Author Archives: bhickle2021

Unity in Sports

By: Brody Hickle

July 31, 2020

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Brody Hickle grew up in Bluffton, Ohio and now studies Sport Management at Bowling Green State University. The third-year undergraduate student minors in General Business. His primary sport interests are hockey and football.

Everybody remembers their favorite moment in sports entertainment. Whether it would be your favorite team winning the championship of your favorite sport, seeing a walk-off hit in baseball, or anything else for that matter. On July 30, 2020, the New Orleans Pelicans took on the Utah Jazz for their first game since the suspension of the National Basketball Association due to the coronavirus. Before the game started, they played the National Anthem (The Star-Spangled Banner), just like before every sporting event. In that moment, I got to witness what I would judge to be, the most amazing thing I have ever seen in sports. Every player put their arm around each other and took a knee to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Seeing the emotions from the players combined with the music was really eye opening. Here is the video, which was posted by the NBA.

Because of recent happenings with police brutality against African Americans and the realization that systematic racism remains in America, I have strongly supported the Black Lives Matter movement. It all started with the tragic death of George Floyd. Shortly after his death, we started seeing many protests around the country, and there were also many riots.* These protests are still going around the country today. I will say that these protests have really opened my eyes. I will admit that at first, I was a little skeptical about the riots, but after doing my own research around the civil rights movement in history, I started getting a better understanding of the riots.

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We all can remember the former civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I believe that when some think about these riots, we may wonder, “Why can’t we be peaceful?” I thought that at first, but one of my friends who participated in my college drumline, reminded me that he was shot and killed in the end, after what he accomplished from the changes he made. From there, I realized that I am a privileged citizen in the United States, and that changes need to be made in this country. I came across this video that provides an experiment with white and African American citizens in the United States. The article by Korin Miller shows compelling evidence of privilege in the United States.

The Pelicans and Jazz are not the only times we have seen kneeling for the National Anthem. We remember when former star 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick first sat down during the National Anthem, and he was criticized for it. Eventually, he met with a soldier by the name of Nate Boyer who would convince him to kneel instead of sit. I would later come across an article that explains the meaning behind kneeling for the National Anthem, as follows, “Kneeling is almost always deployed as a sign of deference and respect” (Smith & Keltner, 2017, para. 6). Another quote from the article states, “In some situations, kneeling can be seen as a request for protection – which is completely appropriate in Kaepernick’s case, given the motive of his protest” (Smith & Keltner, 2017, para. 7).

If you get a chance to read this article, you can really get a better understanding about the meaning of kneeling, as it is used to protest. When we think about Kaepernick’s situation, it cost his career; however, since the recent tragic events, it seems he is changing the world now. I totally agree that he is. The freedom to kneel, stand up, speak out, or sit down for a cause is everything for which this country stands. Many Americans fought for these ideals and sacrificed greatly for our country.  

Often, others may disagree with supporting the Black Lives Matter movement for reasons such as the riots, or they may think that everything is already equal. But we can tell that is not true. For example, Breanna Taylor who was an EMT, was shot by police during a no-knock search warrant, while she was sleeping. The main target of the police was to arrest her husband, who fired a gun at the police when they entered the apartment. The police returned fire, and unleashed 20 rounds on the innocent Breanna Taylor.

Based upon the above links that I have shared and statements that I have made, I hope everyone gets a better understanding of the meaning of kneeling for the National Anthem, and how it is used as a protest. Changes need to be made. We cannot say “All lives Matter,” until we can all see that Black Lives Matter.

References:

Miller, K. (2020, June 3). As a video about white privilege goes viral again, experts caution it could actually cause more damage. MSN.com. Retrieved from: https://www.msn.com/en-us/finance/other/as-a-video-about-white-privilege-goes-viral-again-experts-caution-it-could-actually-cause-more-damage/ar-BB14Z7EB

National Basketball Association. (2020, July 30). YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-PDAiIKDPA

Smith, J.A., & Keltner, D. (2017, September 29). The psychology of taking a knee. Scientific American. Retrieved from: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/the-psychology-of-taking-a-knee/

*Editor’s Note: some refer to them as ‘uprisings’ instead of riots.

Run it Back!

By Brody Hickle

April 29, 2020

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Brody Hickle grew up in Bluffton, Ohio and now studies Sport Management at Bowling Green State University. The third-year undergraduate student minors in General Business. His primary sport interests are hockey and football.

April 23 marked the start of the NFL Draft for the 2020-21 season. During the draft, we saw some big moves made by big teams. Before the draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a move that brought a lot of NFL fans to their seats, and possibly a lot of tears for fans of the New England Patriots. During this year’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, Tom Brady was sponsored in a Hulu commercial, where he jokingly mentioned that he had a “big announcement.” Then at the end, he sparked the fans by saying, “I’m not going anywhere.” On March 17, the news came out that Brady was officially going to sign with the Buccaneers, which would bring the “end of an era.” During his career with the Patriots, he and head coach Bill Belichick won six Super Bowls. He has more Super Bowl wins than any other quarterback who has ever played in the league, and the Patriots are now tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers with most Super Bowl wins (6). That is one of the reasons why people call him the G.O.A.T. But the Buccaneers were not done there.

On April 21, the Buccaneers would then sign Tom Brady’s former tight-end teammate, Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski (also known as ‘Gronk’) was a valuable weapon for Brady and was one of his go-to receivers. Personally, I did not see this coming. During the time Brady decided to come back to the NFL, fans were already spreading the rumors that he was going to another team. Before this signing, Gronk was retired from the NFL, after winning his third Super Bowl with Brady and the Patriots.

Before Gronkowski decided to come back to the NFL, an article by Tony Maglio (2020) reported that Gronk signed a contract with a wrestling entertainment organization, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). At one point, I saw a show the organization put on, in which he won a championship for the organization. He also hosted their biggest pay-per-view event, WrestleMania 36, which is thought to be the organization’s biggest event. I believe it caught everyone by surprise that he was signing with the Buccaneers. Nearly everyone, including myself, thought that he was done with the NFL.

Now that Brady and Gronk have signed with the Buccaneers, everyone wants to know if they have the talent to be Super Bowl contenders. I was also researching the odds of them winning it all next season. According to Danny Donahue of The Baltimore Sun, the Buccaneers went from 16-1 with Brady to 9-1 with Brady and Gronkowski. The way I see it, we must realize that Gronkowski is not going to be Brady’s only target. He will also have an opportunity to throw to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who have shown tremendous effort every season throughout their careers. While he may not be used to throwing to these players yet, I believe Brady can make any receiver improve, and can build a quarterback-receiver relationship with anyone.


References

Donahue, D. (2020, April 25). Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl odds: How Rob Gronkowski trade affects betting market. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from: https://www.baltimoresun.com/gambling/sns-actnet-tampa-bay-buccaneers-super-bowl-odds-rob-gronkowski-trade-20200425-d3nzslgjsrca5ftunnt634eq2m-story.html

Maglio, T. (2020, March 11). Rob Gronkowski signs With WWE, will debut on next week’s SmackDown (Exclusive). The WRAP. Retrieved from: https://www.thewrap.com/rob-gronkowski-wwe-gronk-signs-friday-night-smackdown-fox-new-england-patriots/

The Virus

Brody Hickle grew up in Bluffton, Ohio and now studies Sport Management at Bowling Green State University. The third-year undergraduate student minors in General Business. His primary sport interests are hockey and football.

Today, I heard about the coronavirus hitting in Ohio (which is my home state), so I wanted to write about how the disease has been affecting the world of sports. I have many friends who attend Ohio State University, and when I saw the news that they were suspending classes for 20 days, I was more than shocked. First, before I talk about how the disease is affecting the world of sports, I did some research on the symptoms athletes and other individuals can get from the coronavirus, and the symptoms include difficulty in breathing, fever, and coughs (CDC, 2020).

So far, we have seen several cases of the coronavirus affecting sporting events and other activities across the world. When I began writing this, Italy suspended all sporting events until April 3rd, due to the coronavirus. In the sports world, they aren’t just focusing on athletes. They are also focusing on and taking precautions with the media. Jeff Passan (writer/reporter for ESPN) was mentioned in an article updated by another reporter, Randy Miller, stating that the NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLS has restricted media access due to the spread of the coronavirus. In the article, Miller states that in Clearwater, Florida (a popular location for spring training baseball), the New York Yankees decided that for an hour early in the morning, they would allow interviews from the media, because they wanted to keep out of the clubhouses at restricted times due to the concerns of the outbreak.

In Jeff Passan’s part of the article, he said, “Major League Baseball will join the NBA and NHL in closing clubhouses to media due to fear over potential spread of coronavirus, sources tell ESPN. After a conference call with owners Monday evening, MLB remains committed to playing the remainder of the slate of spring-training games as well as opening the regular season on time, the plan, like so many, is contingent on how the coronavirus spreads,” (Miller, para. 4-5, 2020).

I think this is a smart move for the MLB because they don’t want to suspend games like there already have been. Obviously, it is important to keep the athletes, coaches, and everybody else safe. I’m sure that some people working in the media may not be as happy with this move, because they only have one hour to ask questions to the athletes or coaches, and they may not get a big selection of who they can talk to. I wonder how long this disease will continue to affect the world, because we obviously are not just seeing it in sports, but we are seeing it affect companies, schools, and many other businesses around the world.

On March 11, the NBA suspended their regular season, and the NHL did the same the next day. While the NBA was making the decision, the media announced that two Utah Jazz stars (Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell) were tested positive for the coronavirus. From what I have noticed, a lot of fans are not happy with this decision. Being a huge NHL fan, I agree with both of these moves, as I did for the MLB. Again, it is not just happening in sports. On the same day the NBA decided to suspend the regular season, many schools (including mine) moved classes to online to help students avoid the coronavirus as much as possible. Going back to the leagues suspending their seasons, I think they did it more than for keeping the athletes safe. They also want to keep the fans safe. I believe that it is a safe and smart move by the leagues. If any league has a fan tested positive from attending an event, how is that going to look good for the organization? Personally, it is a move I would have made.

Utah Jazz – Rudy Gobert

References

Miller, R. (March 9, 2020). Coronavirus update: MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS restrict media access. NJ. Retrieved from: https://www.nj.com/yankees/2020/03/mlb-nba-closing-clubhouses-to-media-due-to-coronavirus-scare.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Symptoms. CDC. Retrieved by: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html

Ridin’ Dirty

By Brody Hickle

November 21, 2019

Brody Hickle grew up in Bluffton, Ohio and now studies Sport Management at Bowling Green State University. The third-year undergraduate student minors in General Business. His primary sport interests are hockey and football.

Remember when Ty Cobb used to sharpen his spikes? Remember the Detroit Bad Boys? If you look up the definition of a dirty player in the NFL, you may find a picture of Vontaze Burfict, an NFL linebacker who now plays for the Oakland Raiders. He was suspended early in the 2019 season when the Raiders took on the Indianapolis Colts. His suspension was due to an illegal helmet-to-helmet contact with the Colts’ tight end, Jack Doyle. As he ran to the locker room, he grinned arrogantly to the crowd. Throughout his career, Vontaze Burfict has been fined over 20 times due to illegal hits. His most infamous illegal play came during a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers when he connected with Antonio Brown’s helmet, in a game that the Bengals lost. With all this said, many in the media question if Burfict should still be in the NFL.

Along with being fined, Vontaze has faced several suspensions. CBS NFL sports declares him one of the most penalized defenders in NFL history. CBS provided a case where Burfict was still with the Bengals, and they were playing the Kansas City Chiefs during the second week of preseason (Brinson, 2017). Will Brinson tweeted out a video that showed this hit as a typical example of what Burfict has done in the past, and continues to do. If you aren’t familiar with Burfict, here is an example:

With this hit, according to the NFL, you can see that it was clearly a dirty play that warranted a suspension. But, ten years earlier, this hit would have been legal. So, do you think he’s only doing his job, or is he playing dirty?

An earlier article brought up the point that his career was in serious jeopardy, but it was not because of his fines/suspensions (Gaydos, 2015). Although FOX news brought up the illegal hits he made, they also pointed out that he had seven concussions. Plus, he may have had concussions in high school. Perhaps this could be a reason he wants to hurt people on the field. FOX provided the following video in which Vontaze suffered a brutal concussion, and then smacked his trainer who was simply doing his job (Gaydos, 2015).

To return to the most recent case where he hit Doyle, Gutierrez (2019) mentions that Burfict may just be getting singled out in the NFL when it comes to his dirty hits. We all know that there are players out there who want to hit hard. Occasionally, some in the media believe that any athlete once in awhile will lay a dirty hit, but Smith (2019) cites Vontaze Burfict’s agent, who suggests that “the NFL is treating Burfict differently from other players” (para. 2). Gutierrez (2019) also mentions that Derek Carr told the media that Vontaze was heartbroken, because he thought his career was over. Is he being overlooked and singled out? The video below provides evidence that Burfict was clearly targeting Doyle, and he even laughed after getting ejected.

With all this said, many in the media suggest that Burfict is the dirtiest player in the entire NFL. Personally, I agree with the media. I have read about ‘dirty’ linebackers, but I think Vontaze Burfict may be one of the dirtiest ever. Perhaps he does not fear what others think, because he continues to do it. After the perspective that the media provides, it seems that they believe that his career may be coming to an end within these next few years. Will Burfict continue with his ways, or will he prove them wrong?

Brinson W. (2017, August 28). Vontaze Burfict suspension: Here’s the hit and why it is under new NFL rule. CBS SPORTS – NFL. Retrieved from: https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/vontaze-burfict-suspension-heres-the-hit-and-why-its-illegal-under-new-nfl-rule/

Gaydos R. (2015, December 27). Controversial – NFL Linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s career reportedly in jeopardy due to sseventh concussion. Fox News. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/sports/controversial-nfl-linebackers-career-reportedly-in-jeapardy-due-seventh-concussion

Gutierrez, P. (2019, October 2). Derek Carr: Vontaze Burfict’s ‘heart is broken,’ QB says ban isn’t fair. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27750699/derek-carr-vontaze-burfict-heart-broken-suspension

Smith, M.D. (2019, October 6). Agent says NFL singled out Vontaze Burfict for unfair punishment. NBC Sports. Retrieved from https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/agent-says-nfl-singled-out-vontaze-burfict-for-unfair-punishment/ar-AAIm2wV