Episode 51: NBA and NHL playoffs, MSU athlete and survivor Lindsey Lemke, and gender & youth sports
It’s a playoff party! Shireen, Amira and Brenda first. chat about NBA and NHL postseason play.
Then Lindsay interviews Nassar survivor and current Michigan State student Lindsey Lemke about the many ways her university has let her and the other survivors down this year, and why she and her Sister Survivors will keep fighting for change.
And Shireen, Amira, and Brenda dive into a complicated discussion about recent claims that girls become better athletes if they play with boys. The crew talks about the benefits of both coed and single-sex sports.
As always, you’ll hear the Burn Pile, Bad Ass Women of the Week, and what’s good in our worlds.
Intro (7:00) NBA and NHL postseason (22:36) Lindsay’s interview with Lindsey Lemke (36:14) Girls, boys, and youth sports (48:17) Burn Pile (57:40) Bad Ass Woman of the Week (1:00:13) What’s Good (1:03:34) Outro
For links and a transcript…
“Serge Ibaka seamlessly answered post-game questions in 3 different languages” https://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2018/4/15/17240116/serge-ibaka-post-game-questions-3-different-languages
“Michigan State is finding new ways to victimize the survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse” by Lindsay Gibbs https://thinkprogress.org/msu-nassar-victims-466cb901da70/
“Girls ‘should play football against boys to develop stars of future’” https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/girls-should-play-football-against-boys-to-develop-stars-of-future-a3819761.html
“Out of Bounds: Should girls play sports with boys?” https://www.news5cleveland.com/sports/out-of-bounds-should-girls-play-sports-with-boys
“Should Girls and Boys Sports Teams Compete in the Same League?” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/learning/should-girls-and-boys-sports-teams-compete-in-the-same-league.html
“A Team of Their Own” http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2721039-girls-travel-baseball-team-mlb-youth
“Trump Considering Pardon For Late Boxer Jack Johnson” https://www.si.com/boxing/2018/04/21/trump-considering-pardon-late-boxer-jack-johnson
“Donald Trump’s potential pardon of Jack Johnson, explained” https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/23/17268432/jack-johnson-pardon-stallone-trump
“Opinion: Why I felt trapped by violent misogyny at the Wally Awards” http://www.upbeacon.com/article/2018/04/wally-awards-critique
“Female mayors unite to force change in ‘sexist’ sumo ring rule” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201804200039.html
“‘I Climb for All Women:’ Single Mom Plans 9th Everest Summit” http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2018/-I-climb-for-all-women-She-washes-dishes-at-a-supermarket-raises-2-daughters-and-plans-9th-Everest-summit/id-2a6cc34beca9467aa66e8fd6304f0eec
“Desi Linden becomes first US woman to win Boston Marathon since 1985” https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/apr/16/boston-marathon-first-american-desiree-linden
“NCAA title a perfect end for UCLA’s Christine Peng-Peng Lee” http://www.espn.com/espnw/sports/article/23278681/ncaa-gymnastics-national-championship-perfect-ending-ucla-bruins-christine-peng-peng-lee
Shireen: Welcome to this week’s episode of Burn It All Down. It’s the Feminist Sports podcast you need. On this week’s panel, we have Amira Rose Davis, assistant professor of history and women’s gender and sexuality studies at Penn State University. Brenda Elsey, associate professor of history at Hofstra University, who is currently in Argentina, and me. I’m Shireen Ahmed, freelance sports writer in Toronto, Canada.
Before we begin, I would like to take this time to thank our patrons for their generous support and encouragement, and to remind our new flame throwers about our Patreon campaign. You can pledge a certain amount monthly, as low as $2, and as high as you want, to become an official patron of the podcast. In exchange for your monthly contribution, you get access to special rewards. With the price of just a latte a month, you can get access to extra segments of the podcast, a monthly newsletter, an opportunity to record on the Burn Pile, and those are only available to those in the Patreon community.
So far we’ve been able to solidify funding for proper editing and transcripts, but are hoping to reach our dream of hiring a full-time producer to help us with the show. Burn It All Down is a labor of love, and we really all believe in this podcast, but having a producer to help us grow would be amazing, as would be the opportunity for all of us to meet and go live on the road for Burn It All Down.
In this week’s episode, we’ll be talking playoffs: NHL and NBA. Lindsay has an interview with Lindsey Lemke, and we will discuss the oh so controversial topic of girls playing with boys in sports.
But before we begin let’s talk Kaep, because we’re always ready to talk Kaep. For those of you that don’t know, he was awarded the prestigious Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, and to present this award was Eric Reid. Now, I’m all here for all of that. I just wanted to know, Amira and Brenda, your thoughts,
Amira: Well, it was really nice to see and a great reminder that the NFL is not the right side of this issue. I think in 10, 20 years we’ll look back and recognize that. I think that it’s a nice reminder that people really around the world … This is an international award … Can see what Kaepernick is doing and understand it correctly to be about justice, and about fighting oppression, and not the military or the flag or all the ways that people have kind of used to shield, to detract from or change the conversation. So, it was just something to applaud.
Brenda: I always think it’s so interesting that people around the world seem to recognize, especially people involved in civil rights and anti-racism in the U.S. It seems like international organizations are much more willing to recognize that. Maybe it’s easier for them. Maybe it caused less conflict but it’s like, “What is wrong with these organizations in the U.S. that don’t see this as an important struggle, as a global struggle?”
I also agree, it’s really nice. It’s also though … I don’t know, maybe sad or poignant or it pokes me a little bit about why Amnesty can do it and there’s more sorts of local organizations that I feel could be stepping up to give him the support that he deserves.
Shireen: This also ties into Adidas making an announcement, which I thought was really interesting. I’d like to jump about what Brenda said about organizations still being hesitant and tentative when they shouldn’t be, and just sort of Adidas saying they would actually give him a contact if he got signed. What does that even mean? Is Stella McCartney signed? No. So, you don’t actually have to be signed with the team to get contract with Adidas. It doesn’t work like that. This is just reflective to me. Him getting this award from Amnesty highlights those that don’t support him, is what I’m trying to say.
It’s really, really frustrating and as Amira already mentioned, the NHL has proven time and again that they’re really, really off the mark here. I have a friend and she and I were chatting about it and she works within the NFL. I just have the upcoming conversation on my mind with Amira. She says that they really, really, really fucked up. Like they really, really lost the chance, especially an organization that is so bad on DV. It’s so bad on so many things. “This award celebrates individuals and groups to speak out for justice.” That’s what is.
Nelson Mandela won this. Malala Yousefzai. I really don’t understand U2 winning it, but whatever. Sunday bloody Sunday, it’s all good. So, Kaep is in there with these incredible people and the NFL is not a fan. I don’t understand. Amira?
Amira: Yeah, I wish I could help you understand but they’re using a logic of not justice. They’re using a logic of, dare I say, white supremacy and keeping their owners happy. I can’t help you there, except to say that Amnesty gets it, and I think that that’s a really remarkable feat.
Brenda: It’s amazing how white supremacy can even trump global capitalism.
Amira: Oh yeah, totally. That’s the thing about it that’s funny. Even in all of things, their owners will be like, “Oh, our fans are down, or they’re not gonna come.” There’s not even a rationale about what fans would come to the game to see Kaepernick, or the fact that after he started his protests his jersey sales were the leading jersey sale from the NFL shop. You’re exactly right. It’s funny, because there’s certain moments where you can see global capitalism actually doesn’t really hold a candle to white supremacy.
Brenda: It’s amazing. It’s like, I’m gonna go to those games and buy that jersey and that’s amazing and all my friends are too, but it doesn’t even matter to them, because being racist is more important.
Amira: Shireen has a Kaepernick jersey and she barely cares about the NFL.
Shireen: I don’t care about the NFL at all except to burn them in the burn pile [crosstalk 00:06:32]. I actually have two Kaep jerseys; a black one and a red one.
Amira: See? See? [crosstalk 00:06:37].
Shireen: Speaking of global capitalism, I love Adidas. I just had to throw that in there. You know me. It’s my problematic fav.
Brenda: Shireen, stop looking for sponsors.
Shireen: Yeah, Adidas, sponsor Burn It All Down please, yes.
Moving on, Amira, why don’t you get us started.
Amira: Okay, y’all. It’s that time of year. I know there’s exciting moments in sports. March Madness, although exploitative system it’s super fun to get into. When baseball is winding down you have Red October. It’s wonderful. The Olympics are great, but to me, bar none, the most exciting post season of any sport is the NHL playoffs. @ me, I don’t really care, because … Fight me on that. It’s literally the most exciting thing. The intensity goes up. I can’t even explain it, other than to say, I saw [inaudible 00:07:44] once down a player on a penalty play, block a shot with his kneecap, which then shattered his leg, and still get up with no stick and make a penalty kill. That is playoff hockey.
So, my friends, it is time for playoff hockey. I’m a very happy person right now. But this is a weird Stanley Cup playoffs, I must admit. There’s a weird kind of … You know how in the NBA for the past few years it’s like, “Okay, this is fluff. Just get to the time where the Warriors play the Cavs.” In many ways, I feel like this post season is kind of similar.
We have some good series, but we’re not seeing this kind of wide open parity where we’re sitting back like, everybody has a shot. I feel like there is … My Bruins are looking really good, although they lost to the Leafs last night. I know, I was texting Shireen quite … “Send more wine.”
Brenda: I’m waiting for this conversation.
Shireen: I have a lot to say about this [crosstalk 00:08:46]-
Brenda: Go ahead, sorry.
Amira: Although I’m always happy to see a [Pens 00:08:51] Flyers opening round because it’s a bloodbath and … You know, wonderful. But generally, the Lighting look good, the Predators look good, but I feel like this year there’s … Maybe we have to get into the next rounds to start seeing really, really close games. We’ve had some sweeps. It feels kind of like the NBA. I don’t know Shireen, what are your thoughts?
Shireen: My thoughts are that I’m not hugely invested, only because the [Habs 00:09:20] didn’t even make it. Then my default are the Predators, because obviously P. K. Subban. But I’m really enjoying watching the Bruins lose, because … Almost at a level of love for the Habs, I have a disdain for the Bruins, which is why I love Amira so much. She’s genuinely the only Bruins fan I’ve ever loved.
I’m not a Leafs fan, either. I’m a displaced Montreal Canadiens fan because I live in Toronto, and everyone here is so excited and rubbing it constantly in my face all the time that I-
Amira: Don’t you just want to cheer for the Bruins for this series?
Shireen: No, it really doesn’t work like that. [crosstalk 00:10:03] It’s so interesting. Absolutely not. For all of our listeners out there, this is actually something that happened. Amira and I were texting about something super personal last night, and she just happened to mention, “And the Bruins lost.” I was like, “I love you and I’m giving you support, but you get no love.” That was in caps from me, that’s how horrible I am. In caps I’m like, “YOU GET NO BRUINS SYMPATHY FROM ME. I LOVE YOU, I’M HERE FOR YOU, BUT NAH.”
Brenda: Amira gets this about the Patriots, too.
Amira: Listen. I know I’m an insufferable Boston sports fan, but my rings keep me warm at night even when my friends abandon me. It’s the price you pay for greatness, I know.
Shireen: Okay, if we’re talking NHL, then really … You’re talking to a Canadian. Boston doesn’t have more cups than we do. When I say “we” I mean any bloody team in Canada.
Amira: That’s wonderful. I’m talking collectively.
Shireen: Oh, ouch. [crosstalk 00:10:57]
Brenda: New York, but the Nicks blow.
Amira: Exactly. That’s the thing about it, is that I really grew up in the heyday of Boston sports. We had a period there were every year almost we were winning a championship. It has spoiled me. I think some Boston fans are just as insufferable as most people, but also, though, a really good amount of people who just happen to be from New England and like their sports team like everybody else and aren’t obnoxious or kind of stereotypical sports fans. I think I fall into that category.
Brenda: I think you’re the only one in that category. I don’t care what you say.
Amira: But yeah. Besides from the Bruins, the Predators, like I said, were looking really good. I do have to say, I don’t care how long they’ve had teams which is, for some, decades, but the warm weather cities who excel at hockey, like the Predators are great [inaudible 00:11:57], the Lightning … I don’t know why, it just makes me laugh.
Shireen: You know what’s funny is Las Vegas. They have a hockey team, and apparently they’re doing okay. I just find that really interesting, because I don’t think hockey when I think Las Vegas.
Amira: That’s exactly it. It’s really funny. Nashville, Tampa Bay, Las Vegas, and the Kings have been good for many years now. It just pushes back on this kind of idea that we have about Midwest dominating … I mean, obviously the players tend to be from cold area places, but there’s a real-
Shireen: Canada, yes.
Amira: Okay, yes.
Brenda: Russia, Russia, Shireen.
Shireen: Sorry, yes. And the Finnish and the Swedish, yes.
Brenda: Right, right.
Amira: The other thing that’s really cool about it is to see these hockey cultures popping up. I was in Nashville doing research, and there was a huge swell around the Preds and around hockey. That’s super dope to see in my opinion. The other funny thing about NHL playoffs is it always brings out people who have never watched hockey before. My favorite genre of that are Black people who discover hockey.
I don’t know if you guys remember. A few years ago a fan of the Saint Louis Blues … He lives in St. Louis and he happened upon a Blues game, and literally tweeted out, “Hockey is lit. White people have been hiding it from us.” It got so much traction as he live-tweeted these games that the Blues actually brought him to a game, put him on the Jumbotron, gave him a jersey, all of this stuff.
In this latest episode of Black people discovering hockey, the NHL officially tapped Snoop Dogg, [inaudible 00:14:00] to explain the slang of the sport to people who are just tuning in.
Shireen: Really? How did I miss it? That’s amazing.
Amira: I will send you the video, just a few highlights. He says-
Brenda: Can I add one quick … Oh, sorry. Go ahead.
Amira: Yes, go ahead.
Brenda: Can I add one quick thing about diversity in hockey that is my only trivia about hockey?
Brenda: Which maybe everyone knows, but Maple Leaf Auston Matthews is Mexican American. His mom’s from Hermosillo in Mexico. Does everyone know that, or is that just my Latin American radar?
Shireen: No, I think because he’s in Toronto … Nazem Kadri is also not white. He’s of Lebanese descent and he’s Muslim, so in Toronto everyone’s like, “Oh, look, look how diverse we are. We have two non-white players on our squad, on the roster.” Wow, Toronto actually boasts a huge percentage of the non-white players. There’s two of them.
Amira: This is the Winter Olympics all over again.
Shireen: Yeah, it is. [crosstalk 00:15:02] The NHL is constantly like that.
Amira: I think that’s a really good fact, because I think visibility really matters, Brenda, so I think it’s really good to amplify that.
Brenda: I don’t know, maybe Snoop Dogg can do something with J-Lo or something. I’m not sure. That’d be amazing.
Amira: Right now, mostly he’s explaining slang. For example he says, “A is for apples and assists, biscuit simply means the puck, and flow is about wild hair. Pipes are the goal posts, so I’ll use that in a sentence. ‘That guy hit the pipe.'”
Shireen: You know what, I’m here for Snoop doing animal and nature videos, I’m here for him cooking shows with Martha Stewart, I’m so here for him doing NHL. This is brilliant. You’ve made my day.
Amira: This is the second … I’ll leave you with this other one. He says, “The five hole is the space between the goalie’s legs. Going five hole sounds dirty, but it just means scoring in the most humiliating way possible.”
Shireen: Oh, that’s amazing. That’s amazing.
Amira: Anyways, if I can’t get you to watch NHL playoffs, maybe Snoop Dogg can. But they’re not the only playoffs on TV right now. We’re in one of the best sporting times of the year. We also have the NBA playoffs that are happening. NBA playoffs are in full swing. We’ve had some really great games. Those Celtics are randomly winning games, even though their squad is … Who is even playing at this point for them?
The Cavs are in a hole. They’re not looking super great right now. It’s also kind of weird playoffs over there on the NBA side. Have you guys been catching any games, or mostly living in your soccer world?
Shireen: No, again, Toronto. Like I said, I’m not a huge … I love the Blue Jays. I love Toronto FC. I do love the Raptors. They’re not my team. My team is San Antonio, who did not make the playoffs, and just also wanted to recognize really quickly the passing of Erin Popovich, the President’s wife. I just wanted to do that. The Raptors are in the playoffs, and the city’s lit.
Amira: [crosstalk 00:17:13] number one seat.
Shireen: They’re number one seat in the Eastern conference. Their record is amazing. It’s 48 or something like that. We’re all [inaudible 00:17:23] … I’m also obsessed with Serge Ibaka as of late and his videos. There’s one video that I want to link to show notes of him answering [crosstalk 00:17:29]-
Amira: Speaking languages.
Shireen: Yeah, he’s speaking three fluently without … He didn’t even include his own native tongue, which he alluded to in a tweet. He actually did English seamlessly, French seamlessly, and then Spanish seamlessly. I didn’t even know Serge Ibaka spoke Spanish, but I’m all here for him speaking anything. [crosstalk 00:17:47]
Amira: It’s amazing when countries emphasize learning languages.
Shireen: Yeah, but I’m excited about everything. My heart is with the Spurs, the golden states that had three nothing. It’s been a tough time for the Spurs. I love them. Pop didn’t coach the Thursday night game, but I’m watching … The Raptors really beating out Washington was a really big thing. I mean, Washington just won the other day. There’s a lot of hype here. I live in a sports city, and it’s fun.
Amira: Toronto is playing really great, and like you mentioned they had set a franchise record for single season victories. They won 59 games going to the number one seat, so they are looking really, really great. We also have a few new … Or, returners. The 76ers, which have been kind of doing nothing for the past few years, made the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Philly, fresh off their Eagles victory, are also dancing right now and feeling quite good about that. The Timberwolves from Minnesota, for the first time since 2004, are back in the post season.
Shireen: Without Garnett, too.
Amira: Yeah. He hasn’t been there for a very long time.
Shireen: Really? Exactly.
Amira: It’s definitely cool to see. I think the East is generally a weaker conference but it’s wide open, too. You have the Raptors, the Celtics, who are obviously without Kyrie from the playoffs. A lot of random people have been stepping up. I mean, I shouldn’t say random, they’re clearly on the team, but it’s definitely required them to go to their bench and have people step up. People didn’t think they would win a single game in the series after Kyrie was out for the post season, and they took the first two games. They lost the third game, but they’re playing tonight, so we’ll see what happens.
Shireen: Yeah, they play today.
Amira: Yeah. The Cavs, again, aren’t looking great, and are [inaudible 00:19:54]-
Brenda: Oh, but they are looking great. Amira, did you see them in those gray suits? They’re looking great.
Amira: They’re looking great.
Brenda: They have a Chelsea boot. Amira, it’s putting [Mellow 00:20:10] to shame. Their fashion, LeBron’s whole new delving into fashion, I think is … It’s taken him a while.
Amira: NBA fashion is … You know.
Shireen: I’m just here to be all here for Dwayne Wade. That man exudes so much class all the time.
Amira: Did you see him completely put his team on the back, his back, and have … What was his stats for that game? I have to pull them up.
Shireen: It was ridiculous. The tweets were, like …
Amira: Yeah. He had a game that was turning back the tide. It was fun to watch all of Twitter kind of explode and remember, “Hey, Dwayne Wade is really good at basketball.” That was wonderful, and then did you see Gabrielle Union tweeted, “Great job baby. Now come home, I have something for you. #Grownasfuck” And I was like, “I’m here for everything about them right now.”
Shireen: There’s some rumors-
Brenda: There’s been some amazing [crosstalk 00:21:11] individual performances, like Anthony Davis.
Shireen: There’s been some conversation whether it would be Dwayne Wade’s last game, too. I think there’s been some murmurings about that.
Amira: Yeah, because he said he’s gonna take the time after the season to decide whether to retire or to come back to the heat. He said, “Just taking time to think. That’s all I’m doing. Taking time to think and look at every angle with the best situation for me to be in. That’s all.” Definitely sounds like he’s weighing stuff on his head. Anyways, we also have … New Orleans has swept. The Trailblazers, they’re advancing right now.
Brenda: That was amazing. That was amazing. I don’t get much here, but I did see that last game.
Amira: Yeah. As Shireen, as you mentioned, Golden State is up 3-0 on San Antonio. It’s looking like they’re gonna advance as well. Almost all the other series are knotted up 2-1 in some fashion, although Philadelphia is up three games to one on the Heat. The rest of the field is in a 2-1 situation right now, so you’re definitely seeing more parity. This is what I mean by …
Out of the West, you have New Orleans and soon to be Golden State advancing quite easily, but in the East, it’s a fight. It’s a fight in even the … I don’t think there’s anybody really dominant in the East. I do think it’s wide open. It’ll be interesting to see who gets hot here and who makes a run.
Shireen: This week, our Lindsay interviewed Lindsey Lemke, a survivor of Nassar’s abuse and current Michigan State student for an article on Think Progress. We’re gonna play you all an edited excerpt from that interview here. If you haven’t listened to last week’s episode where the Burn It All Down panel discusses the latest news, developments at Michigan State, you can also read Lindsay’s piece on Think Progress, which is linked in the show notes.
Lindsey Lemke spent two seasons as a member of Michigan State’s gymnastics team, and this past season served as student coach for the team. She grew up practicing gymnastics at Twisters, where she was subjected to physical and emotional abuse by John Geddert, one of Nassar’s many enablers. From the ages of 12 to 17, she was sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatments. This past year, she’s been one of the leading voices fighting for change and accountability at Michigan State.
This interview is not explicit, and does not go into detail about the abuse she experienced. Rather, it focuses on Lemke’s advocacy work with her fellow sister survivors, and how poorly Michigan State University has handled this crisis every step of the way. We’re gonna drop you right in the middle of the conversation between the two Lindsays, as they discuss how much the national spotlight on the case has diminished since early February, when more than 200 survivors read victim impact statements at Nassar’s sentencing hearings.
Lindsay G.: The local reporting on this case has just been really phenomenal, but from the national spotlight … Since the sentencing hearing and since the impact statements, it seems like that spotlight died down fairly quickly. Would you agree with that assessment?
Lindsey L.: I would definitely agree. I think that our local news stations have been doing a really good job, but definitely when it comes to CNN and CBS and ABC and the big media outlets that we need to keep reporting this to make it so everybody around the world can continue to try to hear what we’re trying to change.
I just think that … There have been things that have happened that obviously they move on to. That’s their job, but at the same time, we need these media outlets to keep helping us, because we’re trying to make our voices reach across the world to try to change a culture.
Lindsay G.: Yeah. I saw on Twitter you had said something that I thought was really powerful along the lines of, “Do we need to do all the victim impact statements again? Is that what it’s going to take?” How frustrating is it to feel like it might take something that extreme to get people to even look your way?
Lindsey L.: It is frustrating. Just because … I think you can ask any survivor at this point, that we are exhausted of fighting. That doesn’t mean we’re gonna give up, but we’re exhausted of trying to fight against an issue where there is no opposing side. There’s no opposing side to sexual abuse and trying to hide it and trying to sweep it under the rug. That’s wrong. There’s no way to justify trying to hide sexual abuse.
When I wake up every day and I’m posting these things on social media because I’m trying to keep our voices heard, and I’m doing interviews still because I don’t think that there’s been any change made. Waking up every single day just in complete exhaustion, knowing that what we’ve done so far still has not made an impact is insane, because we have gone through so much.
I made that statement because clearly that’s what caught people’s attention. If we had to do victim impact statements again to keep the ball rolling of trying to change the culture, I am sure that 90% of the people who are trying to make change would want to do it, because that’s how dedicated we are and devoted we are to trying to change this culture.
Lindsay G.: Wow. That’s incredible. I feel a little bit like a stalker here, I keep referring to your social media accounts.
Lindsey L.: No, that’s fine. It’s public for a reason.
Lindsay G.: Yeah. You were talking a little bit about the Michigan State Athletic Gala, and expressed some disappointment about what happened there. What were your frustrations, and do you mind telling us a little bit about what happened that evening?
Lindsey L.: Yeah, basically the Michigan State Student Athlete Academic Gala is a dinner that they host for student athletes that have a GPA above a 3.0. Obviously I’m very thankful and I’m very grateful that I’m able to attend something where my academic achievements are honored, on top of being a student athlete. That’s very, very cool, and I’m very grateful.
However, I was just very, very frustrated and irritated the entire night, because … Obviously, like every other awards night, there is a host that does all the introductions and such. He started out the night just by saying how hard of a year it’s been for Michigan State, and “We’re not gonna let one person take us down,” referring to Larry Nassar.
Then he mentioned something about how hard of a year it’s been for the survivors. I’m fuming at this point, because to me, he’s comparing how hard of a time it’s been for Michigan State for the past 16 months compared to how hard of a time it’s been for the survivors, for some, over 20 years. That just doesn’t even compare.
The only reason why it’s been hard for Michigan State is because they’re taking all the wrong steps, and they’re trying to cover themselves up. It got brought up because I just believe that they want sympathy. “Oh, yeah, it’s been such a hard year for Michigan State.” Well, if you think it’s been a hard year for you, clearly you do not understand what the survivors have had to go through.
Lindsay G.: If you don’t mind my asking, just straight up, have you thought about leaving school? It must be, I imagine, incredibly difficult to be on campus day to day, while all this is happening.
Lindsey L.: Yeah, it’s definitely … It’s very tough, because in the beginning it was … I was standing on my high horse and I was saying, “No, I’m not gonna let Michigan State ruin this for me, because I’ve already transferred once.” I transferred from the University of North Carolina after my freshman year. I just kept telling myself, I didn’t go through all the transferring process and getting scholarships and moving back home and all of this to have it be the exact same outcome, that I don’t like where I’m at.
Now, as time goes on, I have had that thought of transferring, because it’s so hard for me to want to represent a school. I don’t want to be a Spartan anymore, because I don’t like what they stand for. When they talk about Michigan State, they talk about leadership and integrity and character and all of these great characteristics that a Spartan would have, and being a warrior.
That’s what I think I am as a Spartan, but the actions that John Engler and the rest of the board of trustees have do not display what being a Spartan is, so why would I want to be a part of that university? You don’t. There are days where I don’t even want to go to class. I don’t even want to be on campus, because I feel like I’m …
Obviously, I know I’m getting a degree for myself, but at the same time, I’m in debt to Michigan State and I owe them money back. I don’t want to pay them money. I don’t think they deserve money, because they’re offering the money to another survivor to basically get her to shut up about advocating for change.
It’s very hard. I only have 15 credits left, so that is the reason why I won’t transfer, but it’s very, very hard, because I’ve supported Michigan State my entire life. At a time where you feel like they should be supporting you the most, they don’t, and they fight against you.
Lindsay G.: What does accountability look like at this point? Is there a way for accountability to take place still?
Lindsey L.: Yeah, I definitely would think that John Engler and the whole board of trustees needs to go, because the board of trustees … They had Lou Anna Simon and they got rid of her, but at first they were supporting her. That’s one thing that’s a red flag. No, obviously you don’t care about making change.
She goes, and they bring in John Engler, who is another insider of Michigan State’s, not somebody from the outside. To me, he’s worse than what Lou Anna Simon was doing, because he’s trying to offer money to survivors to make them stop advocating for change. Clearly he shows weakness in the fact that he can’t stand that we don’t give up.
Lindsay G.: What would you want to see from that new board and that new president?
Lindsey L.: I think first, just settlement, because we’ve been in mediation, we haven’t been in mediation, we’ve been in mediation, we haven’t been in mediation. We’re just trying to settle this, because we want to heal. We want to move on from this.
Like I said, there have been girls who’ve been dealing with this for 20 years. I think the main that we all want to see is just protocols put in place where people feel safe about speaking up about sexual abuse on Michigan State’s campus.
We just saw an article come out about Jane Doe who was allegedly raped by three basketball players. She didn’t even feel safe talking to the police about it, because she was scared of retaliation, because it was basketball players. We’re willing to go to the ends to the earth to try to make the change, because I believe any person, little boy, little girl, adults, male, female, deserve to have a voice about their sexual abuse. I want Michigan State to be a campus where that is supported.
Lindsay G.: Where does this strength to speak out come from? Have you always been outspoken about social justice? Have you always seen yourself as an advocate, or is this a voice that you found throughout this process?
Lindsey L.: I was always a leader. I tried to do what was right all the time growing up. I was voted team captain my senior year for gymnastics, and I was always a very vocal person to make things better, and to have people reach their potentials.
I think with that just being inside of me, that’s why I’ve been able to be so vocal about this situation. I have strength, because I remember being that little girl who was afraid to speak up. Even in gymnastics, as a young gymnast, when coaches would yell at me in unfair situations. I remember being that little girl shaking and being so terrified, because I felt like no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t right.
My whole life growing up I’ve always been that person that’s tried to strive for perfection. Knowing what I know now, I wish I could be that voice for little seven year old me and say, “It’s gonna be okay, and if something isn’t fair, you can speak up. It’s not disrespectful to speak up when you think something is wrong.”
I just think that for all those little kids who are going through what we’ve been through, and even adults, I want to be the voice for them. I want them to know that they have somebody to come to, because it’s tough. It’s really, really hard feeling like you have no say in your situation, because it’s not gonna matter.
That’s what Michigan State’s causing. This Jane Doe feels like she cannot speak up about her sexual abuse, because it’s not going to matter, because Michigan State isn’t gonna do anything about it anyway. That’s what needs to change, and that’s why I have the strength. I see all these messages every single day of people saying to me, “Thank you so much for being a voice. I haven’t been able to speak op with my abuse until now, until hearing all the impact statements.”
That’s what keeps you going, because you know that in little increments you’re making the change. It’s just these big institutions that you have to get on board with, too. Until that day comes, you just keep going. You don’t run out of strength, because you know that those people need you. That little seven year old me needed me at that age. You know that there’s other people in that same situation, too.
Lindsay G.: What advice would you give to other, I would say maybe … The parents and the other coaches and people who are on the lookout and wanting to create a safe environment? What should they be on the lookout for?
Lindsey L.: I would say just always making sure that whenever a child comes to you with a concern, or they’re scared, that you don’t second guess them, and that you listen to them and you believe them.
Even if a child does come up to you and thinks that something was wrong, and for some reason it turns out being right, you at least take the correct steps to make sure that they’re okay. That way that child knows that they’re believed and they’re trusted.
As a little girl, when I would speak up about that stuff, I was always second guessed. Obviously as an eight year old or a nine year old, when someone says, “Are you sure that’s what happened?” You’re gonna second guess yourself because you’re young. You don’t know that you can have that voice to say, “Yes, I’m sure that’s what happened.”
For these people who want to make the change, just believe and trust. Make that your first instinct. Just because they’re a child doesn’t mean that they don’t know what’s happening.
I would say, for people who are currently in the fight, don’t give up, because there are so many people that we have reached around the world. Even if the major media outlets have stopped showing what we’re doing, that doesn’t mean that people don’t still need us, because we are helping people every single day. Eventually our hard work is going to pay off for these institutions.
I think that karma is 100% real. For the way that we were treated growing up, us survivors, I think that we and the hard work that we are putting in now to make change, it’s gonna end up in our favor. Even though it’s exhausting and it’s tiring and we feel like we’re talking to brick walls, we aren’t, and we are making change. Believing and trusting and continuing to persevere through tough times, because it’s going to pay off.
Shireen: Next, Brenda, you want to get us going?
Brenda: Sure. This week, England’s women football stars, including Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs, called for more girls to play the game alongside boys, to help develop the top few players of the future. This got a bit of press, and it got us thinking here that it’s worth a discussion in terms of the issue of integrated vs. segregated sports, especially youth sports. I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the years, both as a mother and a scholar.
On the one hand, I think we can all say it’s a wonderful experience for girls to play with all girls sometimes, to have an experience in sports where boys are not at the center of everything, and to see how a game among girls develops. On the other hand, it’s great to see girls and boys, and men and women, in solidarity with one another, rooting for one another.
When I interview top female talent, all over Latin America anyway, just as in the England article, they frequently talk about how important it was that they played with boys teams. In fact, I’m in Argentina right now and before the age of 13, there’s only boys’ teams.
It’s interesting. My daughter plays on a mixed team. I think though, the point is that it has to be done with some consciousness or reflection about it. I’m just gonna give a quick example and then I’ll throw it to you guys and see what you think.
In Colombia, for example, they have this new iteration of football. It’s about 15 years old, called golombiao. Golombiao is supposed to encourage gender equity among players. It’s not the only thing, it’s about building peace and trust in Colombian civil society after the civil war, but listen to what they do.
For example, the first goal has to be scored by a girl, and then every other goal after that. There’s a way in which to do it. In interviews with people and their experience with golombiao, the fascinating thing is that the boys and girls absolutely love it. It teaches also great passing and things and a lot of consciousness among the boys who are playing, because usually if they’re strikers, they have to think like, “Wait, is it my turn? Is it not my turn?”
I think that that’s totally fascinating, and shows you that there’s a way in which to do gender integration too, in different ways that teach different things, but it’s the parents that complain, that feel like the girls are “Holding their boys back.” It’s not the children.
Anyway, I don’t know. What do you all think?
Amira: Yeah. Two anecdotes came to mind when we said this is what we wanted to talk about. I think that’s a necessary conversation. Brenda, you pointed exactly to it, that there is a certain value in girl dominant sporting spaces that I think is invaluable. But I also think that there can be value in mixed sporting settings as well.
The first anecdote I have is that growing up playing soccer, there was two girls who played for the boys’ team. I kind of played back and forth. I played both with the guys, and then I played with the girls, starting around travel season in maybe middle school, I guess. But I played with both.
When we got to high school, out of all of the girls who were my year, we had all grown up playing together. The two girls who made varsity were the two who played with the boys the entire time, and I made JV and then got moved up to varsity, I was the only person who played both ways.
That was this kind of moment where I remember feeling as a 14 year old, however old you are. Feeling like, “Damn. Are the better because they played with …” It was a kind of palpable lesson. It was clear to everybody that it wasn’t a coincidence that these two girls who had made varsity, very strong varsity squad, were also the only two who’d been playing on the boys’ side as we were growing up. I think that people took that lesson different ways, but that immediately jumped to mind.
The other thing was that when Samari, my daughter, was playing soccer, when she first started out when she was around six … She was pretty good and they moved her up a little kid division and whatnot. But the team she got placed into was an all-boys team. They were seven to eight year old boys, and she was a six year old girl, and she could play with them.
That was fine, but they didn’t talk to her. As soon as practice was over, they would goof off or run around, jump in mud … They wouldn’t talk to her. She would look across the sidelines and see a team that might be mixed too, have a few girls on it, but everybody was hanging out.
When she started seeing girls only leagues and they’d all be hanging out and chanting and kind of just having a good time, I think she really felt isolated on that squad. It could have just been that squad, but I know the effects, and it caused her to leave the game. She hasn’t gone back yet.
Shireen: I mean, that is so powerful, because soccer, even for me particularly … I can’t obviously speak for Samari, but I know that as a young girl, soccer fulfilled a lot of my social needs. I was always the only non-white person in my school, or in my class for sure. Soccer sort of afforded me that comfort on the pitch.
I talk about this a lot when I talk identity in football, but the idea that young girls need that socialization as well, and they need that team support and that building and this development of people skills.
I mean, there’s a couple things. I played with boys until I think I was eight. I still do sometimes some co-ed pickup soccer, but I absolutely prefer my women’s league, 100% my team. I absolutely prefer it.
My answer to this whole idea of, “Should girls play with boys to get them better?” Of course my thoughts go to, “What we need to do …” I think it’s the wrong question. What we should really be doing is trying to improve and develop young girls leagues, the women’s leagues, so the standard changes.
We’re looking at the Celia Sasics and the Nadine Angerers and the Christine Sinclairs, Crystal Dunns, Carli Lloyds. We’re looking at them and we’re looking at …
Just the other day, the Japanese Nadeshiko won the Asian Football Confederation Tournament. We’re looking at those. Homare Sawa has inspired so many. We’re looking at them for that standard and what that looks like, because I’m a person that believes in equity and equality, but I also understand that the women’s game is different.
I can’t speak to the science about it, “Oh, the boys are more physical.” I’ve been in some pretty physical games with women, so I don’t even know what that means. My hope is always that girls get choice. I will always be a proponent of choice.
If girls want to play co-ed, they should be able to. I had to play hockey co-ed because there was no option for a girls’ team. There was no choice. At the risk of having girls excluded, yeah, they have to play. That should happen in any capacity. But I’m also keenly aware that sometimes girls’ sports will give them what they need.
Amira: Yeah, I think those are great points. I want to say that this is not only a conversation that’s happening now or happening around the game of soccer. A few years ago, we had this conversation around the game of basketball when there was a young travel basketball team disqualified because they played a girl on the team.
It drew the ire of many WNBA players and coaches, but out of that for instance, Swin Cash in New York [inaudible 00:44:27] Candice Wiggins weighed in and said, “Listen you’re just denying the girl the experience. You’re denying young boys that experience of respect. You can’t underestimate girls. You can’t underestimate what they can do. Take me as an example. The person I am is because I played on the boys’ team.”
You have very similar conversations happening in basketball spaces. In baseball, Jess has profiled the wonderful girls’ baseball team last summer. We’ll link that in.
I always teach about girls in baseball, for instance. That’s a sport, because girls have been kind of systematically pushed into softball, that a lot of times if you want to play baseball you’re playing on a co-ed team unless you’re playing with these girls’ travel teams that are popping up that are all girl squads but play in competitions against co-ed teams.
I think that, Shireen, you’re making great points. One, choice is definitely a thing. Two, we need to open up all these avenues for participation. If you’re in a place where there’s not a team, obviously you want to play with a co-ed team. But I think choice is the right word for it, and I think the more we open up avenues for youth sports across the board, generally speaking, the better it will be.
Of course, the question becomes, what happens when you then get out of youth sports, you get into high school, you get into college, where they become immensely gender segregated again?
There’s this really interesting transition between youth sports, especially a lot of people playing youth sports at the co-ed level, and then moving into sex segregated sports when they hit high school and varsity sports and on to college and how abrupt that can be. There’s girls who’ve never been on a team with all girls, that have this kind of new learning experience that happens once they get into high school.
For many people, that could be a powerful moment. I can tell you, I didn’t like softball but I played softball because I loved training with my team. I was very good at track but I hated track because literally … I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but track is literally just running, and the only way you can track is to keep running and lifting. Personally, I like sports that have contact in them, so track was not my favorite thing, but A) we won, and I liked that, and B) I loved the girls on my track team.
I played soccer with a lot of them. It was just a really good crew. I kept running track even though I hated it, just because that tie with those girls on that team kept me in the game.
Shireen: Amazing. Brenda, do you want to wrap us up?
Brenda: Sure. I would just like to make a call for mixed gendered events in later … I know no one’s heeding my call or asking me to make said call, but mixed-
Shireen: Burn It All Down is heeding your call, okay?
Brenda: Thank you. But mixed doubles is awesome, and I don’t know why because soccer’s played exactly the same. We don’t have any leagues like that. I think it’s just cool to have both things. Like you said, choices, Amira. And I like choices as a fan. I dig those kinds of events that are mixed. The mixed curling now, there’s mixed curling. That was-
Shireen: And bobsled.
Brenda: Yes, and that was amazing. To a large extent I also think there gets to be a certain kind of … I don’t know, a certain kind of solidarity forged in rooting for the people on your team. I would just like to sort of wrap it up by saying, “Come on soccer. Get on board with tennis and bobsled and curling. Get yourself some mixed events.”
Shireen: Onto our favorite segment, The Burn Pile. Amira, what do you want to burn?
Amira: Y’all, I don’t know what I’m burning. I know the situation I’m gonna talk about. I don’t know what aspect of it I’m burning, if that makes sense. Later this past week, 45, the President of this country now, tweeted out “Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years. Most thought it would be done, but yes, I’m considering a full pardon.”
What he is talking about is pardoning Jack Johnson, the heavyweight boxer from early in the 20th century who was convicted in 1913 under the Mann Act, which was basically a trumped up charge that was in retaliation for the fact that he defeated the Great White Hope and every other boxer that stepped in the ring with him. If you think back to Jeffrey’s fight with Johnson in 1908, this was a huge, huge, huge important fight.
If you read newspapers at the time you would see that everybody was staking the future of race relations on this fight. If the Black man won, it would inspire and invigorate Black people across the nation that they could rise up. That scared white people, and they were looking for the Great White Hope to defeat him.
Nobody could defeat him, and he was also cocky. He wore furs, he drove cars, and most infuriatingly of all to most folks, he dated a lot of white women. After not being able to beat him in the ring, they beat him by using wielding the law in an unjust way. They convicted him under the Mann Act, which made it illegal to cross state lines with a woman “For the purpose of prostitution or debauchery or other immoral purposes.”
It was often understood as an anti-miscegenation law. This is ultimately what they stuck on him. Interesting note: the judge who handed down this ruling was Judge Landis, who then became commissioner of Major League Baseball and was instrumental in maintaining the color line in baseball until Jackie broke it in ’47.
Anyways, this idea, one, that he hasn’t been pardoned yet … Many people thought Obama might do it before he left office … Is kind of ridiculous, because we know that it was a trumped up charge and that it was a way to push back on his unapologetic Blackness, but at the same time, I don’t feel like this tweet from 45 is sincere. A) just because Sly Stallone tells you to pardon somebody, that’s what you’re doing? B) I feel like it’s a really easy way to be like, “Hey look Black people, I do things for you.” Pardoning dead Black people is not actually all that helpful to these large, systemic issues that you yourself are creating or maintaining.
Anyways, I’m burning the whole thing because it just makes my head hurt, quite frankly. I wish Johnson was already pardoned. I wish I felt like it was a sincere pardon. Maybe it’s good for him to … I don’t know. The whole thing makes my head hurt, and for the migraine that this clusterfuck is giving me, I’m burning it down.
Shireen: What I’m burning this week … And I want to thank our flame thrower Tammy Gough for sort of bringing my attention to this. There is a senior at University of Portland in Oregon, and her name is Olivia Sanchez. She actually wrote this op-ed for The Beacon. What ended up happening was … This is really quite awful.
There was an awards night that are called the Wally Awards. What ended happening was … It’s the athletic department’s sort of awards for seniors or for students to recognize their accomplishments in the year.
Basically, what ended up happening was this incredibly … As she put it, “Violent misogynist speech” of a senior men’s tennis player whose name is Goutham Sundaram. He was the MC, and he basically ended up saying things like he’s gonna get really real and make the stage his locker room.
First of all that idea of locker room talk, which we’ve discussed, which came out when 45 came up and how it’s really, really, really toxic and terrible and the level of machismo and the patriarchy … It’s just unacceptable.
It got so bad that people ended up leaving. Coaches ended up walking out. His references … The other thing that was really problematic, in addition to not just the violent misogyny, was that he ended up glorifying dating white women and using his parents’ immigrant experience to justify that, and sort of saying that his parents’ immigration to the U.S. was successful so he could date a white woman.
I have so many feelings about this because I’m of South Asian descent and I understand the colonized mind and I understand how that’s so violent and so terrible. This guy doing this again publicly is just … It’s even more horrific for me, because … This is what’s happening.
She was really, really upset and she ended up talking about it, because as a senior it was her final night. She says, “I felt trapped.” Just sort of listening to Olivia Sanchez and reading this and just how Sundaram didn’t care and just went back to his scripted words and just ignored it and everyone was moving on. It just really goes to show you how little regard there is in these spaces for women and whatnot.
In her piece, because I’m also very, very aware of the racial dynamic … Olivia Sanchez … It doesn’t say that she identifies as anything. Her name’s Sanchez, but we don’t want to assume.
She talked about him just inferring and talking about and putting white women on a “pedestal” that is unfair, because it’s not reality and it actually ends up being reductive in the way that women of color are spoken of.
The other thing is that he ends up completely missing the point of consent. When you talk about sex in such a disrespectful manner, it’s not okay at all.
Anyways, we’re gonna add that op-ed in the show notes because I think it’s really important for everybody to read. I wanted to offer solidarity to Olivia Sanchez and any other athletes who identify as women or non-binary who were in that space who felt unsafe, and to anyone who was in that room that was horrified and upset by this man completely blowing over the Wally Awards. I want to burn it.
Amira: Yeah, burn that.
Brenda: I would like to burn the recent actions of the Chilean Professional Football Federation, ANFP, that decided this week to assign a big fine to the team Universidad Catolica because of a banner that fans brought to the game. The banner reads: “Football against bullets. [foreign language 00:55:45]. Free Palestine.” It has a Palestine flag next to the team flag. It’s a very … It’s small relative to others, and of course it’s in response to the recent of repression of protestors in Palestine by Israeli forces.
First of all, the worst thing from my view is that the Professional League calls this political. This is what they say whenever it’s a human rights issue that’s not conservative, that it’s political, but one could say it’s a human rights issue, and that really is far beyond politics.
They fined them in the exact same way and under the exact same regulation that they would if they came with a particular political party’s banner. I would like to burn this … The whole idea that sports aren’t political in itself is awful. Then the random … It’s not random, but the uneven way in which … This comes right down from FIFA. The uneven way in which they’re going to defend people’s right to speech in football stadiums is political in itself. It’s frustrating in itself.
To look at what’s been happening there and to say, “Football against bullets.” That’s political for you? That rocks your world? If that’s controversial, wow. That’s a really big deal.
I want to burn the fact that football against bullets is controversial, that the Chilean Federation wants to use FIFA’s stupid ordinances to enforce against a team in Chile, and in general, just this ongoing, persistent denial of the fact that human rights are beyond politics. Yeah, I’d like to burn that.
Shireen: Moving on to our badass women of the week, where we like to celebrate these incredible, incredible women. Honorable mentions actually go to Sana Mir, the veteran Pakistan cricketer. Mir broke into the top five in International Cricket Council, ICC, ODI Bowlers ranking.
This is pretty incredible. She’s a spin all-rounder. She’s sitting at fifth. This is really, really important, because I think she’s been with the team since 2005 and became the first female cricketer from the country to plan 100 ODIs during the Women’s World Cup in June-July 2017 that we had talked about on the show.
Next is Lhakpa Sherpa, a 44 year old native of Nepal, actually holds the world’s record for summits of Everest by a woman, and plans to return later this month for what has become an annual expedition to the top of the world. That’s pretty incredible.
Desiree Linden, who became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since ’85 … Linden lost the marathon back in 2011 by two seconds, so a seven year comeback in the making, and also ran in some of the worst weather conditions in race history.
Christine Peng Peng Lee is a gymnast who scored a perfect 10 on the balance beam to give UCLA the NCAA title.
Also to Maggie Nichols who, a former world champion, won the NCAA all around this weekend with a perfect score on her floor routine was athlete A who came forward about Nassar.
Can I get a drum roll please?
Badass women of the week, because they’re plural, are the Swedish Women’s hockey players who have now been unionized. According to fellow flamethrower Hannah Bevis, and I quote, “WOHO fam,” WOHO being women’s hockey, “I can’t understate how important this is. A formal union for the Swedish Women’s Hockey League and their national team.”
This is actually really important, because what happens is … the women never previously ever had an opportunity to sort of bargain for themselves and negotiate. But now, they are literally gonna have help being formally unionized as SICO, which reps other hockey organizations in that country. We like seeing women get remunerated properly. We like them having negotiating power, and we’re really happy for Swedish Women’s hockey.
Amira: What’s good? Brenda, what’s good?
Brenda: What’s good is I turned in my manuscript with Josh Nadal, a [foreign language 01:00:23] women, gender, and sexuality in Latin American sport. We’re really excited. It’s at University of Texas. He’s been in Greece, I’ve been in Argentina. It’s amazing that we got it done at all. I’m just sort of basking in that for right now.
Brenda: Thank you.
Amira: I am happy because the end of the semester is here. I have [crosstalk 01:00:49] but only three more classes. This week will be the last week, and I am so excited for May and no classes and writing time and all of that, and finally some sunshine.
I’m also excited for Infinity War. I feel like we’ve been waiting a decade to get to this point. I’m a Marvel junkie, and I cannot wait to go back to Wakanda on Thursday night for the premier.
Shireen: Amazing. I actually had an emotional day yesterday. It was the last match of the Don Andres Iniesta, who is my all-time favorite player at … Well, I say all-time favorite player, but he is my favorite player at Barcelona for sure. Him and Xavi, Xavi retired.
What happened was they ended up winning one of the many championships that they always win. He scored, and there’s this magical photo of him jumping because Iniesta is … He’s the play maker. He is the one who serves up passes. I have this saying that I have always said, that some girls want happily ever after. I just want to pass like Iniesta, and I do, because he just simply … He serves them on a platter. They’re beautiful.
Brenda, remember you said you had a quote about this? I know this isn’t what we do in What’s Good but I really want you to share that.
Brenda: I do. I have one of my favorite quotes. It’s hard to get Lionel Messi to say anything about anybody, but in 2016 he was interviewed about Iniesta, who he’s played with since being a teenager. He said, “We’re more similar in the fact that we don’t talk much. He sits in one corner, I sit in another, but we cross paths. We connect. With just a look, we understand each other. We don’t need more than that. On the pitch, I like him to be near me, especially when the game takes a turn for the worse, when things are difficult. That’s when I say to him, ‘Come closer. I want you by my side.'”
Shireen: Oh, that’s beautiful.
Brenda: It is, because it’s more words than you’ll ever hear from Messi about anything.
Shireen: Yeah. He said that all in one sitting?
Brenda: All in one sitting, and then he probably ran after the ball.
Shireen: Okay. Another thing I was gonna say after Iniesta … I ended actually meeting a comedian last name named Maysoon Zayid. She’s a Palestinian comedian. She’s also disabled. She’s headlining at a Gala event for a nonprofit in Toronto called Smile. By the time you all hear this, it would have already happened, but I got to have dinner with her.
She was hilarious and funny, and I’m so excited for all her new stuff. She has an upcoming sitcom on NBC Universal, so that was really super cool. She’ll be the first woman with a disability to ever have her own show in the United States. She was just incredible. She’s a force of love and energy and I was so excited to meet her. That’s what’s good.
That’s it for this week in Burn It All Down. Burn It All Down lives on SoundCloud, can be found in iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Tune In. We appreciate your reviews and feedback, so please subscribe and rate to let us know what we did well and how we can improve. You can find us on Facebook at Burn It All Down, on Twitter @burnitalldownpod, or on Instagram, @burnitalldownpod. You can email at us, firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out our website at www.burnitalldownpod.com, where you’ll find previous episodes, transcripts, and a link to our Patreon.
We would really appreciate you subscribing, sharing, and reading our show, which helps us do the work we love to do and keep burning what needs to be burned. On behalf of Brenda and Amira, I’m Shireen, and thank you so much for joining us this week.