Episode 119: Mental Health in Sports, Cheating in Sports, and an interview with Devereaux Peters
On this week’s show, Lindsay, Brenda, Amira, and Jessica talk about the WNBA fight this past weekend [9:05] before they turn their attention to mental health in sports. [23:59] Then Lindsay interviews former Notre Dame and WNBA Star Devereaux Peters about the launch of her new production company, More than 94, and how to improve the media coverage of the WNBA. [38:16] Finally, the gang discusses cheating in sports. [53:07]
Of course, you’ll hear the Burn Pile, [1:04:56] our Bad Ass Woman of the Week, starring Hinako Shibuno, [1:08:18] and what is good in our worlds. [1:16:01]
Video: Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi Among 6 Ejected in Mercury-Wings Fight: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2849229-video-brittney-griner-diana-taurasi-among-6-ejected-in-mercury-wings-fight
Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi Among 5 Players Suspended for W.N.B.A. Fight: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/sports/basketball/brittney-griner-wnba-fight.html
Report: NBA Finalizes Expanded Mental Health Program, Adds Licensed Psychiatrists: https://www.si.com/nba/2019/08/07/nba-expanded-mental-health-program-licensed-psychologists
Why Are So Many Teen Athletes Struggling With Depression?: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2019/04/teen-athletes-mental-illness/586720/
Coalition aims to expand conversation around sports and mental health: https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/news/coalition-aims-expand-conversation-around-sports-and-mental-health
The NFL’s Latest Approaches to Mental Health: https://www.si.com/nfl/2019/07/18/mental-health-players-pain-management-marijuana-cbd
Rosie Ruiz, Who Faked Victory in Boston Marathon, Dies at 66: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/sports/rosie-ruiz-boston-marathon-dead.html
The Biggest Cheats in Team Sports: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/06/17/sports/cardinals-astros-cheat-teams.html
New NCAA agent requirements are rooted in racism — just like everything else the NCAA does: https://thinkprogress.org/the-new-ncaa-agent-requirements-are-rooted-in-racism-just-like-everything-else-the-ncaa-does-140afb431ef7/
Rich Paul’s Klutch shot killed the worst part of the NCAA agent rule. The rest should go, too: https://www.sbnation.com/nba/2019/8/13/20803351/rich-paul-ncaa-rule-agents-klutch-sports-basketball-gmib
U.S. Soccer hires lobbyists to argue women’s national team isn’t underpaid: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/07/us-soccer-lobbyists-womens-national-team-not-underpaid-1452331
Kenny Stills: It Was 'The Right Decision' To Call Out Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/kenny-stills-dolphins-stephen-ross-donald-trump_n_5d4d89a9e4b0066eb710edb6
Navy Football Drops ‘Load the Clip’ Season Motto: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/sports/navy-football-motto-load-the-clip.html
Orlando Pride Defender Toni Pressley Diagnosed with Breast Cancer: https://www.orlandocitysc.com/post/2019/08/07/orlando-pride-defender-toni-pressley-diagnosed-breast-cancer
Gauff, McNally win Citi Open doubles: https://www.wtatennis.com/news/gauff-mcnally-win-citi-open-doubles-way-were-playing-we-can-go-far-we-want
'This is what you work for': Pegula romps to first WTA singles title at Citi Open: https://www.wtatennis.com/news/what-you-work-pegula-romps-first-wta-singles-title-citi-open
Zheng Saisai won her first-ever WTA title at San Jose after defeating Aryna Sabalenka: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/tennis/chinas-zheng-saisai-captures-1st-singles-title-at-san-jose/2019/08/04/3af6ccd0-b720-11e9-8e83-4e6687e99814_story.html
20-year-old golfer Hinako Shibuno won the AIG Women's British Open at Woburn: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/05/sport/hinako-shibuno-japan-golf-womens-british-open-spt-intl/index.html
Jessica: Hi flamethrowers, Jessica here. A quick reminder, we record the podcast on Sunday mornings and then we release it on Tuesdays, because it takes time to edit. Normally, that's fine, but this time around we had multiple things we've talked about, move in the media cycle, so we encourage you to look up all the writing that people have done about the WNBA fight on Saturday, to look at Liz Cambage's piece that she released on Sunday late morning, I believe, at the Players' Tribune, about her struggles with mental health. And we wanted to let you know that on Monday, that the NCAA amended its Rich Paul rule, which we'll hear Lindsay burn in the burn pile. All right, let's get into it.
Welcome to Burn It All Down, the feminist sports podcast you need, I'm Jessica Luther, freelance journalist and Author in Austin, Texas. And on today's show, I'm joined by Lindsay Gibbs, a reporter at ThinkProgress in Washington, DC, Brenda Elsey, an Associate Professor of History at Hofstra on Long Island, and Amira Rose Davis, an Assistant Professor of History in African American Studies at Penn State University. Shireen is out this week because today is Eid. And while we know you all will not hear this until Tuesday, Eid Mubarak to everyone who celebrated.
First things first, as always, thank you to our patrons who supported this podcast through our ongoing Patreon campaign to make Burn It All Down possible. If you would to become a patron, it's easy. Go to patreon.com/burnitalldown. For as little as $2 per month, you can access an exclusive extra Patreon-only segment every month, or for a bit more, a monthly behind the scenes vlog, a chance at giveaways, or even to be a part of the show. Also, we want to remind you all that Burn It All Down will be live in Nashville in about a month. You can see us on Monday, September 9th at 10:00 AM, at the Music City Center as part of the Shift conference, which is being put on by the YWCA of Nashville and middle Tennessee.
On today's show, we're going to talk once more about mental health in sports after a big announcement this week from the NBA. Lindsay interviews former Notre Dame and WNBA star, Devereaux Peters about the launch of her new production company, More Than 94, and how to improve the media coverage of the WNBA. And then we will talk about cheating in sports in honor of one of the biggest cheats in sports ever, Rosie Ruiz, who passed away this week. And of course, we'll cap off today's show by burning things that deserve to be burned, doing shout outs to women who deserve shout outs, and telling you what is good in our worlds.
But first, before we get into all of that, there was a fight last night, Saturday night in the WNBA. Lindsay, what happened?
Lindsay: Okay. So, last night, in the game between the Dallas Wings and the Phoenix Mercury that was taking place on West Coast Times, so this was all happening past midnight eastern time. Brittney Griner and Kristine Anigwe ... Kristine Anigwe is a freshman who played at Cal ... I mean, a rookie. So, she's a rookie, that's what you're called when you're a professional. She's a rookie in the WNBA, who played at Cal. She actually was just traded from Connecticut, the Connecticut Sun to the Dallas Wings because she wanted more playing time and she got it. Sorry. And not just because she wanted more playing time, but anyways ... So, she's tussling with Brittney Griner in the post in this game, and she punches Brittney Griner, and Brittney Griner is going to fight back, and Kristine Anigwe runs. I've never seen anyone run like this. She sprints away from Griner on the court.
I was joking with the cohost beforehand that it reminded me of me running away from all of my bad decisions. So, anyways, where we are right now is, this just happened, there were five ejections in the game. I'm sure we're going to see some suspensions. This is going to get a lot of attention, there's going to be a lot of hand-wringing over how much attention this gets, because people are going to say, "Why don't we highlight the good stuff that happens and not the bad stuff?" But I would like to think that here at Burn It All Down, there's room for both, and honestly this was entertaining, and this is going to get attention, and it should get attention. That doesn't mean that the WNBA shouldn't get more attention for other things as well. But I don't know, I'm not going to be one of the ones hand-wringing over this. How do y'all feel?
Jessica: Yeah, I think it was funny to me, I get the press releases from the Dallas Wings, and so their press release came in last night about, they won their first road game in 18 games or something. It goes back to last year, they haven't won a road game in forever, and they don't mention this at all! There's a literal writeup of what happens during the game, and then all of a sudden, they come back from being down and they win the game and it's a big deal, but they don't mention anything. They don't even mention the ejections in the press release, which I think is hilarious. Amira, did you see this?
Amira: Yeah, I did and I was ... I'm not opposed to fights, but I definitely think that they're sensationalized a bit when-
Jessica: That's true.
Amira: ... there's women involved, the old adage that when the WNBA makes SportsCenter, it's when there's a fight. But for me, the biggest thing was A) what Lindsay already said how FAST she was running, to be fair-
Jessica: She can run! Anigwe got speed-
Amira: I would run ... right. And also, I would also run from Britney, so I get it, I get it. But for me, the biggest thing was that I felt by the end of it, everybody was off the bat, everybody was holding somebody and whatnot. So, in addition to Brittney, there was five other people ejected, and three of those, for me, I was just like, you couldn't really ... I felt it was getting a little ... I feel like that was definitely an effort to get control of it, but I feel like at that point, you need to either send everybody off or just be very clear, this is between the two of them and this is somebody else who escalated it. But really, I don't think ... it wasn't the craziest brawl I've ever seen.
Lindsay: Because she ran!
Amira: Because she ran, exactly.
Jessica: It was a lot of just holding Brittney Griner back. Brenda, did you catch it?
Brenda: No, after the fact, I mean, I've seen it by now because it made the rounds on social media and from you all. But I just remember in 2008, with the Shock/Sparks brawl, which was supposedly the first one in WNBA history. There were legions of articles about how that brawl was going to set the WNBA on a path of success.
Jessica: Oh, for real?
Brenda: Yeah. I mean, we can post them in the show notes, there was a lot, and it just ... I don't know, it is sensationalized when it's women, and black bodies as spectacles, the whole thing, but it also is just ... It's kind of fun to watch.
Lindsay: The thing is, men’s fights get a lot of attention too. There is a difference in how it's sensationalized, but one of the things I actually was looking really into that 2008 Shock/Sparks fight last year around the 10th anniversary. And one of the things was, yes, it is sensationalized, but also everyone's heard of the Malice at the Palace, the NBA fight from Detroit. But this was also the Malice at the Palace, and honestly, I hadn't heard of it. So, it brings up interesting conversations, and the reason why I am not against talking about it, is because I think sometimes people and programs shy away from ... There's a lot of people within the women's sports community who only want the positive highlighted, and want none of the negative. And to me, this is part of sports, this is part of athletics, but I want to be clear of course, I realize the reason why this irks people is because you don't get the morning shows talking about the WNBA championship, and it needs to be equal, more equal.
And also, there's going to be a lot of sexism and racism thrown in, and homophobia thrown in to this conversation, I'm sure. And probably by the time you're all listening to this, that conversation will be raging, and we will of course follow up. It's not even been 12 hours since this fight. Right now, it's ... yeah.
Jessica: All right. Amira, want to get us started on talking about mental health?
Amira: Certainly. As just noted, we've had this conversation before, and this is a good time to revisit it on the heels of the NBA announcement this week, announcing an expanded set of mental health policies for the upcoming season. These policies include the fact that all teams must have at least one mental health professional on retainer, and that professional has to have experience in both assessment as well as actual treatment of clinical mental health issues. So, it can't just be some Joe off the street. Additionally, each team has to identify a licensed psychiatrist who will be on hand to also help with the management of any mental health issues. And there also needs to be written action plans for mental health emergencies, and all teams need to attend a health and wellness meeting that will happen in Chicago in September.
Now, this policy comes on after a year in with many NBA players, including Kevin Love, wrote op-eds in the Players Tribune, gave interviews, talked very candidly about their mental health struggles. If you remember back in February, Commissioner Adam Silver discussed this actually at meetings when he talked about the need and the desire of players that were robust mental health offerings. And so, I think that this is a very significant ... On one hand, this is a very significant program. It reveals a commitment to mental health and the expansive coverage of it, and actually a step and taking this seriously. I think that if you also look at another thing that happened over the past week where Brian Dawkins, former safety on the Philadelphia Eagles basically was part of this huge summit, do a part of this network called Stay In The Game, which was exploring not only mental health awareness in sports, but sports role in promoting and helping mental wellness.
It had representatives from the NBA, from the NFL, from baseball, hockey, from MLS, and U.S. swimming and boxing actually. And it was by what I've read, a really good summit that talked about battling depression, battling suicide, and the way that both sports can improve on providing those resources to athletes, but also how sports can be a space in which you help your mental health. And so, I think that both of those things together, demonstrate perhaps a new space in which we can talk about mental health and sports. But the other side of this, as you heard me name all the representatives at that summit, you might've noticed a decided lack of a women's athletic organizations involved, and I think that that goes back to this NBA announcement where you actually have WNBA players commenting, and I think is DeShields who retweeted their announcement tweet and said, "Must be nice."
I think that that's something that I'm really interested in hearing you guys talk about, is the gendered breakdown of mental health resources. Certainly, just in the past few weeks, Liz Cambage, she has been open and honest in saying her short break was really good, and she said there was a lot going on with her, both mentally and physically, and the ability to articulate that is I think really important. There's been no shortage of women athletes also talking about mental health concerns across a variety of sports. And so, I just for me, remember I had a student who played basketball at Penn State, who did her own podcast on mental health issues in sports, and she interviewed male players as well as women on her team. And one of the things that was really interesting when she was doing this investigation, is thinking about the gender stigmas that we have on seeking help and talking.
I think that this provides a really fruitful, at least foundation for this conversation. I would love to hear what you guys think about these expanded ... the announcement by the NBA, but then also, perhaps we can think a little bit about the women's league getting the same support and if not, perhaps why.
Jessica: Yeah. Thank you, Amira. I feel like it's just the constant discussion around women's sports, right? Girl’s and women's sports, so they just have less resources for so many things. So of course, it's going to show up in this way as well. I do want to give a shout out to Royce White, who was a NBA player back in 2012, 2013, and he was super open about the fact that he had general anxiety disorder, which solidarity from me over here for that. And it really hurt him in a lot of ways, and he was ostracized, but he pushed very hard, just six, seven years ago, for there to be policies this, and was really, really vocal about it, and so credit to him for pushing the league, the NBA in particular. I also wanted to mention that the NFL, which I find really interesting space for mental health is doing new stuff. There's a new agreement between the league and players that every team has to have behavioral health team clinicians and pain management specialists, which I think is a really interesting combo when you think about the NFL.
One thing when we talk about gendered aspects of mental health, especially around the NFL, which is hyper-masculine. Is anyone going to ever admit that they're mentally weak? And how does that work actually within a space like that where any kind of weakness ... I mean, the fact that they have a pain management specialist alongside, behavioral health team clinician really shows you how much you're never allowed to be weak in any way, and they all take a lot of painkillers to make sure that they can play ... so they're not physically hurt, but also, what is like it to break that barrier in a space like that, and actually ask for help and get it for mental stuff, which has all of this other stigma around it? Bren?
Brenda: Yeah so interestingly, well, global soccer I should say, is way, way behind. It’s so far behind, that in fact, the big news about a week ago was that Prince William was launching with the FAA of England, the Football Association, a campaign called Heads Up, which is just making people aware that they should seek mental health treatment. And what was interesting ... And actually his larger initiative started in 2016, but the reason this made news is that the Heads Up, they're trying to relaunch it, because it was absolutely unsuccessful. So, it was really interesting because he presented, and I have all kinds of feelings about the monarchy just by the way, gross, but whatever. So, it's awkward, like why is he even the only person? But hats off to him for being the only person, but at the World Economic Forum he presented, and one of the things that was really, really striking and sad, is that he couldn't get any celebrities on board. The royal family couldn't ... People are obsessed with what kind of toilet paper they use, and he couldn't get anybody to sign up for it because of the stigma surrounding it. So, I just thought that was really poignant to think about, that even Prince William just couldn't get anybody on board. I don't know.
Jessica: Wow, that is a statement. Lindsay?
Lindsay: Yeah. I've heard that the WNBA players are ... this is something that is being brought up in the CBA, the collective bargaining agreement negotiations, so that could be a little bit of why the WNBA wasn't included in this, although it's just to me, another frustrating example of how the women have to fight for everything. I think one of the biggest takeaways for me in all this is, I was actually talking to former Georgetown basketball coach and current monumental basketball mind, John Thompson, and he I asked him about this new initiative, and he said this came from the players. This is because this is what the players wanted. They were using their voices and these men were really speaking up. And so, I think that you've got to give kudos to all of the players who have been open. This is something that I wish leagues would provide, and I wish that we could make progress without individuals having to step out and share things that can make them really vulnerable and things that are really hard to share.
But the truth is that these systems aren't going to change because the people in charge are kind and forward thinking. It's a form of advocacy work that we've seen, Kevin Love, and DeMar DeRozan, and these players take on. It is interesting this past week, Liz Cambage did not travel with the Las Vegas Aces to Dallas last week when they were playing the Wings. And then she also sat out another game against the ... It was a half a game against the Washington Mystics, because the first half, there had been an earthquake at halftime, naturally, duh. So, the whole half of the game just had to be made up a month later, which is just totally normal. That game was in Vegas, that second half, and she wasn't even with the team. She essentially took a week away, and it hasn't been explicitly said, but it's been very much ... it is definitely ... it's been called for rest, but it's not body rest, it's been for her mental health.
And she's been so open about her mental health struggles in the past, when I talked to her for The Ringer profile I did on her last year, and she really opened up about depression and anxiety, and in all of this stuff. And for me, there was something ... She's back with the team now, she's back fully in practice, but I was really proud of Bill Laimbeer, the coach of the Aces for allowing her this time, for not making a huge deal about it. Of course, we don't know what went on behind the scenes. I was glad that she seemed comfortable to ask for it, and of course, she has more leverage. She's a superstar, so we know it's going to be a lot harder for the 12th woman on the team to ask for such accommodations, but you have to start somewhere. I just thought it was really to me, refreshing and I thought really important to see that happen.
I know right now she's still easing her way back, she's not giving one on one interviews right now, and I don't think it's been explicitly addressed, but I have a feeling it will be in the future knowing her and knowing Bill, and I just want to give kudos to the Aces and Las Vegas for allowing what essentially looked like a allowing Liz Cambage a mental health break.
Jessica: Yeah, that's amazing. And I totally feel what you're saying about how these players really take on the burden of talking publicly about things that are really difficult to talk publicly about. But I also feel thankful when they do it as someone who struggles with different mental health issues. I wanted to mention very quickly that Naomi Osaka had an Instagram post somewhere in the last month, where ... I don't know if she specifically mentioned mental health, but just talked about her own struggles internally with loving the game and the pressure of it all, and it reminded me of Nick Kyrgios, who's an Australian tennis player who did an interview with the No Challenges Remaining podcast, where he talked about the dark side of all of this. And he wouldn't get into it, but it was clear that the mental health of participating in the sport can be a lot. Those moments mean a lot to me as a fan and as someone who gets it, and to see it reflected in people who are extremely successful is really something to me. Amira?
Amira: Yeah. Much of this conversation to me, links to efforts being done in mental health communities to destigmatize mental health, particularly in Black communities, and I think about ... I mentioned just about mental toughness and masculinity, and I think a lot of this was also compounded by race, and who is seen as mentally fit or what is seen as a weakness is really wrapped up in perceptions of who needs help and how and why. I think about that a lot. And then the other part of this that I think about is connecting it to our conversations about maternal resources for pregnant and parenting women athletes, and I think about postpartum depression, and how important it is if leagues are going to have more robust maternity policies, and as we see more and more athletes make comebacks after giving birth, how important mental health resources at that league level become, especially when you're dealing with people with postpartum depression and dealing with those compounded battles.
And so, I think that there’s wide reaching implications of these conversations, and I, for one, I'm really happy to see the NBA roll out because I'm hoping that it's just the beginning of many kind of efforts that can borrow their playbook and perhaps expand upon it, and get folks the resources that they need.
Jessica: Yes, and this is obviously an important topic to us here at Burn It All Down. And so, if you like this discussion, if you'd like to hear more about it, I definitely encourage you to go look in our archives because we have covered this repeatedly on the show, and we will continue to talk about this.
Up next, Lindsay's interview with former Notre Dame and WNBA star, Devereaux Peters. They talk about the launch of her new production company, More Than 94, and how to improve the media coverage of the WNBA.
Lindsay: All right. Hi, this is Lindsay, and I am here today joined by former WNBA and Notre Dame star and current producer extraordinaire, Devereaux Peters. Hi Dev, how are you?
Devereaux: Good, how are you?
Lindsay: Good. Thanks so much for joining us. Let's get right into it. I've been following you on social media for some time, and you've been hinting at a production company doing something that's going to change the way female athletes are covered. And I know that launched recently, you launched a YouTube channel, More Than 94, tell us about it. How did that get started and what made you want to take this task on?
Devereaux: It started about a year ago. Yes, it's been ... Well, actually a little bit over a year now. But I had been wanting to do for a couple of years, something more than the video blog I was doing Down & Dirty. Man, I felt like it had run its course and I was getting bored with it, and I wanted to do something different. And so, initially I had thought of doing just some type of series on YouTube with players, where you get to know them a little better. And then I started ... That was the summer that I was not playing because I had surgery on my hips. And so that summer I actually spent going to visit people and shooting stuff with them, and then in the fall, I wrote that Washington Post piece about men challenging me to a one-on-one. After that, the response that I got from women was ridiculous, it was so many women that reached out to me in practically any field that you could think of, and they were all like, "Hey, we've had this similar experience, and I'm an engineer, and my boss does this and this and this."
And all these women coming to me saying like, yeah we know exactly what you're talking about, we've experienced that too. The response was overwhelming for me just because I felt like that was just me talking about my experience, and not everybody can identify with being a professional basketball player, but it was like that experience carried on through different fields. And so, after that and listening to all these women that were reaching out to me and speaking with them, I realized that a lot of us are living the same lives and going through the same experiences just in different areas. And so, it was kind of like, man, we have this connection, even if you're not a basketball fan. I had a lot of people reach out to me and follow me after that and want to see what I was doing, even after the fact, and it was all because they relate it to my experience, and it had nothing to do with basketball.
And so, I felt after that that we could really be making connections with people outside of just basketball fans that may follow a player because of something else that they're doing in their community or something else that they're interested in. I felt like as a league, we haven't tapped into that at all, and we have one of the most educated leagues in the country. We have all these players who the WNBA is not their main source of income, so they have other businesses that they're involved with. They have foundations that they run, they're involved in all these community events and things, and you don't get to hear about any of those things. Meanwhile, on the other hand, you have the NBA who everything that they do on vacation, you know when they go to the bathroom, you know when they bought a new car-
Lindsay: We know way too much-
Devereaux: ... you know everything about them, exactly. And so, I'm like, here we have this diverse group of women, amazing women that are doing all these things that we don't hear about. So, I wanted to really tap into that, and start to really grow our league by allowing players to tell their stories and allowing people to identify with them more and hear about them more, and learn how interesting and amazing that they are. So, that's how it started, is that I just wanted to be able to connect us to people outside of the basketball realm.
Lindsay: Wow. So, it launched last week, I believe, where you had a great conversation with your fellow Notre Dame comrade, Jewell Loyd, what's the plan going forward?
Devereaux: I just launched my interview series CheckUp, which will be 12 episodes, it's going to be one player from each team. And so, I'll be posting those once a week for the next couple months. And then after that, I actually just finished a mini documentary that I'm going to put out, I'm not going to give the details on that yet, but I'm very excited about it.
Lindsay: Oh, come on!
Devereaux: I'm very excited about that. That's been my baby for the past year, we just finished post production about a couple of weeks ago. So, that's what I want my bread and butter to be, is mini documentaries, like six to eight minute mini documentaries on some things that y'all will be hearing about later.
Lindsay: Awesome, okay. All right. A little teaser, I guess we'll have to have you back when that launches.
Lindsay: Fine, fine, fine. Well, so from your time, how many years were you in the W? Was it five, six seasons?
Devereaux: Six, I believe.
Lindsay: Six. What can you tell us about the media coverage, because I know you've talked a lot about how there's ... we all know if there's not enough of it, and that it can be pretty shallow. During your time, did you notice any progression or was there any market you were in, where you thought that the coverage was better than in other places, or I guess what were your feelings about it overall?
Devereaux: Honestly, no. I think across the board, it's just not very good from the top down, and I think this year with the rebrand, they've done a little bit better. I mean, they're starting to take steps in the right direction, and hopefully they continue to do that, because even with this little bump in marketing that they've put out there, we've seen the numbers go up as far as viewership. I mean, there's a direct correlation there. I don't understand why that's so difficult to put in the effort to do these things, because this is not a shock, but I think that the teams do that the best they can. But overall, it's just not there, and they don't have the support to even get some of the things that we should get done, like as far as marketing, they don't have enough support. And so, I know it's difficult and that it puts a lot of pressure on each team individually, but as a whole, I think the league needs to do a lot better.
I think it's just ... honestly, I think it's just a lack of effort. I think that there's a lot of people in the office and everywhere else that's understaffed, but there are a lot of people that are just not willing to take those steps to put in the work to get things done as far as our marketing goes in and even media.
Lindsay: Yeah, I would completely agree. And it's one thing we're always looking at with this next CBA, and I think Diana Taurasi went off in this great interview on espnW, where she said, we talked about all these little things, but end of the day, they're just not putting money into it, they're just not paying us enough, and then you're just not seeing enough of an investment, and it seems that sometimes I get afraid that the league has over identified itself with this scrappy underdog mentality, and that's where it feels safe, is just skating by. Whereas to take the next steps and to really take this to the next level where hopefully players can stay here year round, or the marketing is where these people are household names, then I think it's going to take a huge investment that I get worried that they're not willing to even put in. Do you think that that's a fair assessment?
Devereaux: Yeah, I agree. I just think that honestly, they're definitely not making the investment, but I don't think ... My theory is that we don't want, for whatever reason, we’re the NBA subsidiary right, but we do everything as a means to the NBA, which is a problem. I think that we need to have our own identity, so for example, if we're trying to get an endorsement with somebody, we don't have any endorsements on our own. Everything is through the NBA, which is a problem. You have a league full of women who go out, players that go out and get endorsements on their own, so it's possible. It's not like it's like you've never seen it, and it's like, oh you can't market with these women because it's not been done, it's being done. Players are going out and getting endorsement deals from all types of companies. But as a league, we go out and you're like, oh, you're just trying to take the NBA scraps.
I always bring up the point like, how is that we're a women's league and we don't have a sponsorship with Tampax or any type of feminine products? Like nail polish, hair products, all this stuff that women use consistently, that market towards women specifically, why wouldn't we be trying to go into those spaces? It doesn't really make a lot of sense to me, because you go in every single locker room and there's Dove shampoo that we have to bring on, every team brings on road trips. Why are we not trying to market it to brands that are specific towards women? I just think that's effort, people just aren't putting in the time. And I'm like, the same thing with the media, I know that there are a ton of people that are just going out on their own, like you guys and all these different people and groups on Twitter and everything that are just going out and getting these stories on their own and putting in the work, so it's possible. But I mean, with media it's even harder because it's expensive.
If you want to put out and produce really good content, it costs money. And to try to do that on your own is tough, but the NBA has the money to put in towards this, they're just not doing it, and yet we're a subsidiary, but they treat us like a stepchild. It's weird, I don't really understand why it works that, and I don't solely put the blame on the WNBA, because I know we're understaffed, we don't have the resources ourselves. I also think the other issue is that a lot of people come through the WNBA looking to get to the NBA. So, there's not a lot of people that are here to be here for us, they're here to use us as a stepping stone, and that's everywhere from reps to front office people to anywhere. And I think that's part of the problem with not wanting to put an effort, because if this is not where you really want to be, why would you put any effort into it?
Lindsay: Yeah. No, I think that's a brilliant point, and that's something I think about a lot as far as even down to the player's association only having three full time people, or you look at the All Star Weekend, which was phenomenal. I was talking to friends who go to the NBA All Star Weekends, and the amount of the events the NBA puts on during that week is just ... I mean, we're talking 10, 15 times more than the amount of investment they put into bringing the WNBA and women's basketball community, and sponsorship community, and social justice community, and everything together during WNBA All Star. And that's because there's no company, there's no group dedicated to just doing that for the WNBA. They're all NBA afterthought people.
Lindsay: Yeah. Well, look, let's end on a positive note, although I feel like I'm just getting started talking to you, but this WNBA season has been really exciting. I know you were doing a regular co-host job over on our favorite Around The Rim, basketball podcast with LaChina Robinson over on ESPN. So right now, if you had to pick your two teams to be in the finals, who would you be going with?
Devereaux: Okay. I'm going to be a little biased because I picked Vegas at the beginning of the year, so I'm sticking with them. I have to stick with them.
Lindsay: It's fair. They're good.
Devereaux: I feel like right now the way teams are playing ... I'm going to say Vegas and DC, because I think in the long run, come playoff time, DC is going to take off. I like Connecticut, but they have yet to show that they are able to make it in the playoffs. So, that's the only reason I'm not completely willing to go all in on them, and they had a really bad five game losing streak that they went through, that concerns me a little bit. So, I would say Vegas and DC.
Lindsay: Okay. That's who I picked at the beginning of the season. All right, well, how can people continue to follow and support More Than 94 productions, and also where does the name come from?
Devereaux: The name came from ... actually my brother came up with it, so I can't take the credit for that. The court is 94 feet long and so, More Than 94 is showing that the players are more than what you see on the basketball court. So luckily, my brother has a very creative mind and he comes up a lot of ideas from me.
Lindsay: We love them, we love when we can put the family members to work.
Devereaux: Yeah, yeah, helps me out a lot. You can follow us on Instagram @morethan94_, and then on YouTube, More Than 94 at youtube/morethan94, I believe. So, yeah, watch our stuff so we can get some more investors and put out more content.
Lindsay: Yes, that's always what we want, we have to support women who are doing the work. All of us have to stick together, and those clicks and those followers and those shares, we know it here at Burn It All Down, they matter, they build up after time.
Devereaux: Super important, right?
Lindsay: We have to all keep pushing each other, this independent media.
Lindsay: Well, thank you so much for joining us and we'll have to have you back once that secretive docu-series launches.
Devereaux: Yes, yes.
Lindsay: All right. Thanks so much, Dev.
Jessica: Brenda, let's talk cheating. Where should we start?
Brenda: I guess I should start by saying this conversation is prompted by the death of Cuban-American Rosie Ruiz, who……cheated.
Jessica: She's famous for one thing.
Brenda: Yeah, I know. She did in the Boston marathon in 1980 by entering the race about a mile from the finish line.
Jessica: That's amazing.
Brenda: Right. And when you read deeply into it, there's lots of different ... She's a serial cheater, she cheated in many marathons. And you have to wonder why at a certain point, because if people figured it out, it's not like she made some lucrative ... It's sort of fascinating to me that that particular case of serial cheating, and I got thinking, okay, so cheating is basically acting dishonestly or unfairly to gain an advantage, and it only happens when everyone knows and agrees on the rules. Otherwise it's not cheating, it's something else. And as a professor, I think about cheating all the time, like weeks dedicated to thinking about stopping, cheating, catching cheating, what are the morals of cheating? Do we pretend that we're on the same playing field when we know that we're not? And who gets away with cheating? Would anyone other than Tom Brady have gotten off like that? Come on, he doesn't know the weight of a football?! Who gets caught, what the punishments are, we know they're situational, we know their contextual every time, which is why it's so fascinating. So, I just really want to talk quickly about what I think is the greatest cheat of all time, which is Diego Maradona's Hand of God. I'll tell you that I have very mixed feelings about it because I do not like Diego Maradona, because he is terrible misogynist person. But 1986, Argentina coming out of a dictatorship, lost a war to England, the Malvinas war. England had taken the Falkland Islands, which Argentina knows as the Malvinas a century before, and then Margaret Thatcher and the dictatorship go to war over it. And in that context, the 1986 World Cup in Mexico saw England and Argentina paired, of course England’s fancy business owners had brought football to Argentina, and it looks Maradona heads the ball into the goal, but the English players could see from their vantage point that it's a handball.
Fascinating, you should watch it if you haven't watched it. Argentina go on to win 2-1 after Maradona scores a legitimate goal. They ask Maradona, he says of course in the third person, because of course, he can only talk about himself in the third person says, "It was partly the hand of Maradona, and partly the hand of God.”
Brenda: So amazing. And there are songs about it, and Argentines have absolutely no problem with it, and that's why British journalists to this day cannot stop talking, no matter how many British dudes cheat in the EPL, cannot stop talking about Argentines cheating. The whole thing's very fascinating, I just think it opens up a lot of stuff. Argentina needed a win. Nobody looks back on that except English people which, who cares, and says, "Man, I wish England would have won." But it still gross. So anyway-
Jessica: But it’s still a cheat.
Brenda: It pays to open up.
Jessica: I'm going to go next. I am fascinated by cheating, my cohost know that I'm always trying to get us to talk about doping because it touches on so many of these exact things. I'm one of those people when I look back at what Lance Armstrong did, I'm like, well, everyone was doping, which is true because they kicked out so many people if you look back on that period of time in cycling. But one of the things that I just find so interesting about cheating is the bravado or the bravada behind it that people have. I think I'm too much of a chicken and a rule followers, I really like queues, I like when people get in line. I just don't think that I would be able to do it. And so, I am fascinated when I read stories of cheating, especially in sports where there are rules and you break them. And so I was looking, because obviously I picked this topic as lead of this episode, and I was looking at just stuff that people have done in sports and I just find this amazing, what people are willing to try to do, and all of this was new to me.
But in 2000, the Spanish Paralympics basketball team, the intellectually disabled basketball team, there's 12 players on the team, and it turned out that 10 of them didn't meet the standard. And so, they won the gold medal but then they had to give it back once a journalist exposed them, but who does that? Why would you do that for a Paralympics basketball team? What's going on there? There was this great story about an English rugby team, the Harlequins in 2009, where a player was using blood capsules that he kept in his pocket. And at the end of the game, use them to look he had been bleeding, because in rugby, I guess you get to substitute out if you're bleeding. And so, they wanted to bring on a specialist kicker onto the field. So, this guy's using blood capsules on the field so that he can be subbed out.
And then there was this great one from the 1985 British Open, a player named David Robertson, apparently he was racing ahead of the entire field to get to the green where he would pretend to mark his ball, and then he would just literally move his ball to a different spot so that he would have a better shot at the putt. He was just running ahead and literally moving his ball. He got banned for a really long time from the sport, but I just can't even imagine doing that. I wouldn't sleep for years making choices like that. Amira, you have thoughts on cheating?
Amira: Well, not really because I actually don't really give a damn.
Jessica: At all?
Amira: No, it's just not something that makes me feel any type of way.
Jessica: Even if it's like your team cheated against?
Amira: Yeah, no. It has never made me feel rage. What makes me feel rage is actually a point that Brenda made about, do we pretend that there's level playing fields in the first place? So, when you have a black baseball team that gets players that are just outside their district because districts have been gerrymandered, because residential areas are segregated, et cetera, et cetera, and I'm talking specifically about Jackie Robinson West in Chicago who had their titles revoked because two players lived just outside the geographic borders of the team. That to me, is annoying. That to me, speaks to systemic ... Like what gets labeled cheating, what doesn't? That to me is more of a concern but I just am like, people are always ... Like with doping, I'm just like, okay, everybody was ... I don't know.
It is nothing that has ever captivated me in a way that makes me irritated. I think my irritation is of course ... obviously, I root for a team that has been found in violation of the rules, that has been targeted because of that, but for me, it's the narrative that ... there's a handy dandy little website called yourteamcheats.com, which I adore. This one right now, is currently just for the NFL, but you would love it, because it basically takes all 32 teams and breaks down the ways in which they've been found in violation of the rules. So, you can see, if you want to know the most cheating team in the NFL according to this is the New York jets with 51 violations, and ... Oh no, no, I lied, the Denver Broncos has 53, there you go. If you want to know where the Patriots fall, they only have 27, just so you know. So, I think that ...
Lindsay: Just throwing that in there for no particular reason!
Amira: But it is a handy dandy little resource, it's just a little resource, should you want it. But I do enjoy the funny cheating. I was thinking about ... Have you guys heard of the Fifth Down Game? This was a 1990 college football conference championship game between Mizzou and Colorado. Basically, Colorado is going down the field to try to score the go ahead in game winning touchdown, and they get stopped short on fourth down. But the officials had forgotten to change the down marker, so the team rushes and just runs another play. They're just like, fuck the downs, we're just going to keep playing football. And they score! And win. And so there was all this confusion, and after they're like, "Oh yeah, you actually were stopped and shouldn't have gotten the ball back” and whatever, but it was too late. They had already been celebrated and it was just over. So, it's the notorious Fifth Down Game that cracks me up because it just makes me laugh thinking about if a team’s just collectively like-
Jessica: Oh well!
Amira: Exactly, exactly. We're just going to decide ... We're just going to ignore that and keep going.
Jessica: That's awesome, I love it. Lindsay, your thoughts on cheating?
Lindsay: Yeah. I always think about this in the tennis context, and in tennis, there's nothing as quite as simple as I'm coming in for the last mile of marathon, or anything like that blatant. But what it usually comes down to is these little moments of, usually it's called more ‘sportsmanship violations’ than cheating. And of course, one of the most famous infamous incidences, Justine Henin versus Serena Williams, in the 2003 French Open semifinals, the hand incident. Do y'all know what I'm talking about?
Jessica: Yes, a little bit. Tell us.
Lindsay: So, Serena, at the time, had already won a couple of majors, Justine Henin, who was a Belgian tennis player who was one of Serena's few really true rivals, while Henin was playing, they split their ... They were four and four against each other in majors, there was a streak where Henin beat Serena in three straight major quarter finals. But at this point, she hadn't won a major yet, Justine had not. So, we're the 2003 French Open semifinal, and France and Belgium are very close to one another, and so the crowd was very pro-Justine, and Serena was serving at 4-2 in the third set. So, it had been a really tight match, but Serena was in control, and at 15 .. she was up on serve, I think 15-love, and went to serve again. But as she was going through the motion of her service motion, Justine put up her hand on her side of the court as a way to try, and quiet the crowd because the crowd was super boisterous.
So, she was signaling to Serena, hold on for a second, I'm not ready to return yet, give me a second, let's wait for the crowd. And so, Serena sees this in the middle of her service motion, and it obviously impacts the way she finishes, and it's a fault. But obviously, she should have been given a second first serve, but the umpire didn't see Justine make that hand motion, and Justine didn't own up to it on the court, and Serena went on to lose that match. I mean this is her up serving 4-2, she went on to lose that match. And honestly, this is one of those incidents that I think about with Serena every time she has these big meltdowns on court, this is one of the first times where I feel like she felt like everything was against her, and that there was this conspiracy, this cheat, and Justine ... look, in retirement, she's mentioned, she said this was not a good moment for me. She's admitted to putting her hand up.
I mean, on the video you see her put her hand up, so she said like, "This was not good for me." I mean, it's weird because Serena was up a break, and so, it was ... Serena's still should have probably won that match, and Serena will admit that herself, but I always think of those little moments. There was another that wasn't quite as big of a deal, but it was with Milos Raonic, a Canadian tennis player who, the ball definitely touched his racket, but he didn't own up to it, and the umpire didn't see it, so it turned into this whole .. Well, hypothetically, that's what happened.
Jessica: Yes, we talked about this.
Lindsay: Technically. So, I think about it in a sport where a lot of these little things come down to sportsmanship because the umpire doesn't have 10 sets of eyes, and why and when people violate that.
Jessica: Yes, you talked about Raonic's apology on our Bad Apology Segment. I remember now! Hypothetically, technically, yes. I think part of it for me with the cheating is just the subjectivity of it, right? It really brings forward how much of sport, which we like to imagine has very rigid rules based thing can often be subjective. And one of the things that we all love arguing about around it. So, I will continue to be fascinated by cheating.
Now, it's time for everyone's favorite segment, the Burn Pile, where we pile up all the things we've hated this week in sports and set them a flame. Brenda, what is on your burn pile?
Brenda: What is on my burn pile is U.S. soccer hiring the two lobbying firms to convince lawmakers in DC who would potentially withhold federal funding from the 2026 World Cup if there's not equal pay. So, this is about legislation that's been introduced about that. I was so lost for words about how much this pisses me off and how bad that sucks, because all of us who have daughters that are playing in club soccer are paying those lobbyists. Ultimately, our fees go to paying U.S. Soccer Federation and lobbyists. So, I'm really, really mad about that, I'm trying not to use every swear word that I have right now. So, it's that simple. It's the U.S. Soccer Federation versus equal pay, and how can you justify not using that money for something other than lobbyists? Money that our daughters, when you pay in sums, and whatever, I'm particularly mad about that daughter question just because of obviously the equal pay.
So, I don't know how to be articulate about it, except that it makes me want to break everything. So, I want to burn U.S. Soccer Federation, spending money on lobbyists to oppose equal pay.
Amira: Burn. So sad.
Jessica: Amira, what do you want to torch?
Amira: I want to torch stupid responses to activist athletes, of which we have two entries this week. First, I want to give a shout out to Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills. Kenny Stills, if you remember, was a committed and consistent protester with solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. So, this past week, he called out his team owner, Stephen Ross, who is throwing yet another fundraiser for Donald Trump. He posted a picture of one of Ross's nonprofits that claims to "Educate and empower the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations." And Kenny very aptly said, emoji face, questioning face emoji picture, and said, "You can't have a nonprofit with this mission statement, then open your doors to Trump," which is just basically a fact. And this sat on a series of back and forth, some people boycotting Ross's companies, the other kinds of ventures, so SoulCycle, Equinox fitness areas. That's a whole different conversation.
But Kenny Stills has been really great to continue to articulate this. And of course, that led to Stephen Ross issuing a weak ass statement that said, "Blah, blah, blah, I've always been a active participant in the democratic process, while some prefer to sit outside of the process and criticize, I prefer to directly engage and support things I deeply care about." And then he justified his 40-year friendship with Donald Trump. He says that he "strongly disagrees on things, yada, yada, yada, yada." Kenny just responded and said yeah, I don't think you can play both sides, but whatever. And then Brian Flores in his first year as head coach he’s taken a page out of Bill Belichick’s book, and is basically just telling Kenny to keep his mouth shut, and no distractions, and I think you could go to the owner directly.
And so, it's just dumb. The responses are dumb, Stephen Ross, ridiculous, all your statements would make clear that you care more about your tax breaks than the havoc that this administration is wreaking. And it's not the only ridiculous response to athletic activism this week. At the Pan American Games, Gwen Berry, who's a hammer thrower as well as a gold medal winning fencer Race Imboden, both did their own forms of protest at the medal ceremony. Berry raised her fist, while Race took a knee on the podium. In response, the cowardly Olympic and Paralympic committee made a statement saying, "Oh, we're sorry that he took this time to distract and insert politics, all athletes signed a statement saying that they would refrain from "demonstrations that are political in nature", he didn't adhere to this commitment and he will be punished.” And this includes putting his appearance at the 2020 Olympics in jeopardy.
To his credit he said, look, “I chose to sacrifice my moment at the top of the podium to call your attention to issues I believe that need to be addressed. My pride has been cut short by multiple shots coming out of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants and a president who spreads hate, are at the top of a long list." I just want to burn down both responses and the facade that keeps going, that somehow sports are inherently apolitical, and especially the Pan Am Games, Brenda, can you even believe somebody formulated this sentence that said you're keeping politics out of the Pan Am Games. The whole damn games are politics! Anyways, it's dumb, it's falling along line of dumbness in response to active athletes. So, shout out to those protesting, burn everybody else.
Jessica: Lindsay, what are you burning?
Lindsay: The NCAA, racism, just the usual. So, a year ago, about, the NCAA did something that kind of made sense when it said that if players want to test out the waters of the NBA draft, maybe meet with an agent and workout for some teams and see what their draft stock is. These are for men's basketball players. Then as long as they met with certified agents, they would be allowed to return to school if they decided not to enter the NBA draft, which is smart. That sounds like it makes perfect sense. But of course, anything that the NCAA does that make sense, must soon be ruined by the NCAA itself. So, the NCAA this week released a bunch of rules about those agents and certifications and requirements for said agents. And one of them is that the agent must have a bachelor's degree. So, first of all, this is a bit self-serving, the NCAA trying to once again, tell everyone that the only thing that ever matters is the education of everything. It's like reinforcing its own propaganda.
But really what this is about, and it's very transparent, is it is a target towards Rich Paul, who is Lebron James' agent, and also the agent of Anthony Davis, he has Klutch Sports, he is running the NBA as an agent right now, and he is a young Black man who does not have a bachelor's degree, and most agents are lily white. So, he is really upending the system, and immediately after this came out, Lebron James and Tristan Thompson and a lot of the NBA players started calling this the Rich Paul Rule that it seemed like a very transparent way for the NCAA to try and get back control, particularly since Rich Paul's ... one of his newer clients is a player who decided to skip the NCAA altogether, and instead is getting a year long internship with New Balance for $1 million and then going into the NBA.
So, Rich Paul is someone who's not playing by the NCAA A's rules, and I wrote for ThinkProgress this week that this is rooted in racism, and we know that because everything that NCAA does is rooted in racism. That's not a reach. So, I just would like to burn this ridiculousness, I'd like to burn the NCAA, saying that they're doing this to “protect” the athletes when it's very clear that they are doing this to try and protect their own power. Burn.
Jessica: All right. So, the Naval Academy's football coaches for the past several years have allowed the team captains to choose a motto, then that's supposed to set the tone for the upcoming football season. This year, the captains chose “load the clip,” they say because it represents a consistent daily work ethic, but it's obviously referencing putting bullets into a clip before you shoot off your gun. Navy dropped the motto this week after their local paper, the Capital Gazette asked about it. In case you don't remember, last year, a gunman opened fire in the Capital Gazette's newsroom, murdering five of the paper staff. The stadium that Navy uses for football games is less than three miles from the Capital Gazette newsroom. And of course, the decision to get rid of the motto comes after two mass shootings last weekend in the U.S., one, a racist attack in El Paso by a young white man who drove 10 hours to target the Latinx community specifically in that border town, and another in Dayton, Ohio perpetrated by a young white man who kept lists of women he wanted to violently harm, in total 29 people were killed in the two massacres. Where are the adults when this shit happens, is what I always think. Honestly, I don't get how this was approved and actually adopted, especially that close to a place where a mass shooting happened just last year, except then I read the apology by Navy's head coach where he said, "We sincerely apologize if it upset anyone. We understand that it probably wasn't appropriate considering the current climate and certain things that are happening in our society." Couldn't name the things? Said “if” it upset anyone, “probably” wasn't appropriate? Okay, sure.
It actually reminded me of how Vanderbilt's football program had to change their slogan back in 2015, they chose somehow, "We don't need your permission." This was in the middle of an ongoing gang rape case involving four Vanderbilt football players, two had actually already been convicted at that point. The team had to then tweet out an apology saying, "We apologize for today's tweet. It's not a comment about sexual assault. Sex without permission is always wrong and not accepted." It is amazing to me how many resources go into these teams, how much money they spend on branding, how many people work in these programs, and still this shit happened. It's like college football is just constantly finding ways to remind me of why I think it is so bad. So this week, I just want to burn the fact that that motto was ever chosen at all by Navy's football program. So, burn.
Jessica: After all that burning, it's time to celebrate some remarkable women in sports this week with our Badass Woman of the Week segment. First up, our honorable mentions. We are holding Orlando Pride defender, Toni Pressley in our thoughts, as Pressley has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. We wish her all the best in her healing.
Teenager tennis phenoms Coco Gauff in Caty McNally or McCoco, according to our own Lindsay Gibbs and her weekly, The IX Tennis Tuesday newsletter, McCoco won the doubles title at the Citi Open in Washington DC. Jessica Pegula when the women's single title at the Citi Open, defeating Camila Giorgi, 6-2, 6-2 in the final. It's Pegula’s first ever WTA singles title and there are adorable pictures and videos of her holding both the trophy and her dog. Zheng Saisai also won her first ever WTA title at San Jose after defeating Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 7-6. Congratulations to all the girls who participated in the annual Baseball For All championships in Rockford, Illinois. This year, there were over 350 girls, more than 100 coaches, and 15 female umpires at the tournament.
Simone Biles, the gymnastics superstar who at this week's U.S. championships became the first woman to perform a triple double, which is two flips, but three twists and the floor exercise of a competition. And then, she became the first gymnast to attempt and land a double twisting, double somersault dismount from the balance beam. 24-year-old German medical student and cancer researcher Fiona Kolbinger, who won the 2,500 mile Trans Continental Race, which passed through seven European countries, she's the first woman to win this ultra cycling marathon. She beat 225 men and 39 women. The second place rider, Ben Davies of the U.K., came in nearly 11 hours behind her.
We also want to offer a hearty congratulations to Burn It All Down guest, Mina Kimes. Kimes, whose day job is talking on, writing for and podcasting for ESPN, is now the color commentator for the Los Angeles Rams during the preseason. We are always happy to hear a woman in the booth. Gwen Berry, Berry, who Amira just mentioned in her burn pile, she's a black U.S. athlete who won the gold and the hammer throw at the Pan Am games. Berry raised her fist while on the podium as the end of the U.S. national anthem played. Afterwards, Berry said, "Somebody has to talk about the things that are too uncomfortable to talk about. Somebody has to stand for all the injustices that are going on in America and a president who's making it worse. It's too important to not say something." Can I get a drum roll, please?
All right. Our badass woman of the week is 20-year-old golfer, Hinako Shibuno, who won the AIG Women's British Open at Woburn last weekend. It was both her first major tournament and her first event outside of Japan! She had five birdies on the back nine that gave her the one shot advantage that clinched the title. According to CNN, reporters asked Shibuno how she will celebrate and she responded, "Eat a lot of sweets." Congratulations.
Okay, what is good with y'all? Brenda, what's good with you?
Brenda: Okay. well, a dear family has moved into my backyard, a mom, and two baby dear, even with the white spots, and we see them twice a day now. They're so cute, like so, so, so cute. I mean, anyway ... I don't know. I was excited about that. Usually, I'm not head over heels ... I'm not the biggest Burn It All Down animal lover, because that's a hard fight to win, but I do love a baby dear. Okay, other things, I bought a fiction book that has nothing to do with work, which is called Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Have you read it?
Jessica: Oh, yes, I love it. I cried hard, so good luck!
Jessica: I feel emotional, you just mentioning that you'll buy it. I love it.
Brenda: Okay, that makes me even more excited, but I love the first 10 pages. So there's that, and then I also started writing a new book that I'm writing for University of North Carolina, and I wrote 500 words. So, that was something-
Jessica: Good for you.
Amira: Yes! Writing victory!
Brenda: Very small victory, but I'll take it.
Jessica: You should. Amira, what's good with you?
Amira: A vacation in two days!
Jessica: Where are you going?
Amira: We're going to Disney. We usually go every other year, so this is an every other year type of trip. We're driving down, so we have 16 hours on the road to get quality family time. But my kids are good travelers, so we'll have a good time. We're leaving on Tuesday, so I'll be out for the next two weeks, I'm really excited because A) they added alcohol to the Disney dining plans, I will be lit.
Lindsay: Oh my ... they didn't have any alcohol before?
Amira: Well, it wasn't included, so you would have to buy it, and now you don't have to buy it. So, I will be drinking it and feeling happy about that. So, there's that. Also, while we're down there, me and Michael will be celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary-
Jessica: Oh, congratulations.
Amira: Thank you. And then also more importantly, we'll be celebrating Zachary's third birthday, which I cannot believe is a thing, and my baby's not a baby anymore. And so, happy birthday, Zachary. I love your side eyes and your determination, your occasional appearances on the podcast that you forced yourself on. Also he just beats up his siblings, it's just funny. If you're going to be a third kid, be a Zachary type. So yeah, that's what-
Lindsay: Does he do it like Kristine Anigwe and run after he beats them up?
Amira: No, he doesn't run from anything. He'll just stare you down. It's quite scary actually. As Michael said, he's either going to be president of the world, or the most evil mastermind, because it can go either way, but the kid is so determined.
Jessica: Love it. We will miss you, but I hope you have a nice vacation. Lindsay, what's good with you?
Lindsay: I think I'd say what's good with me is always seeing Amira post photos of Zachary at these events or school things or dress up things, and he never looks happy about it.
Lindsay: He's always giving this death stare! Every time she posts pictures, I just crying laughing, he has a really great what? how? why? face.
Amira: Why are you doing this to me?
Lindsay: Yeah. There's no poker face on that kid. So, I think anyone who knows me and has followed me in any capacity knows it's been a really rough summer for me, and I've been trying to be as open about things as I can, but I'd just like to say that I'm having another weekend here where I'm super grateful for friends and for support systems, and for asking for help. Because I've been doing that a little bit more lately and that has felt good, and honestly, I thought it would make me feel weaker, but it's made me feel more powerful. So, I think that ... just want to share that with others. And on less serious note, when I am feeling a little overwhelmed with life, one of the ways I like to retreat is through reality television, so I would to give a shout out to ... I think I've mentioned this on the show before, but 90 Day Fiancé, which is just the best trash reality TV I've ever seen, and also Bachelor in Paradise. So, those are two things that are just really helping me get through the days right now. So, thank you, reality television.
Jessica: We love you, Linds. It's weird to start what's good, with what's not good. But it was a very hard last couple of weeks for me. On Monday, my 12-year-old dog, Bailey, who you've heard on this podcast, because she was quite the barker, she died. She had been sick for a while, it was a slow decline over a few months and then all of a sudden, it was a very fast one over the last weekend. She was a good girl, and we miss her a lot. It's a lot quieter around here, and she was my first dog, so I'm getting used to the loss of the routine that we've had for the last 11 plus years and that's been a lot. But one good thing this week, he doesn't even listen to the podcast, but I just want to give a shout out to Aaron. He's an amazing partner, I will make him listen to at least this part of the podcast, so he can be embarrassed just alone in our kitchen together.
But he was so great through all of that. We deal with emotions very differently, but he never makes me feel like my lots of emotions are too much when he's a very low-emotion kind of person. And I was just really grateful that I had someone with me when I went through all of that for the first time in my life. We also have an old cat, and I've made her promise, she's 17, and I've made her promise to give us at least a good six months here before we have to do that again. But the other thing that was really good, I do want to mention this week and I was really thankful to have this after what happened on Monday, was that the season one of Dead to Me, which is a show on Netflix, I highly recommend it. It stars Christina Applegate, she's a widow trying to deal with the sudden death of her husband. He's hit by a car on a road late at night, and he dies.
She has two kids, and she goes to this support meeting for people dealing with grief, and she meets a woman there just played by Linda Cardellini, they become friends. It is so funny. The show is so funny, I mean, it's morbid. Like at one point, I was laughing at something and I felt bad almost that I was laughing at it, but I know it was a joke, but it was about death. But it's so good. Christina Applegate should win every award that it's possible for her to win. She is ... oh my gosh, there's so many things I want to say about it. I just will say very specifically that I have laughed about punching a cake for a week now, so I just really, really recommend this. I kind of wanted to go buy a cake and punch it. So, Dead to Me was what was really good for me this week on what was a very hard week.
That's it for this week's episode. Thank you all for joining us. You can find Burn It All Down on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to subscribe to Burn It All Down, you can do so on Apple Podcast, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, and tune in. For information about the show, and links and transcripts for each episode, check out our website, burnitalldownpod.com. You can also email us from the site to give us feedback, we love hearing from you all. If you enjoyed this week's show, do me a favor, share with two people in your life whom you think would be interested in Burn It All Down. Also, please rate the show at whichever place you listen to it. The ratings really do help us reach new listeners who need this feminist sports podcast but don't yet know it exists.
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