Monday, January 20, 2014

Got MLK? Sherman's March Through White America's TV Room

I didn't like Richard Sherman's verbal disemboweling of Niners wide receiver Michael Crabtree either.

But as I sat here at home this morning on a day set aside to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, I began wondering if it was easier for me to dislike that diatribe and, thus, the Seahawks cornerback, himself, because he is a black man with dreadlocks who spoke angrily and aggressively into a microphone held by a pretty, blonde, white woman (Fox's Erin Andrews).

Surely not.

Surely my distaste had only to do with what he said. (Here is what Sherman had to say about what he said.) Had a white player screamed the exact same thing in the exact same way to, let's say, Pam Oliver (Fox's veteran sideline reporter, who is African-American), I believe I would have been just as off-put. I believe.

But if I, and other white people, knew that aforementioned imaginary white player was a straight-A high school student from a two-parent family who chose to play college football at Stanford because of its academic strength or that his foundation specifically helps inner city kids with resources to help them excel in school - all of which describe Richard Sherman - would we have more readily given him a pass, excusing his rant as pure postgame adrenaline? Or would we have even needed to know that backstory to chalk up the white guy's conduct to simple sports braggadocio?

I hope not. At least not most of us. Surely the viciousness spewed at Sherman on Twitter (WARNING: graphic language), the kind of ferocious and feral hate speech that would have even been startling 50 years ago in the deepest recesses of the segregated South, came from a minuscule minority. Surely.

But on this day especially, I want to at minimum have the courage to ask myself hard, uncomfortable questions about what is really going on in my heart and head when it comes to how I see people who are different from me in some way. It seems the very least I can do to honor and mimic the man who gave me this day off.

Friday, January 25, 2013


From December 2011

Right now, much of the world is thinking about the young woman who left home and gave birth to a boy. Today, I'm thinking of another mother, on a different kind of journey, returning home to prepare for the passing of a child - also her firstborn, also a son.

Indescribable joy. Unimaginable grief.

Mary's reaction to the news that she was miraculously with child is recorded in the Gospel of Luke and begins:

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant."

Amy Lowe's reaction to the news this week that it appears there will be no miracle to save her son, Liam, from the leukemia he has valiantly fought for the last 13 months is recorded on their CaringBridge page and concludes: 

"We are already so thankful for the many many extra days we've had with him since last November 12 when he was diagnosed and since the first relapse on July 23. Our Liam is the most wonderful little boy. We are so so so happy for the almost seven wonderful years we've had to be his mommy and daddy."

Mary is said to have treasured up the events surrounding her son's birth and pondered them in her heart. Amy treasures her years as Liam's mother. And ponders.

Two young women, separated by 2000 years, their journeys taking them in different directions. Yet our faith in Mary's son tells us Amy's won't be gone from us long.


Liam died January 17, 2012. You can honor the Lowe family by donating to the water well project Liam started. Click here.

Ace in the Hole

I was in the building when the Texas Rangers began this cuticle-chomping journey to the doorstep of baseball glory. Tampa Bay 9 Texas 0. The same score of a forfeit, which is what it felt like my wife, son No. 2 and I had done with our time and money that day.

And yes, I was the one who tweeted from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington:

C.J. Wilson gave up 8 of the 9 runs (6 earned) in that playoff-opening loss - the only game they would lose to Tampa Bay. He was awful. Worse, he lost to a 22-year-old kid making his second career start. His subsequent starts were varying degrees of better, the most recent of which was Monday night's Game 5 outing in which he got through 1 out in the 6th, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits, 5 walks and 3 strikeouts in a game for which he - like St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter - would receive no decision but which the Rangers would ultimately win, 4-2.

At no time during the playoffs has Wilson looked like a legitimate ace, prompting a groundswell of Rangers fans to implore the team not to go all in when he becomes a free agent at season's end.

Some of it has to do with his personality. He's a little cocky, which may - and I can't substantiate this so it's just a guess - be a first for an athlete in a high-profile position on an elite team.

Some of it has to do with the involuntary facial tic we as Rangers fans still have whenever we hear "Chan" "Ho" and "Park" in the same sentence and the accompanying trepidation over emptying the vault for a starting pitcher.

Most of it has to do with how he's pitched in this year's playoffs. Regardless of the reason, we need to get over it.

In just his second season in the rotation and his first as the Rangers' No. 1, Wilson finished in the top 15 in all of baseball in wins (16),

- capped by a Game 5 no decision in which he 5.1 IP/4 H/2 R/1 ER/5 BB/3 K - CJ Wilson: Exasperating? Occasionally. Subpar postseason? Yes. True ace? Not yet. Lots of Rangers fans saying good riddance as he enters free agency. Seriously? In his 2nd year in the rotation and 1st as their #1 starter, CJ was top 15 in all of MLB in Ws, ERA, Ks, IP & starts. So you WOULDN'T want 5 more years of that? Is there so much starting pitching on this team that you're ready to kick to the curb one of your homegrown pitchers just as he's coming into his own as a starter.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Mr. Woods Doesn't Go to Washington

In case you haven't heard, Tiger Woods will not play the U.S. Open next week because of his most recent leg injury. Lauren Shehadi and I discuss Tiger's decision on (I'm the one whose lips don't appear to be moving.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nelson: A Man in Full

This is the piece I wrote for upon the passing of Byron Nelson in September 2006. Part of it was read both at his funeral and the ceremony in Washington, D.C. when he was posthumously honored with the Congressional Gold Medal on June 26, 2007. That remains the highlight of my career in journalism.