Tag Archives: Sports

It’s Time We Let Michael Vick Off the Leash

7 Jan


This past Saturday, I joined most of America in watching the NFL Wildcard games. As I scrolled through my phone, scanning Twitter and Facebook, the overwhelming trend of the day was Ray Lewis. As he stepped on the field for his last home game, posts flooded my screen about what an icon he was, his legend, his unforgettable accomplishments.

It’s almost as if he was never an accessory to murder.

In case you are unaware, Ray Lewis was an accessory in the 2000 murder of Atlanta’s Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar- whose girlfriend was about seven months pregnant with his daughter at the time. What resulted was a messy court proceeding  that still remains unresolved. Instead of facing charges for his crime, Lewis accepted a plea deal to testify against his two friends and earned him only a year of probation and a fine from the NFL. Two men still remain dead with no one to blame, one little girl lives without ever knowing her father. The next year, Lewis was named Super Bowl MVP.

Meanwhile Philadelphia’s quarterback (for how long, is yet to be determined) Michael Vick is still facing an endless backlash for the dog fighting scandal that led to almost two years in jail and bankruptcy. When he joined the team in 2009 I was among the many to condemn him and Andy Reid. I despised the Eagles, and refused to watch. But then I saw what a changed man he was, and how hard Vick was working to right his wrongs, and my opinions have changed. I just wish that more people would see what change can do.

The point of our country’s federal prisons is to rehabilitate criminals to make them safe and substantial members of society.  Since his release from prison, Michael Vick has campaigned against dog fighting, joining the Humane Society‘s End Cruelty and Fighting Campaign and Pets for Life in a public fight to teach others from his mistakes. Meanwhile he continued to promote his own foundations within the community, Team Vick and the Michael Vick Foundation, and worked with the Eagles, while serving as a shining example of single fatherhood and tackling the challenging schedule of a professional athlete.  He is proof of the benefits of our judicial system, but he’s still received by most as a criminal, a monster. What’s the point of our federal courts if their benefits go unnoticed?

There’s a huge difference between Vick and Lewis and that lies entirely in the court system. Michael Vick owned up to his crimes and payed the price, while Lewis took a plea deal to testify against his two friends and save himself. Lewis never came forward to take responsibility for the night of his crime. Vick did his time, and Lewis sold out.

A real hero, a true legend, is not determined on the field. They are found in their actions off the field, in their ability to right their wrongs and help others along the way. Ray Lewis has done nothing to publicly own up to what he did: even if he didn’t stick the knife in, he lied to police and did nothing to help bring justice to two murdered men. Then he put on a helmet and won a few games, and suddenly to his fans all is forgiven. Maybe if Michael Vick went further this season, or got a Superbowl ring since his release, he would be more of a hero. But is that how we as a nation should judge our legends?

Jordan Burroughs: Gold Medal Interview

10 Aug

Hey athletes of the world, come talk to me, you’ll win a medal.

Yesterday I posted my interview with Carli Lloyd, the US Woman’s midfielder, before the gold medal match. Lloyd went on to score the only two goals of the game and secure the win for the USA.

And here’s my newest interview with Jordan Burroughs from June, a South Jersey wrestler who just won gold in the 74kg freestyle. I had a great time talking with Jordan: he was hilarious. At the same time when it came to talking about competition you could tell that he was in it to win it and would take no prisoners.

Meet Jordan here from my magazines website, or read below for the full interview: Continue reading

Interview: Carli Lloyd

9 Aug

I’ve been slacking pretty terribly when it comes to posting Olympic blogs. Mainly because I’ve been watching the Olympics.

I’m a huge fan of any competitive sport and all things American, so obviously I go nuts for the Olympics. I’m also a magazine editor (assistant editor, but who’s counting), so I get to work on fun stories all the time.

Last spring, I started a big, long feature on South Jersey’s Olympic athletes. It was without a doubt the most amazing thing I’ve ever had the opportunity to write. One of my highlights was getting to interview US Women’s soccer star midfielder Carli Lloyd, a South Jersey girl that has become a legend on the team for her perfect goals at the last minute. As a huge soccer fan, it was great to get to speak with such a strong woman in one of my favorite sports. Plus, she’s from my turf!

Her interview ran with my other interviews in condensed form, which can be seen here (yes, I’m shamelessly promoting my work and I’m fine with it) but I’ve decided to share my full-length interview on Erica Takes Over. Mainly because it’s too good not to be seen! Carli and team kick off at 2:45 in the gold medal match against their number one rivals, Japan, so make sure you catch it for me since I have to work.

Check out my full interview with Carli Lloyd after the jump!

Continue reading

Making Sense of Penn State

24 Jul

In the last few weeks the Penn State University scandal has completely blown up to reveal a lot of truths, and people are scrambling to  make sense of it all. Authorities are fighting to put things to rest, blame those who should be blamed, and move on, and the rest of us are all left with our own emotions of what’s going on.

Me? I’m glad Sandusky is where he belongs. I’m still upset that it took so long to get him behind bars, and there are things that I really can’t shake. In his older age he is now facing a harsh and terrifying reality, but he got to live a very long life before he was confronted with any penalties or pain. His victims, however, weren’t so lucky. He threw these children into a complete tailspin before they had a chance to really grow, he altered and damaged their lives before they even began. They didn’t have the opportunity to grow up and grow old before their lives were destroyed by him. And there is nothing that will ever fix that. No amount of time spent behind bars will ever give those children the full life every child should have. So is there justice? I don’t think there ever can be. At least the public can rest easy knowing he can’t ever hurt a child again.

When the Freeh Report came out I was really at a loss for words. I wouldn’t admit to myself for the longest time that a coach that I had so much respect for could do something like that. On Saturdays, when a shot of Joe Paterno flashed on the screen, my heart picked up a bit. And when he passed away last winter I felt truly sad, because I thought he left the world misunderstood and unappreciated. He was a legend. He was the greatest coach that ever lived. And then all of the sudden I learned that he really wasn’t. His greatness was measured in wins, and his discretion went hidden behind title after title. He’s no longer a hero to me, and in a way he never really was. His statue needed to go down, and I was heartbroken to see it. Not because I didn’t want it taken down, but because I couldn’t believe that he had deceived us all so horribly.

The latest ruling by the NCAA, abdicating the wins for the last 14 seasons and banning the team from bowl games for the next 4 years, was in my opinion unnecessary. I understand what they are trying to do: wipe away the legacy of Joe Paterno and show that this type of neglect will never be tolerated. And that has to be done, but not necessarily by the NCAA whose job is mainly to prevent student exploitation. In that process they are not helping students, who were never involved in this scandal. Sure, they are punishing the bad guys but they are also wiping away 14 years of student history, attempting to take away wins from the students who have been made playing pieces in this terrible scandal. I had wished that they would have found a way to punish those that deserved it without hurting those that shouldn’t have been hurt.

Finally I look at the students of Penn State and am a little shocked at their insensitive reactions. Tears over football games? Running through the streets to defend your coach? I understand school pride, but that should not come first in regards to human decency. Plenty of people shed tears over the victims of this horrible scandal, as they should have, but the students who sat crying together when they found out that their team couldn’t play bowl games for four years looked plain selfish. I didn’t agree with the NCAA ruling either, but I respect the NCAA for taking a stand for what is right. Extremities were needed to pay homage to the victims and to show America that football does not come before the rights of every person.

Overall, as a sports fan, I am still hurt by what happened. I wish it had never happened. But as a person, I am glad that so much has been done to assure that bad people are punished and no longer glorified. At the end of the day, PSU football is just a sport.

Erica’s Hot 100… Men!

2 Jun

With the introduction of my Hot 100 just a few nights ago, I thought it would only be fair to the men of the media to make a hot 100 list of the opposite gender. It was hard, but I struggled through it and got it together.

Without any more interruptions, my male hotties.
Continue reading

Ilya Bryzgalov and his Tiny Violin

11 May

Since the Flyers have eliminated themselves in the playoffs a few nights ago, most of the team has tried to stay upbeat and think about next season. That is, of course, with the exception of our loud-mouth goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov.

When Ilya, one of the highest payed goaltenders in the NHL, started rambling about tigers and the universe on HBO’s 24/7 I thought he was really hilarious. There’s obviously a screw loose somewhere in his head, but it was okay because it’s not like he was doing any harm in the process.

Then he started to go downhill.

Bryzgalov had a really bad streak for way too long in the middle of this season. He stunk. He was making more than most players on the team, and was sitting on the bench more than anyone too. So you can imagine how fans reacted. Not well.

A few months ago the Phillies’ newest relief pitcher Jonathon Papelbon said how much he respected Philly fans because they were knowledgeable about the sports they loved so much, and that’s why I love being a Philadelphia sports fan so much. People don’t just like the Phillies because their parents are from Philadelphia or because they live close to the city (cough, ANY NEW YORK FAN, cough). Of course those are determining factors in fandom, but Philly fans genuinely know the sport and know what to expect from their players…

…Which brings me back to Ilya. Ohhhh, Ilya. He loves to complain about fans. During the hockey season he told one fan that he “cared too much” and then, when he was benched for the Winter Classic, turned weird with interviews and Twitter posts.

Now that the season ends- a season that he came back to kick in the butt and rocked in the playoffs- for some reason Bryz feels the need to open his mouth again, saying:

“We have an excellent team,” Bryzgalov said. “All the guys are good, the management is great. But there is a lot of negativity surrounding the team. You did everything you could on the ice, you go to the locker room and someone yells some nonsense at your back. They’re ready to eat you alive. It’s unpleasant, because we are all people.”

Oh, and saying this too:

““What I lived through this season I wouldn’t wish to an enemy. I understand the fans. They paid their money and want the show, but many forget we’re not robots but living people.”

Color me annoyed. Seriously Ilya? Seriously? Your life is so so hard. Oh, let’s all hold hands, light a few candles, and cry for Ilya Bryzgalov.

He can’t seem to understand why fans might be annoyed about losses, so here, I’ll fill him in. We don’t get payed to love Philadelphia teams. This isn’t our career, but it is still our life. We devote our lives to one set of teams. We come home from our jobs and experience these teams as a solid and important part of our lives. When our team loses, we feel it. When we pay hundreds of dollars for tickets just so the Flyers can lose Ilya Bryzgalov sits on a bench counting his money and thinking about tigers, we get upset. And when the season ends, we don’t consult our agents to find what team is a better fit for us next season. We stay here.

If Ilya Bryzgalov wants to go home and cry about it, that’s fine, but keep your mouth shut in the media. Because the people that he is insulting, the people that give him a hard time when he does poorly, are the people that care about him in his profession. And that’s why he’s a big ol’ jerk that needs to get over it.

Mike Rizzo Needs to Stop Talking

7 May

I’m a big sports fan, and baseball is my number one. The Phillies are just… they’re just wonderful and Cole Hamels is one of the leaders of our team. Last night during a game in Washington Cole Hamels hit the Washington Nationals’ newcomer, Bryce Harper, with a pitch that sent Harper to first. Big deal, happens all the time. In fact, just a few innings later the Nationals’ pitcher Ryan Zimmerman somehow made the same little flub and hit Hamels while he was at bat. The odds!

Today Cole Hamels came out admitting that he intentionally hit Bryce Harper during the pitch, saying “That’s just — you know what, it’s something that I grew up watching, that’s what happened, so I’m just trying to continue the old baseball — I think some people kind of get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything just because that’s the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball.”

Did Hamels need to open his mouth and admit what he did? No, not really and I don’t really see why he did. But I don’t respect him any less, because he was just stating the obvious. Stating what everyone that watches baseball knows, that pitchers hit players on purpose. It’s a part of the game that I originally hated, but have now accepted. Every player expects it, every pitcher knows they have to do it. It’s a part of the game, as much as stealing bases and using a glove is. And Hamels didn’t aim for a knee cap, or elbow, or wrist, or somewhere that could end this kid’s career. He hit him in the butt. So maybe baby Bryce will have a bruise on his tushy for a few days, but besides that everyone survives another game (except Jayson Werth, but that’s another story entirely) .

After Cole Hamels came out saying what he did, the Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo decided he needed to open his pie hole (the Nationals entire league is always flapping their gums about something) and call Hamels a string of weak insults, like “fake tough” for hitting a young player and saying it was a “It was a gutless chicken [bleep] [bleeping] act.”

Mike Rizzo is an idiot.  Oh yeah, Cole Hamels is “fake tough” for intentionally hitting a player and then admitting it. Because Zimmerman didn’t intentionally hit Hamels later on and then say nothing. That seems more “fake tough” to me. And every single pitcher in the MLB doesn’t do the exact same thing. Cole Hamels just has the guts to come out and admit it while Zimmerman sits behind his GM sucking his thumb as he rants like an idiot. Chase Utley used to be the most hit player in the league and you don’t see any Phillie fans (or general managers for that matter) whining about it.

The fact is that intentional hits are a part of baseball. Hamels is a seasoned player who understands that. And just because a player is young doesn’t save him from the consequences of being a professional baseball player. It’s kind of pathetic that people are crowding around this player and sheltering him just because he’s young.  If you can’t handle playing with the big boys then go back to t-ball. (sidenote: I dislike Bryce Harper, mainly because he feels the need to COVER HIS FACE in eye black. Stupid kid.)

First of all, Rizzo, and every Nationals fan out there don’t kid yourself: there is no Phillies/Nationals rivalry. The Phillies own Washington D.C., it’s obvious every time they roll in with full force for every series. The only reason Philadelphia comes into Washington D.C. during the series in the first place is because tickets are easier to get than in Philly, its relatively close, and it’s a fun weekend trip. Not because anyone in Philadelphia feels any sort of threat, rivalry, or fear over the Nationals, a team with the same logo as Walgreens.  Yet they still insist on constantly pushing this “rivalry” like something between the two teams exist. The Nationals are annoying. They’re like the kid in high school that chases you around at the end of the year relentlessly trying to get you to sign their yearbook. Just quit already.

The Nationals are a bunch of whiners trying to start a rivalry with a team that easily surpasses their talent and history by leaps and bounds. They need to stop wasting their time, grabbing the Phillies sloppy seconds, and learn a little bit more about baseball before they open their mouths, because now Rizzo just sounds flat-out stupid.