Over the last weeks, I have been brainstorming, about a blog I would write to reflect on the year in sports and entertainment – the highs, lows and the most memorable. I thought about the death of legends, the making of legends and legendary performances. I thought to myself, how would I write a blog post capturing all that happened, and then it came to mind, that I should just let the thoughts flow from my fingers tips. You know me, I tend to shoot from my Caribbean hips, so with a little flavor and lots of drum and bass, here we go 2009.
We all rang in the new year with a new vision, as individuals and then as citizens of the free world, who elected our first African-American president – Barack Obama. It was a heavily contested democratic race, having almost elected the Senator from New York and Former First Lady Hilary Clinton. The female sorority of traveling pantsuits rallied behind Senator Clinton, but she finally succumbed to the change candidate Obama. The rookie Senator from Chicago, Illinois routed senior Senator John McCain to win the presidency. And then, there was the rise and fall of icon Sarah Palin with a fashion scandal too.
So after Mr. Obama became President Obama in the historic inauguration, The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals in the Superbowl with a clutch grab from wide receiver Santonio Holmes. Although, Larry Fitzgerald was my choice for MVP, Holmes was truly deserving of it. One low-light of that game was when Defensive End James Harrison punched Aaron Francisco, in what will forever be one of the dirtiest play, I have ever seen. Harrison made the news a few months later, saying he would not visit the White House with his team, as was tradition for the winning Superbowl team – Bonehead Award nominee.
The death of Michael Jackson stunned the nation, and fans from near and far came out to pay tribute to the king of pop. It was later determined that Jackson died of a drug overdose – a combination of prescription drugs, dispensed by his so-called doctor. But as big as Michael’s death was, there were other shocking moments. The sudden death of Titans’/Ravens’ retired quarterback Steve McNair, as a result of a murder suicide. As rumors swirl around the cause of his death, it was later discovered that his untimely death was as a result of an extramarital affair.
The Minnesota Vikings held the sports world and the media under seige, as they attempted to stay in the spotlight after a sub par 2008 season, by courting Brett Favre to come out of retirement. SportsCenter and every media outlet spent days and night covering Brett in his backyard mowing the lawn, playing pickup football with high school players in Mississippi, until they missed the secret private jet that took him to the Vikings headquarters. The Favre saga was out of control and I even stepped in to offer my two cents. Favre’s on again off again romance with the Vikings ended in a date to the prom after training camp, which was my bet – he is too old to be hit in two-a-days.
The Denver Broncos had their fair share of quarterback saga as Jay Cutler and his new coach had a falling out, after trade rumors surfaced, with talks of Matt Cassel coming to town. Stud wide receiver Brandon Marshall turned up his divatude refusing to show up to camp and demanded a trade in a contract dispute.
Bengals’ Chad Johnson deed-polled his name to Chad OchoCinco – need I say more? Terrell Owen was released by Dallas, did a TV Reality Show with his publicists, who were more like galpals – not one press release was written and one galpal booked a room for two with T.O. Then Mr. Owens went to Buffalo, his press conference was like an announcement for presidential candidacy.
The benching of Vince Young and then the return of Mr. Young who took his team on a playoff hunt. Young shared the spotlight with my candidate for MVP – running back Chris Johnson. Coach Mangini struggles in Cleveland, Coach Caldwell chasing the Dolphins 17-0 record – with my favorite horse Peyton.
Kobe and Lebron ads hinted of a NBA Finals matchup, but the Magic routed Lebron and the Cavaliers – breaking my heart as a Cavaliers’ fan. My fondest memory from the Magic-Cavs series was that 3-pointer by Lebron with seconds to go in the Orlando series. Lowlight was that unsportsmanlike infraction committed by Lebron at the end of the series – the “no hand shake”, come on Lebron. Steven Jackson was traded after that Don Nelson tirade. Ron Artest to Lakers and Vince to the Magic.
There was Chris and Rihanna, Beyonce, Taylor Swift and that annoying Kanye West moment. JayZ had that stupid D.O.A song, Usher got a divorce and wrote a song called “Papers”. Maxwell new album was a hit, Y.E. Yang beat Tiger Woods, talking about Tiger Woods – oh boy! As to Mr. Woods, he had a fall from grace after that Thanksgiving accident-incident turned extramarital affair turned media standoff, turn public relations nightmare turned transgressions. Oh well, I am just saying – agent/publicist for hire here – resume updated.
Delonte West and Gilbert Arenas had weapons issues, T.I. went to jail on weapons charges and his girlfriend had a reality show. Rodney Harrison retired, Junior Seau wanted to come back, Derrick Brooks had tryouts, Mr. Haynesworth went to Washington, Shaq to Cleveland and Dwayne Wade refused to resign – oh boy. Twitter became a bigger hit with athletes, artists and actors. Chad OchoCinco coined the phrase “child please” and Deion Saunders shouts “pay the man” when Joshua Cribbs runs one back. Chalmers of the Heat, started all 82 games off the bench, while Michael Beasley puts himself on blast on twitter result ing in a 30 day stay in rehab – too much disclosure there.
Hollywood lost Farah Fawcett and Britney Murphy,the Twilight Saga New Moon, Avatar and Transformers were all box office hits. Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry gone too soon and Brett Favre needs to know its too soon to show up his coach in national TV. Jamarcus Russell still overrated, Dolphins still struggles on December.
How I could I forget the Mike Vick story and the fact that he ended up on my favorite team the Eagles. The unselfishness of Donavan McNabb, the leadership of Andy Reid, the over-bearing Jerry Jones. The Tony Romo’s excuses, the heart of Darren Sproles.
Michael Jordan to the Hall Of Fame and Charles Barkley to golf rehab for that god-awful swing. So as I sip the last bit of eggnog and brings this blog to a close. Here are my final shouts outs: Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Lebron James, Chad OchoCinco, Akron Ohio High School wrestler amputee Leroy Sutton and his best friend Dartanyon Crockett – for their display of courage and friendship. John Daly for his courageous attempt coming back to the PGA Tour, Stewart Cink for his British Open win, Ray Allen and his son, Shaq for his kind gesture helping that North Carolina family, Senator Ted Kennedy for his contribution to mankind and politics. The Female US Golf team for winning the Solheim Cup and the boys for the Ryder Cup. Get a grip to Tiger Woods, James Harrison, Gilbert Arenas, Tom Brady (for snobbing Susie Kolber), Flozell Adams, Adalius Thomas, Brett Favre, JayZ, Kanye West, Sarah Palin (you are not a rogue), Charlie Weiss, Roger Goodell of the No Fun League. Tom Cable gets a thumbs down and shame on you Brett Favre for refusing to sit down, causing shame to your coach and yes Tiger Woods earns my god-awful swing for being a swinger… I am out.
I am all for a come back story, because as human beings, we spend a lot of time celebrating other people’s demise, instead of offering a helping hand. When Michael Vick was implicated in the dog fighting ring, I was angry at first, as the owner of a beautiful Lab and next as just an individual with morals. But, I have taken a step back to evaluate the Michael Vick saga and decided that as an individual of morally sound mind, I should approach Vick’s comeback with an open heart.
When Vick was released from jail, I really hope that he would have taken a shot back at the NFL, but a part of me thought that it was not a good idea. But even within that mindset, deep down inside of me, I wanted him to fight back and prove his critics wrong.
Signing with the Eagles with McNabb’s blessing was a great way to give him a shot of redemption. I was really excited about this especially as an Eagles’ fan and for the opportunity he had to work with Andy Reid and his coaching staff. After all who is calmer under the collar, than Andy Reid? Although Vick has been patiently making his way into the Eages’ lineup his peers have shown that they appreciate his tough journey back to the NFL.
Vick won the Ed Block Courage Award, voted on by his teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles, after the once-disgraced star quarterback returned to the league after spending 18 months in a federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.
“It means a great deal to me,” Vick said Wednesday. “I was voted unanimously by my teammates. They know what I’ve been through. I’ve been through a lot. It’s been great to come back and have an opportunity to play and be with a great group of guys. I’m just ecstatic about that and I enjoy every day.” Vick, who is a three-time Pro Bowl pick in six seasons with Atlanta, Vick has played sparingly with the Eagles. He has two touchdowns rushing and one passing in 12 games. The Ed Block Award honors players who exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Each of the 32 NFL teams selects a recipient.
“I’ve overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can handle or bear,” Vick said. “You ask certain people to walk through my shoes, they probably couldn’t do. Probably 95 percent of the people in this world because nobody had to endure what I’ve been through, situations I’ve been put in, situations I put myself in and decisions I have made, whether they have been good or bad.
“There’s always consequences behind certain things and repercussions behind them, too. And then you have to wake up every day and face the world, whether they perceive you in the right perspective, it’s a totally different outlook on you. You have to be strong, believe in yourself, be optimistic. That’s what I’ve been able to do. That’s what I display.”
The Eagles were criticized by animal rights activists for signing Vick less than a month after he was released from prison. Dozens of protesters voiced their outrage outside the team’s practice facility the day after Vick was signed, and many fans threatened to give up their tickets.
But Vick got a warm reception in his first game with the Eagles and by most accounts has been a model citizen off the field.
The animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, issued a statement reprimanding the Eagles for giving Vick the award.
“The Philadelphia Eagles fumbled when they gave Michael Vick the Ed Block Courage Award, which was named after a man who advocated in behalf of abused children,” the PETA statement read. “Michael Vick should not be the person anyone points to as a model of sportsmanship, even though he has now exchanged dogs for touchdowns after serving time for extreme cruelty to animals. We wish him well in educating others, but this is not appropriate and does not mark a joyous moment in NFL history.”
Vick has spent time working with the Humane Society of the United States, speaking to school and community groups about the mistakes he made in getting involved in dogfighting.
“It was a big obstacle proving I’m worthy of a second chance,” Vick said. “It doesn’t stop here. I have to continue to prove that. I think it’s not going to be a day-to-day process, it’s going to be a year-in, year-out process. It’s a challenge to myself. The thing I told (NFL commissioner) Roger (Goodell) is that four or five years from now, I’m going to come to him and say, ‘Everything I told you I was going to do, I’m still doing it.’ And that’s what I pride myself on and that’s my focus and that’s my goal.”
Quarterback Donovan McNabb called the award “well-deserved.”
“Congratulations to him for straightening his life around and bettering himself as a human being,” coach Andy Reid said. “He’s obviously very well-respected by his teammates.”
Regardless of how much I dislike the Cowboys, Jerry Jones and the stupid stadium, I have enough intelligence to write an objective piece about another boneheaded infraction by the self-destructive hulk himself – Flozell Adams. I am of the opinion, that if there is no collective bargaining agreement in place, players should be on wallet watch, but instead, hot-headed players continue to contribute to the NFL Boneheaded Mutual Fund. Week after a week, players get into mischiefs, which cuts deep into their pockets.
Former Dallas Cowboy Roy Williams (now a Bengal) was in my opinion one of the dirtiest players that ever wore a Cowboy uniform, but he has left his legend for the latest moron of big hits – Flozell Adams. Adams who is fresh off a $50,000 stupidity investment for a hit on New York Giants’ Justin Tuck, continued with his antics this week. If you watched the Cowboys game on Saturday night (aside from the hype about “will they win” in December), America’s team executed just enough to overpower the Saints’ offense, shutting down the run. And if that was not enough to celebrate, “Nozell Adams” took celebration to another limit, head butting his teammate and ironman running back Marion Barber.
If you watch the video at nfl.com, check out the excellent celebratory headbutt by Adams, which knocks Barber to the ground. Of course, Adams is no stranger to extracurricular hits — he’s now known as perhaps the dirtiest player in the game. It’s not known if the Cowboys will make Adams’ wallet any lighter after his hit on Barber — most likely he’ll get a good talking-to from his coaches. “Late hits are for the other guys, Flozell. Not ours. ” And the next time you go hitting on your teammate, it might just affect the rest of the December games. Are you stupid, simple or slow?
In a another case of how sports imitates life, today the sports world mourns the lost of Bengals receiver Chris Henry, who died on Thursday after falling from a moving truck in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday, according to police. Henry was a mere 26 years old.
News reports are citing to an apparent argument between Henry and with his fiancée at a home, when she drove away in a pickup truck. Henry jumped onto the bed of the truck, but fell out of the vehicle about a half-mile away and was later discovered by police.
A police spokesperson said homicide detectives were assigned to the case, but that no charges have been filed.
A seemingly perpetually troubled player, the hot-tempered Henry was arrested at various times for marijuana possession, gun possession and assault, earning him the epithet of “one-man crime wave” from a judge – and his ouster from the Cincinnati Bengals in 2008.
But after the Bengals’ owner gave Henry a second chance, the athlete seemed to have straightened out, staying out of trouble and focusing his off time on his fiancée and the three children they were raising.
The City of Miami Gardens is pleased to announce the star-studded lineup for the 5th Annual “Jazz in the Gardens” hosted by #1 rated, nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner, taking place on Saturday, March 20th and Sunday, March 21st at Dolphin (Landshark) Stadium, 2269 Dan Marino Blvd, Miami Gardens, Florida 33056.
Confirmed artists include the queen of R&B, Mary J. Blige; Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, John Legend; R&B crooner, Robin Thicke; funk/R&B diva, Teena Marie; 90’s R&B/pop super group, Boyz II Men; Grammy nominated R&B vocalist, Melanie Fiona; jazz chanteuse, Cassandra Wilson; saxophone king, David Sanborn; already classic newcomer, K’Jon; and famed pianist, keyboarder and founding member of the Jazz Crusaders, Joe Sample. Local artist names will be released soon.
Jazz in the Gardens, a two-day weekend festival is now in its fifth year and has grown to be one of the top cultural events in America. The jazz festival delivers a diverse mix of music genres and mixes jazz, pop, R&B, Neo-soul and Caribbean flavors, having something to offer all music aficionados at an affordable price.
“I am proud to proclaim “Jazz in the Gardens” as an undeniable premier stop on the national festival circuit. With audiences coming from international and domestic markets, it has become a major destination event for anyone seeking the combined ambience of fabulous music, sunshine, great food, shopping and beautiful people all in one setting,” says Shirley Gibson, Mayor Miami Gardens.
The 4th Annual Jazz in the Gardens shattered expected ticket sales, enjoying an attendance of almost 40,000, more than double the sales of the 2008 festival. In 2009, the “Jazz in the Gardens” crowd enjoyed performances by Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Kenny G, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Erykah Badu, Common, Roy Ayers, Jonathan Butler, Will Downing, and Angelique Kidjo. This year’s line-up raises the bar yet again!
For more information on the highly-anticipated 5th Annual “Jazz in the Gardens” Hosted by Tom Joyner, go to http://www.jazzinthegardens.com or contact the City of Miami Gardens at 1-877-640-5299. All media inquiries should be directed to Circle of One Marketing at 305.576.3790.
The City of Miami Gardens was incorporated on May 13, 2003, as the 33rd city in Miami-Dade County. At a population of approximately 10,000, it is the third largest city in Miami-Dade County. Miami Gardens is a solid, working and middle class community of unique diversity. It is the largest predominantly African-American municipality in the State of Florida and boasts many Caribbean residents. In 2007, the City hosted the 41st annual Super Bowl. The City recently hosted the 2009 college BCS championship game and in 2010, will host the 44th Super Bowl.
For general information on the festival, visit http://www.jazzinthegardens.com or call the event hotline at: 305-622-8043. For vendor and sponsor opportunities, contact Vendor Express at 954-275-3092. All media inquiries should be directed to Circle of One Marketing at 305.576.3790.