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Harry Reid: Redskins name will be changed within three years

Washington Redskins helmetThe Washington Redskins have found a new way to try convincing people that the name of their team is not racist in nature. The team announced earlier this week that it will be making a number of charitable contributions to Native Americans, including over 3,000 cold weather coats, sneakers for boys and girls basketball players and a backhoe for a tribe in Omaha.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sees the new movement as a “phony deal” that is not going to help Daniel Snyder keep the Redskins name.

“Dan Snyder, he’s got a great new deal,” Reid told Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog on Thursday. “He’s going to throw a few blankets to the Indians and get a tax deduction for it. I can’t imagine why the man doesn’t realize that the name is going to change. It’s only a question of when it’s going to change. That’s the only question.”

Snyder has said in the past that the team will never changes its name, despite pressure from the mayor of Washington, D.C. and many others. Reid insists Snyder is on the “losing side of history,” citing similar issues like the University of North Dakota changing its Fighting Sioux nickname after Las Vegas multimillionaire Ralph Engelstad built the school a new hockey arena to try to convince them to keep the name.

“I think the name will be changed within the next three years,” Reid said. “You know, I may slip a year or two, but I think it’s just a question of time. Because Native Americans are organized. We have Native Americans who now are not all poor. We’ve got these Indian gaming establishments who have money, who are gonna help with this. And Dan Snyder’s not the only person in the world with money.”

Reid’s probably right. The issue is not going to go away no matter how much money Snyder throws at Native American tribes and organizations or how many letters Roger Goodell writes to Congress. Eventually, the pressure will become too great to overcome.

Transgender athlete Chloie Jonnson suing Crossfit for not allowing her to compete with women

Chloie-JonnsonA transgender athlete has filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against CrossFit after the popular fitness company refused to let her compete in the women’s division of upcoming the CrossFit Games.

Chloie Jonnson was born with a penis but underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2006. According to TMZ, she is legally recognized as a woman by the state of California. Despite that, CrossFit maintains that Jonnson has certain physiological advantages over women since she was born as a man.

“We have simply ruled that based upon [Chloie] being born as a male, she will need to compete in the Men’s Division,” the company wrote in a letter that was obtained by TMZ. The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women.”

Jonnson claims CrossFit is violating her civil rights by not letting her compete as a woman. The company does not seem to be feel threatened by the legal action.

“Our decision has nothing to do with ‘ignorance’ or being bigots — it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school,” CrossFit wrote.

CrossFit added that transgender athletes are welcomed into their gyms with open arms but that they will always remain committed to ensuring fairness when it comes to competition.

I’m no legal expert on this kind of stuff, so I really can’t say who is right or wrong here. Chloie is 5-foot-4 and weighs 151 pounds, so it’s not like she’d tower over the female competition. It will be interesting to see how the lawsuit is settled.

High school students chant ‘We want Slurpees’ at student who appeared to be Indian (Video)

We-Want-Slurpees-chantA group of students from Pittsford Southerland High School in New York embarrassed themselves during a basketball game last Friday night when they taunted an opposing player from Brighton High School who appeared to be of Indian decent. The students chanted “We Want Slurpees” while the opponent was at the free throw line, which is a reference to Indian-Americans owning 7-Eleven stores.

According to WROC 8, the Pittsford student who was leading the chant was removed from the game. The superintendents from both school regions released a joint statement on Monday regarding the incident.

“We were very disappointed to learn of this incident,” Brighton’s Kevin McGowan and Pittsford’s Mike Pero said. “We have been working with our colleagues in both districts throughout the weekend to address intolerant and unacceptable fan behavior. That work continues today. The students involved took full responsibility for their behavior, and attempts are being made to right this wrong between the students and to address the long- term learning that can arise from the disappointing behaviors of a few.”

The students who were responsible for the chant could face further disciplinary action from the school. The player who was taunted declined to comment.

Unfortunately, we see this type of stuff happen at all levels of sports. Last year, the Washington student section passed out flyers that encouraged students to taunt an opponent over his Iranian background. It’s just as uncalled for in high school as it is in college.

H/T Deadspin

Conner Mertens becomes first active college football player to come out as bisexual

Conner-MertensConner Mertens made history on Monday night. No college football player has ever come out as gay or bisexual while they were still playing. Mertens is a red-shirt freshman kicker for Division-III Willamette University, and his team and the public now know that he is bisexual.

Mertens asked Willamette coach Glen Fowles if he could meet with him last week to discuss something important. According to OutSports.com, Fowles was concerned that Mertens — who has the potential to be the team’s kicker for the next four seasons — might be transferring schools. He was relieved to hear that the freshman was staying.

“I’m bisexual,” Mertens told Fowles. “I like dudes. I have a boyfriend. And next week, I’m going to tell the world.”

Before he came out, Fowles had assured Mertens that he was a good kicker and would only be judged by his on-field performance. Fowles was an assistant coach with the Bearcats in 1997 when they became the first college football team to have a female kicker, Liz Heastons, participate in a game and score a point. That was one of the reasons Mertens chose Willamette. However, he feared that telling his teammates might be a lot tougher than telling Fowles.

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Grantland’s Bill Simmons apologizes for errors concerning Dr. V’s Magical Putter story about transgender inventor

Oracle GX1 putter

A story published by Grantland last week has captured the attention of the online journalism and LGBT communities, and it has sparked debate about the roles of writers, reporters and editors, and the media’s treatment of transgender people.

Last week, Grantland, a subsidiary website of ESPN founded and overseen by Bill Simmons, published a long feature about the story of a special golf putter. The feature told the story of the putter and the person behind it, and it exposed the inventor as a liar who made many false claims about her background. The story also outed the founder of the putter as a transgender. The woman who invented the putter committed suicide in October, likely at least in part because of the writer digging into her personal background against her wishes, and outing her to one of her top investors.

If you are curious to learn more about this story so that you can properly be informed about the issue, you have to read the entire feature to gain an understanding about it. But I’ll do my best to summarize.

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Tony Parker, Nicolas Anelka in trouble for making controversial ‘quenelle’ gesture

Nicolas-Anelka-quenelle-gestureSan Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker and Premier Leaguer striker Nicolas Anelka — both natives of France — have found themselves in hot water for making a controversial gesture that many perceive to be anti-Semitic. Anelka made the gesture, known as the “quenelle” salute, after scoring a goal on Saturday. A photo of Parker making the gesture alongside French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala surfaced over the weekend.

Some people believe the gesture is an inversion of the Nazi salute that has been made popular by Dieudonne. Parker, who said the photo of him and the comedian was several years old, released a statement of apology on Monday.

“While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it,” Parker said, via ESPN.com. “When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful.

“Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions. Hopefully this incident will serve to educate others that we need to be more aware that things that may seem innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt.”

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Fritz Pollard Alliance wants to end N-word use in NFL

Fritz PollardThe Fritz Pollard Alliance is calling on the NFL to end all use of the N-word by players on the field.

The issue of players using the N-word has received attention recently because of separate events involving Washington Redskins OL Trent Williams and Miami Dolphins OL Richie Incognito.

Williams complained on Sunday that referee Roy Ellison cursed at him during the game. But Williams has been accused of dropping an F-bomb and N-bomb on Ellison to elicit the response. Williams denied doing so.

Incognito is being accused of directing the slur at Jonathan Martin, whom he’s being accused of bullying.

Fritz Pollard was the first African-American coach in the NFL, and the organization has been instrumental encouraging the league to adopt policies such as the Rooney Rule that encourages the hiring of minority candidates.

In response to the aforementioned incidents, the alliance’s director and chair sent a statement calling for the end of the N-word in the NFL. Here is the statement sent by Harry Carson and John Wooten.

“As former players (along with thousands of others) who have worked hard in different eras of the game to leave proud legacies for those who follow us, we are appalled and extremely disappointed to learn that the worst and most derogatory word ever spoken in our country is being used during games as well as casually in the locker room,” the statement reads, per ESPN.

“We are not asking players to point fingers or to report who said what when. We are simply asking that you respect the dignity of your teammates, fellow players, officials, coaches, fans, and yourselves. Most importantly, we ask that you respect every man who has worn the uniform but especially those men who helped make the National Football League what it is today and have made it possible for you to follow in their footsteps.”

The statement mentions former players who were called that name in a derogatory fashion.

Per ESPN, the Alliance has called for the league to eject and fine players who use the word on the field.