Episode 75: Cristiano Ronaldo rape case, ownership of athletes’ bodies, and NWHL with Erica Ayala

Lindsay, Jessica, Amira, and Brenda discuss the recent report on men’s interest in women’s sports (6:14); the latest developments in and coverage of the Cristiano Ronaldo rape case (24:52); ownership of athletes’ bodies featuring J.R. Smith and Earl Thomas (39:26); and women’s hockey expert Erica Ayala joins Lindsay to talk about the NWHL season and the shocking Lisa Borders news (53:17).

Then, there’s a Burn Pile (1:02:25), Bad Ass Women of the Week (1:03:35), and in What’s Good, we manage to find some things to celebrate after this awful week (1:07:59).

For links and a transcript…


“Report: Male sports fans have big interest in women’s sports” https://apnews.com/b108e63fa97e4e1da5abef58909e2c68

Shireen’s piece: “A Rape Accusation Against Cristiano Ronaldo Is Finally Getting Attention. It’s About Time Soccer Had Its #MeToo Moment” http://time.com/5416251/cristiano-ronaldo-rape-soccer-metoo/

Lindsay’s piece: “The rape allegation against Cristiano Ronaldo will test the limits of the #MeToo movement” https://thinkprogress.org/the-rape-allegation-against-cristiano-ronaldo-should-result-in-a-reckoning-will-it-6b869786df07/

Gross: “Ronaldo scores for Juventus in first game since rape denial. The footballer models his line of underwear in an Italian newspaper ad as he returns to football after denying rape.” https://news.sky.com/story/ronaldo-in-underwear-ad-as-he-starts-first-game-since-rape-denial-11518869


“J.R. Smith Won’t Discuss Supreme Tattoo With NBA: “I Don’t Talk To The Police”” https://www.hotnewhiphop.com/jr-smith-wont-discuss-supreme-tattoo-with-nba-i-dont-talk-to-the-police-news.61299.html

“Could the NBA Force J.R. Smith to Cover Up His Supreme Tattoo?” https://www.si.com/nba/2018/09/30/jr-smith-supreme-tattoo-nba-rules

“Earl Thomas and Le’Veon Bell are leading the way in how NFL players fight for their salaries” https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2018/9/30/17911228/earl-thomas-leveon-bell-holdouts-nfl-players-salaries-leverage

“Earl Thomas Is Why Le’Veon Bell Holds Out” https://deadspin.com/earl-thomas-is-why-leveon-bell-holds-out-1829440429

The IX Newsletter (sign up link in their bio): https://twitter.com/TheIXNewsletter

“GOP senator says survivors deserve respect, yet won’t condemn Trump’s attack on Dr. Ford” https://thinkprogress.org/gop-senator-survivors-trump-1a62dd42a950/

“The Yankees Crossed a Hotel Strike Picket Line in Boston” https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2018/10/04/yankees-crossed-boston-hotel-workers-picket-line/

“How a homophobic, misogynist, racist ‘thing’ could be Brazil’s next president” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/06/homophobic-mismogynist-racist-brazil-jair-bolsonaro

“Report: Crowdfunding Drives For College Football Player In Critical Condition Shut Down Over Fear Of NCAA Violations” https://deadspin.com/report-crowdfunding-drives-for-college-football-player-1829454739

“Michelle Waterson fights back TEARS and makes emotional statement at UFC 229” https://www.express.co.uk/sport/ufc/1027933/Michelle-Waterson-tears-UFC-229-Joe-Rogan

“Wozniacki holds off Sevastova to win second China Open” http://www.wtatennis.com/news/wozniacki-holds-sevastova-win-second-china-open

“Masters graduate inducted into England Netball Hall of Fame” http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/sbe/news/2018/ama-agbeze-inducted-into-england-netball-hall-of-fame.html

“68-ft wave surfed by Maya Gabeira confirmed as largest ridden by a woman as she receives two awards” http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2018/10/68-ft-wave-surfed-by-maya-gabeira-confirmed-as-largest-ridden-by-a-woman-as-she-r-542488

Jessica’s deadlift: https://www.instagram.com/p/Boo0pfHBpU9/?taken-by=jessicawluther


Lindsay: Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to Burn It All Down. The feminist sports podcast you need. I’m Lindsay Gibbs and I am doing my radio voice today because for some reason it just feels right. I will stop that now. Joining me today is the fabulous Professor Davis, Professor Amira Rose Davis in Penn State. We’ve got Jessica Luther, freelance independent reporter extraordinaire in Austin, Texas. And another Professor Brenda Elsie from Hofstra. Joining us from New York, pumpkin spice country as I am told. How’s everybody doing?

Jessica: All right

Lindsay: We’re here, this is after another brutal week in the United States it feels like therapy to be joining these brilliant women to talk about sports and other things.

Today’s episode we are going to be talking Cristiano Ronaldo and everything that is going on with the rape allegation, and the coverage of said allegations against him. We are also gonna be talking about the ownership of athlete’s bodies. We’ve got a little bit of JR Smith Supreme, a little Earl Thomas talk for you. Maybe some N C double A, who knows?

And then the brilliant flamethrower Erica Ayala is gonna be joining me to talk about the National Women’s Hockey League which kicked off this weekend. As well as a few other stories in women sport. We’re gonna try and escape a little with some women in sports. Of course then we’ll have our bad ass woman of the week, we’ll throw a lot of things in the burn pile and then we’ll try and dig out some positives in the show.

But first I wanna talk about a pretty interesting survey that came out this week. Turns out that men like women.

Jessica: Surprise!

Lindsay: There was a report published by analysts at Nielsen Sports that found that 84 percent of general sports fans in eight key markets around the world, including the United States and Britain have an interest in women’s sports. And that 51 percent of those are male. What did you all think of about this? Interesting.

Jessica: Amazing, I think it’s always one of those moments where you’re like we really don’t need a study but it’s good that we have one. That feeling of like, we knew that but it’s always nice when there are numbers come back it up. I mean my takeaway is that just imagine what the numbers would actually be if women sport got anywhere close to the same infrastructure of investment as men’s sports do. I mean, it’s so weird that we put a ceiling in it.

Lindsay: It truly is, Amira what did you think about this, were you surprised?

Amira: No, I was just like of course they do. And like for all the people who are trolling online all the time, there is people all the time who watch sports that may not admit it because there’s such a stigma around consuming women’s sports. And so I actually think the numbers are probably even more than what this study indicated. I’m with you Jess. I think it’s nice to point to it.

I think you mention it just gives the people who like to hate on women’s sports less room to maneuver, they’re running out of comebacks to this, so that’s kind of sweet. But no, I wasn’t surprised at all. I’m also completely in agreement with Jess, like if this is; we consume women’s sports in a way that is already overcoming obstacles to watch it play. Television to consume news about it, et cetera. And so imagine what viewership would look like if you didn’t have to search three different channels to find the game. So yeah.

Lindsay: Absolutely. Brenda, what was your professorial take on this?

Brenda: Well it’s a very US-centered study. So for what I study I’m not really sure what that would look like. There’s even less access. But it would say it’s always encouraging. I thought to myself that is there something happening also where there’s a generation of women that because of social media and Facebook feed lives; that’s the way I watch South American women’s soccer for example.

There’s a generation of young women in particular that didn’t watch sports also? That are into women’s sports in a new way and is part of their kind of feminist practice to equal that out you know? And young men that may also wanna sort of take initiative and say I’m gonna try this that couldn’t access it before. And now we’re like hey this is awesome. So I don’t know, I was wondering generationally what that meant. I didn’t see the study cause there was like an age category. Cause I feel like it’s younger people.

Lindsay: Yeah, I don’t know. I think that for me one of my; I love this comment that was like breaking. All right well before we go on, I just wanna thank our patreons who make this show completely possible. We are floored by your support every single week. And this last week our Patreon-only episode came out where Mary Carillo you can hear a 45-minute interview with Mary Carrillo between her and the brilliant Jessica Luther.

You got to hear an excerpt of that on last week’s podcast. But trust me you wanna hear the whole thing. For just two dollars a month, you can. Another way to support us is through merchandise. We have been absolutely thrilled by getting all of your tweets and messages and emails of everyone in their flame thrower merchandise. It looks so good on you all. Like the fact that there are people out there wearing Burn It All Down tee shirts and hoodies is just incredible.

Jessica: It’s mind blowing.

Lindsay: It’s just so cool. So please keep that up, and look the holiday season is approaching, I know you all need some gifts. What better gift? I just can’t even imagine.

All right. Last week, Jess and I talked a lot about rape allegations and sexual violence in sports and in the media, and in the supreme court, all throughout. But today we really wanted to focus on what is happening with Cristiano Ronaldo. Jess, can you get us started here?

Jessica: Yeah, I just wanted to quickly give a content note that we’ll be talking extensively about sexual assault and rape in particular in this segment. We do have time stamps every week in the description of the show, so if you wanna fast forward you can look in the description and find out when the next segment starts.

So, in 2017, German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Cristiano Ronaldo; the soccer superstar from Portugal who played for Juventus in Italy had settled in 2010 with a woman that reported he raped her in 2009 in Las Vegas. A week after that reporting Der Spiegel had a second piece about text messages that suggested Ronaldo knew about the settlement. And now Der Spiegel has a new long and important piece where the woman who reported Ronaldo has come forward with her story. Katheryn Mayorga says that Ronaldo raped her in 2009 in a Las Vegas hotel room. She reported it the next day at the Las Vegas PD but was too scared to tell them anymore about the man who hurt her. That to say that he was a high profile athlete. She also got a rape kit.

Then she got a lawyer who led her through a process with Ronaldo’s legal machine that ended up in the out of court settlement and Mayorga signing a non-disclosure agreement; an NDA agreeing that she would never talk again about the rape and that if she did, she’d face legal consequences for it. But we are now in this #MeToo moment and Mayorga specifically mentioned that in the interview. And she has a new attorney who believes from multiple reasons that the settlement should be void. That it was never legal to begin with, and now she’s talked to Der Spiegel.

In their reporting the team at Der Spiegel not only told us Mayorga cited the events, which includes a lot of quotes from her family about her continued mental distress from the trauma she experienced that night. But their reporting also revealed that back in 2009, Ronaldo filled out a questionnaire about the night in question. And he essentially confirmed her version of events including saying that she said no repeatedly. That the version of the questionnaire that eventually made it over to Mayorga’s lawyer did not have those questions or answers in it.

Of course, Ronaldo denies these allegations, and has threatened to sue Der Spiegel. He threatened that last year too and never did though. Las Vegas PD has reopened the investigation. Ronaldo’s currently not scheduled to play with the Portugal National Team in the next few matches. But he has received robust support from the coach of the Portugal team, the Prime Minister of Portugal and Juventus. Nike and EA two of his biggest sponsors and I believe he’s in a one billion dollar deal with Nike; both have told the media that they’re monitoring this very serious situation.

And Mayorga according to Der Spiegel is now at an unknown location and is no longer able to be reached. Just before we jump in here two things, it’s kind of wild that we’re doing this without Shireen. Who has been beating this drum since last year. But she did write an amazing op-ed for Time this week about this case, and the response to it. She’s not here this week, but you can read all of her thoughts and we’ll link that. And second, I just wanted to mention that this wasn’t the first time that a woman said Ronaldo raped her in a hotel room. Back in 2005 in London, Ronaldo was arrested and questioned and ultimately Scotland Yard said there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward, so it goes.

Where do you guys even wanna start with this?

Lindsay: Amira, I mean Brenda can you take this from here?

Brenda: Well, I mean the 2005 case is really nebulous. It’s not clear what happened. There were two women that went to the police, and very quickly dropped the case. The difficult thing is that he’s so, so globally famous and so untouchable. So you can imagine, of course like any of this has to be incredibly painful for Mayorga. But it would be hard to overstate how often she has to experience seeing him and compliments about him, and adulation and semi worship throughout the world. I mean there’s no country she can go to, to get away from him. His images are towering. So I don’t know, there’s just one thing I wanted to state.

And then the other thing is about the media. And their dropping of the case in 2005. I mean no one really followed up which is really strange. And then, well not strange. Actually it’s a pattern of not reporting on this and you and Lindsay did a really nice episode last week where you’re talking about doing the work.

But just one quick thing about the media and Sid Lowe for example who is sort of the king of writing about La Liga in English and even in Spanish and about Real Madrid. When this case came out about three days after Der Spiegel reported it. Sid Lowe wrote an article saying, it’s literally titled: “Cristiano Ronaldo has done so much for Real Madrid, why do some fans boo him?” And he couldn’t mention this. He would be the person most asked for comment, he would’ve known it the second; I’m sure before it came out in Der Spiegel. And literally the URL says “people boo genius.”

So I know Jessica had a great set up tweets about this this week and how reporting happens. But it’s important to understand that it’s not even just the US. The European media has just failed time and time again to hold him accountable for anything.

Lindsay: Yeah Jess, you did have a really great series of tweets this week about what good coverage of violence against women in sports looks like versus some of the things we’ve gotten this week. Do you care to elaborate on any of that?

Jessica: Yeah, I had just gone; I went to ESPN. This is not, I mean I picked on this one ESPN article but it’s really the kind of thing you can extrapolate out from there. It’s everyone’s coverage. But yeah, I was just looking for an article to get the basics on the Portugal team leaving him off the roster. Just so I can get a sense of the news of it. And it was so typical, the first-I mean they mention in the first paragraph that there are rape allegations. But then the next seven paragraphs, I don’t know it was so long. With just the coach quoting, quoting the coach of the Portugal National Team telling us that he doesn’t know anything about the case, but Ronaldo’s a really good guy. So he believes what he said about how much he abhors rape or whatever.

Then finally you get this small paragraph about what Mayorga said. And it’s pretty, it doesn’t matter. It’s pretty vague actually. Then you get all of his stats. There’s more paragraphs about his stats than about the actual allegation. Then a final quote from the coach, and it’s just the kind of reporting where it’s just garbage. It’s not useful. I mean it didn’t tell me anything. Because they’re saying that he was left off the team not related to this, and yet then the entire article’s about this? And then to give the coach that much base after he told us he doesn’t know anything? To prop up Ronaldo’s career?

It reads as Ronaldo PR, and it’s really really hard after reading the Der Spiegel piece which I really think if you can stomach it, you have to read it. You have to get the other side of this because his PR machine is so powerful. And there’s such a built in narrative, just like Brenda was just saying about this global superstar. And it just read like that, for a newser. This was like a newser on ESPN, and that’s the kind of stuff that just bothers me to no end.

Lindsay: Absolutely. His club team also had an interesting response to all this. Amira.

Amira: Yeah, certainly. So along with that, despite you know kind of lukewarm statements of being deeply concerned from Nike and EA sports, who are certainly business investors in Ronaldo and his brand. Those statements looked super harsh when you get compared to what Juventus then tweeted later in the week. So they issued two tweets. The first one said, “Cristiano Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication. Which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus.” “The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion. Which is shared by anyone who’s come into contact with this great champion.”

Then a few hours later also posted like this clip of him scoring in practice, which included this weird zooming in during the hip thrust, it was all–

Jessica: Didn’t they also retweet from the women’s club?

Amira: Yes.

Jessica: Like almost immediately after posting those two tweets? Like the next thing they did–

Amira: Exactly.

Jessica: Was retweet the women’s club.

Amira: It was really like if you have a bingo card out there of tropes about sexual assault, and you were going for bingo; you could really get a lot of coverage with these tweets. Because you have you know as Brenda and Jess have mentioned, this invocation of his great champion, and his character. Invoking anybody’s who’s come in contact with him. They also do that thing where they’re like oh, this is 10 years ago. It’s just really, it’s trash. Of course it’s trash.

But it’s also for me a little bit more than that. It’s seeing an action, his brand kind of coalescing around it, and the fortress that’s put up around men. And we’ve seen a lot of that this week, and it’s sickening quite frankly. And you can see that unlike say Nike and EA Sports, which at least publicly are willing to appear as if they’re concerned into action. Even though a lot of times inaction is all we’re left with. But I think one of the things about these kind of clarity tweets is like, oh no. We’re not even going to here you go, we’re going to look into it. Oh these are serious. It’s like no, we’re right now making up shields. And we’re getting information cause you will not touch him. Hands off.

And that’s kind of appalling.

Jessica: Yeah, I wanted to quickly piggy back off that. One of the things that Shireen does really well in her piece and she drives home, and this is so true in so many ways. And Brenda was getting at this with the global superstar is that there’s this terrible conflation between whether or not he’s good at soccer on the pitch, and whether or not he’s a good person off of it. And we have to stop that, we have to stop that in sports.

The idea that you can look or even in any kind of professional setting. That you can look at someone in their professional setting and say they are good therefore we can extrapolate and say they are good off in their personal lives. It’s garbage. There’s no logical connection there. We have to stop that.

Amira: And even outside of their professional settings. It’s completely true. We know this to be true. That somebody can be very nice to you as a person. Whether in a professional setting or in a personal one. And that has no bearing whatsoever if they committed assault. Because in that moment it was a power dynamic that you are not privy to. So I don’t care if they are good soccer player or if he held the door for you at the supermarket one time and said good morning.

Jessica: Right.

Amira: It actually has no bearing on the matter at hand.

Lindsay: Brenda?

Brenda: Taxes also have no bearing on the matter at hand. And the mentioning that because his problems with taxes have gotten so much play that it’s just a glaring example of what the media would rather pay attention to. And it comes tacked on, so you get all these; like El Pais he was you know, he was in La Liga for most of his career. And El Pais is the main paper in Spain, and they would do these long articles about his taxes. And after the Der Speigel piece came out it would get this little thing at the end of it about rape accusations.

It’s almost like so disrespectful as to not be worth mentioning there, you know? Not that they shouldn’t mention it but it’s almost more painful to see it just like oh well we really care about his taxes and he also sexually assaulted someone. But we really care about his taxes. And it’s just, it was time and time again so I mean it’s sort of amazing. And he’s so good at manipulating them. He is so good at looking like a beleaguered player. I mean I don’t know him, his team, whatever. I don’t think he’s some kind of media genius, god no.

But just to say this week he called it fake news. And so in his response, in his rebuttal, he purposefully manipulated you know US political terminology to play on Trump’s accusations about the media. So it’s pretty amazing how he’s been able to manipulate this to look like a beleaguered genius.

Lindsay: Yeah, it’s infuriating. This whole thing is just absolutely infuriating. Look, I write as a lot of you do too about sexual assault in sports all the time. Or domestic violence in sports. My dog has an itch, I hope you’re all hearing that in the background. He’s shaking his color a little bit. The only good man in my life, but anyways the thing that always gets me is 100 percent of the time that I write about this stuff. I am attacked viciously for jumping to conclusions, for not following innocent until proven guilty, for being you know jealous. Fat woman, who just can’t get any or whatever these people are saying.

It is always 100 percent of the time by supporters of that team, you know what I mean? There’s not a general population, I mean in general. But it’s always the supporters who have problem. And it just strikes me as I wish they could see how predictable this response is from different factions. So there are people that they believe yes, person X is absolutely a rapist. I don’t root for that team, but he is absolutely a rapist. But this person on my team? You are horrible for thinking this. People just don’t see how much the team mentality really is a part of this, and I thought about that a lot this week about the Supreme Court, about Republicans who were sitting there saying yes we should believe survivors, yes we should believe women, yes we need this society. But not this woman. Not in this case, but this is super inconvenient for us. So we’re gonna come up with a lot of reasons why this is to inconvenient for us to be you know, be believed.

It’s just I always think to myself, well if I went by the responses in my inbox, then 100 percent of the people I’ve written about are completely innocent, and there are no sexual abusers in sports. Which I mean, that’s not believable because just statistically we know that not because I think all these men are just awful, awful people. But just because statistically we know that some of them are not gonna be great people you know?

And this case has so much evidence. She did everything quote, unquote right. All the stuff you are supposed to do. She immediately told someone, she told a friend that very night that Ronaldo raped her. She told her parents the next day, she was in so much pain that she called the police and had them take her to the hospital for an exam where they found evidence of lacerations in her; they found injuries. Injuries were found at the hospital. She didn’t tell the police that very night, that very next day that it was Ronaldo. But she did say it was an athlete and a very famous person. And we know that she was with Ronaldo the night before because there are paparazzi photographs to prove it.

There is so much proof. Even if you take away his confession that you know is floating around. Even if you take that away, there is so much every time I write about this. Well if she was telling the truth she would’ve went to the police right away, well where is the rape kit evidence? Do you know what I mean? Well how do we know they were even in the same place that night you know? How do you know she’s not confusing him with someone else?

All of those questions are answered in this story. Just to give people a little bit of insight into what an outlet like Der Spiegel, the amount of lawyers they have looking at this before they are able to publish this would absolutely blow your mind. An outlet that is; this is not the tabloids do you know what I mean? This is not the National Enquirer. The amount of due diligence they have to do in order to come forward and know they would be protected against a law suit is, they have to have this stuff. Do you know what I mean? Like they’ve seen this stuff. Lawyers have seen this stuff.

So, all of these people saying like, well show me the exact police report, I don’t believe that you would actually believe it if you saw the police report. That’s not what this is about. And to understand the amount of journalism that went into a report like this, it’s astounding. So no, I haven’t seen the police report myself. No I haven’t independently confirmed all of this, but I know from the reporters at Der Spiegel that they wouldn’t come out with a report like this unless enough people have vetted it.

Jess, do you wanna kind of close this off here?

Jessica: Yeah, I mean I guess the thing for me with this case is thinking a lot about accountability. And so we have his sponsors and his team, and the different teams he plays for. And that’s one area, then of course I’m a member of the media and I keep thinking what is this gonna look like on the ground when people actually get a microphone in front of him. They didn’t’ do anything with this last year right? So it’ll be interesting to see like what happens. One space where we can hold people accountable as media members.

We can ask the questions. And even if that’s accountability for two minutes of their life? It’s still accountability. I really do hope that people keep pressing and keep asking the questions. And I hope they ask him to his face. I hope someone gets the guts to do it.

Lindsay: All right, moving on to another happy topic. Who owns athlete’s bodies in sports? Amira, could you get us started here?

Amira: Yeah, so part of this discussion I wanna have it in two parts. First I wanna talk about JR Smith a little bit and about literally the discussion of who owns the athlete’s skin. And then I also wanna set up the pivot to consider what happens when athlete’s bodies become disposable. So first you may have seen this past week, JR Smith got a new tattoo. For reasons for himself to know. He got a tattoo down his right calf with the Supreme logo. Supreme of course is a brand, they sell like skateboard-they do all of these different things now. I think they rose to prominence branding skateboards, skater-esque stuff.

So, JR Smith tweeted his new tattoo, hashtag work, hashtag Supreme team. Shortly after that, the Cleveland Cavaliers star tweeted this following message; “So I was informed today I would be fined every game if I don’t cover up my Supreme tattoo on my leg during games.” Three smiley emoji crying faces. “People in the league office are something else.” Black hand middle finger emoji.

Essentially that’s exactly what happened, that NBA citing the article in the collective bargaining agreement that states quote, “Other than incorporated onto his uniform, the manufacturers identification incorporated into his sneakers; a player may not during any NBA game display any commercial promotion able or charitable name, mark, logo, or other identification. Including but not limited to on his hair, on his body, or otherwise.

Now this is not the first time the league has intervened, Iman Shumpert had Adidas logo cut into his hair a few years ago. And they made him cut it out of his hair. But certainly if you looked at the headlines about this, the line itself; the NBA says they own a player’s skin might strike you as you know what is going on here. But JR Smith is not gonna contest that citing. The fact that he doesn’t wanna spend the money doing this. And it’s in the CBA. The player’s agreed to this, so he also doesn’t necessarily have a leg to stand on in that arena.

So, he said quote, “I’m not giving ’em money that could go to my kids, I was looking into my rights. But you know what? I’m not gonna put money in their pocket, not a chance. There’s a lot of other things going on in this world that the league could be worried about besides a tattoo, but it’s their league they could do what they want.” When a reporter from Cleveland dot com asked if he was going to have a conversation with the league about it, he said, “For what? I don’t talk to the police. That doesn’t do anything for me.”

Certainly you have this kind of policing of appearance and the skin and branding, and the athlete’s skin as extension of brand space. And in this case, the league is literally saying while you’re on the court, we own your skin. To kind of put this conversation in perspective, the other skin related thing that made me think about. I don’t know if anybody, if you guys remember; but there’s an Olympian from the UK. He was an 800 meter Olympian. A few years ago, he auctioned off parts of his body on eBay for advertisements. He basically put the listing as nine square inches of skin on an Olympian. It would be a tattoo or a logo of a website, social media brand, et cetera. He started the bidding just at a dollar, US dollar. But after 10 days, the bidding was up to $10,400.

I think about these things together. What does it mean for a league to own the athlete’s skin. But also you see in this case of Nick Simmons who’s an Olympian. Who understood that there was a market value on his skin and try to take agency in that, and ownership of it himself to make some money. The extension of athlete’s bodies in terms of being billboard material is certainly one part of the conversation here. I really wanna get your you know, reactions to JR Smith, and the NBA. And this idea of owning an athlete’s skin.

But the other side of that coin, is what happens when these bodies become disposable? So the other thing that we saw this week, was Earl Thomas after holding out for most of the summer and then holding in by showing up to practice, but one of his big grievances is that he didn’t want to just have a short term contract. But he wanted a long term guaranteed contract, and he didn’t get it. This past week, he broke his leg. And now he has a broken leg, and no guaranteed money and this is something that happens all too often to NFL players, that kind of flies under the radar. I know people personally who this is happened to. Who broke a bone or pulled a hamstring or did whatever without a guaranteed contract. And you’re left with the ailment, and no idea when your next paycheck’s coming, if it is.

And Le’Veon Bell who’s been holding on quite notably in Pittsburgh because he doesn’t wanna sign the same one year deal commented on that and said, “Better to Earl, but I’ll continue to be the bad guy for all of this.” So these conversations together lead us to a much larger thing about when we’re talking about a business that consumes and profits off of labor, off of body, off of product placement on the skin. The ownership of that skin from leagues or what not, they want to own it when it’s profitable for them. But they also dispose of it in ways that are really harmful for athletes.

So that’s generally how I see these conversations fit in together. But what about you guys?

Lindsay: Uh, Jessica?

Jessica: Yeah, I was on WBUR’s Only A Game this week and Howard Brian pointed out, I mean we call them owners right? Even the language that we use to talk about the organizational structure of these teams really points to like how these men think about the people who play for them. Right? They own them. And I just, every time you said, “own his skin.” I don’t, that is just; gives me the creeps. I don’t have a good intellectual response to that. But you know I think JR Smith’s point about you know there allowed to wear the Nike logos and that’s fine because the NBA’s invested with them right? So then that skin is okay.

But there is just something fundamentally creepy about this idea of owning other people’s bodies, that when they work for you, you therefore own them? I I don’t know, capitalism at its worst. And you know, one thing I wanted to bring up, and I feel like I we have talked about this on the show before. But this is from 2016, I think September; Mark Tracy at the New York Times  wrote about this and this is on the collegiate level which I understand it’s different because of the employee employer relationship. Which apparently there isn’t one if you believe the NCAA.

I believe we talked about this. When Michigan signed its deal with Nike back in 2016 for I think 170 million dollars which at the time was the biggest collegiate sponsorship deal from Nike. There’s a clause in there that says that in the future, Nike wants bio data of these players, that they can start collecting it right?

So, you get this real, you own the data of their bodies. And that’s you know all complicated cause they’re not paying these guys. But yeah, I don’t know. Amira was so brilliant in that opener saying all the things I wanna say. But those are sort of my rambling thoughts.

Lindsay: Brenda?

Brenda: I kind of think that it’s good that you brought up N C double A Jess, because I think it’s at the NBA in training. The fact that they do think of themselves as owning the images of these players. I remember the YouTube scandal we talked about where that player wasn’t allowed to make any money off of the YouTube thing. I mean it’s like there’s really no stopping some of these sports organizations from claiming ownership over these bodies.

I kind of think those are important connections to make, and I would just like to say I love social media for hearing JR Smith call this bullshit out. This kind of class of sponsorships, because that’s what it is right? This is just a case of probably Nike complaining to the NBA. We’ve paid this amount of money, and now your players are putting out there another apparel thing or whatever. I can’t imagine the NBA cares unless it’s taking some financial squeeze or threats about it.

So I think JR Smith’s awesome to call out this bullshit, and I’m glad we get to hear from these players sometimes.

Lindsay: I absolutely love that Kevin Love on his Instagram last night put a wrap over his cap too. He posted a photo of JR Smith writing Supreme on it. And he said I’m team JR Smith.

Jessica: That’s awesome

Lindsay: I just kind of love—

Brenda: They’re gonna look like mummies if you ask them to get rid of all these tattoos.

Lindsay: You guys know I’m a big Kevin Love fan. So I just love that he was just doing that. That was great. I like the idea of these players kind of you know joining together to support each other. On the one hand, and this is probably because I was raised in capitalism, and still have a lot of it seared into my brain you know?

I think well we allow some uniform restrictions and things like that. And you know, in some jobs they might not hire you if you have a big tattoo you couldn’t cover up. But I don’t know, in sports it’s just different because there’s; to these athletes for all that they do, and there has to be a better answer about how the amount that they go through for our entertainment, for our enjoyment. And then how they’re treated for that? It’s not on the same page, there’s a lot of work to do to get those back. And I think step one is getting rid of rules that place like the N C double A and getting rid of this like Jess was saying; this concept of ownership. It’s partnerships. It should be partnerships, not ownerships.


Amira: Yeah, so you know one of the things with the idea of monitoring and policing the skin and what not is because it’s a space that they can’t yet advertise on. And so they have to control it in this way. So if you think about how corporate sponsors are offered all these visible parts of the game now. From NASCAR which obviously plasters all over cars. Or the WNBA uniforms where literally you can barely see a name or number because you just see corporate sponsorships to if you’re watching game broadcasts from the ladder they use to cut down the net from March Madness to you know a 10 second analysis of some stats is brought to you buy Subway or some specific brand.

There’s a way in which every single space that can be used for profit is squeezed out of it. And so far, the skin of athletes is a territory that they cannot touch. But what they can do is seek to control it. And I think that’s part of this larger conversation as all of you have you know gestured to, about athletic labor. About exploitation, whether it’s at the collegiate level with the NCAA, or the professional level with the NBA, or the Olympic level.

And so to close it out, I wanna return to Nick Simmons; the Olympian who I mentioned try to subvert this and take ownership of his own skin. And one of the reasons he said that he was doing this was to raise awareness about the restrictive and unjust rules that the IOC, thus the International Olympic Committee has in place. They have restrictive and antiquated advertising regulations. That prevent professional athletes from earning a fair living. He sent a recent study showing that nearly 50 percent of professional track and field athletes in the United States live below the poverty line. Despite the fact that the IOC will bring in over $4 billion of revenue during that same year.

So, one of the reasons he started own your skin, and he uses the hashtag Own Your Skin and has a corresponding website was to put pressure on these sporting bodies to think about athletes rights, to put pressure on them to share revenues. So I’ll end with this he says quote, “The IOC has become very rich off the hard work of the athletes. They exploit that hard work for their gain, they treat the athletes poorly while they’re in the village and send them home with nothing of value to show for years of hard work dedication and sacrifice.”

Certainly I think that his struggle with the IOC mirrors of course the parallels in the NCAA, and I think at the professional level sometimes we have a harder time seeing that cause there’s a lot more zeros and dollar signs there. But the relationship between the ownership class and the managerial class, and the players; the laborers is still as disparate as many other labor situations. And so I think that thinking and putting this conversation about JR Smith in dialogue with conversations about these other exploits of labor practices when we talk about ownership is when we really get to have a generative discussion and see the full expanse of the idea of how we market and control athletic bodies.

Lindsay: Hello everyone, joining me is flame thrower extraordinaire Erica Ayala. She is a color analyst for the NWHL broadcast team. She does work for the Ice Garden, of course high post hoops for women’s basketball. She’s a colleague of mine there, and we are just so lucky to have her today. When all is bad in the world, a good thing is women’s sports. So —

Erica: Yes.

Lindsay: Welcome, Erica.

Erica: Thank you for having me, it’s always a pleasure. I think I have to put that on my next set of business cards. Flame thrower extraordinaire was it? I like it.

Lindsay: I agree, I think you’ve earned the title if anyone has. So you worked this opening weekend of the National Women’s Hockey League. It is the fourth season am I correct there?

Erica: That’s correct, fourth season, first year —

Lindsay: That’s a big milestone. That’s such a big milestone.

Erica: Yeah, I know. It is a huge milestone; and I was just gonna say first season with an expansion team so it’s even more exciting.

Lindsay: Yeah, that’s incredible. One of my first big stories I think at Think Progress, I started three years ago was covering the launch of the league. And it’s just crazy to see how much it’s gone through in this time. Let’s start there. This expansion team, Minnesota. How did they fare their first weekend of competition?

Erica: I think they did all right Lindsay. I think they did all right. They hosted the Isobel Cup champions from 2018; the Metropolitan Riveters. In a weekend series, so that will be trend when Minnesota has home games. The White Caps will play double headers, essentially one game Saturday, Sunday. They swept the series, so they made a statement. Now while the White Caps are new to the NWHL they have been around as an independent team for some time. I think that worked to their advantage. And they get a four nothing victory over the Riveters on Saturday for their first ever game.

Kate McGovern gets the first goal there, and then a three one win over the Riveters just yesterday on Sunday. That’s correct.

Lindsay: That’s right. So, tell us, can you give everyone cause it’s been a long off season. Who are the other; there are four other teams. Who are the four other teams and who would be your picks for the final this year? I’m gonna put you on the spot there with an early prediction.

Erica: For sure. Of the founding four teams, already mentioned the Riveters. They went from the New York Riveters to the Metropolitan Riveters. They now play in New Jersey. They started that first season in Brooklyn. They are the 2018 defending Isobel Cup champions. They were almost undefeated actually, the only other team; the only team that defeated them last season was the Buffalo Beauts. Another founding team. They are the 2017 Isobel Cup champions. And really revamped their roster. Then you have the Boston Pride, the inaugural Isobel Cup champions. They defeated the Buffalo Beauts. And the Connecticut Whale, the Connecticut Whale is a team that in that first season started off; they were undefeated until relatively close to the end of the regular season. But have really struggled as a franchise since.

Just to recap again, that’s the Metropolitan Riveters, Buffalo Beauts, Boston Pride, and Connecticut Whale. Now what’s really interesting about this season Lindsay, is that this is the first season that the league has been in operation. I should say it’s the first, they’re going through their first cycle. And when I say cycle I mean the Olympic cycle. So the league started after the 2014 Olympics, but now they’ve gone through the 2018 Olympics and so last season when the Riveters won the Olympians were either centralized or in residency depending upon if you’re thinking US or Canada.

So you saw talent like Amanda Kessel from the Riveters away. You saw the Boston Pride lost a lot of talent, and actually haven’t gotten all of that talent back. Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker have returned to the CWHL but the Boston Pride has returned Gigi Marvin. Haley Skarupa for example. I talked about the Buffalo Beauts, Emily Pfalzer the inaugural captain of that team; in 2015 has returned back home to Buffalo to play for her home team the Beauts.

And the Connecticut Whale this year have gotten international talent. Everyone from Randi Griffin who was born in raised in the United States but competed for the Unified Korea Team to Michelle Lowenhielm who is a 2014 Olympian and also Meeri Raisanen who played for Finland and is a Bronze medalist in 2018. So lots of talent, but my predictions; I didn’t forget that you asked I just wanted to give the rundown.

Lindsay: You’re filibustering, are you filibustering?

Erica: Just wanted to give the rundown, I will answer the question. I know you’re in DC, scars about answering questions. But I’m gonna get to it. I’m gonna go with Beauts, number one. White Caps two, right now I’m going Pride three, Riveters four, and Connecticut five.

Lindsay: All right, you heard it here first folks. I do wanna tell everyone if you’re listening and you’re saying what about the CWHL? We have some CWHL content. Shireen has you all covered. So that is coming in future episodes. So don’t fear. But I did wanna ask you one more question about the NWHL. In your Nine Newsletters, so if you guys don’t follow, don’t subscribe to the nine newsletter; you absolutely should. Our good friend, Howard Megdal, friend of the show. Started this, and three times a week you get a roundup of all the most important links in women’s sports. Erica does the hockey edition, the women’s hockey edition. Which is on Fridays. And there’s also Howard usually does the basketball one which comes out another day of the week that I can’t remember.

And then there’s also a women’s soccer edition. So it is the best way to stay on top of women’s sports. I cannot recommend it enough, and it’s free to subscribe so everyone should do that. But this week you revealed, but I don’t think this is original reporting by you, you revealed to me that there is a new investor in the NWHL; and we usually don’t know much about investors in the NWHL. That has been a little bit of a source of contention throughout the years. This is a baseball guy? Just very, very quickly, we’re gonna get into this more as the season goes on. But can you just briefly tell me who this person is, and what this signifies.

Erica: Yes. So as you mentioned Lindsay it’s kind of the first time that we get a little bit of background on partners. So it actually was released by the league. So no, not original reporting. As NWHL partner profile, Texas Rangers COO Neil Liebman. So this is, it looks like it will be a series where we get to know a little bit more about the investors of the people supporting the league. So Liebman is a co-owner and the COO of the Texas Rangers who of course play in the American League of major league baseball, the MLB. And he will be providing financial support. Now we don’t know how much, we don’t know if in the future or currently. Liebman is attached to a particular team, seems general though. So Liebman is on as a partner. I think what a lot of people also found interesting is that Liebman projects that in the next three to five years we’ll go from five teams to eight teams.

So he is projecting some expansion to happen relatively soon in the league. And while I think it’s exciting when you have certainly someone who’s an investor saying that, I’m not sure that it’s completely surprising. I guess I’d be more shocked if Pittsburgh isn’t one of those teams. They have had a relationship and have been courting the NWHL or vice versa maybe a little bit of both who knows? Since the second season where Amanda Kessel who was playing with the Riveters was the captain of one of the all-star teams out there. So Liebman being a part of baseball also goes back to something a colleague of mine at the Ice Garden wrote about.

Where Dani Rylan has said in an interview with Mike Murphy.

Lindsay: Dani Rylan is the founder of the league just in case you don’t know.

Erica: That’s correct, yes. Thank you she’s the founder and current commissioner. She as commissioner is open to all kinds of partnerships. So not just looking for that partnership with big brother, the NHL. But also looking for anyone who’s going to see the value in women’s hockey. And I think that’s very smart. I like the idea of looking outside of just the hockey community, cause I think there; I certainly have opinions on the NHL taking over any women’s hockey league. I think they’ve had their opportunity to do that and have not. So I need to show; I would like the NHL to have a few more showings of good faith and support for the league. Before I personally gonna give them credit for swooping in and you know taking over women’s hockey.

Whereas someone like Liebman, what we’ve seen with Pegula Sports Entertainment, and the Pegula family who outright own the Buffalo Beauts. They of course are attached to the Bills, and the Sabers in Buffalo. So they’re building their hashtag One Buffalo family. Or even the Devils, who have supported the Riveters. Hence the name from New York to Metropolitan. So more partnerships like this whether in hockey or not I think will only do great things for the league. And as I wrote in the Nine. This is not just good to name investors, it’s not just good so that other investors feel comfortable coming on board. But I mention that Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker, there’ve been athletes who have made their discontent with how things are running across women’s hockey.

Cause the CWHL has had their problems as well in the past, but once you solidify that with partnerships, with key investors, and they are showing the success they’ve had in sports, and what they’re willing to bring as far as resources and an action plan to in this case to the NWHL. I think that will do well to attract talent. We’ve seen international talent in the NWHL before, but it’s tough to get players from international markets to come here, while the league was on rocky ground. I think this is one step in the right direction of things starting to level out for the NWHL which I think will make it a more competitive league going forward.

Lindsay: That is so exciting. While I have you here, very quickly. We’ve had some big women’s basketball news this past week.

Erica: Oh, did we.

Lindsay: Lisa Borders, now former WNBA president surprised everyone by saying she was leaving the league and going to be the new CO of the Times Up Movement. Quick reaction, is the reason for WNBA fans to worry? Or is this a good opportunity? Or both?

Erica: Initial reaction is both. It just seemed very surprising. The timing seems surprising, but I guess Borders said hey, her time was up and she’s moving on. So I couldn’t help it, it was right there. I had to take it.

Lindsay: Really?

Erica: Yes, yes. I did just do that. But I think Misty Bass, former WNBA player. I know, love her to death. Her son is adorable, I love the pictures. She had a tweet that I think kind of signifies why I think it’s perhaps both. From Misty’s perspective, she said that in her time in the league, she’s had four different presidents. So that’s kind of concerning, like what’s going on? In order for a league that everyone from Adam Silver to your you know your run of the mill troll on twitter is taking jabs at it. Trying to figure out how to market better, to lose your leadership is considering.

With that said, is this an opportunity to get a leader that maybe is a little more closely associated with the women’s game? Dare I say a former player? I would love to see that, who can really get to the heart and soul of the game of basketball, and how to market the game. I think Lisa Borders had a great way of speaking, and I think she was very passionate obviously about women’s issues. But I would like to see someone who’s gonna really come in there and be an advocate from a little bit more from a players perspective.

Especially now that we have the CBA negotiations coming up. So I don’t know Lindsay. We’ll see, definitely think it’s concerning, but I have high hopes that the league will be able to get someone in that can usher us to a whole new level. I’m actually writing something for High Post now. And the majority of those eligible for the 2019 draft either were born within months of the WNBA starting and or born after the league finished the first season. So this is an exciting time for the WNBA in particular. I’m just really excited to see, I think the next pick in leadership can really lay the foundation for the next generation.

Lindsay: I agree with all of that, and I will just say from some of the players I talked to, they were as surprised as we were which is interesting. Anyway, thank you so much Erica. I will let you go back to your 20 jobs in women’s sports, and I hope that we can schedule more time later. Cause I could talk to you forever.

Erica: Thanks.

Lindsay: Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite part. Don’t worry, we understand it’s our favorite part too. The burn pile. Jess can you get us kicked off?

Jessica: Yeah sure. So the Yankees. America’s favorite sports team to hate keeps giving us all fuel. This week they were in Boston to play Amira’s Red Sox in the American League Division Series. When the Yankees got to their hotel, the downtown Ritz Carlton they were met by a long labor union picket line. Which they then proceeded to cross. Unionized workers are striking at multiple Marriott hotels in the country after months of failed negotiations including seven in the Boston area.

The workers who’s picket line the Yankees crossed are advocating for more stable hours, protections from job losses, and for new sexual harassment protocols. Now the MLBPA, the players association has come out and said it supports the picketers. Brenda pointed out before we recorded that Dellin Betances is a Dominican immigrant from Washington Heights, and it’s sad that management that puts him in a position because if he’s in this position to cross the line because if he didn’t happen to be really good at baseball, he’d very likely be working in the servants industry.

One of the people on strike, the president of the local 26 Unite Here called the Yankee players which let’s be clear, they play for a team worth $4 billion, he called them scabs. The protestors of course chanted “Yankees Sucks”, I’m sure they’re very good at that. And indeed for this, the Yankees really do suck, so burn it.

Group: Burn!

Lindsay: Amira?

Amira: Yeah, so I wanna talk about Christian Abercrombie. Who’s a football player at Tennessee State, and unfortunately the latest person to get seriously hurt to critical life threatening condition playing football this past weekend. Quote, unquote normal football play, he sustained a head injury that left him in life threatening critical condition. And in the wake of that, many Go Fund Me pages were set up cause this country’s healthcare system is ridiculous. And Go Fund Me has become the stand in for adequate health care.

Anyways, Go Fund Me pages were set up by fans, by supporters, by many people. And essentially they were taken down and Tennessee State University retweeted an official Go Fund Me saying per NCAA regulations the Tennessee State University is the only entity that’s allowed to fundraise on behalf of this student athlete. And then put the official thing that people could Go Fund Me through.

Now the NCAA has since tweeted that their only concern is about Christian Abercrombie, they never threatened some sort of violation over these Go Fund Me pages. But what I wanna burn is actually beyond this. So many people might not know and as a 10 second history lesson. That one of the reasons why we have the term student athletes was to prevent against workers compensation claims in the 50s. You had widowers of football players who tried to file claims for the deaths or dismemberment of family members. You had a player who was paralyzed, and his family tried to sue the university. And part of these cases was that the NCAA said their student athletes. They have no claim for workers compensation cause they’re not laborers. They’re not employees.

So that term that we have and throw around so much, even in this instance is precisely because these on the field injuries create such a liability for the NCAA and for the various institutions. And so, the thing that most gnawed at me with this case was that invocation of student athletes, and that is precisely because of this; for half a century athletes have been fighting to be legible as workers. Especially in the collegiate environment where their very lives are at risk with no recourse. Whether it’s a Go Fund Me page or further medical bill. People are literally dying and the NCAA has fortified itself, using the words student athlete to not only control them, but also to run like hell away from any liability when they get injured playing this game to entertain.

And make money to the NCAA and to the universities that they play for. And that is not only exploitative, but it’s is beyond. I don’t have words for it, and I wanna burn it down.

Group: Burn.

Lindsay: All right, so this week, I attended the Senate Commerce Sub Committee on consumer protection. It held its fourth hearing in six months on sex abuse in sports. This time there was testimony from the CEOs of USA Weightlifting, US Figure Skating, USA Swimming and USA Bobsled and Skeleton all talking about protecting athletes. The leader of this, the chair of this subcommittee is Jerry Moran. A republican senator from Kansas. And he has been, I’ve been to all these hearings, he’s been a very vocal advocate for finding justice for these athletes which is great.

But what really just killed me in this hearing was his continuous rhetoric about the need for survivors to be respected when they come forward. And the fact that he refused to condemn President Trump’s complete mockery of Doctor Christine Blasey Ford and he voted for Kavanaugh. So it’s just this cognitive dissonance that is infuriating and it goes back to what I was talking about earlier, about when it’s your team you overlook everything. You want the rules to apply to everyone, except that person you need to win. Or you need to root for.

I confronted him after the hearing and asked him about you know whether he’d date Doctor Blasey Ford was being respected, and his answer was “I would only say this, and in result in which athletes are safe and secure and any potential victim is safe and secure can only happen when there’s a level of comfort that if you report, if you speak up, you will be respected and your word will be considered as something that’s worthy of pursuing. Anybody’s who’s making a report needs to feel like they will be respected, well treated and considered to be someone who is taken seriously. Everyone is deserving of that respect.”

How do you not see your own hypocrisy? Just like shooting out of your veins, it’s infuriating, and I want to burn it.

Group: Burn.

Lindsay: All right, Bren finish this up.

Brenda: Okay, well we’re recording this in Sunday October 7th and it is the date of the Brazilian general election. And right now, there are you know six or seven candidates because other countries have more than two parties that are viable. But what is most disturbing is the candidacy of Jair Bolsonaro. Who looks like he’s going to win. In fact, he has quite a lead, he is an ultra-right-wing candidate who is literally running on the slogan, Make Brazil Great Again.

Except he’s even further to the right than MAGA the original OG. So what’s going on? Well I would like the burn the self-hating politics of the soccer players who are supporting him namely Ronaldinho and Rivaldo; two of the most beloved and beautiful soccer players. Men of color, its stunning, it’s confusing. I mean it’s not because people participate in their own impression all the time. And it’s true that Ronaldinho has never been a savvy political strategist so far as we know. But to see him come out I would just like to give you a couple choice quotes from Bolsonaro so people have a sense of where I’m coming from.

He says quote, “I have four sons, but then I had a moment of weakness and the fifth was a girl.” Quote to a female representative in Congress, “I’m not going to rape you because you’re very ugly.” He’s a monster. Third, I’ve just got a couple more. “I’d rather have my son die in a car accident than have him show up dating some guy.” And finally, “I’m pro torture, and the people are too.”

So he is an abomination. And offensive to human rights, and it is not confusing and so I want to burn the fact that these two people who have given working class people, people of color, LGBTQ community women. God, anybody who’s human and supports human rights. That these two people who have given the people such joy — Ronaldinho and Rivaldo — have come out to support Bolsonaro. I want to burn that decision.

Group: Burn!

Lindsay: All right, it is time to celebrate some women who have really been impressive this week. Our honorable mentions for bad ass women of the week are all the girls competing in the youth Olympics, which open October 6th in Buenos Aires.

Strawweight Michelle Waterson who turned in a well-rounded effort to defeat Felice Herrig by unanimous decision at UFC 229.

We have all the women golfers competing at the UL international crown event which has been so much fun to watch.

Caroline Wozniacki who won her 30th career title by beating Anastasia Sevastova in the final of the China Open.

Ama Agbeze who was inducted into the England Netball hall of fame. And can I get a drum roll please? [drumroll 01:03:11]

Woo! All right, Brazilian Maya Gabeira who set a world record in women’s surfing last week when she surfed a wall of 20.7 meters. I am literally shaking just thinking about that.

All right friends, can we come up with anything that’s good this week? Let’s really try. Brenda?

Brenda: Me, me, me! Again, again, again! I could do it. It takes all my strength right now. But I get to see Amira next week.

Amira: Aren’t you guys jealous?

Brenda: I know! It’s gang buster fun! And I heard, so I’m visiting Penn State. Thank you to the folks in Kinesiology. And I think it’s part of Hispanic Heritage Month which is awesome, thank you. And Amira is in Women Gender and Sexuality and History as many of you know at Penn State. So I get to go and hang out with her and supposedly we might find an escape room.

Jessica: Uh oh! Uh oh!

Brenda: But we’ll be on the same team.

Jessica: That’s good.

Brenda: So, don’t worry, we’re not gonna break up the pod.

Lindsay: What if one of you is really bad and like makes it really hard?

Jessica: No, we’ve already heard that they’re both super good at this. They’ve both laid that gauntlet down.

Brenda: I don’t even compute with that. That’s not gonna happen, Linds.

Lindsay: Maybe I’m projecting a little bit.

Brenda: And so, we’re gonna do escape rooms and mules —

Lindsay: Oh it sounds amazing.

Brenda: Which we both share a love for.

Lindsay: All right Amira, what could your What’s Good be?

Amira: I don’t know. Wouldn’t be so rude if I did not say that?

But alas, I’m delightful, and Brenda is more so and my Something Good is seeing her. I had the pleasure of seeing both Brenda and Shireen last week, was it last week? So it’s just like thrilling anytime I get to see any of y’all. And I’m so happy I have Brenda here, and hang out, and to hear her amazing talk because it’s gonna be so great. And show her off to all my colleagues. Cause I’ve been like my cohost is coming. So yeah, that’s my Something Good, I’m really looking forward to that.

Lindsay: I’m so jealous. Okay, Jess. I know what your what’s good is and I’m so excited for you to tell us.

Jessica: So, I did it, yesterday I competed in my gym’s annual dead lifting competition. And I set my personal record, I lifted 100 kg on my third pull. Yay!

Brenda: Yay!

For US audience, that’s about 220 pounds. I was so nervous and I’m not going to even lie. I will tell you guys the truth. Each time before I went to pull, like right in the moment as I like am about to pull the bar off the ground, I thought about Brett Kavanaugh’s ugly yelling face. And I just put all that rage into that pull. It was really useful.

And then the other thing I wanted to mention is as we record this my husband Aaron is running what is possibly his 30th marathon. We’ve stopped keeping track. He’s up in Minnesota running the Twin Cities. I love technology now, I’m literally watching to see when his next pace comes in on my phone. He’s doing well at this point, looks like he’ll come in around three hours, 15 minutes if he stays on pace of course. So big weekend here for the family.

Lindsay: Wow, that’s incredible.

Amira: And you did your dead lifting in what?

Lindsay: What were you wearing Jess?

Jessica: Oh yes, of course. I was wearing my Burn It All Down matchbook tank top.

Lindsay: Yay!

Jessica: It was great, it was perfect because I put a belt on when I dead lift, and it came in right under. So you could really see the Burn It All Down. It was perfect.

Lindsay: Oh my god, that is the most badass thing I’ve ever heard. All right, I don’t have anything that cool. But my best friend from high school is getting married next weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. So I will get to be in Asheville in the Fall to see all the leaves. And I get to see a few of my friends from high school who I haven’t seen in a while including one of them who has had a baby. And I’ll get to meet her baby girl, so I’m really excited for all of that.

And if you want to see photos of me in a floor length tulle strapless lavender bridesmaid dress you know keep an eye on Instagram, because I’m going to look horrible in this thing. And I honestly cannot wait to show you all. It’s gonna be; I’m just kind of embracing the ridiculousness of this all right now. I love my friend so much that I will feel beautiful no matter what, so that’s just kind of where I am.

All right, thank you all so, so much for sticking with us another week. This has turned into our self-care and we hope that in some ways it’s part of your self care routine too. Sometimes anger can be healthy, and being angry together certainly has been helpful for me during these trying weeks.

As always check out our Patreon page, check out our merchandise, this is how you support us, and how you keep us going. We are on episode 75, and the only reason we are able to do this every week is because we are not having to spend our own money. We are getting support from you all. And I just cannot tell you how crucial that is. And how much it means to us. So thank you so much. You can follow us on Twitter at Burn It Down Pod, Facebook at Burn It All Down, our website Burn It All Down Pod where we have transcripts from the episodes each week. So you can follow along, catch up what you missed.

Thank you so much for rating and reviewing us on iTunes. It helps tremendously, and look god willing, we’ll all see you next week.

Shelby Weldon