Episode 69: Urban Meyer and OSU, Kyrie Irving’s Homecoming, and an interview with Kelsey Anderson
On this week’s show, Amira, Lindsay and Shireen share their excitement about the fall and fresh new sports seasons (2:20), the team gets into the disaster that is Ohio State University’s suspended coach Urban Meyer (5:56), they discuss and share thoughts on Boston Celtic player Kyrie Irving’s homecoming ceremony at Standing Rock Sioux tribe (21:10)and then Lindsay interviews Kelsey Anderson to talk about the US Open (35:23).
Then everyone’s favorite segment: the Burn Pile (46:58), our Badass Woman of the Week (55:53), and what’s good in our worlds (59:11).
For links and a transcript…
“Kyrie Irving’s roots in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and his winding journey back” https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/kyrie-irvings-roots-in-the-standing-rock-sioux-tribe-and-his-winding-journey-back/2018/08/24/701e7878-a785-11e8-97ce-cc9042272f07_story.html
“Basketball standout Schimmel helps open Piestewa Games” http://arizonasports.com/story/1605150/basketball-standout-schimmel-helps-open-piestewa-games/
Piestewa Games: National Native American Games https://www.azsportsent.com/about-lpnnag.html
“Iroquois Nationals Delayed in Canada after Passport Rules” https://www.uslaxmagazine.com/fuel/international/iroquois-nationals-delayed-in-canada-after-passport-issues
“The Iroquois Nationals Lose to Canada, but Show Huge Heart in Lacrosse Championship” https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/266842/the-iroquois-nationals-lose-to-canada-but-show-huge-heart-in-lacrosse-championship
“Manchester United failed to mention their women’s team’s historic first win on social media – what a missed opportunity” https://inews.co.uk/sport/football/manchester-united-women-first-game-twitter-facebook-instagram-casey-stoney-liverpool/amp/
“Serena Williams banned from wearing ‘Black Panther’ catsuit at future French Opens, says tournament chief” https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/serena-williams-black-panther-catsuit-bodysuit-french-open-banned-president-a8505911.html
“Asian Games 2018: now, India loses to Iran in women’s kabaddi too” https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/asian-games-2018-india-women-lose-to-iran-in-kabaddi-settle-for-silver/article24769638.ece
“Quetta woman clinches first Karate medal for Pakistan in Asian Games” https://tribune.com.pk/story/1787716/7-pakistan-gets-first-medal-karate/
“Japan celebrate historic triumph as England seal bronze” https://www.fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/news/japan-celebrate-historic-title-win-england-seal-bronze-2992253
“Christa Eniojukan named first UOIT women’s basketball head coach” https://goridgebacks.com/news/2018/8/23/christa-eniojukan-named-first-uoit-womens-basketball-head-coach.aspx
“Two-time Olympian Tatham makes history as Raptors 905 coach” https://olympic.ca/2018/08/15/two-time-olympian-tatham-makes-history-as-raptors-905-coach/
“Maple Leafs hiring Hayley Wickenheiser is sign of hockey’s slowly changing times” https://www.thestar.com/sports/leafs/opinion/2018/08/23/hiring-hayley-wickenheiser-no-token-move-by-maple-leafs.html
Amira: Welcome to this week’s episode of Burn It All Down. It may not be the feminist sports podcast you want, but it’s definitely the feminist sports podcast you need. I’m Amira Rose Davis, Assistant Professor of History in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State University, and I am joined by two of my co-hosts today, the one and only Shireen Ahmed, freelance journalist in Toronto, Canada. Hey, Shireen.
Shireen: Hello, good morning.
Amira: And also, the tenacious Lindsay Gibbs, sports writer for ThinkProgress in Washington, DC. Hey, Linds.
Lindsay: Hey, hey.
Amira: So today, we have a wonderful show for you. We’re gonna dive back into the latest in the Ohio State mess, and unpack what’s going on over there. We will also talk about Kyrie Irving’s recent homecoming with the Standing Rock Sioux and also look back on some stories about indigeneity in sports that you might have missed over the summer. Also, Lindsay’s gonna interview Kelsey Anderson, a former college golfer and the wife of Kevin Anderson, who is currently the ATP World number five, and reigning US Open and Wimbledon finalist to get a behind-the-scenes look at life on the tour.
Before we begin, I wanna send a special shout-out to our Patreons for their continued support. A reminder to our new Flamethrowers … For as low as $2 a month, you can become a official patron of the podcast. In exchange for your monthly contribution, you get special access and rewards. You get extra segments. We call it our “Hot Takes” segments. We currently have a wonderful one up with Lindsay breaking down the WNBA Playoffs. You also have a monthly newsletter, opportunity to recommend Burn Pile things, and also, exclusive merchandise.
And to everybody out there, be on the lookout in the coming days for a rollout of Burn It All Down swag. If you want a mug or a decal, we have a lot of things coming your way. So keep a eye on our Twitter, on our Facebook page, for exciting announcements about that.
Shireen: Tote bags, tote bags.
Amira: I know. Tote bags.
But before we jump into the show today, I feel like fall is upon us, mostly because the students have come back to Penn State. But we really are in a transition. We’re in the changing of seasons. So with that being said, what are you most looking forward about fall sporting events? College events? What’s coming up on your radar going into this fall season?
Lindsay: Okay, so, I hate that I got really excited when I … There was a Panthers press conference or something …
Amira: Are you gonna say football? You’re gonna say football.
Lindsay: … and Cam Newton was talking, and it was very depressing that I just immediately forgot about all the bad things. I’m very excited for the NFL season to start. So, you know, I am excited for football, but I’m also excited … Destiny Slocum, who’s a point guard … She used to be in Maryland. She played in Maryland her freshman season, and she was one of the best point guards in the nation her freshman year. I did a feature on her for Vice Sports, and she transferred after her freshman year. So that means she sat out all last year. But she’ll finally … We’ll finally get to see her play in a few months in … I guess it’s not really fall. It’ll be closer to the winter. But I’m kind of counting down the days. She’ll be at Oregon State, and I think it’s just gonna be so good to see one of the most exciting point guards back on the court. And if we can get rid of these transfer rules that make these players sit out for a year, that would be great.
Amira: That’s awesome. Shireen, what are you looking forward to?
Shireen: What I’m really most excited about is actually soccer. Not a huge surprise. Champs League is starting up soon. It’s the fall, the leaves are changing color, we’re gonna get some really random picking of pairs and pairing up the Champs League, the men’s game. And the women’s, I’m excited about, because Olympique Lyonnais just … You know, they wiped the floor.
I’m also really excited about World Cup qualifiers for the World Cup in France this year, actually and just … The teams are brilliant. Right now, a lot of people know that the Under-20 Women’s World Cup just rocked up, and we’re just … It’s getting me really, really hype. So, Canada’s actually playing Brazil soon, and I’m excited about that. That’s very, very soon, actually. So just a whole lot of soccer.
And I’m actually really excited about the CFL season. I know y’all are like, “What?” The Canadian Football League. I have a lot of fun with it. I like the Toronto Argonauts. So it’ll be fun.
Amira: That’s cool. I’m excited, really, for college sports and at Penn State, their football program clearly gets a lot of attention, but really they have so many sports that are in the top ten in their leagues, especially on the women’s side. And I have a lot of athletes that take my classes and I get to know them, and it’s really fun to go watch them in their element. Particularly women’s volleyball here is number six. They were number one of two for most of the season last year and they lost some big seniors, so it’s been very … They won their first game over the weekend, and it’s gonna be very interesting to watch this squad in this kind of new chapter.
Then I really love our women’s soccer team here. They have a wonderful coach, and they actually just celebrated 25 seasons of varsity soccer here at Penn State yesterday. They had a huge game that, ultimately, they lost by a hair. I mean, literally, the ball barely crossed the goal line. They lost to UCLA, who’s currently number two, and they’re ranked number three, so it was in the third week of the season we had a number two, three matchup. It was a very intense game. My former student Ellie Jean plays defender on the team, and it was just a great game. So I’m looking forward to more college sports me and my kids go to. I even bought a shirt that said Penn State so I can cheer. It’s like, wild to me. But that is what I’m looking forward to this fall.
All right. So speaking of college sports. Lindsay, do you wanna walk us through the latest developments in the more of the mess we can slog through?
Lindsay: Yeah. Does everybody have about half a day here?
Amira: Exactly. Let’s buckle up.
Lindsay: Buckle up.
Amira: So, what’s going on over at Ohio State now?
Lindsay: Okay so, last Wednesday night, after what was a ten-hour closed-door meeting, Ohio State announced that their head football coach, Urban Meyer, was suspended three games for mishandling domestic violence allegations against his former assistant coach, Zach Smith. His suspension was also because he made public “misstatements” about his knowledge of the situation. The Athletics Director, Gene Smith, was suspended without pay for two weeks as well. And now look, I know, maybe, at least there was some form of punishment. Sometimes we don’t see any accountability at all in this situation. But when you really dig into what happened at Ohio State and the 23-page report that its investigative committee released this week, and the press conference that Urban Meyer gave when his suspension was announced, it’s a textbook case of why women or victims in general don’t come forward, and why it’s a really kind of inside look at how these whole systems are just designed to forgive the abusers and the enabler. And it’s depressing, friends.
So, let’s just kind of look back very quickly at the story here. Meyer, who is the highest paid public employee in Ohio, it should be said … He’s been suspended since August 1st and he will be permitted back on campus on September 2nd. That means he won’t be able to coach the first three football games of the season, but he’ll be allowed on campus and working with the team during that time. So it’s not really that big of a punishment. And for comparison’s sakes, remember that University of North Carolina football players were recently suspended four games for selling team-issued shoes. So, just putting everything in perspective here.
This investigation formally began on August 1st, but all this informally began on July 23rd when Urban Meyer and the Athletic Director, Gene Smith, were notified that there was a restraining order against Zach Smith, the former Assistant Coach there, by his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. That reporting was done by Brett McMurphy, a former ESPN reporter. And Meyer did fire Smith that day. The following day, though, when asked at Big Ten Media Day about reports regarding a 2015 police investigation into Zach’s alleged abuse of Courtney, Meyer denied having any previous knowledge of the incident. Then on August 1st, Brett McMurphy again published a story that Meyer did, in fact, have knowledge of these 2015 allegations. And so that’s when Meyer was placed on suspension and the two-week investigation was launched.
At the press conference that I was talking about on Wednesday night, there was a lot of talk about Buckeye Nation. Meyer himself said that this was a learning experience for him and that when dealing with Zach Smith, he had led with his heart and not his head. Which I’d like to say, if you’re leading with your heart and that involves ignoring domestic abuse allegations, you might want to rethink your life, your entire life, ’cause that’s not how hearts are supposed to work. At this press conference, the one name that went completely unmentioned was Courtney Smith. It really frustrated me, ’cause it was another example of the perpetrators … You’re the enablers kind of co-opting the victim’s suffering, and we see that time and time again. He actually said the phrase … When asked if he had a message to Courtney Smith, Meyer said, “It’s been a tough deal for all of us.” And refused to talk about Courtney Smith.
And what’s more infuriating is that the 23-page report, it goes into detail about all the ways that Meyer completely failed during this. Dating back to 2009 when he was the coach at Florida and Zach Smith worked under him and there were reports then. He knew that Courtney Smith had called 911 on Zach for domestic abuse back then. So this report goes into pretty good detail, and yet the conclusion for this report, which was done by an investigative committee that included three members of the Ohio State Board of Trustees … Let that sink in. The conclusion … And I’m gonna throw it to you all after this, but the conclusion said, “Overall, Coach Meyer impressed us with a sincere commitment to the respect for women core value that he espouses and tries to instill in his players.”
It was literally 23 pages of showing why Urban Meyer doesn’t respect women …
Amira: Did he do that?
Lindsay: … and then that was the conclusion. So, you know, there’s no Burn Pile right now, but trust me, this is all in flames right now.
Amira: Yeah, and it feels like that report went out of its way by adding that sentence in at the end to do reputation control.
Lindsay: Oh, 100%.
Amira: How do you end a report and then also say, “But he’s instilling this in his …” It’s just … So there’s a lot here that is glaring and exactly what you said, burnable. Where do we go from here? Are we just adding this to kind of a pattern of institutional failures? Is there something else to be gleaned from Ohio State? Is this over? Is there gonna be a additional chapter to this particular story, Linds? What do you think?
Lindsay: This isn’t going away. I think if this 23-page report found this much bad stuff, I have to believe that there’s more out there and I’m already cringing for the Urban Meyer redemption tour that I’m sure we’re gonna get. He did release an apology on Friday … two days after this press conference … saying, “Oh, yeah, I should have mentioned Courtney Smith. That’s what I meant to say,” or something like that. Just some bull shit. We’ve already seen your character. And we’ve seen, also from Ohio State, we know who runs Ohio State. I hate to keep just going back to this report, but I just think that some of it’s so staggering that we need to keep talking about it. ‘Cause to me, it just shows how these institutions will twist everything to give every single benefit of the doubt to abusers and enablers, but if a survivor says one thing that can be proven untrue, they’re completely dismissed. Their whole story is thrown out, do you know what I mean?
I mean, we saw that with the woman who alleged abuse against Ezekiel Elliott. People trying to say that because there was one thing in her report that didn’t line up, that everything was wrong even though Ezekiel Elliott himself had been caught lying over and over and over again. Ezekiel Elliott, another former Ohio State football player, but you know.
Let’s just look at this. So, I mentioned in the intro that there was this press conference during Big Ten Media Day back on July 24th, I believe, when Meyer was asked about these reports that there was an investigation into Zach Smith’s alleged abuse back in 2015, and Meyer said, point blank, repeatedly, “I know nothing about this. I don’t know where people get this stuff from.” This report details text messages that were sent between Meyer and other officials at Ohio State the day before this press conference about how he should handle questions about the 2015 incident. None of these text messages told him to lie. They all said he should get ahead of it. He went ahead and lied anyways, and yet, this is how the report concludes, interprets all of this.
So first of all, there’s this one phrase that says, “We learned during the investigation that Coach Meyer has sometimes had significant memory issues in other situations where he had prior extensive knowledge of events. He has also periodically taken medicine that can negatively impair his memory, concentration, and focus. All of these factors also need to be considered and weighed in assessing Coach Meyer’s mindset on July 24.” What? First of all, if this is a man who really is having significant memory issues and focus issues, maybe he shouldn’t be paid $7.5 million a year to coach a college football team. I don’t know. Just a thought.
Amira: But it’s like, wild. It’s just another case of how the report itself is bending over backwards to try to excuse everything. It’s just literally …
Lindsay: It’s just mind boggling.
Amira: … what is happening?
Lindsay: And then there’s one more.
So it says also, “Weighing all the evidence available to us, including Coach Meyer’s answer and demeanor when first questioned during the independent investigation, we find first that Coach Meyer at Big Ten Media Day misstated his lack of knowledge of all relevant events regarding the alleged domestic violence by Zach Smith in 2015. Second, although it is a close question and we cannot rule out that Coach Meyer was intentionally misleading in his answers, we do not ultimately find that he was. He clearly misspoke and made misstatements, but the reasons that happened are complex. Coach Meyer did not, in our view, deliberately lie.” I can’t even finish that with a straight face.
Amira: Oh, my goodness.
Shireen: Okay, so basically, if you lie, you deceive, you completely fail this system, you will be protected at any cost by OSU. I mean, as dumbfounded as we are and mortified by the stupidity of this, actually none of us are surprised, I would say. I mean, this is just absolutely a project of the systemic misogyny that continues. I’m absolutely not surprised.
I love how they said … Really, I want it on a t-shirt for our merch store … “We don’t feel he lied deliberately.” He lied. He absolutely, blatantly and out lied, and it’s staggering to me how appalling this is, and nothing will happen. Correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t think anything … There’s gonna be no severe penalty because he’s got the school backing him.
Lindsay: Well, yeah, he’s suspended for, I think, a couple weeks without pay, and then on September 1st, he’s allowed back on campus. He’s not allowed to coach until a game at the end of September. He’s not gonna be able to coach on the sidelines the first three games. But he’ll still be able to be there on campus and interacting with players.
Amira: And the point, I think, that was … I forget who raised it, but one of the reasons Ohio State couldn’t let him go is because he would be snatched up by another school in 24 hours.
Amira: Which speaks to …
Shireen: Yeah, I think Jess said that the last episode.
Amira: Yeah, and I think it really speaks to … that even though these things are happening, say at Ohio State, or we’ve had stuff at Michigan State, stuff at Penn State. And it’s not just Big Ten schools. These are institutions … Exactly what you said. These are institutional failures, and you don’t have to stretch your mind to figure out that schools in need of coaching decisions will gladly look the other way and they will pick out those lines in the report that’s like, “See? He wasn’t trying to lie,” or, “He still instills good values on his players.” And it just feels that, with the weight of this, and when you add in stuff happening at Maryland and the constant prioritizing of winning and of gaining money and power through college sports, particularly college football, at the expense of humanity, at the expense of people who are harmed by these systems … It’s just piling up. Lindsay?
Lindsay: Yeah, just a couple other things about this report. I’m sorry. I just feel like I have to mention this. Number one, it says that the day after Brett McMurphy’s August 1st report that said that Coach Meyer definitely knew about the allegations about what happened in 2015 … This report says that Coach Meyer talked with members of the OSU Athletic staff about how to delete text messages on his phone that went back longer than a year. So they have proof that he was deliberately trying to cover up, and like I said, they still didn’t really punish him. And they also have proof that he wasn’t forthcoming. He never … This 2009 arrest of Zach Smith that happened in Florida, that didn’t show the … Courtney Smith decided not to go forward with charges, ’cause she was pressured by, among other things, Zach Smith’s grandfather who is a dear mentor of Urban Meyer’s, we’ve mentioned on this show before. ‘Cause everything is a cesspool of enabling.
But Urban Meyer very clearly knew about this. And then when he hires this guy in 2011 at Ohio State again, this arrest doesn’t show up on a background check. Urban Meyer does not bring it up to his employers. And then, in 2015, when he and the Athletic Director, Gene Smith, and others in the organization, become aware about the police investigation into Zach Smith’s domestic violence of Courtney Smith, does Urban Meyer bring up that he actually knows that there have been allegations before? Nope. He doesn’t tell anyone. And that’s just … Look, this is in the post Ray Rice world, when we’re all supposed to be much more aware about these things. And it just shows that while the general public is becoming more aware and there are becoming more conversations about this, the media as a whole is getting better … There’s a lot of room for improvement, but the media is getting better about how it talks about this and how it covers these press conferences and things. There was media from all across the landscape calling out Urban Meyer and Ohio State this week.
But it just shows that these systems are functioning the way they were designed to function, and to answer your earlier question, Amira, I don’t know how we go forward without completely dismantling these systems from the top down, because they are, right now, working exactly the way they were intended to. And, because the NCAA actually has no real oversight unless you’re selling shoes, then there’s nothing anybody can do because there’s no governing body if end of the day, the Board of Trustees is running the show at each one of these schools.
Shireen: I think in addition to that, when you have what’s clearly a type of diplomatic immunity if you’re a college football coach. I mean, you’ll have the institution behind you. I appreciate, Lindsay, you saying that the media’s been better. But when the system itself was created and is designed in a way that it’s so severely broken, what do we do?
Amira: Well, guys, you can’t blame somebody like Urban Meyers, just his faulty memory. And don’t forget, he builds up men, so …
I want to chat about Kyrie Irving’s recent homecoming with the Standing Rock Sioux, and I want to throw this to Shireen to start off. And also, I want everybody to know how Shireen is about to talk positively about a Boston Celtic player. All right. Shireen?
Shireen: Thanks, Amira. First of all, I do wanna say that we will add these stories in the show notes. There’s a piece by the Washington Post that was absolutely gorgeous. It was about Kyrie and Asia Irving’s getting welcomed back to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. It was absolutely beautiful. I did tear up while I read it. Yes, I teared up about a Boston Celtic, but that’s okay. It’s fine. I’ll take that. Tim Bontemps wrote about it. He’s a national NBA writer and he published this with the Post. Basically, what happened was … And this is really beautiful. Kyrie Irving, an all-star guard, and his sister, Asia Irving, were welcomed back to a community as they identify as being Native American through their mother.
Now, Kyrie was given a Lakota name, and it’s pronounced “hella” and it means “Little Mountain.” And I think that’s so beautifully appropriate. And it was over a decade that this sort of came to a head where his birth mother’s sister knew of this and had been sort of thinking about approaching both of them, but there was a lot of hesitancy in a way as well because they didn’t want to come across as that they were approaching Kyrie Irving because of his fame, because of his money. Even though he has a full birthright to be part of that Native American tribe. And last year, during the Dakota Pipeline issue, Kyrie Irving had actually tweeted out his support for the no pipeline. And I think that’s really important here, because I mean, not only is he coming from a place where it affects his own community and his own roots, it shows his willingness to be public about it, which is something I really do respect.
The whole thing was a ceremony where there was kids in the audience who were wearing Kyrie Irving jerseys. They were wearing t-shirts made for the event. Some of the quotes are absolutely beautiful in terms of the tribal chairman, Mike Faith, actually said, “It truly is a good day for Standing Rock. For you two, welcome home.” And I get goosebumps every time we talk about this, because so many indigenous and Native American youth and children had been displaced so badly and forced to be removed from their communities and their families. To have something like this happen, to have through adoption where people might have lost their connections, it’s really beautiful to see this. Particularly, somebody like Kyrie Irving who has mixed race heritage of Native American and African American. And how this is very, very common. And how it needs to be looked at that way, that it is part of their identity and their home. And you can’t see this and feel this without actually … Unless you’re soulless, which is maybe sometimes what Bruins fans can be. But in this case, we’ll…
Amira: You just had to get a dig in. She was giving Boston too much love.
Shireen: But, I mean, it’s a really beautiful story, and it’s a very important story because it talks about different identities. And Kyrie Irving can be a very proud African American man, and he can also be a Native American at the same time. And he can also be an NBA player. He can also be an amazing Celtic player. I think this is really great.
And this is my personal throw-in to this. I really hope that attention to the pipeline fight … which we did see a little bit of. But getting support from someone like Kyrie Irving on this … which it’s certainly not over … is going to be really imperative. So, I mean, what did y’all think?
Amira: Well, the one thing I wanted to tip off is it also in many ways goes beyond identity. And there’s some implicit things that I wanted to bring attention to within this, because it also hits on adoption and adoption right activism that is often less talked about. Kyrie’s mother was born Cynthia Jeannette Mountain and then adopted by a white couple named the Larsons. Elizabeth Larson was then her name. And one of the things that was stated at the end of the Wash Post article that Shireen just talked about was this Frank Jamerson, who’s a former tribal councilman, wanting to send the message not just to Kyrie and Asia Irving, but to other adopted children, and said, “This is a opportunity to let other children of Native American heritage come home to their people. We never forget our loved ones, so for those individuals that may know their family was displaced by adoption, find your loved ones and bring them home.”
I want to underscore that line, “displaced by adoption,” and this moment for me, as a adult adoptee, speaks to a continuing process for many adult adoptees, particularly trans-racial adoptees, adoptees of color. There is long, systemic issues within the adoption community, particularly about how kids of color are moved through these circuits. And so there’s a long history of adoptions off reservations that speaks to even longer colonial history of actually taking indigenous kids from their families to Americanize them, to discipline them, to cut their hair and disrupt their language at boarding schools. There’s very long history of that.
And some of the biggest adoption cases that we’ve seen, like baby Veronica, over the last decade have been these legal battles about children having a right to be back with their family on reservations or meeting them. And it speaks to larger issues. One of the things we’re seeing now with families at the border being separated is how fast this big institution like Bethany Christian Services is placing these kids and actually temporarily suspending their fees for international adoption to entice kids being adopted. I think that, when we talk about systems, a lot of times this is a system that doesn’t get a lot of play. And it’s adjacent to sports, but I did want to at least stop for a moment and say, “This is a huge issue. Reunification and quick adoptions in “adoption friendly states” which really prioritizes the most powerful and privileged member of the adoption triad, which is the adoptive parents, and it can harm birth families and it can harm adoptees themselves who are not always children. And that’s why I said “adult adoptees,” ’cause there’s a way that we are made into perpetual children.
But it also, in this story to me, speaks to the rippling effects of those moments that … of those disruptions, and how important it is to be able to trace your roots and go home, should you be able to. Linds?
Lindsay: Yeah, it’s so beautiful and thank you for sharing all that, Amira. Just going back to that, I love … There are a few things that really stuck out to me. First was that Kyrie’s grandparents … so the white couple who adopted his mother … had apparently specifically asked the agency for a child that would be really difficult to place. And because Kyrie’s mother was half black and half Native American, that’s why she ended up where she did with this couple. And apparently, Kyrie’s grandparents were there at the ceremony, and I thought that was really beautiful. Kyrie’s mother died when she was 29 years old, so she died very young, so she wasn’t there. But the adoptive grandparents were there, another just kind of symbol of how beautiful family can be, I think, and going back to the roots.
I love that they were supportive of that. I also love the anecdotes of Kyrie’s Native American family and the Sioux tribe trying to figure out … touch with him. And a few things they said. ‘Cause they really … Like Shireen said, they didn’t want … Some of them didn’t want to contact him at all ’cause they were afraid, “It’s gonna seem like we’re just trying to get something from him,” and they didn’t want that. But then other members of their family were kinda like, “Well, we should try. He has rights to this.” But how do you get in touch with Kyrie Irving? So it says, “First they wrote the Maury Povich show in hopes of staging a reunion but didn’t hear back. They then called Nike and they told their story to a sales rep after buying a pair of his shoes.” And apparently an operator politely listened to them and then hung up. The operator was probably like, “What?” That poor sales rep.
And then they also considered kind of holding up a banner at games, and I don’t think they ever actually did that. But just kind of in the hopes of attracting Kyrie’s attention. But thankfully they did finally get in touch with his agency and then that’s how they were able to make this connection and it seems that Kyrie is just so happy that they did, and I think it’s just … It’s a beautiful … And all credit to the Washington Post and author Tim … I don’t know his last name … for the way he told the story, ’cause I thought it was just really well done.
Amira: And that point that you just said about how his grandparents particularly said somebody who’s hard to adopt again points to some of the systemic issues that I was talking about. Black kids cost lest. I cost less. It’s a transaction in many ways. I have a good friend who was not only a black adoptee, but also had health issues, and she literally will hold up her adoption records as a bill of sale almost saying she was severely discounted. Shireen?
Shireen: I just wanted to touch upon something that Lindsay said, because when we talk about indigenous communities and Native American. The way that the community came to this was the Standing Rock, when they approached their family, their aunt actually said she was coming at it … Her name’s Jewel Felix. She said, “We’re coming at it in the sense of what their rights are as Native Americans,” because this is also a very important thing that we need to look at, because Native Americans and indigenous folks have been fighting for their rights, and they’re very cognizant of what their community members’ rights are. Members of their tribes and their communities at large.
I think it’s really important that we also see that, that they wanted to bring it to the attention of the Irvings, of Asia and Kyrie, just so they would know what they have, and they have a right to … because in these countries, Canada … Like Amira touched about the genocidal history of residential schools and how children were ripped away … This is their right, and if they didn’t wanna act on it, that would’ve also been their right. But that’s actually not what happened. What ended up … Kyrie, to quote him, and the last thing that I’ll just sort of say about this, is that … He said, “This is finally meeting my mom’s family in their home. This is family for me now.” That’s … It’s incredible.
Amira: And so, while we’re on this topic, also led me to think about the ways that we think about indigeneity in sports. And I was thinking about this ’cause the Red Sox were playing the Cleveland baseball team and I was literally sitting there looking at this image of Chief Wahoo over and over and over. And this kind of disconnect between how much we use indigenous imagery and names in sports teams, and yet there is just kind of silence or invisibility of indigeneity in sports as players. And certainly, we have great histories of people like Jim Thorpe, but also it just got me thinking about this as a larger topic.
And so, one of the things that happened a few weeks ago was the National Native American Games. They’ve been going on since 2003 to honor the life of Lori Piestewa, who is a Hopi warrior, American soldier, and she died in Afghanistan. They’re the largest competition of its kind. More than 2,000 athletes come to Maricopa County and they compete in six different sports. Last year, there was about 36 tribes registered for them and I think the Navajos have the most participants by far, like half of them.
So, I was thinking about that, and I was also thinking about the Iroquois Nation lacrosse team, who competes as a sovereign nation, and they got bronze this year in the Lacrosse World Cup. Which they keep finishing either two or three and they haven’t cracked the top yet. And the interesting thing with that team is that constantly a terrible running issue that they have is traveling to the World Cup because their passports are not recognized, so they’re famously going to the World Cup … I think it was in Britain … and they couldn’t get out. Either they couldn’t get into Britain or they couldn’t get out of Canada because they weren’t recognizing their Iroquois Nation passport. And this summer, they had a similar issue trying to get to the games in Israel.
Shireen: Last year, we had Tracie Léost actually on the show from the North American Indigenous Games that were held in Toronto last summer. There was these beautiful competitions in North America and worldwide. Like the World Indigenous Games were held in Rio after the Olympics. So we need to keep our eyes open and sort of look at these incredible events where they honor the traditions of indigenous and Native sport. And then sort of at the same time, talk about issues like environmentalism. They talk about racism in sport, and specifically what you’re talking about. And there’s such a purity in it because there’s no depiction of anything Wahoo or anything offensive like that. So it’s just … It’s really unfortunate how it’s 2018 and we keep seeing these images and someone’s history and culture being used as a mascot. It’s disgusting.
Amira: Yeah, precisely.
I think that Kyrie getting the attention on this like you said, not only has the ability to perhaps keep Standing Rock on our mind and bring it forward, but also give us more ways to frame and think about indigeneity in sports and think about indigenous people as athletes and not just caricatures.
Next up, Lindsay interviews Kelsey Anderson.
Lindsay: All right. Hello, everyone. I am here with a very special guest of mine, Kelsey Anderson, the wife of Kevin Anderson, who is a professional tennis player, number five in the world right now, and defending US Open finalist, Wimbledon finalist, everything. Kelsey and I have known each other for years now. She actually used to blog for a tennis website that I was a co-founder of, The Changeover. And this was at a very different phase in Kevin’s career, so I’m excited to ask her a little bit about what’s been going on the past few years. Kelsey, thank you so much for being here with us.
Kelsey: Thank you for having me. I always love getting together to talk with you.
Lindsay: We were joking that Kelsey and I had drinks when they were in DC last year, which was right before Kevin’s run to the US Open final. So, I think it’s pretty scientifically proven that if you buy me margaritas, you will have the biggest success of your career.
Kelsey: Yeah, no, it worked. There’s no evidence to suggest otherwise.
Lindsay: Thank you. Thank you. Yes. So, Kelsey, give us a little bit of background with you, ’cause I know you were a golfer, right? A collegiate golfer?
Lindsay: And so, tell me about being a college golfer, and then how you met Kevin.
Kelsey: I met Kevin at University of Illinois. I was a freshman in college. Kevin was obviously on the tennis team, and I was on the women’s golf team and we got to know each other. The golfers’ and tennis players’ practice facilities were quite near each other and there were often friendships amongst the two groups. The University of Illinois fostered a lot of comradery amongst the athletes in general, so it was nice that we got to know each other and became friends and then eventually we formed a love connection, which turned into a marriage down the line.
Lindsay: One of the things that I’ve always admired so much about you and Kevin is your willingness to really kind of speak up about social issues and about equality. Of course, tennis is a sport where sexism is brought a lot, because we see the men and women competing on the same stage and the women have so much power, that often that means with powerful women comes backlash. That is we see all the time. Is there anything about that that you’ve noticed? You were an athlete yourself and you’ve kind of seen up close how hard these women work. Is there anything you’ve noticed about how the women on tour are treated? And any insight you can give to that from your perspective.
Kelsey: Gosh. I mean … Okay, so first off let me just say, anything that I express here is obviously my opinion.
Lindsay: Totally, totally. Yes.
Kelsey: It’s not reflective of even Kevin or anybody else on tour for whatever that means. I think that within the tennis tours, there is a very strong level of respect amongst the men and the women. I think sometimes there’s a few outspoken individuals, and whether it’s not that they’re just bigots, misogynists, or maybe just culturally don’t share the same level of respect for women that men do, I think those guys end up getting sometimes more attention than most of these men. In my personal experience in getting to know them, they’re incredibly respectful of the female players and what they bring to the table as far as value of a product at these combined events. It seems like it’s something that’s recognized and appreciated. Obviously, the tournaments don’t treat men and women any differently. So that is good, and that is a cool thing to actually be a part of.
I’m always proud. I think tennis is the only sport that even elevates women to the level that they deserve in athletics, and I think it’s a pretty cool thing to be a part of a professional sport that women can actually have a very long and financially successful professional career. There’s not too many others that afford the same opportunity, so that’s always something I’m really proud to be a part of.
I personally identify as a bit of a … Not a bit of a feminist. Definitely a feminist. I think I don’t need to sugarcoat it. I think for the same job, people should be paid equally. And there’s so many nuances to tennis and without going into each and every one, there’s differences in the format that the men and women play. Obviously they have completely separate tours still to this day, so they have different sponsorships, different structure of their entire tournament system and rankings. So that complicates things as far as making it completely equal across the board.
But, in my personal opinion, I love the fact that tennis has been on the forefront of equality for women for years. And that’s thanks to people who worked really hard to push for it back in the day. I know Billie Jean King is always the front runner, but she had a lot of other women behind her. I know Venus Williams even most recently was the one who did the push to make Wimbledon’s prize money equal, and that only came about a few years ago. So, there were a lot of ladies who worked really hard, and it’s really inspiring to me because it’s something that I care about a lot in the wider economy, and I think when we can use our sports people and entertainment as an example for that, that’s really cool.
Lindsay: I totally agree. That’s a wonderful answer. Another thing I want to ask you about quickly … and I know you don’t speak for Kevin, but it was significant the other day when he tweeted out … A mutual friend of ours, Nick McCarvel, was holding an event this week about LGBTQ athletes and the queer representation in tennis, and we haven’t seen many male athletes, or any, really, male tennis players. One former male tennis player has come out. And tennis used to be kind of on the forefront of social issues, has recently not been as vocal, I would say, about supporting a lot of progressive social issues. So I thought it was just really … It really struck me and I thought it was really lovely to see Kevin, a top tennis player, supporting this event and coming out and offering his support. Why is that something that’s important to your family, and did he talk to you any before he sent out that message?
Kelsey: Yeah. It was definitely something that we chatted about. To your question, we have gay people in our family. We have tons of friends and other people on tour. Obviously, on the female tour, there’s a big, strong presence of people who are out and comfortable being out. And on the men’s tour, it doesn’t seem like there’s anybody who’s comfortable doing that just yet. And we’ve talked … Personally, Kevin and I have talked a lot about … I mean, just by the numbers, you would have to think there is at least a handful of people, but nobody’s ever felt comfortable coming forwards and we have to think that the environment isn’t conducive to that. People just don’t feel comfortable.
And so, to the extent that we can be open and obviously, we share these strong feelings about the issue of equality and inclusiveness. But I think sometimes it’s a little bit intimidating to share political views or activist views as a sports person. This whole “shut up and sing” mentality, I think you can get attacked sometimes if you try to impose your opinion and will on your fans. So it’s a fine line that you’re always … not wanting to become an activist when your real career is a tennis player. But then, there’s certain issues that are greater than protecting yourself, and this is one of the ones that Kevin and I feel very strongly about. Kevin, in talking to him about it, he said he views it as a human rights issue, not even a gay rights issue.
Kelsey: It’s human rights. And we don’t think anybody should feel like there are different opportunities available to them, or that they’re going to be subject to unfair social settings surrounding their sexuality. It’s just ridiculous. It doesn’t matter who you love. Love is the most powerful force in our world, and we just want people to feel comfortable with that. And so, Kevin, to be able to foster and promote that and use his platform, it is something that he felt compelled to do. And he received a lot of really nice messages from people about it, so that was encouraging. It was really nice to hear.
Lindsay: That’s really … That is encouraging, ’cause hopefully it’ll inspire more people to speak out. ‘Cause the voices do matter, and he does have such a big platform right now. I wanted to finish by asking you about this event you just had. I know you have been always looking to see what you can do for others, and ways you can bring the kind of community together. I know you’ve recently started kind of forming partnerships with other of the wives and girlfriends on tour, and that you just had your first big event here before the US Open. We’d love to hear a little bit more about that.
Kelsey: Yes. This event that we had on Friday, I called it my passion project. But it’s something that I have thought about and dreamed about for a very long time. I’ve been involved with Kevin since he turned pro, and it was always kind of surprising to me that there was not an organization that was philanthropic in nature powered by the wives and girlfriends of the tennis players on tour. And it’s always something I’ve felt passionately that we should have. And in my heart, I wanted it to exist and I wanted to be a part of it, but it didn’t. So I know I said to the girls the other night that ten years is a long time for me to be dreaming and thinking about this and doing nothing, so that’s on me. But I finally took the initiative.
We were gonna get together and have a happy hour ahead of the US Open, so I decided to kick off the conversation, start talking about forming an official foundation. And we are gonna go forwards with it, full steam ahead, and hopefully we can make a big difference in the world. We have, collectively, a very diverse group of people and I think it’s quite powerful what we can achieve together.
Lindsay: Absolutely. And I know from talking about you with this about you earlier that you’re looking to make it as inclusive as possible. So not just the wives and girlfriends, but partners of any kind that want to kind of join in, which is really important. Hopefully goes to what we were talking about earlier, that there will be other partners want to join. And there are a lot of husbands and boyfriends who travel the tour as well with the women.
Kelsey: Yeah. And the other group that we want to include as well … I mean, I did a podcast with John Wertheim after Wimbledon, and he said something which is so true it really stuck with me. He said, “Tennis is a team sport disguised as an individual sport.” All of these players have a support team behind them, and you’d be surprised. There’s a lot of coaches who have wives who travel and physiotherapists who have girlfriends and wives who come along. So there’s a huge network here of people, and so our idea is to kind of tap into that. And right now we’re calling it The Tennis Partners Foundation. That’s our idea. The name is not set in stone. We’re open to suggestions, so feel free to shoot me a message on social media.
Lindsay: I love that, though. I love that ’cause it’s so inclusive.
Kelsey: That’s what we have so far, but if you have some genius creative name, I’d love to hear it.
Lindsay: Well, we are the Burn It All Down podcast, so we’re pretty good at naming things here. Well listen, Kelsey, thank you so much. We will all be rooting for Kevin at the US Open and we are so glad that there is a fifth set tiebreaker at this tournament.
Kelsey: Yes, oh my goodness gracious me. No six hour matches, hopefully.
Lindsay: Hopefully no all-day matches for the Anderson family.
Kelsey: Thank you.
Lindsay: Thank you so much for joining us.
Kelsey: Thanks, Lindsay. It was a pleasure.
Amira: Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite segment, The Burn Pile. Shireen, what are you burning today?
Shireen: Oh, I’m mad about this one. So, after a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ …
Lindsay: I love you.
Shireen: … we finally saw … I just came back from the Maritimes, I’m gonna say things like “hootin’ and hollerin’.” Manchester United women’s started. And we topped off the show with talking about what we’re excited about, and women’s soccer leagues is obviously a huge one. So, Manchester United, one of the richest clubs in the world, finally put together a women’s team, a women’s side, which is incredible. It’s coached by former England National Casey Stoney. Her first win. They won, they played their rivals, Liverpool, which is really incredible. Not a single mention from the club. Not a tweet, not … I mean, luckily, the Manchester women’s side has their own Twitter account with like, a fraction of the following that Manchester United Club does. Not a mention. Not a good luck wish, not a post wish, not a congratulations, Casey Stoney, on your first win as coach. This is one of the most celebrated Lionesses ever.
So, I mean, I’m not just saying that because I don’t like Manchester United. Of course I have a soft spot because of Paul Pogba, but that’s not what this is about. This is about, you have a club. You have a responsibility to amplify and help develop that side. They didn’t say anything and I just can’t even get over it. And then, Suzy Wrack, who’s one of my favorite football writers in the UK, she blasted them on Twitter. She was like, “I hope this is an indication of where we’re supposed to go.” But you know what the Manchester United Twitter account could do? It could retweet some random guy with 300 followers who was taking selfies with José Mourinho. So, I got no time for that. I have definitely no time for José Mourinho. And I am so disappointed in Manchester United. All the respects to the women’s side, but I want to burn it.
Lindsay, what are you burning?
Lindsay: Yeah, mine is a little bit on the same thread there. A few weeks ago we talked about both, I think, in our episode and in a Hot Take on our Patreon about what was happening to Sky Blue FC and the fact that they were being treated horribly by the owner and management there. The players didn’t have running water at their training facility and were having to live in these group homes with sometimes unsafe people. Sometimes they were stuck in housing that had, like, holes in the wall. I mean, just they weren’t being reimbursed for travel expenses. The club wasn’t even taking care of their medical bills, so they were getting dings on their credit. Just terrible things from start, top to finish, for a National Women’s Soccer League club and Carli Lloyd’s club. Just horrific.
And at the time, the majority owner, who is also the state governor of New Jersey and a Democrat … He acknowledged that these conditions were not acceptable after the report came out. He said that he had bought this team as an inspiration for his daughter and that women soccer players should be treated just like men soccer players and all of these buzzword things that people say in these times.
Well, guess what? It’s a month later, and these women still don’t have running water at their practice facility. They have two Porta Pottys, and a trailer that was dragged in that has a shower in the trailer, and this is a decrepit looking old trailer. It is just absolutely mind boggling. If Carli Lloyd wants an ice bath after a long day of training, they put her in a trashcan and dump bags of ice in there. This is unacceptable and the fact that the ownership of Sky Blue, the fact that US Soccer, which owns the US National Women’s Soccer League and the National Women’s Soccer League did not all leap to their feet to fix every single part about this situation the second this report came out shows that actually nobody gives a crap. And that is just, to me, the most depressing thing. I know a month isn’t a long time, but you can figure something out better than this in a month.
So the Cloud 9, which is the supporter’s group, the fan group of Sky Blue FC, they released a statement this week updating everyone on these horrible conditions saying, “Hey, this is still happening.” And also calling for the general manager, Tony Novo, to be fired. They just said they can no longer give him their vote of confidence. And I just want to quote what one of the leaders of this fan group told me when I talked to her earlier this week. She said, “This is not a hit piece on Tony where we think he’s a bad person. He’s always treated us well. But at this point, it’s about the players. Without them, we have no team to support. It’s depressing having to cheer for these players every game knowing how bad things are for them. So we’re doing this exclusively for them, because when players don’t want to come here, what do we have left? Who is gonna want to say here, and who is gonna want to come here?”
So, just sending out all my love to the supporters of this club, to these players who are being so mistreated, and I’m throwing the ownership of Sky Blue, the US Soccer, and the National Women’s Soccer League onto the burn pile. Burn.
Amira: Yeah, burn.
Amira: That’s ridiculous. Well, you can probably guess what I’m burning this week.
A few days ago, the French Tennis Federation President issues a statement to Tennis Magazine about outfits. He said, “I believe sometimes we’ve gone too far. Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.” Now of course, he’s referring to Serena’s catsuit, that if you remember she wore at the French Open saying, “All the moms out there that had a tough pregnancy and have to come back and try to be fierce in the middle of everything, that’s what this represents. You can’t beat a catsuit, right?” But it wasn’t just a symbolic catsuit that she looked phenomenal in. It also helped with the blood clots that she has sometimes dealt with, and certainly, that with after the birth of Olympia, a blood clot like that almost killed her. So it was a practical suit as well as just looking good.
And this statement that the Federation President put out, by including the words, “You have to respect the game and the place,” literally sent me over the edge. It’s been interesting, ’cause the response has been really fierce. People like Nike put out a ad defending Serena. Billie Jean King weighed in and said, “The policing of women’s bodies must end. The respect that’s needed is for the exceptional talent that Serena brings to the game. Criticizing what she wears to work is where the true disrespect lies.” And certainly on Twitter, people, rightfully so, were highlighting how racist and sexist this statement and this rule was. It, for me, aligns with the policing of the beads in their hair when both Serena and Venus first got onto the tour when they were girls.
Particularly, there was this moment in this great documentary by Ava DuVernay called Venus Vs. where Venus has some of her beads come out of her hair, and she actually gets called for interference on that play. And usually Venus is very kind of collected in her demeanor, and she’s crying and I’ve always really identified with that moment of how their bodies are policed as outsiders within the sport and it reminds me, because almost every day on Twitter, you can get on and see a viral video of a young black kid being kicked out of a school here or kicked out of a school there because of their hairstyle or something else. And so the way that institutions police black women’s bodies, all of this is what I immediately thought of when I saw this conversation.
Serena has since responded and said, “Listen, everything’s fine.” Grand Slams will do what they want to do. I feel like if they think it’s for health reasons, there’s no way they wouldn’t be okay with that. I think it’s fine mentioning that they had already talked. But she went on when asked if she would wear another catsuit. She said, “Listen, in fashion you never wanna be a repeat offender.” So Serena is obviously taking the high road and she’s focused obviously the US Open coming up. But it smacks of just another way her body is constantly policed. And to imply that by wearing that she’s somehow disrespecting the game is what drove me over the edge, because she has brought so much to the game of tennis. People tune in to watch her in many ways.
So it’s just the audacity. Just the fuckin’ audacity floored me and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the way her body is policed as a constant outsider to women’s tennis in a game that she has brought to the level that it is. Just … I’m over it and I want to burn it down.
Amira: Well, after all that burning, let’s recognize some badass women. First, happy trails. I want to give a shout out to Lindsay Whalen, who’s officially retired now. And if you remember, she also took the head coaching job at the University of Minnesota. She actually took the job while still playing in the WNBA and did both things at once. And she has a had a long storied career in the WNBA and she retires as the WNBA’s career leader in games won at 323. So, Lindsay Whales, happy trails.
I also want to shout out the Iranian kabaddi team for winning gold and beating India, who had won every single gold medal since the sport was introduced in 1990. That is a hell of a streak to bring to an end.
Also, Nargis, for winning the first medal for Pakistan in karate. She’s from the community of Hazaras, which is a community of persecuted and marginalized people in the province of Balochistan.
And I also want to give a special shout out to all the women at the Asian Games currently underway in both Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia.
Also, Japan’s Under-20 team won the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in France. Spain came in second and England came in third.
Christa Inojuken has been named the first women’s basketball head coach in the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s history.
Also, two time Olympian Tamara Tatham joins Raptors 905, becoming the first Canadian woman to join a North American Men’s Pro League staff.
Nancy Lieberman became Big3 Coach of the Year for coaching her team, Power, to a 7-1 record in her first season as a coach. She adds that to just another of her long list of accomplishments in basketball and I’m very excited to see where she takes this. Congratulations, Coach Lieberman.
Also, the WNBA awards are out, so special shout outs to MVP … no surprise here … Breanna Stewart. Comeback Player of the Year goes to DeWanna Bonner. Did you get her bobble head, Linds?
Lindsay: No. Listen, this is the first time Burn It All Down listeners have ever truly disappointed me, so I’m just gonna throw that out there.
Amira: Somewhere out there, somebody who has a hand on Comeback Player of the Year DeWanna Bonner’s bobble head with her twins and her trophies, please send it to Lindsay. Please.
Okay. Also want to shout out Most Improved Player, Natasha Howard, and Sixth Woman, Jonquel Jones. And Sue Bird got the Sportsmanship Award this year.
And now, a drum roll please … Our Badass Woman of the Week goes to Hayley Wickenheiser, who was hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs as Assistant Director of Player Development. Wick, Shireen tells me, is a Canadian sports demigod. Four time gold medalist, both in the Winter and Summer Olympics. Seven time World Champion in women’s hockey. She’s played Olympic softball. And so, congrats to Wick on her new position, and you are our Badass Woman of the Week.
Amira: All right. We made it to the end, y’all. What’s good in your life? Lindsay?
Lindsay: All right. WNBA Playoffs, obviously. US Open starting, obviously. And also, Ariana Grande taking Barstool to task on Twitter for their comments about her fiance, Pete Davidson. Ariana Grande dunking on Barstool Sports is the thing I’ve wanted most in life that I never knew I wanted most in life. So, look, I’m trying to be short here, but that’s my thing.
Amira: Awesome. Well, I’m thrilled because tomorrow, Monday, August 27th, my kids go back to school. This week has been a wild week, because I started teaching last week and so they’ve just been home on vacation soaking up the last week of the summer while I’ve been forced to work. I am thrilled that routine and structure and … I’m kind of sad. I love the summer and I love all the enrichment they get to do outside of a kind of super-structured school schedule, but also I’m just ready for them to be back in school. So hooray for the first day of school tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.
And also, I want to give a shout out to Crazy Rich Asians. I went to see it last night with my friend and colleague here and it was a phenomenal movie. I was so pleased to support a groundbreaking film like this. Everyone should go see Crazy Rich Asians, and I’m now going to download the whole trilogy and read it because I’m obsessed.
Shireen, what’s good for you?
Shireen: Well, I didn’t know about Ariana Grande, so I’m really entranced by that. Thank you, Lindsay. It’s gonna bring me a lot of joy. Belated Eid Mubarak to everybody. Had a happy Eid that was wonderful. I was a bridesmaid. I won’t stop talking about that for the rest of my life. My best friend Katherine’s wedding. It was amazing. I’ve never been a bridesmaid, and I waited 27 years for Katherine to get married so I could be one. So, I was patient.
I’m going to meet up with an organization called Nutmeg Soccer in Toronto, and it takes children from racialized communities and marginalized communities and just introduces them to soccer and works with them in development, so I’m really excited about that.
I am dropping off my eldest child to university next weekend. So, I know, I didn’t realize all the feelings, and I think I’m having a lot of feelings. I will be fine. It’s not super far, but it is a big thing and I will be totally fine as I sob into my hijab at some point this week. But that’s okay. There’s always ice cream and Ariana Grande. So that’s what’s good for me.
Amira: That’s it for this week of Burn It All Down. Burn It All Down lives on SoundCloud, but it also can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn. You can also find us on Facebook at Burn It All Down, at Twitter @BurnItAllDownPod, or on Instagram @BurnItAllDownPod.
Certainly, email us. BurnItAllDownPod@gmail.com. Check out our website, BurnItAllDownPod.com. You’ll find episodes, transcripts, a link to our Patreon. Please, subscribe share, rate our show. It helps us do the work we love to do. It keeps burning things that need to be burned. And like I mentioned at the top of the show, be on the lookout for our social media pages for big announcements coming your way dealing with Burn It All Down merchandise. We have a good giveaway that’s about to go live. We can’t wait to show you our merchandise and get some stuff into your hands.
So from me, Amira Rose Davis, Shireen Ahmed, Lindsay Gibbs, thank you and we’ll see you next week, Flamethrowers.