Episode 19: US Open recap and World Cup qualifying

On Episode 19 of Burn It All Down, Brenda Elsey, Shireen Ahmed, Julie DiCaro, Lindsay Gibbs, and Jessica Luther give a recap of the US Open (yay, women’s tennis!) and World Cup qualifying.

As always, you’ll hear the Burn Pile, Bad Ass Woman of the Week, and What’s Good in our worlds.

For links and a transcript of the show…


The U.S. Open Women’s Semifinals Will Be All-American http://deadspin.com/the-u-s-open-womens-semifinals-will-be-all-american-1801243593

The Complex Rise of Sloane Stephens https://www.si.com/tennis/2017/09/12/sloane-stephens-us-open-title-family-kamau-murray-injury-recovery

Inconsistent U.S. have issues all over pitch, help for Christian Pulisic is key http://www.espnfc.com/team/united-states/660/blog/post/3198185/inconsistent-us-have-issues-all-over-pitch-help-for-pulisic-is-key

South American World Cup Qualifying Is Dope As Hell http://deadspin.com/south-american-world-cup-qualifying-is-dope-as-hell-1801032143

Dreams take shape and hopes evaporate in Africa http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/y=2017/m=9/news=dreams-take-shape-and-hopes-evaporate-in-africa-2906652.html

World Cup: Iranian women refused entry to match despite holding tickets http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41166706

The Syrian national soccer team shows why you can’t separate politics from sports https://www.sbnation.com/2017/9/7/16265840/syria-world-cup-qualifying-draw-propaganda-assad-regime

The Dictator’s Team http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/19343630/how-syrian-government-brought-soccer-campaign-oppression

Lawsuit: Notre Dame Covered Up An Alleged Rape Committed By A Football Player http://deadspin.com/lawsuit-notre-dame-covered-up-a-football-players-alleg-1802775527

CNN exclusive: Joe Paterno may have known of earlier Jerry Sandusky abuse claim, police report reveals http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/09/us/penn-state-paterno-sandusky-police-report/index.html

Pat Tillman vs. Colin Kaepernick is a false choice http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/2017/09/06/dave-zirin-pat-tillman-colin-kaepernick-fake-news-or-ignorance-z/638079001/

Betsy DeVos Reveals Plan To Overhaul Obama-Era Campus Rape Policies https://www.buzzfeed.com/tylerkingkade/betsy-devos-reveals-plan-to-overhaul-obama-era-campus-rape?utm_term=.chYPPX6vx#.bgJXXK6DA

Mother of young Calgary hockey player said daughter refuses to wear ‘discriminatory’ jersey http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/seven-year-old-calgarian-refuses-to-wear-discriminatory-hockey-jersey

Red Sox Cheating Scandal Highlights Apple Watch’s Illicit Uses https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/business/apple-watch-red-sox-cheating.html?mcubz=1

Don’t Forget About the Islands https://www.theplayerstribune.com/tim-duncan-hurricane-irma-us-virgin-islands/amp/

How a married WNBA couple is raising newborn twins. ‘It’s my turn to sacrifice.’ http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/2017/09/06/how-married-wnba-couple-raising-their-newborn-twins-sacrifices-married-wnba-couple-make-their-twins/615912001/


[0:00:15.4] BE: Hey friends, welcome to this week of Burn it All Down, it’s not the feminist sports podcast you want but it is the feminist sports podcast you need. This week we have a full house including independent sports writer from Toronto, Shireen Ahmed, sports reporter and radio host in Chicago, Julie DiCaro, Lindsay Gibbs, a journalist at Think Progress. Jessica Luther, an independent journalist from Austin, Texas and myself, Brenda Elsey, Professor of History at Hofstra University

I have the honor of driving the proverbial bus this week and I’m veering straight for the US open and the World Cup Qualifiers and will also visit our burn pile and celebrate the badass woman of the week. Let’s get right into it.


[0:01:02.8] BE: An exhilarating event, the US Open. Jessica, you’ve been live tweeting tennis from the Burn it All Down account and from all indications, you have enjoyed this tournament.

[0:01:14.3] JL: It’s been good. On Saturday, 24 year old American Sloane Stephens beat 22 year old Madison Keys in straight sets, 6-3 6-0 to win her first Grand Slam title at the US open. Stephens was unseated at the tournament because she had foot surgery in January and wasn’t even walking on the foot until the middle of April and she was not able to stand and hit until May 16th of this year. Her comeback has been quick. Last month, Stephens was ranked 957th, yes, you heard that right, in the world and leaves the US Open ranked 17th.

Stephens and Keys are good friends which was readily apparent post match yesterday. First, they had a prolonged emotional hug at the net that had all but robots crying. Then, before they went on stage for the trophy presentation, Stephens sat down next to Keys and the two were talking and laughing and then during their post match remarks, they showed each other love, talking about how important their friendship is. Sloane wishes it could have been a draw, Madison wouldn’t have wanted to lose to anyone else.

The significance of this match goes well beyond the specific friendship though. Let me explain what this means to US tennis and especially about the changing face of it. At large part, thanks to the story and long careers of the William sisters. The four finalist this year on the women’s side were Americans, Venus Williams, Coco Vandeweghe and of course, Stephens and Keys.

This was the first all American US Open, women’s semifinals since 1981. The first all American women’s finals since Serena beat Venus in 2002. It was the first all American US Open final not involving one of the Williams sisters since Martina Navratilova beat Chrissie Evert in 1984.

Prior to the Williams Sisters, the last American women to win a Grand Slam Tournament was Jennifer Capriati in 2002, the last American man to win a grand slam was Andy Roddick back in 2003. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Importantly, this was the first time three black women have made the semifinals of a tennis Grand Slam. After the US open, Venus will be ranked in the top five for the first time since January 1, 2011. That’s amazing.

Keys will be at number 12, Vandeweghe will rise to a career best number 16 and Stephens as I mentioned will be number 17 and Serena who’s currently ranked 22, and a very new mom says she’s going to be back in 2018, possibly to the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open.

That, I mean, that is just so much to take in. It’s all so amazing, the tournament itself, the play was so high, I mean, one of my favorite things about tennis and I’ve said this repeatedly is that when you watch the grand slams, there are so many women all over the place.

Both as athletes and commentators. After their quarter final and semi-final wins, when Tom Rinaldi was interviewing these US players, he kept asking them about “the state of American tennis,” and rarely, if ever qualified it as “the state of American women’s tennis.” And I loved that so much because they are US tennis and I am here for it.

To be clear, the men also played a tournament this year, one more Del Po played two spectacular matches, one, to beat number six Dominic Thiem while Del Po was suffering from a virus and quite frankly, looked like he was suffering from a virus.

That was to get into the quarter final and then in the quarter final, he beat Roger Federer. Nadal ended Del Po’s streak in the semi-final and so Nadal’s going to face South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in the final.

Anderson’s going to be playing in his first Grand Slam final, we’re recording on Sunday before the match so by the time you hear this, we’ll have a new US Open Grand Slam winner on the men’s side. If Nadal wins it, it will be his 16th championship, putting him three titles behind Federer. That’s amazing that those two men…

Lindsay, you are our resident tennis expert, what are your thoughts about this past two weeks in New York?

[0:05:09.2] LG: I have so many thoughts Jess.

[0:05:11.9] JL: I imagine so.

[0:05:13.0] LG: Look, I want to talk a little bit about Sloane Stephens because I just kind of can’t stop thinking about her and the journey that she’s been on. I’ve been covering tennis, I think a lot of people know that before I started at think progress and started really freelancing. Tennis was my foray in the sports journalism I had my own tennis blog, that I started with a couple of other people and it was a sport I followed exclusively. I would get to as many tournaments as I could.

I followed it really closely and since Sloane Stephens has kind of come on the scene, she’s been one of the players I’ve probably written about the most because she was just – she’s always just been really fascinating.

Ever since she in 2013 upset Serena Williams, the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to make it to the semi-finals and was really just like shuttle launched on to this national narrative stage and it was tough for her, you know?

There was a lot of backlash. She had an ESPN interview where she talked really negatively about Serena because she said, you know, Serena, after she had beaten her, no longer talked to her anymore and now that Serena had deleted her on blackberry messenger and like unfollowed her on twitter and Sloane, being a little naïve said all this on the record to a reporter because she didn’t really think it was on the record but it was. That reporter had every right to report that. You know, I think that that sparked a lot of controversy.

There were years and years where it didn’t seem like she cared. It was really frustrating I think for a lot of tennis fans and a lot of journalist and myself included to watch this young – this person with all this talent, all this potential, just kind of roll her eyes at the various sport like she was playing and I always knew it was a defense mechanism.

But it was hard to, it’s still really hard to kind of break that down and process it when it just keeps happening over and over again. Admittedly, when you’re on press conferences with you know, player after player who is just giving like their heart and soul to this and then Sloane Stephens will come into press.

This is from 2014, a tournament in Charleston where I remember she was just like very nonchalant, very pleasant. She was like, “I have a lot of tennis to play, I’m just going to enjoy it like even if my ranking drops to 800, I doubt that it matter very much,” that’s what she said and she was also like, “I could play 10 more years at tennis, maybe I’d win a Grand Slam.You know, that would still be pretty good if I was still pretty consistent. I’m not really trying to rush and do anything fabulous.” That’s kind of the sense of her marks.

I gave her a hard time for those remarks at the time and now here she is. Her ranking didn’t drop to 800, it dropped to 900. It wasn’t six years later that she won a slam, it was three years later. And I think that’s just a really big testament to her belief in herself. She was off tour for 11 months after a foot surgery as Jess mentioned and I think that – not I don’t think, this is what she said about that time away: it really allowed her to kind of live the life that she had been missing out on when she was on the tour day in day out. Also, to really just be okay with loving the sport and be okay with you know, with caring. She’s always going to be a little affected but I just really love it.

I want to read one of her exchanges from the post-match presser which I feel like just show what an amazing personality she is. The question was, “I know it’s kind of fresh but having done this once doesn’t give you the hunger to win another Slam?” And Sloane answers, “Of course girl, did you see that check that lady handed me?”

[0:08:57.0] JL: There are amazing pictures, you guys should look them up, there are pictures of her when she realizes how big the check is, it’s just so spectacular.

[0:09:05.5]SA: It’s such a good photo.

[0:09:06.6] LG: If that doesn’t make you want to play tennis, I don’t know what will. Then they said, the next question was, “If I’m not mistaken, it’s been a few years since someone in the women’s final managed to score a bagel so to win a set six love doesn’t make you feel bad for Madison” and Sloane goes, “Bad for her? She was in the finals too, what do you mean? Did you see the check she’s about to get? I’m sure she’ll be just fine.”

[0:09:29.0] BE: Keeping it real.

[0:09:31.3] JD: I just absolutely love that.

[0:09:33.4] JL: One of the really cool things about watching the match yesterday was that Keys, we’ve talked about this before on the podcast. Lindsay Davenport is her coach right? She has a female coach, which is pretty rare in the sport and then Sloane, I’m sorry, Lindsay, do you know her coach’s name?

[0:09:50.6] LG: Yeah, Kamau Murray.

[0:09:51.9] JL: Yes, and then Sloane has a black man as her coach in the stands and like you’ll just – images you don’t normally see courtside in tennis and it’s just like, the whole thing was spectacular to watch.

[0:10:04.2] SA: There was a really fun tweet from Stars and Stripes FC because yesterday, Sloane’s boyfriend Jozy Altidore actually scored a brace. He plays for Toronto FC and the title of the piece was “Boyfriend of US Open Champion, Sloane Stephens scores a brace against San Jose” which I thought was hilarious because Stephens was previously mentioned in another article as his girlfriend. And now she was sort of elevated to be the US Open champ and he was her boyfriend. It was kind of like a fun play and I’m really glad we saw that, that was just fun.

[0:10:38.9] BE: Yeah, that was great. Lindsay, do you want to wrap us up?

[0:10:42.2] LG: Yeah, I just want to say, Sloane has been through so much and that’s another thing I feel like I was glad it wasn’t talked about a whole lot because I feel like the focus was really on her tennis, but I also feel like it’s just kind of an amazing back story.

Her mother is Sybil Smith who was the first African American to become an all American swimmer on the NCAA’s division one level and her father was a former running back in the NFL. They divorced when Sloane was really young and she really didn’t have much contact with her father.

Essentially, you know, she didn’t reconnect with him till much later in her life. Her stepfather really raised her and she was really close to her stepfather. He passed away though of cancer in 2007 and right around that time, she embarked on just a phone relationship with her birth father and they only talked on the phone, they met in person, I think a couple of times she said.

They talked on the phone and he died then suddenly in 2009 in a car crash and that was while she was at the US Open playing juniors that she found out and it comes to find out, she didn’t know this until after his death by searching on the internet and you know, she’s talked about this before, some. But, he had pleaded guilty for rape charges since early 20’s and was actually facing another current rape charge when he died. She has been through just so much and really overcome just so much and it’s just great to see her really coming into her own and I just really wish her all the best. I just love her.

[0:12:15.3] BE: Yes, me too and I keep watching that hug between her and Madison Keys over and over. Hug me too. Okay. Let’s move on to the next topic, another exciting, exhilarating tournament coming up and we’re qualifying for it right now, the World Cup Qualifiers for Russia 2018.

They’ve been maddening, heartbreaking, amazing and the last few weeks, I’ve hardly even able to keep myself together, we only know eight of the 32 teams that will earn their spot to compete in Russia, 10 short months from now.

There’s so much up in the air but we will have answers very soon. We know it’s a human rights debacle that will cost 15 to 20 billion dollars and yet, it engages the world in such a way that it’s really hard to look away.

Shireen, who have you been paying attention to?

[0:13:17.9]SA: Well, thanks Brenda. I can’t believe it’s 10 months away like that just freaked me out a little bit particular because of all the discussion around it, there have been a lot of concerns as you mentioned about Russia and how they’ll handle things and just to even leading up to this.

We already mentioned this on the podcast a couple of shows ago about how pre-festivities leading up to the world cup ended up in our burn pile because they were completely racist, people are using black face.

There’s that, we’re still dealing with that but in terms of the qualifiers, we have okay, first of all, we haven’t heard anything out of Africa that is solidified, there’s no firm results yet, we all are expecting Ghana, Nigeria and Egypt obviously to go, they both got some star players, like Mohammad Sali for Egypt but, I mean, one of the things that caught my attention and I was in the middle of traveling back when this happened was Syria scored and equalized against Iran and Iran as known as team Mali has had quite a performance in the World Cup previously, they’re pretty strong showing and so for Syria which is first of all a country that’s completely ravaged by war and haven’t had training grounds.

A lot of their players play abroad and they don’t actually have a team camp. I mean, everything in the country is decimated. For them to have tied up and qualified and equalized in that way to give themselves another shot is absolutely incredible and the video went viral of the announcer, calling out the goal and like literally was heartbreaking.

He’s just, he’s in disbelief and he’s in joy and he’s elated because for millions of displaced Syrians around the world, this is the one thing that they can cling to even though with then Syrian football camps, there’s a lot of divisiveness about how this, when has been coopted by the regime and what not.

I mean, I have some Syrian friends, I live in Toronto and one of them actually said to me and my translation’s going to be very loose was that you know, “This is one thing that, this is the joy that we still have.”

They don’t have a women’s team, they don’t have junior teams, they don’t have development camps anymore. For them to get this far is pretty miraculous. Anyway, That’s pretty great and moving on a little bit towards South American teams, we see that Argentina is struggling and I know Brenda you mentioned…

[0:15:34.9] BE: How can you bring that up with me this morning?

[0:15:36.6] SA: I know, I’m sorry and I know having a world cup without Messi is unfathomable but I mean, we don’t know, and he can’t carry the team even though like Angel Di Maria is there, I don’t know why everyone thinks Argentina is only Messi.

It’s not just Messi, it’s never just been him, they have some other players that are pretty, you know, aforementioned and pretty good anyway but it just doesn’t seem to be working out. I mean, I’m looking for Costa Rica to advance, I love them, I think they’re fun, Brazil had a really poor showing in the last world cup and we’ll see what happens there.

I don’t know, I think that it will be really interesting. The African Confederation, sorry, the Asian Confederation is going to pull out some really interesting things as we’re seeing. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as we move forward, we know that you know, Germany will advance, we’ll see what happens.

Spain actually just totally thrashed Italy, three nothing in the Qualifier as well. I think Spain’s developing in their own way because they were completely humiliated in the last World Cup.

[0:16:38.1] BE: yeah.

[0:16:40.5] SA: You know, we’ll see what happens as they move forward. I’m looking forward to it. Again, the conundrum of the world cup and this major militarized, capitalized, corporate sort of mega event that makes me feel icky particularly because it’s in Russia and it’s going to recourse the 2022 which is in Doha which is even ickier but you know, just sort of moving forward.

I’m looking forward to it. What do you think?

[0:17:05.3] BE: You know, I mean, you’re right. When you think about 11 players, it’s different than sports like basketball, you know, it’s hard to hang in on one person but a World Cup without Messi is like, I don’t know what to say about that, it’s no good.

He got this weird suspension this year so there’s been that, that he was out for a couple of a ball fires and then they strangely reversed it. So I wouldn’t even put it past FIFA, I guess maybe this is paranoia to invent some sort of way in which Argentina gets in if they can’t do it on their own. I know that that sounds crazy but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some strange thing that happens where it disqualifies Peru’s points or something like that. I’m kind of interested in what you guys think about the US team.

I have a soft spot for US soccer because it’s different than the other US sports, you know? The soccer community in the US is really engaged with the world and I feel like I sort of – I kind of pull for them in a way.

Even though I’m a South American sort of a soccer person, I don’t know, what do you guys think? They’re hanging a lot on Christian Pulisic? Is that how I say it? I mean, he’s 18. Do other people watch US? Do you guys care? I kind of care.

[0:18:28.8] SA: Of course, I care. I watch only for Tim Howard because I think he’s beautiful. He cost us a gold the other night so I mean. I say this, I’m Canadian so I have no authority to talk about like my national, criticize someone else’s national team. I think that the last World Cup for you all was pretty exciting. I think he made it to quarters if I’m not mistaken.

[0:18:51.5] JD: yeah, I mean, I don’t know, I feel like you know, I was raised in the US soccer community and I feel like for 25 years, it’s been, “Okay, this is going to be that – we’re on the verge.” They still play the same kind of balls in the air 50/50 balls, bouncing around like a pinball ball. It has gotten them not very far and you know, it was –

I was really upset with the way that Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure ended in the US, I thought he was going to be a great change of pace for the US soccer and it just didn’t wind up being the case. Bruce Arena came back, they seemed to have new life and all of a sudden, they have just played terribly in qualifiers.

With all the great, you know, we always have the next young star coming out in US soccer but they just seem to be stuck in this position of mediocrity that they can never quite get past and as a fan, it’s really frustrating. It’s always been that you know, you can cheer for the US but then you also have to have your other backup team that you cheer for because they’re not going to go that far.

I want to be in a country that is a force in soccer and we’re just not there yet.

[0:20:02.9] SA: We’re all moving to Germany?

[0:20:06.6] BE: That’s just more long ball play. I’m not sure you’re going to get a different style but might get different results, right?

[0:20:13.9] SA: Yeah.

[0:20:16.0] BE: I mean, I heard an interview with Grant Wahl this week where he was talking about Pulisic as the real deal and that he’s been involved in, I don’t know, nine of the last of 11 goals or something like that. I don’t know, I was just really interested to see it.

At the same time, I feel like sometimes the frustration with the US doesn’t take into account that they’re playing these teams that are really pretty good. I mean, I heard people were like, “How can we lose to Costa Rica,” it’s like, “Well Costa Rica is pretty good. What are you talking about?”

[0:20:43.4] SA: Keylor Navas has been pretty damn good, yes.

[0:20:47.3] JD: It’s not just that though, it’s the frustration of watching it at the lower levels and seeing just the same, I’m sure it’s the same in every country but we just don’t have the pool of players to pull from that other countries do where every single kid plays soccer.

It’s watching the – same old stupid politics and the same old like, it’s become an elite sport for kids in this country that you have to be able to pay a fortune to play on a travel team to have any chance of moving up and getting seen by the national recruiters and that really shouldn’t be the way it is.

That’s a big part of the problem.

[0:21:17.6] SA: Well, you all can revel in the fact that at least you have some of the greatest players that are female in the world.

[0:21:25.1] JL: That’s true, we do.

[0:21:27.3] SA: in your world champions and you know, I would – I hold that in high regard because American soccer is pretty great in some ways but you’re right Julie, it’s a completely elitist class system and that’s unfair to the…

[0:21:40.6] JD: Yeah, the pay to play system doesn’t seem to be working out for US soccer at all. I say this as someone who paid for like you know, 10 years for my kid to play.

[0:21:49.2] BE: Yeah, I pay every week.

[0:21:51.2] LG: Maybe Sloane Stephens’s boyfriend will save the US national team.

[0:21:55.9] SA: I love me some Jozy Altidore. Toronto, I love this city, in fact, our dear friends Stacy May Fowls is that the match yesterday so it we’ll check in with her and see how everything was.

[0:22:07.8] LG: Apparently he found out that she won the US Open during the match, like his mom mouthed it to him.

[0:22:16.6] SA: Yes, That’s so wonderful. I didn’t realize he was yeah, he was in the middle of the match when she was playing it.

[0:22:20.9] LG: Right, he scored two goals while she was winning the US Open.

[0:22:25.3] JL: That’s so lovely.

[0:22:27.1] BE: Yeah, nice brace for him. I don’t want to leave this segment without mentioning though the Iran, Syria match. Shireen, you’ve written about this, what happened with some of the women that held tickets?

[0:22:41.4] SA: Okay, for this I’ve written before, I’ve written about this before. Iran actually has imposed a stadium ban on women and not just for football for basketball, for volleyball which is also huge in that country and there’s been campaigns happening for really long time.

They really started mobilizing in 2009, there’s campaigns like Let Women Enter and one particular one which is on twitter called Open Stadiums and that’s my contact for this information. Basically, what happened was, the Iranian football association messed up and they sold tickets to women and the women obviously thought that they would have access and they didn’t.

This has happened before, I mean, women in that country that are activist and advocates for this have really pushed out and pleaded with international sports federations like FIVB, like FIBA and FIFA to make change and they will say that we don’t want to interfere on country’s politics which is bullshit.

I think it’s side stepping the issue because not allowing women to have access to a sport is actually against those charters of this federations, to have equality between men and women to access the sport.

It’s like a gong show because the interesting thing about the stadium, a lot of people don’t realize, this ban only applies to Iranian women. Syrian women who are coming to watch were allowed to enter the stadium and we’ve seen this with Korea playing, when they came to Iran.

Korean women were allowed to enter the stadium and that’s like this ban makes no sense because if you’re really going to be super misogynist then fine, don’t allow any women. Selectively not allow your own women to go enter, it absolutely makes no sense.

Then the last couple of weeks we’ve seen, I’ve got reports, even though I was traveling, I kind of intermittently had Wi-Fi and I saw that Iranian sports journalist and their team captain a month ago spoke out against this which is unprecedented.

We’re seeing change and people speaking out, Iranian super stars and prominent folks speak out against it which is really important because I think, if the change comes, it will only come from within.

[0:24:49.8] BE: Thanks Shireen for that and I know we’re going to keep up on the World Cup Qualifiers. If you’re a soccer person among sports people, let’s admit it, I mean, you feel like this is important and superior, even if it’s corrupt and morally reprehensible, you’re like dude, every country on earth cares about this.

[0:25:10.5] SA: What is wrong with us?

[0:25:13.7] BE: I know, everything. I know, I feel bad.

[0:25:17.6] LG: We’re trying to figure out every time we do this podcast, what is wrong with us, we’re still caring about all these stuff.

[0:25:24.2] BE: Yeah, exactly.


[0:25:33.7] BE: But now it’s time for everyone’s favorite segment where we take things that we’ve hated this week and throw them onto the burn pile. Julie you want to start us off?

[0:25:43.6] JD: I will start. I know that some of the stuff that happened this week in college sports is going to come up again I have a feeling but I want to talk about a couple of developments this week in just the I guess rape cultures act like a beat in college sports. I feel like it should be and Jessica covers it but there is an anonymous Notre Dame student who filed a law suit in Indiana alleging that a football player raped her in his dorm room in January of last year.

And that instead of dealing with the alleged assault, the school mishandled it and covered it up and then that was paired with the report that came out of CNN that said that they had a Pennsylvania State police report that suggests that Joe Paterno knew of at least one prior sexual act of abuse committed by Jerry Sandusky when he met with Mike McQueary in 2002. You know the Paterno people have always said he didn’t know and he got a bad rap for something that Jerry Sandusky did.

But there is mounting evidence that Joe Paterno knew as well that these allegations against Jerry Sandusky were out there and did nothing. So it feels like if we look at a time when sexual assaults on college campus started really coming into the forefront of the new cycle, it probably started with the Lizzy Seeberg in Notre Dame. She was a young woman who wound up killing herself after being raped by a Notre Dame football player and so just seeing this stuff all these years later we’re still dealing with the same garbage on college campuses over and over and over.

And the same allegations of covered up, I’ve had it with this culture and as someone who’s getting ready to send a kid to college in a few years, it is just absolutely sickening to me. I want to burn the whole thing.

[0:27:20.9] BE: Burn. Lindsay what you got?

[0:27:25.1] LG: Oh some fun stuff. I had a tough time coming up with what I was going to say this week because there is so much but look, I am going to come down with this co-opting of Pat Tillman who was a former Arizona Cardinals football player who served in the military and died in Iraq and I just want to – players are now coopting his memory to use against Kaepernick basically. Tyler Eifeert who is a tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals this week tweeted out a thing that said, “My cleats for tomorrow’s game and the reason why I stand for the national anthem, Pat Tillman” and then he did a whole article called “Why I stand” and then he wrote Pat Tillman on his cleats that he’s wearing today. Now our friend, Dave Zirin at The Nation had some really good tweets on this which I will link to the show notes. He has been adamant, who has talked to a lot of people who knew Pat Tillman, that this is not what Pat Tillman would want his legacy to be.

First of all, Pat Tillman was actually killed in friendly fire and it was covered up by the government and they used his death as propagandas essentially for the military and for the Army. So that’s bad. And so Pat Tillman did not have this one-size fits all heroic notion of what the US military was and should be. And when Dave Zirin was tweeting out his thoughts on this, someone responded, “I served with Pat Tillman. Trust me, he would have taken any with Kaepernick that Tillman apprentice among men with guidance at heart.”

So I just want to end with that and say we need to stop coopting these figures to fit our purpose and I mean look, same on the left side. That doesn’t mean Pat Tillman was this progressive liberal bastion. He was a person, he had a lot of different thoughts and a lot of different feelings and we shouldn’t be coopting anyone’s legacy to fit in there of that we want. Burn.

[0:29:19.9] BE: Burn. Okay Jessica.

[0:29:23.4] JL: Yeah, so mine dovetails with Julie and this no surprise to anyone who knows anything about me. On Thursday, the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, gave a long awaited and ever since Trump was elected an inevitable speech about the future of Title IX. A quick refresher, Title IX is a federal statute that says no educational institution in the US that receives federal funding can discriminate based on sex.

Title IX is about protecting civil rights and equal access to education. One aspect of this is equal access to sports, another is equal access to pregnant students and another, the most contiguous one the one DeVos talked about is equal access to people who are victims of gender violence at the hands of someone on campus. It’s hard to go to class, to the dining hall or simply walk across the green if you are worried that someone who has harassed or beat or raped you will be there.

And so the Department of Education under President Obama published guidelines in 2011 to help schools figure out what they need to do in order to make sure they are handling the issues of harassment, domestic violence and sexual violence correctly and seriously. It’s not surprise though that DeVos has announced that the current Department of Ed is going to rollback those guidelines in her speech, DeVos coopted the language of survivors and their advocates while acting as if the number of false accusations is on par with the number of victims. This is statistically untrue, extremely untrue. In fact, it is more likely a male student will be a victim of harassment or assault than falsely accused of it but where is the space for that new ounce and reality in this administration.

The Dallas Morning News editorial board called her speech a quote, “Pity Party for schools and the accused”.

DeVos got a lot wrong. The broken system is not because the guidelines are bad but because people don’t follow them. We need clarity and better training not a rollback and the education secretary of the president who happily bragged about grabbing women by the pussy, had the gall to say the definition of harassment is now too broad quote, “If everything is harassment then nothing is.” I’m sure her boss was pleased. Burn all of this.

[0:31:24.6] BE: Oh burn, what does that even mean? Oh, Shireen.

[0:31:31.4] SA: Yeah, when I stopped sleeping 18 hours a day I came back and saw something that absolutely needed to go straight into the incinerator. This is coming from Calgary, Canada and there was a story about a seven-year old new hockey player and she is going to be forced to sit out of the season because she refuses to wear a racist jersey. The young girl and this interview is with her mother, the family identifies as indigenous and the mascot being used and I hate that word is actually of a “warrior “ with war paint and feathers.

Now the young girl who is seven is obviously precocious enough to realize that this is not something she wants to wear and it’s offensive. So her only choice was to sit on the bench, to sit out the entire season and it would have been her first year of playing hockey and she has a five-year old brother who is following in her footsteps as well. So I found this appalling and the Calgary Northwest Warriors Hockey Association, this is their Jersey.

Now one of the officials from the league had said that there has never been any complaints about this which gives us a little bit of an indication of how white hockey is because this is actually been absolutely no complaints about this thus far and they said they haven’t changed it yet but they might be open to doing so if there’s more of a concern of it and I mean the fact that one particular family is so offended is not concerning me enough bothers me to no end.

But the fact that this still happens and that we are still using indigenous culture as mascots and the representatives is so horribly offensive, I just need to burn it down.

[0:33:11.5] BE: Burn. I’m going to be brief because my nomination for the burn pile is less weighty than everyone else’s for this week. Stealing signs using the Apple watch is sad. So sad. Even though I don’t even love the Yankees, I don’t. I don’t even love the Yankees, I don’t even care. I am in New York but I am a soccer person and I love losers so I am totally all about the Mets. I’m a teacher though and cheating infuriates me. It infuriates me and they are using this Apple watches to cheat in class and in baseball.

So the Red Sox use these Apple watches extra cheat. Evidently, you can cheat if you run the signs you steal into the dugout but you can’t use electronics which is also dumb but fine, okay? So outside New England this is very reminiscent of the Patriots who also violated NFL rules by spying and there is no secret here that Boston Sports community and I have a really rocky relationship. So just one more time I want to throw the Red Sox on the burn pile but while I am at it, I’ll just put Tom Brady and their cheater-ing there too.

They say cheaters never win but that’s not true, they win all the time and it infuriates me. So I am throwing the Red Sox sad cheating onto the burn pile.


[0:35:00.1] BE: Okay, after all that burning it’s time to celebrate some outstanding women. This week, our honorable mentions include Rebecca Lobo, the former UCON and WNBA star who was inducted this week into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Antonella Roccuzzo, normally featured in the media as Lionel Messi’s wife but this week, she was featured for speaking out about the disappearance of student activist, Santiago Maldonado in Argentina.

We are also honoring Bibiana Steinhaus who this weekend has become the first woman to referee a Bundesliga match and Beth Mowins for being the first woman to call a Monday Night Football game and even with all of that amazing badassery, our badass woman of the week is held completely and totally by Sloane Stephens who came to play and treated her opponents viciously but respectfully and treated us all to some great tennis.

Finally, this is the point of the show where we talk about what’s good. How are you guys coping this week with the end of days, Shireen?

[0:36:05.3] SA: I’m sleeping a lot and recovering but from travel I am going to try to see Battle of the Sexes at the Toronto International Film Festival this week which is really exciting and I am also going to read me a bit of some articles that I have been book marking on Tim Duncan because I love him. There is one about his kickboxing trainer in the Bleacher Report and how his kickboxing trainer opens up what it’s like to train with him.

And for those of you that missed it, Tim Duncan actually, we retweeted this on the Burn It All Down Twitter account. He wrote a piece for the Players Tribune about the effects of Hurricane Irma and the hurricanes and the storms in the US Virgin Islands and the Islands and our thoughts are with this on the Burn It All Down team as with all the survivors and victims of those storms. So I just wanted to add that in there.

[0:36:54.3] BE: Thanks Shireen. Jessica.

[0:36:56.8] JL: Yeah, so I love my therapist and I just wanted to say that publicly. I am endlessly thankful for her that I found her and that I have the means to be able to sit down with her for an hour every other week like she is literally a lifesaver, also though this week I got to give a shout out to the birthday cake. It is a magical week in my family where my son and my husband both have birthdays. So I am looking forward to my homemade cookie cake on Tuesday and a peanut butter and chocolate cake from my favorite local bakery sugar mamas on Saturday. Yay, birthday cake.

[0:37:32.0] BE: Yeah yay, I’ll take this one. I’m gearing up for my full bright semester next spring teaching in Argentina, thank you and in preparation I’m going to watch Wild Tales. In Spanish, it’s called Relatos Salvajes, and it’s this crazy movie with these different short stories but it comes together to make this amazing critique of masculinity and violence and it includes an amazing Jewish wedding gone super, super wrong. It is. Icrazy. It’s like a wild ride so it’s actually titled. Julie what are you doing?

[0:38:06.9] JD: I am so excited that Top of the Lake is starting up again tonight. It is only going to be three episodes. This is one of those mini-series I guess it was eight episodes in 2013. I think that I always whenever people ask what they should watch it’s always at the top of my list. It stars Elizabeth Moss, it’s on Sundance Channel and it was this great sort of little Jane Campion Project about this woman who lives in the backwoods of New Zealand and it winds up investigating a missing girl who winds up to be pregnant.

And so this one, it’s now going to be three episodes and Gwendolyn Kristi is in it as well as Elizabeth Moss and I am really excited about it.

[0:38:44.7] BE: Awesome, Lindsay?

[0:38:46.6] LG: Yeah, there is actually an article this week that made me really happy. It was by Dakota Crawford for the Indie Star and it was in depth look at the relationship between DeWanna Bonner and Candice Dupree who were two WNBA stars who got married last fall and Bonner just gave birth to twins and is planning on coming back to the WNBA. Well she’s actually going to play overseas this year. Dupree is not going to play overseas so she can spend her time taking care of the babies and then they’re both looking to be on the same WNBA team next year.

It’s a story that makes me feel like there is actually progress being made because I just as pass off season, we had both Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor get married and open up a little bit about their relationship which I think long time WNBA fans have kind of known or suspected or insiders have known but had never really publicly been talked about. And you also had the same thing with Dupree and Bonner. With Dupree and Bonner it’s different because they are both still active and now they have kids.

And they are two black women who are opening up about their marriage and their love and talking about how they are making it work, wanting to play on the same professional team and raise a family like that’s incredible. And it makes me really happy that they were willing to open up that they started this article and that this is something that is happening and it is okay. And I feel like it’s a big deal not because I want people to look down on it but just because I think it is a big deal that it’s not a big deal, you know what I mean?

So it made me really happy. Also this is the best sports day of the year. We have WNBA playoffs, NFL and US Open Men’s final. I am pumped. Okay.

[0:40:27.1] BE: That’s awesome. All right, that’s it for this week’s episode of Burn It All Down. Burn It All Down lives on Sound Cloud but it can also be heard on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Tune In and Google Play. We always appreciate your reviews and feedbacks so please, feel free to subscribe, rate and tell us what you like or didn’t about the show. We hope you’ll follow us on Twitter @burnitdownpod and on Facebook at Burn It All Down.

You can also reach us via our website at burnitalldownpod.com, that’s where you’ll find all of our shownotes and links to all the topics we discussed and of course you can email us at burnitalldownpod@gmail.com. Please take some time to go check out our Go Fund Me page and consider a small donation to help keep the pod going and allow us to make technical improvements. We’re really grateful to everyone who has contributed thus far. For Shireen Ahmed, Julie DiCaro, Lindsay Gibbs, Jessica Luther and me, Brenda Elsey, we’ll see you next week.

Shelby Weldon