Canelo & Clenbuterol

By Randy Norman

Boxing fans around the world may be disappointed come May 5th, as one of the most anticipated fights of the year could be at risk of being canceled. Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Álvarez were scheduled for a middleweight title bout in May – a rematch that many are looking forward to, in light of their fight last September which ended in a contentious draw. However on Friday, the NSAC (Nevada State Athletic Commission) ruled that Canelo Álvarez will suffer a temporary suspension for testing positive on two accounts for the substance clenbuterol.

Clenbuterol is an extremely strong substance that increases metabolism and helps burn fat while retaining lean muscle. For these reasons, the substance is a common performance enhancement drug used by bodybuilders and athletes alike. However clenbuterol is not only used by athletes, the substance is also very widespread in the meat industry as it can be used as a growth steroid for livestock. While clenbuterol is illegal in the United States, it is very common in other countries such as China and Mexico, where laws regulating meat production are not as strict. Canelo Álvarez, a Mexican fighter, claims that the positive test results stemmed from eating contaminated meat. While Golovkin and his camp believe that Álvarez intentionally injected the substance, Álvarez’s claims are not necessarily implausible.

The ingestion of clenbuterol by athletes has been a recurrent issue for over a decade. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in efforts to eliminate the possibility of athletes consuming contaminated meats, China prohibited their athletes from eating meat that was not prepared by designated chefs. Also, in 2011 at the U17 FIFA World Cup held in Mexico, over half of the athletes who competed in the tournament tested positive for clenbuterol (Sidiki, Connors, Krstic, & Lee, 2016). Even the NFL has had experience with athletes testing positive for the banned substance. In light of the NFL’s decision to begin playing games internationally, in destinations including Mexico City, the league issued a memo to players, advising them to be conscious of the foods that they are consuming as the risk of contamination is higher in foreign countries.

In a statement issued to ESPN, Golden Boy Promotions spokesman Stefan Freidman reported, “Over his career, Canelo has tested clean more than 90 times and would never intentionally take a banned substance” (Rafael, 2018, para. 9). Intentional or not, Álvarez will have a hearing with the NSAC on April 10th, where the board will question Álvarez and decide whether or not to extend his suspension.

References

Rafael, D. (2018, March 28) Canelo Alvarez to have April 10 hearing as Gennady Golovkin rematch in jeopardy. ESPN. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/22889219/canelo-alvarez-temporarily-suspended-nevada-state-athletic-commission

Sidiki, A., Connors, R., Krstic, Z., Lee, J. (2016) Feeding the athlete. SBNation. Retrieved from https://www.sbnation.com/a/2016-olympics-rio-food-athletes/steroids

Lamar Jackson, Quarterback

By Don Collins

It’s officially NFL Draft season. No doubt every prospect will have every aspect of their game pored over in a manner like never before in their careers. There will be some risers and fallers at every position, but none will be more criticized than the quarterback (QB) position. Every QB comes with a perceived risk in this upcoming draft class and teams will be looking to see how to navigate their shortcomings and groom them to become franchise carriers.

My issue comes with how the media is handling one NFL prospect – Lamar Jackson from the University of Louisville. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Maybe not. Just in case, here he is during his Heisman Trophy winning 2016 campaign. Surely, he deserved a shot to play QB in the NFL after this impressive campaign, right? Unfortunately, Lamar had to return to Louisville for another season to fulfill his required three years in college. What did he do to follow up his sensational season? He improved on it!

One of the rumblings circling through the media during the buildup to Day 2 of the Combine was that Jackson had been asked to switch to wide receiver (WR). This isn’t a particularly odd thing for teams to do for fringe QB prospects that have struggled with mechanics or inconsistent play. What’s odd is that Jackson is a bona fide prospect who even declined to run at the combine.

Take a second to let that sink in. A player who is projected to go late first/second round is being asked to switch positions after not catching a single pass in college. This narrative of denigrating an African American QB’s ability to do what he’s done his entire life is something that seemingly always lurks in football. The NFL has a documented history of slighting Black QB’s, but this is something truly strange.

Bill Polian, respected retired General Manager, has been adamant about his belief that Jackson is best suited at WR at the next level. In an ESPN appearance in February, Polian said “I think wide receiver. Exceptional athlete, exceptional ability to make you miss, exceptional acceleration, exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand and that’s rare for wide receivers. That’s *AB, and who else? Name me another one, Julio’s not even like that” (Lyles, 2018, para. 3). Polian continued by saying, “Clearly, clearly not the thrower that the other guys are. The accuracy isn’t there.” (Lyles, 2018, para. 4)

Are you serious??? Lamar was more accurate than consensus top 3 QB Josh Allen. He’s taller than Baker Mayfield. He is, in my opinion, the player who did the most ‘backpacking’ of his University in the past few seasons (Backpacking = putting the team on his back and carrying them further than they could have gone without him).

I am not clamoring for Lamar Jackson to be picked first in the draft. I’m simply asking him to be given the opportunity to continue playing his position.

*AB = Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

References

Lamar Jackson. (2018). Sports-Reference.com  Retrieved from https://www.sports-

reference.com/cfb/players/lamar-jackson-1.html

Lyles, H. (2018, February 19). Bill Polian has a bad opinion about Lamar Jackson (again!).

     SBNation. Retrieved from https://www.sbnation.com/2018/2/19/17027762/bill-polian-lamar-

jackson-nfl

What in The World Was The NBA Thinking?

By Don Collins

Over the weekend, the NBA was buzzing in popular culture. The stars were all out to commemorate the league’s All Star weekend in Los Angeles. Among the festivities, the players and the league organized a video wishing the many NBA fans in China a Happy New Year.

The video montage featured many different NBA players sending their well wishes with some even showing off their linguistic skills by trying out some Chinese phrases. A well-intended gesture until a segment of the video began making the rounds on the internet. The portion that has caused so much controversy includes Philadelphia 76er JJ Redick uttering what appears to be a racial slur.

Watching the outrage that ensued has been for me a calculated effort. One thing I have begun to do whenever anything happens, good or bad, is to let all the facts trickle out and then make a decision instead of rushing to conclusions. I watched the video and, after a few days, reached this conclusion: this is unacceptable, but my outrage does not start with Redick.

I do not know him personally, but everything I have gathered about him during his career is that he seems to be a good person. I believe he made a mistake while trying to say his message. As someone who is beginning to spend more and more time on the air waves, I am learning sometimes you can say something too fast for your brain to process. This is doubly true in a situation where everyone involved is probably on a tighter schedule. His apology, a gesture that nowadays feels more obligatory than genuine, offered an explanation that was consistent with the thinking that he was trying to say too much in one sentence.

My issue with the whole thing is that no one caught this. How can a league that has billions of dollars at their disposal, not catch this in the editing process? Especially when they care so much about the growth of the brand in China. While I do not think JJ Redick is racist toward Chinese people, it was still a slur. I understand if some fans overseas do not ever root for him again or tune out 76ers games.

My hope is that all parties learn from this. American history has taught us more about the immediate people in our country. Had Redick said the n-word, accidental or not, it would almost surely be edited out of an official NBA release. While this incident is an ugly look for the NBA, it can be used as a teachable lesson. Do your due diligence. The time it would have taken for Redick to slow down or even re-record his message could have also been the amount of time needed to edit the video.

Are the Cavs Back?

By Randy Norman

Thursday February 8th marked the trade deadline for the NBA, and it was quite an interesting and eventful day. While a number of players were traded before the deadline, the most surprising and notable trades came from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs completely rearranged their roster, trading away Isaiah Thomas, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and Jae Crowder. In return the Cavs received Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as George Hill and Rodney Hood from the Kings and Jazz, respectively. It is a week before the All-Star break, and the Cavs have had a tough year to say the least. While they remain the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference, something needed to change and this may be the answer to the Cavalier’s problems.

In the newcomers’ debut on Sunday afternoon, the Cavs looked like a completely different team from just a week ago. The Cavs seem rejuvenated as they played with energy, aggression, and camaraderie, which led them to a twenty-two point victory against Boston. Each of the four new players for the Cavs played exceptionally well for their first game with the team. George Hill started at point guard and scored 12 points, while Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson scored a combined 32 points coming off the bench. Larry Nance Jr. did not contribute much offensively, however his defensive efforts and energy did not go unnoticed (McMenamin, 2018).

With the new additions, the Cavs have gained youth and athleticism, which was something that they lacked with the players from their previous roster. Cleveland has also been one of the worst defensive teams in the league this season, allowing on average 110.1 points per game. However, the four new players that the Cavs acquired should be able to help turn around the team’s defensive struggles.

In addition to now having a younger, more athletic, and better defensive roster, the Cavs have also gained more scorers and playmakers. Veteran George Hill is averaging 10.3 points per game this season and currently has the league’s third highest three-point percentage at .453. Rodney Hood is playing the best basketball of his career, averaging a career-high 16.8 points per game and shooting .389 percent from the arc. This season, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. are averaging 14.5 and 8.6 points per game, respectively.

With the All-Star break a week away and only 27 games left in the regular season, many have questioned whether or not the Cavs have enough time to gel and build chemistry before the playoffs. Moreover, many doubt that the additions to the Cavs roster will be enough to push them over the edge and defeat the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors – assuming both teams win their conference titles. Certainly though, the Cavs have improved their chances of coming out of the Eastern Conference. Prior to the trade, the Toronto Raptors were the front runners to win the east, however the Cavs have now reclaimed the spot as the favorite team.

There may be a limited amount of time before the end of the season, but team chemistry certainly did not seem like an issue for the Cavs on Sunday. The Cavs played with tenacity and dominated on both sides of the ball as if the team had been together all season long. After the game, LeBron was undeniably pleased with the team’s performance. “It’s still going to take a little timing. This was an impressive win on the road, that’s a good start,” said James in a postgame interview with Doris Burke.  When asked what excited him the most about the new players’ ability to help the Cavs succeed this year, LeBron responded, “The IQ and the passion that they play with is going to help us out a lot.”

While it is too early to say for sure, after their performance against the Celtics, the Cavs should have a positive outlook on their success for the remainder of the season and continuing into the playoffs. Although they have had their series of struggles this season, the Cavs now look like the team to beat in the east once again.

 

References

McMenamin, D. (2018, February 11).  Cavs kick off their new era with a statement win in Boston. ESPN. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/22402516/cleveland-cavaliers-kick-their-new-era-road-rout-boston-celtics-nba

Greatness Starts With A Single Letter (N)

By Don Collins

Greatness always starts with a single letter. I had a bit of nervousness about my first post that developed into a mild case of writer’s block. As the old proverb by Lao Tzu says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” To combat my writers block, I simply had to just get started. I decided to write the first sentence that came to mind.

Women have faced an uphill climb in the world of sport, but each step in the right direction builds toward a future where disparities based on gender do not exist. To combat this gender block, some significant words have been written into laws protecting the right to participate in sport for women.

The purpose of this writing is to highlight ‘N.’ According to the National Girls and Women in Sports Day’s website, “This year marks the 32nd anniversary of National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), a national observance celebrating the extraordinary achievements of women and girls in sports.” ( “National Girls,” 2018, para. 1)

I was first alerted to the day by attending one of the Bowling Green Women’s Basketball games versus Toledo on Saturday, January 27, 2018. The two teams observed the occasion by having a special message delivered over the sound system during halftime, as two teams of local elementary school aged girls played. It caught me off guard and I had to scramble to check the website to see if that was indeed the day. Since I run my own sports media entity, Anion Sports, I tend to be on top of significant sporting news. The official date, as listed on the website, is February 7, 2018. Why on earth did the WBB teams observe the day more than a week in advance?

I learned more about the day itself and the history behind it. According to the archives from the Government Publishing Office, NGWSD was signed into existence by President Ronald Reagan on February 3, 1987 to dedicate February 4 as the first National Women in Sports Day.  My confusion remained. Why did the BGSU Women’s team observe it on January 27th ?

Part of the reason may have to do with scheduling. BGSU has a home game on February 3rd so they could have observed it closer to the actual official date. But then I discovered something else. There is no official date. It changes every year, although the national day is usually recognized sometime during the first week of February.

This transparency in the schedule allows for a greater number of opportunities to recognize the day. A friend who goes to Michigan State informed me that the MSU Women’s team recognized the day a few days after BGSU did. Their team doesn’t have a home game on the 7th, so it makes sense that the team would have to plan around that. But BGSU plays on Wednesday. What goes into their decision-making process? Maybe it was the availability of the younger girls who played at halftime. This makes sense if they had a game the Saturday before the 7th and then didn’t want to have the younger girls out on a school night.

All in all, the fluidity of the process enables a greater number of observances. I would like to reach out to a representative from the Women Sports Foundation or the athletic department here on campus ahead of my own recognition of NGWSD. Greatness is something that I have focused on a lot in the past year and a half. I feel that all people contribute greatness in their own way and no one deserves to be left out. So, the National Girls and Women’s in Sports Day is something that I am proud to have witnessed, thanks to the efforts of BGSU Athletics.

 

 

References

Lao Tzu Quotes. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/lao_tzu_137141

National Girls & Women in Sports Day. (2018). NGWSD.org. Retrieved from http://ngwsd.org/

National Women in Sports Day, 1987. (1987, February 3). Government Publishing Office. Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-101/pdf/STATUTE-101-Pg2073.pdf

Don Collins is a senior at Bowling Green State University where he pursues a major in Sport Management with a specialization in Journalism. He is originally from Homewood, Illinois, about forty minutes south of Chicago. His primary sport interests include baseball, basketball and football, but he loves all sports in general.

 

Could LeBron be taking his talents to the Bay?

By Randy Norman

While LeBron James is 33 years of age, he has shown the world that he still has plenty of gas in the tank. So far this season, James is averaging nearly a triple double each game and is shooting over 50% from the field. Not to mention, James recently became the youngest player ever to reach 30,000 points in his career, surpassing NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Amazingly even in the fifteenth season of his career, James remains a dominant force in the league and is indubitably one of the greatest players to ever step foot on the court. James is often compared to the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan, however the definitive factor that seems to always separate the two is championships. While James has won three rings thus far, he is still hungry for more—but the chances of him winning another in Cleveland are slim. Many sources have indicated that LeBron James is likely to decline his player option this offseason and become an unrestricted free agent. Although LeBron has not openly indicated that he is planning to leave Cleveland, if the Cavs are not able to overcome the struggles that they are having this season and find a way to win another NBA championship, much like in 2010 James will probably decide to take his talents elsewhere.

Numerous experts and analysts have made predictions of where LeBron may end up this offseason. Of those predictions some of the teams include the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, and the Boston Celtics. Most recently though, it has been reported that James may be considering joining forces with Kevin Durant and Steph Curry in Golden State, providing that they can offer him a maximum salary. ESPN writer Chris Haynes indicated that the Warriors have not expressed any interest in pursuing James at this time. However, Haynes also notes that according to sources, “Out of respect for the Warriors’ winning culture, James would listen if Golden State explored ways to clear the necessary cap space” (Haynes, 2018, para. 3). As far-fetched as it may sound, it is actually possible for the Warriors to offer James a max deal. Should James choose to opt into his contract at the end of the season and waive his no trade clause, the Cavs would be able to trade him to the Warriors and get several players in return, along with a few draft picks (Marks, 2018).

When asked about the possibility of James going to Golden State, Warriors’ superstar Kevin Durant was very candid in denying the likelihood of that occurring. However Durant also told reporters, “In this league, just like a couple years ago, me coming here, nobody would have thought that” (Nathan, 2018, para. 10). Although the probability of James ending up in the Bay Area may be low, even Durant knows that it cannot be completely ruled out of the picture. Given the current trend in the NBA of building super-teams—which LeBron James started in 2010 when he joined forces with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami—it would not be a total surprise to see James head west and create what would certainly be the most talented and dominant NBA team the world has ever seen. Nevertheless, in the words of Stephen A. Smith, “If you even think about going to the Golden State Warriors, your legacy is tarnished forever.”

The criticism that Durant endured in 2016 when he decided to leave Oklahoma City for Golden State would be miniscule in comparison to the heat that LeBron would take if he does indeed decide to join the Warriors. In the 2016 Western Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder blew a 3-1 series lead to the Warriors and missed the opportunity to compete for an NBA title. The same summer, Durant left the Thunder to join the already stacked Warriors, which was a decision that many considered to be an extremely weak move by a superstar and competitor. If James however, decides to join the Warriors this off-season, the opprobrium that he will likely receive as a competitor is unimaginable. James understandably would like to win a couple more championships before he retires, however joining the same team that the Cavs have failed to defeat in two of the past three NBA Finals; a team that already contains two future hall-of-famers (one of them being the second greatest basketball player in the world), could be construed as a weak and cowardly move.

Ultimately it is too early to speculate for sure where LeBron James will end up next season. There are several months left in the regular season and James’ focus right now is with the Cavaliers and doing everything in his power to get the team in better shape for the playoffs. It will be interesting though to see how the playoffs pan out, as the outcome will likely play a significant role in James’ decision to leave Cleveland.

Randy Norman is a junior at Bowling Green State University where he pursues a major in Sport Management with a specialization in General Business. He is originally from Bolingbrook, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago. His primary sport interests include basketball, football, boxing, and track & field – both at the amateur and professional levels. 

Welcome (back) to Spring 2018!

It has been several months since we regularly published entries on the Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Watch Project. But we are ready to resume and look forward to a fruitful semester of writing by a talented group of students. At the beginning of the semester, we were fortunate to meet with BGSU alumnus Jay Crawford, former ESPN host of Sportscenter and Cold Pizza, and currently serving as Executive in Residence at his Alma Mater.

Jay has been generous with his time in meeting with students as he shared with us about the importance of journalists as “truth tellers.” Our goal as always is to analyze and critique media practices in their coverage of sport, in the hope that we can find ‘truth’ in what they are writing and saying about sport. We welcome your comments and feedback on our entries, and encourage you to share our posts with others who are interested in cultivating the skills of good sport journalism.