Americans as mascots. With the start of the baseball season this week, some of those teams have been front and center. The Cleveland Indians, for instance, feature a smiling Indian dubbed Chief Wahoo, criticized by Native Americans as a racist caricature.

The most offensive example of a mascot, says Harjo, is the one used by Washington’s football team. She has been fighting for years to get the Redskins to change their name.

The R-word she can’t even bring herself to say it is the same as the N-word, says Harjo, president of Morning Star Institute, a national Native American rights organization.

She finds it unbelievable that more than half a century after she was told to get out of that El Reno store, after decades of civil rights struggles and progress on race relations, Americans have no problem with rooting for a team called the Redskins.

Fans say the name is an honorific. But the Merriam-Webster dictionary says this: “The word redskin is very offensive and should be avoided.” And to many Native Americans, nothing could be more derogatory than the use of that word.

“The Washington team it’s the king of the mountain,” Harjo says. “When this one goes, others will.” FULL POST

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Filed under: Discrimination • History • Native Americans • Sports • Who we are
Race on the track
February 22nd, 2013
10:50 AM ET

The forgotten godfathers of black American sport

By Sheena McKenzie, CNN

(CNN) - Think of the greatest American sports stars of all time and names like Jessie Owens, Muhammad Ali and Serena Williams will likely spring to mind.

But long before these champions smashed the record books - and blazed a trail in the public's imagination - the first generation of black U.S. athletes dominated an unlikely sport.

The godfathers of Owens, Ali and Williams weren't stereotypical towering, musclebound men found on basketball courts or in boxing rings.

Instead, they were the jockeys of the race track and their dizzying success - and dramatic fall - is one of the most remarkable buried chapters in U.S. sporting history.

FULL STORY
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