Episode 92: Black History Month, NBA Free Agency gossip fun, and Renee Hess on Black Girl Hockey Club
Amira, Brenda, Lindsay, and Shireen revel in the fun gossip that surrounds NBA trade deadlines [1:29]. Shireen interviews Professor Renee Hess on the fascinating Black Girl Hockey Club [18:02]. Then, the crew kicks off Black history month with a discussion of the month’s roots and the Black athletes on their minds this February [38:.40].
Of course, you’ll hear the Burn Pile [1:01:19], our Bad Ass Woman of the Week, starring Raquel Barbosa [1:12:20] and what’s good in our world [1:14:59].
For links and a transcript…
Black History Month: Sporting Heroes https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/section/sporting-heroes/
“Twenty years later, figure skating’s most famous back flip remains amazing (and illegal)” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2018/02/22/twenty-years-later-figure-skatings-most-famous-backflip-remains-amazing-and-illegal/?utm_term=.ff7eec1538ea
“The black game changers of US sport” https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/black-history-month-black-game-changers-sport-180222130228999.html
“Black History Makers: Ten of the Best” https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/sports/black-history-makers-ten-best/
“Free at last: Why it’s good for basketball when NBA stars demand trades” https://theundefeated.com/features/why-its-good-for-basketball-when-nba-stars-porzingis-davis-kawhi-demand-trades/
“NBA trade rumors: Pelicans ready for teardown; Anthony Davis trying to scare off Celtics?” https://www.sportingnews.com/ca/nba/news/nba-trade-rumors-pelicans-ready-for-teardown-anthony-davis-trying-to-scare-off-celtics/6h84ti1x95h8zasoppjwmvpr
“Kyrie Irving controls the future balance of power in the NBA” https://www.sbnation.com/2019/2/1/18206340/kyrie-irving-rumors-celtics-knicks-anthony-davis-free-agent
“Kendall Coyne Schofield deserved better from Pierre McGuire” https://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/2019/01/31/kendall-coyne-schofield-deserved-better-from-pierre-mcguire.html
“With her knees ‘broken beyond repair,’ Lindsey Vonn retiring after worlds” https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/alpineskiing/vonn-retire-after-world-championships-1.5002020
“Brown grad will be first woman to referee in men’s Beanpot” https://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20190131/mark-divver-brown-grad-will-be-first-woman-to-referee-in-mens-beanpot
“Após polêmica, assistente Raquel fala sobre atitude de atletas do Murici” https://www.br104.com.br/esporte/apos-polemica-assistente-raquel-fala-sobre-atitude-de-atletas-do-murici/
Brenda: Welcome this week’s episode of Burn It All Down. The feminist sports podcast you need. I’m Brenda Elsey, associate professor of history at Hofstra University and it’s my honor to drive the bus this week. I’m joined by the force of nature Shireen Ahmed, freelance journalist and cat lover in Toronto, Canada the brilliant Dr. Amira Rose Davis; assistant professor of history in women’s gender and sexuality studies at Penn State. And the formidable Lindsay Gibbs, wordsmith at ThinkProgress in DC.
Before we begin, I’d like to thank our Patreons who support this podcast every month through our Patreon campaign. We could not do this show without you. If you haven’t become a patron think it over, you can check out a meticulously directed video with all of you us and it may just convince you to pledge monthly. For a few dollars you can get access to extra content and our undying gratitude.
On this week’s show we’re gonna chat NBA, highlight some of the stories about Black athletes we think are worth more attention in this month of Black History. And to kick off our Black History month guest interviews Shireen sits down with Renee Hess on Black Girl Hockey Club.
So, this week there have been some really interesting turn of events in the NBA. Which I feel like always heats up right around Super Bowl time. Shireen what did you have your eye on this week?
Shireen: Oh, this is so much fun, even our Slack chat about the NBA gossip and trade deadline has been so exhilarating. So for those that don’t know, the NBA trade deadline is actually February 7th. So right now we’re going through this huge rumor mill and what’s happening, the center of all these discussions are New Orleans Pelicans player Anthony Davis and where he may or may not go. He’s been there, this is his seventh year with the Pelicans. But he formally asked for a trade on January 28th. Now this sort of sent ripples through because you know he is literally the only player that I can name for the Pelicans, but one of the most outstanding.
Now he’s put in for a transfer and now what happens because of this is this weird seismic shift in the NBA because of these rumors. And if you thought that Enes Kanter’s turkey diplomatic gong show was interesting, this is way more interesting. Now the Knicks seem to be I don’t know, I don’t wanna use the word colluding but conspiring maybe to acquire him and what that looks like and what it could look like then. We saw suspicions that no, Durant might go to the Knicks because he’ll be a free agent. But do you really think he’s gonna leave Golden State? I don’t know, but those are just my opinions.
But then I saw a tweet, I think Sarah Spain tweeted it out that there could be … the Knicks could come up with something like Durant, Zion Williamson; which I don’t think will ever happen, and Anthony Davis at the New York Knicks. So all of the sudden you’re gonna be Knicks fans. I don’t know. It’s kinda bizarre. But I will tell you throughout all of this there’s a little bit of pettiness, because the Pelicans have already raised Anthony Davis from the pregame video which is like super petty and I’m totally here for it. I just love how petty these people are.
There’s a lot of different things, I’m not gonna talk about the possibility of Kawhi Leonard leaving the Raptors because it’ll just make me really sad and anxious. So I’m not gonna address that, I’m gonna pretend it’s never gonna happen. Even though he did buy a $13.3 million dollar house in California. But you know what? Maybe he’s just on the down low and did that. He also did buy property in Toronto, I’m just gonna leave that there.
But anyways, also Kyrie leaving Boston. Kyrie Irving, and I’ll say this I love him, Amira I do love him. I love his indigenous identity.
Brenda: It’s full of mixed feelings!
Shireen: Mixed feelings, I’ll wrap it up soon Amira and throw it to you. I know that you feel about Kyrie the way I feel about Kawhi Leonard and I respect that. I also respect this man, his indigenous identity. What he did at Standing Rock, I really, really love Little Mountain. That being said, Little Mountain might be shifting also away from Boston. So we don’t know. This is what I love, the way that the free agents and the NBA players control the dynamic. And I really like this.
After what’s considered a rookie contract for those of you that don’t know, it’s a four year contract that they have that they sign; they’re essentially free agents. Now I think what’s out there is everybody’s assuming that this whole pack of super star athletes and NBA players will all flock to LA to be with Lebron. Because honestly, if I was an NBA player I would wanna be mentored by Lebron also. But the thing is that that’s not reality. I know it’s possible. And it’s been said that the Knicks could offer up to 156 million for a four year contract. That’s a lot of money.
I love Lebron and I love Lebron’s mentorship but I also love that cash money. So we gotta think realistically in terms of where they could go. And they’re gonna go for it, and I hope what’s in their best interest or what they’re agents negotiates. So there’s a lot of other stuff we can talk about. But I’m just gonna throw it back Bren, to the rest of the crew and see what you’re feelings are about that.
Brenda: I feel like Amira’s already expressed that she has some feelings here.
Amira: So, everything is wonderful and great when you’re winning and so when Kyrie came to Boston and we had a really young team and they like were a surprisingly, suddenly good. And then even when he got hurt and the young boys took them to the Eastern Conference championships it was a little remarkable. And there’s this feeling of oh my goodness this is what’s happening without Kyrie but just his presence has really changed the vibe.
And when next year when he’s back and Gordon’s back, is just gonna be lit. And then this season has been struggles. It has been you know inconsistent and again winning’s the bomb that kind of puts the fleece over your eyes. And so all of kind of feels like it’s coming apart at the seams. And so now you get leaked reports that Brad Stevens and Kyrie aren’t getting along. There’s team mates that are now having frustration with each other, friction with each other. So Kyrie, when previously asked about leaving Boston; he said no, he’ll re-sign. He was always very committed.
Then this week, when they said are you gonna re-sign; he said, “Ask me July 1st.” Then he said, “Let me do what’s best for me and my family.” And he’s like I don’t owe people anything. And so all of the sudden you feel-
Lindsay: He said I don’t owe anyone shit.
Amira: Yeah, “I don’t owe anybody shit.” And so now just feels like this is not the happy, loving … well you know.
Brenda: Well he seemed downright hostile this week.
Amira: Yeah, exactly.
Amira: I understand, it’s been frustrating watching this season. So I can only imagine playing it and what’s going on internally. But you know I really have loved having Kyrie on the team for you know reasons that Shireen alluded to but also just because he’s a damn good player. And you know I just don’t like it. I don’t like it. I get too attached to people, free agency like really hurts me.
Lindsay: Yeah, as a fan free agency is super, super stressful. First I do wanna say obviously WNBA free agency is going on right now. We did a whole 40 minute hot take podcast on this about a week ago. So go check that out, and I also; I will reconvene with some of my WNBA friends once things have settled down. Once we kinda figure out what’s going on with Cambage and Maya Moore to react to it.
So I don’t want anyone to think that we’re forgetting about that drama. Here’s my thing, I am pro labor right? Like I want the athletes to have rights than the billionaire owners right who don’t do anything. So I wanna get that out there. But sometimes I worry that when we’re talking about all of these trades, we’re just talking about these huge markets. Like it becomes this conversation between New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and sometimes Philly right? It limits it so much.
Look as a Charlotte Hornets fan, as a fan of a small market team I do worry sometimes that the players now have … there seems to be no incentive for players to stay in small market teams beyond the required years after they’re drafted. And that, I have to say it does worry me a little bit because four teams does not a league make because there are a lot of great fans throughout and these smaller market teams. So there is a little bit of me that worries about the fact that there’s this contract where this max contract that you can only offer if it’s your player. If it’s like the player you drafted basically. So that’s supposed to give the teams that much more power to keep the players that they drafted. To keep the Anthony Davis’s, the Kawhi Leonards.
But what we are seeing is because these players can make so much money in endorsements and because the contracts already so big, that doesn’t have the power that I think the NBA thought it would have because the players you know can make up that difference if they get into a bigger market. So anyways, I do wanna say that is kind of a concern of mine; and do you guys think that that is valid or am I just being buzz kill?
Amira:Yeah Linds, I think that’s a really interesting great point. And I think it’s true to extent that you know place has a really big factor and also that in the NBA players have been able historically to also relative to say the NFL exert a bit more power in their future and in their trade process, and their free agency. But I also am thinking about sometimes what gets lost in this is what it means to uproot your life from one city to another, one place to another. Family, schools, you know just what those spaces look like. And I’m thinking when you were saying that Linds I thought about Green Bay.
I was thinking about Martellus Bennett talking about how there’s nothing in Green Bay and how it feels to be living in Green Bay as a Black person. Like there’s nothing there but football. And when people are looking at trades and free agency and decisions that those are also factors that go in that we don’t necessarily see behind the negotiation is sometimes you know you’ll take a little bit less of a deal to stay in a place that works for you and your family and your kids. And has more than the Black people that just happen to be on your football roster. You know and sometimes there’s enough money to make you forget those things.
I think it is a valid point of consideration as well.
Shireen: Yeah, just a quick thing to jump off what Amira’s saying about relocation and stuff they are uprooting families and a lot of families that have communities in this place is like I know that in the NBA a lot of people like Toronto, why do you wanna all go up to Toronto? I mean DeMar Derozan loved it here and Kyle Lowry loves it here. We’re sad DeMar Derozan left because essentially he was very much the backbone of the Raptors and you know it was devastating. We all got over it really quick, we acquired Leonard King but that’s another thing.
The reality is shifting. A lot of people talk about you know what it’s like to come to Toronto because it’s snowy, it’s cold, it’s away, we know. But people like Serge Ibaka love it here. I mean it’s a great city, you can get a goose parka, Canada goose parka. I don’t know what to say other than we have the fourth largest media in the league. But also that, what Amira is saying that withdrawal from community. That withdrawal from what you know.
Players have families and it’s hard for them, and it’s hard to readjust and every city is very alive with its own culture. Not just in basketball but in the community and I think that’s relevant and we wanna talk about that with understanding that players are people. I know there was an article that somebody had written in local Toronto media just about Kawhi Leonard really likes it here because nobody bothers him. Like Torontonians are very polite, I’m not one of those people because if I saw him on the street you best believe I would’ve been like I wanna talk to you.
But enjoys it here, so it’s just really interesting and I really like that you brought that up Amira because it’s something that I forget about sometimes.
Brenda: And not to counter any of those amazing points about the people and the family and things like that. But I think that there’s not very much of a discussion about what those markets mean that you alluded to Shireen. So in terms of like the New York Knicks for example, the fact that the Mets is the third most lucrative franchise in Major League Baseball which is just bonkers. And that has to do with those media markets. So a lot of times too, agents are looking to think about the value of a player beyond their NBA salary.
That is another consideration, like why did Neymar leave for France? You know it also is a huge calculation in terms of money. Marta’s salary was better in Sweden than it is in Orlando. But her opportunity among Miami, Orlando, Latino crew right? Community is much larger. Her possibility to have expanded sponsorships and things like that. So I know that’s a whole ‘nother consideration and it’s sort of impossible to monetize precisely. But it’s definitely something that goes on in players heads I would imagine. At least it’s something that goes on in their agents heads.
Lindsay: Yeah I would say okay, so I’m kind of countering myself right? Because on one hand I’m worried about small market teams and about the league being so dominant in these big markets because the players all let’s say what it is, they kind of collude to get there. There’s a lot of collusion going on in the NBA, we all know that. So yeah I think that is a legitimate concern. And it is something that has to be balanced. But what I do like is I feel like free agency keeps owners honest in a way and gives players a way to kind of keep owners honest right?
Why did Lebron leave Cleveland two times right? Because the owner there is horrible and kept making horrible decisions right? Because the actual organization is a dumpster fire. And you know if Lebron hadn’t grown up in Cleveland and you know hadn’t been attached to there then he would never have been there. Like we wouldn’t have even seen that because he would’ve gotten out the first time and never come back.
I think that what I like is you know the Pelicans have made some really bad moves. They kind of screwed over a little bit by the DeMarcus Cousins stuff of course because of his injury. But I think what Anthony Davis was saying we aren’t winning enough. I want to win and this organization I don’t trust this organization to put me in a place to win, so that’s why I’m leaving. You know we’ve seen Philly really wanting to make some moves to make sure that Joel Embiid is happy there because their concern is the way to keep him is to win. Is to make moves so we’re actually winning. To spend money so that we can win.
I mean there’s no better example of this than the Knicks right now. Yes the Knicks might get Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving or Anthony Davis. Now they have the max space. Let’s face it, the reason Kristaps wanted to leave is because he didn’t trust anything the organization was doing. And why would he? Why would he trust the Knicks and what James Dolan is doing right now at all?
Shireen: Or ever.
Lindsay: There’s nothing in history that tells you that you should trust James Dolan. And so, while James Dolan is lucky that he still has the media market in New York that might pull some of these players regardless of his fuck upperies. I think that what we’re seeing is, Deadspin had a great article that was like Kristaps Porzingis doesn’t trust the Knicks plan and like of course he doesn’t. Just of course.
So look, if there’s a way for players to keep owners to keep trying to actually win and to get a plan and to not just be counting their money that’s a good thing.
Brenda: Yeah sadly you haven’t seen my once beloved Detroit Pistons in the news that’s coming up with any good ideas for this. For this trade season, sadly and no amount of Little Caesar’s T-shirts that they gun into the crowd is going to make anyone convinced that they know what they’re doing.
Lindsay: The Little Caesar’s T-shirts, that’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard.
Brenda: It is so sad, that’s what they do. It’s really-
Shireen: I like the breadsticks.
Lindsay: Oh, I’m not against the $5 Little Caesar pizza. Like that’s how I got through college but this is their marketing trick to make people forget like they have an embarrassing record and they also treat players pretty poorly. Little Caesar’s can’t solve this much as we might want it to.
Shireen: I am so excited to have Renee Hess on Burn It All Down today. Renee Hess is an associate professor of English, a freelance pop culture writer and an avid hockey fan from sunny California. With a master’s degree in literature, Renee believes in the power of media and uses hockey literature and film to discuss topics like discrimination, the wage gap, and the importance of sports fandom. Renee is currently working on a book about hockey, race, and culture from the lens of a Black woman.
She is an unapologetic Pittsburgh Penguin fan but welcomes fans of all teams to enjoy the game of hockey with the Black Girl Hockey Club. Renee is the sole contributing writer to the BGHC website and she’s an incredible singer and I can’t even imagine how beautiful the whole house would sound when she sings in the shower.
Renee, thank you so much for being on Burn It All Down.
Renee: Hi Shireen, thank you so much for having me.
Shireen: Let’s get started on this, where and when did you fall in love with hockey?
Renee: I have a great intro story on how I came to the game of hockey. When I was in Pittsburgh at a academic conference, I was actually at dinner with the women from my department and we were noticing that there was a hockey game on the television in this restaurant in Pittsburgh. And I kind of asked the bartender you know hockey, why is there a hockey game on you know? And he said well Pittsburgh is a hockey town. And I had no idea, this was back in 2011. A few years later after kind of listening to the game on the radio and keeping up with what was going on in my local area.
I’m in California, I went to my first live hockey game and after that I was hooked. It was love at first site, you know live hockey is amazing. Nothing like it, it’s so fast and just such an exciting environment. And I’ve been a fan ever since.
Shireen: Did you play hockey at all?
Renee: No, I wish. I mean I think it looks like a great way to get out aggression but I’m horrible on what I like to call knife ice shoes, no. I don’t have the best balance, so no.
Shireen: Let’s talk a little about Black Girl Hockey Club and you’ve seen not only your twitter following but you’ve seen interest from all over the country. And I would suspect Canada as well. How do you feel that Black Girl Hockey Club, what kind of community does it provide that’s currently missing from predominant hockey culture?
Renee: You know my original goal with the Black Girl Hockey Club was to create a safe space for Black women to enjoy hockey. Even whether you are a player or a hockey mom, or a fan the Black Girl Hockey Club is the place where Black women can come together whether it’s on social media or at live events and enjoy hockey together. It really stemmed from my desire to spend time with Black women at a hockey game.
I live in southern California, I go to a lot of Anaheim Ducks and LA Kings games. Interestingly enough I had never seen two Black women together at a hockey game. And I wanted to do something about that, so I got together a group of Black women on twitter who were hockey fans. And this took almost a year to actually find, four or five of them. And we got together in a group chat, we called it jokingly the Black Girl Hockey Club. And we decided let’s get together for a game, that would be amazing. Most of these girls are on the East Coast and so we decided what about a Capitals game? They have a couple Black players, a couple Black minority owners. They just won the cup in 2018, that would be a great place to have a meet up.
The idea just kind of took a life of its own. The National Hockey League got involved and they wanted to help make the trip an amazing one for us. And so we got the opportunity to go to DC and see a game, and it ended up being not just two or three or four of us, but I believe we had 45 Black women and their kids, and their friends. We had kids as young as six years old and a grandmother who was 82.
Shireen: That’s incredible.
Renee: So yeah, it was so much fun. I even met up with my sister who lives in Ohio, I haven’t seen her in a year and I said I’m taking you to a hockey game. Let’s do this. And so she met me in DC and I took her to her first hockey game. And it’s so funny because now she’s hooked. She’s got the NHL app on her phone and she says she’s a Capitals fan. Try to get her to my team, but you know it’s all good. I love the Capitals, they did right by us. We had so much fun, no wonder she’s a Capitals fan.
Shireen: And I love that you’re out here giving them props because that’s incredible. And the Caps have a really cool history of sort of doing that as you know, Fatima Ali was invited out there. And she’s a player from the UAE, United Arab Emirates. And like you’re like a woman in Dubai is playing hockey, and she actually got to do the ceremony, face-off, like the puck drop, and she loves Ovie so it was just incredible. That actually something that occurred to me, was that when I saw your tweets about the meet up; growing up and I grew up on the East Coast of Canada.
I was born into a Habs loving family. I think my dad is a quiet Winnipeg Jets supporter but he doesn’t really say anything about it. But my mother is like a beautifully obnoxious Habs fan and so is my brother. And I think the only man my mother had eyes for other than my father was Guy Lafleur from afar. And she had the opportunity, my brother took her to the Bell Center a couple years ago and she got to meet him. She bought a beautiful red hijab to match her jersey, a new one, and she was so excited. So I felt so much of that excitement and because it was considered, it’s not considered the norm. So what I love about Black Girl Hockey Club is that you are recreating what the norm can be.
When you were there, did you have people kind of be like what are they doing here? What was grandma doing here? Like did that … did you sense any of that as you were visiting?
Renee: You know what? I did, it’s a feeling as a Black girl who goes to a lot of hockey games that I’m used to. But there’s power in numbers. We were so vibrant and everybody was so excited that I think that that excitement rubbed off on the crowd around us. Which is what hockey is all about, but yeah I know; I remember when we were walking in we got to enter into the Capital Ones center about two hours before the game started for a special reception upstairs. And there was a man with his daughter who kind of got in the middle of our group and he thought they were opening the gates for everybody.
And it was just us and it was funny because I think I saw when the spark kind of behind his eyes when he realized when he was the only white guy in a middle of all these Black women. When the security guard who was a Black woman asked him are you with them, he was like oh no, I’m not.
Shireen: Sort of like you don’t belong here.
Renee: It was like the opposite of what it normally is yeah. But that was kind of funny. Yeah you know we got a kind of questioning look from a lot of the fans there. But what was really cool was every worker in there, whether they were you know leading people to their seats or manning the elevator, they were high fiving us, welcoming us to their arena. Telling us how excited they were to see that representation.
And that really warmed my heart that you know we can have that connection and they could see some of that representation probably that those workers don’t often see like that.
Shireen: Yeah for sure. And just I hope everybody listening sort of realizes how powerful this is, and particularly just the Caps as an organization. This is a great way to show and to exemplify how to grow the game in different communities. And do you have any other advice, other than be like the Caps? Although I know you love Pittsburgh but that’s okay. We’ll just ignore the-
Renee: That’s neither here nor there.
Shireen: And I’m wondering if at this point you saw this piece I wrote, grilling Sidney Crosby on going to the White House last year. But we can talk about that at a different time.
Renee: I grilled him, too, I grilled him, too.
Shireen: But sort of your advice to federations and teams. And we’re not just talking about teams. We could be talking about hockey USA or Canada hockey, what do they need to do better?
Renee: I agree that the Caps are setting a blue print right now. With Devante Smith-Pelly on their team and all the work that he does in the Black community in DC, you know passing out coats to the local school. Inviting the Metro Maple Leafs to their arena and to see a game after Divyne got racial slurs tossed at him on the ice and his team backed him up. I think that the Caps are taking notice of these things and not just pretending that they’re not happening.
I would say that that would be the advice to give to all the clubs, the federations, the big organizations; don’t pretend that racism doesn’t exist in hockey. Acknowledge it and do right by these people. And the fan base will grow, if we wanna grow the game we have to include everybody. If we wanna say that hockey is for everybody we need to back up those words with actions. And I really do think that the NHL is working on how to do that. It’s a really big organization that’s a century old, and there’s a standard that’s been set but I think that there are people in the front office who are really trying to get some change going and acknowledge these weaknesses within the league.
Shireen: So out of 700 something NHL players there’s about 30 that are not White. And have you seen other communities try to have this? We know Punjabi hockey night in Canada sort of caters to a specific demographic and tries to include people that are Punjabi speaking and watching … have you seen any other communities? You’ve seen Black Girl Hockey Club started this incredible movement, have you seen any other communities out there trying to do the same?
Renee: You know what? I have gotten some tweets from people saying that we need to do a Chinese American hockey club or something like that. I haven’t necessarily seen that develop within the fandom. I have noticed various clubs working towards inclusion. Something that comes to mind that I thought was really cool and I’m not a huge Kings fan okay, I’m just gonna put that out there. One of my co-workers is a Kings fan and she’s always tripping me about that. You know what, not a Kings fan but they … Chinese New Year just happened and they had a giveaway in their arena.
I’m not sure if it was the actual night of with the Kings logo and in Chinese. I thought that was really cool that they had something like that. I’d never seen anything like that before. I do think you know living in Southern California, especially in Los Angeles that the Kings have a very unique demographic? You know there’s a lot of Hispanic folks, a lot of men of color that I have seen are huge Kings fans; and their arena is just filled with so many different types of people. It just you know specifically for Black women, I don’t know how comfortable and welcoming the hockey environment has always been.
I think that that specific demographic has been kind of left by the wayside. And that’s just a historical thing. That’s not just hockey. You know that’s in a lot of different aspects. But because of my love of hockey and my desire to kind of spread the good news about hockey I wanted to see how we could fix that, how we can change that, and kind of make a space for Black women in the hockey world. Not just you know the fans but also the players who have been lucky enough to be able to talk with players like Blake Bolden, and Kelsey Koelzer actually came with us to Washington DC to see a Capitals game.
So I think that there’s a need out there and just to have a community. To have somebody who looks like you. When you say that there’s 30 players of color out of 700 plus professional NHL players I just think of how hard it is for kids who wanna enjoy that game to not see anybody that looks like them on the ice. To see one players out of … on a team or maybe none right now is the case with the Pittsburgh Penguins. They don’t have one player of color. And how does that make a child feel? I know how it makes me feel. So I can only imagine how it would make a child feel wanting to enjoy the sport but not feeling like there was a place for you.
Especially when we were in DC, we had a bunch of little boys with us and their moms. And I was so amused and excited to see these little Black boys so much into the game. I mean they know the terminology, they know what’s going on on the ice, they know who the players are, they’re excited. They want to not only watch but they wanna participate. They wanna spread the good word of hockey to their friends and their family. I think that the Black Girl Hockey Club has a chance to do that within the Black community I hope.
Shireen: That’s fantastic and it’s really, really, important. Just this past weekend I was lucky enough to go to the Canadian Women’s Hockey League All-Star game in Toronto and my entourage was a close friend of mine who’s of Somali descent, she wears hijab, she’s also probably one of the best hockey players I know. So she and I walk in, with another friend of ours who’s been on the show, Dr. Courtney Szto. And who also is a hockey player of Asian descent, part of our entourage was another professor from Queens University, also of Asian descent. So it was like super cool to have this melanated crew.
I really wanted us to be the only ones in some way but we weren’t. There was a lot of young girls hockey teams that were there with Black girls, with girls of Asian descent, with South Asian girls. And for me that was very exciting because when I was little there was none of that. There was absolutely none. What you’re talking about, what you’re doing for your community and what you’re essentially doing for the sport is invaluable. I appreciate you so much. Just and also the excitement in your voice, even though you’re talking really big about the Pens, that’s okay. Give me some of your favorite players.
Renee: Oh gosh, are you gonna chart me if I say Sidney Crosby? I mean-
Shireen:Not publicly no.
Renee: Okay, okay great. No as a Penguins fan I’m actually a huge Evgeni Malkin fan. NHL 101 he’s my favorite player, I was lucky enough to get to see the Penguins play last week in Las Vegas and then a week before that against the Ducks in Anaheim. So I got my Penguins fix for the year, that was kind of fun. But yeah, I mean I’m a huge Penguins fan; so Sid Crosby, and Geno they’re up there as my top players. But I’m also, you know I love watching like Brock Boeser. He is a delight. I have so much fun, just his personality and he’s very good with the puck. I like watching him.
I’m an Ovechkin fan too, I mean Ovechkin when we went to go see the Caps play against Buffalo, I mean this game went to shoot out and everything. Overtime to shoot out, Ovie gets the game winning goal, it was just like he was putting a show just for us. It was amazing. He is so cool to see on the ice, that was a lot of fun. I’m just a fan of the game, you know I go to see the Maple Leafs when they’re in town, you talk about Toronto; I love Auston Matthews, Frederik Andersen you know? I’m a fan of the game because I’m not a home team fan over here in California, I just go see who I like when they’re in town. And I like to go see hockey games, I drive my husband along and he wears whatever shirt I throw at him, and he’s a hockey fan for the night you know?
I’m just a fan of the game, I like a lot of teams; but the Penguins got my heart and yeah so you can chart me about that-
Shireen: That’s okay I’m a displaced Habs fan, meaning that I live in Toronto but there’s a huge conglomerate I think around here who are silently Habs lovers so it’s okay. I mean and you know how I feel about PK Subban, I’m sure you know. He was wonderful. So when the Preds get to the cup, you know part of me wants to route for the Preds and then part of me is like no Ovee is so great, I like the Caps. Because you know right now my Habs aren’t there, my beloved Habs. And you know I will take and appreciate Auston Matthews because he’s fabulous and I’m not gonna lie, Nazem Kadri’s doing well, he’s actually Muslim and comes to a lot of events out here and does a lot of charity work for the community.
So gotta give props, although I’m not gonna do it beyond this podcast because I don’t want people to misunderstand. Where can people support Black Girl Hockey Club?
Renee: You’ll find us on Twitter. That’s where it all kind of started, at Black Girl Hockey. We also have a blog, that’s at Black Girl Hockey Club dot code dot blog. And Instagram I think is Black Girl Hockey Club. I like to kind of keep the folks updated on social media and once in a while if I have some time I’ll sit down and pen a piece for the blog. I think the last thing I wrote was about Kalei Forga, the little Black girl hockey player in Minnesota who got her Go Fund Me retweeted by Matt Dumba and her trip overseas funded by the hockey community. So that was the last thing I sat down and wrote.
Since I’m the only one writing there’s not a lot of play, but visit it anyways if you wanna know how to get in touch with us.
Shireen: Absolutely. Thank you so much for being on Burn It All Down, it was an absolute pleasure to have you and I really hope folks out there support your organization. And if there’s any fans who identify as women or non-binary could you please give all this support to Black Girl Hockey Club. It’s incredible, and you’re welcome to a Maple Leaf’s game anytime. I may not be there … I probably won’t be there but if you wanna see the Toronto Furies play they’re a Canadian women’s hockey league team and they’re fantastic, I would love, love if there was something set up here, it would be amazing.
So thanks again for being on Burn It All Down.
Renee: I love that idea. Thanks for having me.
Amira: Yeah, every February we now you know come together I guess. Not come together but we celebrate Black History Month. Corporations celebrate it, leagues are celebrating it, the NHL for the first time this year. And I wanted to take a second just to kind of do the historical context and then throw it out there and see if here on Burn It All Down we want to highlight Black athletes. Historically or contemporarily that we wanna shout out.
So Black History Month became a thing in the 70s. But before that there was Negro History Week, and this was created in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodsen. The reason why it was picked in February a lot of times what people will say is Black History is the shortest month and there’s a lot of running jokes about that. But the reason why they picked February, this particular week to celebrate is for a long time in the Black community both the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12th and Frederick Douglass on February 14th were celebrated together. Since the 1890s or so.
It became kind of a natural fit to say, hey we celebrate two days in this week already; let’s celebrate a whole week. Call it Negro History week. And one of the early motivations for this was to get Black history at that time, Negro history into curriculums into the nation’s public schools. To highlight the kind of physical and intellectual and social contributions of African Americans broadly in society. This was also institutionalized, so you see the Journal of Negro History. You see the association for the study of Negro life and history. All of these organizations both academic and socially started adapting Negro History week, and the popularity grew, and the motivation stayed the same right? This history isn’t being taught.
By the time you get to the 1970s, on the heels of uprisings through the 60s into the 70s on collegiate campuses, particularly by Black students and Black educators who were taking to the streets to demand African American studies departments, Black studies departments demand this history. At that time there was a renewed interest in making this week into a month. And that’s how you get Black History Month in the early 70s. From there, by the mid 70s President Ford you know officially recognized history month and from there it’s just kind of grown in its application or you know some may argue the teeth have come out of it or whatever.
But that is the kind of history of it, and I think that while it’s rooted in the United States and there’s a particular impetus on Black Americans trying to say this is American history, it needs to be in curriculums. It needs to not just be in little blue boxes on the side, but if you don’t understand Black history in the United States then you don’t understand the United States. You don’t understand American history.
I think that is a really important origin story, but it’s also important to note that from its inception to today it’s never just been rooted in the Americas, in the United States. It’s always been about recovering a larger Black diaspora history. Canada in the 90s adapted Black History Month into February as well. And the UK, Ireland, they celebrate Black History Month in October. There’s also countries around the country, as Brenda reminds us that say Black Consciousness Day. One of the things that I think that we wanna do here is acknowledge Black History Month, acknowledge its roots and the kind of particularities of inserting a Black American history into the core concept of American history.
Also we wanna highlight some people who are Black and global because the diaspora and kind of diasporic histories are all interconnected and all equally important to give weight to. So that’s your mini history lesson today on Burn It All Down. I would love to hear who you guys are highlighting this week.
Brenda: Okay, Lindsay? Who are you picking?
Lindsay: So first of all, Dominique Dawes. Let’s talk about Dominique Dawes who I just love. I thought about Dominique so much as we’ve had Gabby Douglas and then Simone Biles of course. These two phenomenal Black gymnasts carrying the flag for team USA. But then I remember how much seeing Dominique Dawes as part of the magnificent seven back in the 90s helped. I think people all over the world changed the face of what gymnastics could be. She was a 10 year member of the US National Gymnastics Team, she was a three time Olympian, a world championship silver medalist, and she was the first African American woman to win an individual gymnastics gold medal. And the first Black person of any nationality or gender to win an Olympic Gold Medal in gymnastics.
She’s gone on after her career, her gymnastics career; she’s done a lot of great advocacy and leadership work. She was the Women’s Sports Foundation president in 2005 and 2006. You know I think you can draw a direct line from her to the greatness in increased diversity that we’re seeing in American gymnastics today.
Brenda: Shireen? Who do you wanna highlight?
Shireen: I realize that she is not American but one of the athletes who really shaped for me and undid what this particular sport mainly figure skating, which was a land of white pixies and snow dust. Like just pretty, pretty in that very European defined way was Surya Bonali who was from France. Now for those of you who are not familiar with her, she’s the figure skater and she actually did one of the most impressive moves I had yet to see. In 1994 at the world championships she actually did a back flip on the ice. We can link to the … sorry it was the Nagano Games in ’98, it wasn’t ’94. She did a back flip that was then discounted by the judges because it was considered an illegal move because it was dangerous.
Now only someone with her level of athleticism would be able to pull that off. And I remember her doing it. I remember instantaneously feeling like she’s did this incredible, historical thing on the ice and it’s not going to matter. And it didn’t’ matter according to the judges who didn’t you know medal her at all. I think she came sixth at the Nagano Games. But it was really just sort of indicative of where we are in terms of looking at your whitewashing of that sport and the way that she was dismissed.
I mean I thought, she was beautiful, and graceful, and strong. For me beauty was con notated by strength. Her quads were the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. Don’t forget this was before Serena Williams. I remember wanting to have legs like that. I remember wanting to … when she skated around the ice; for me she was just gorgeous. And a lot of people, really like Katarina Witt, or they really liked Oksana Baiul. But for me Surya Bonali exemplified beauty, because it was a beauty that I can see myself reflected in. More so than I could for Oksana Baiul or Katarina Witt.
It was just an … and I’m not Black but just she represented something that I wanted to aspire to. Like I’m still in love with her to this day. And she actually is coaching figure skating now in the United States. But she was very clear, and there was one quote that I wanna share with everybody. And I think about her quite often every time something comes up with figure skating. She’s the first person I think too, even though she was born in Nice. She was adopted by White parents. And she said, this is a quote that was in a Washington Post article from a year ago because it’s 20 years since she did that move. So she said, “I don’t know if race made it more difficult. But it certainly made me stronger, maybe I won’t be accepted by white person; but if I’m better they have no choice. ” For me that was something that I related to so incredibly. She gave no fucks when giving no fucks wasn’t the norm.
You could see that, and that’s really something that I wanted to apply my own life, and I just thank her for that. So if she’s listening; Surya Bonaly like you really shaped a young kid, a brown girl in Nova Scotia in the 90s and how she viewed herself in sport. So I thank you for that.
Brenda: It’s a great one, I remember those same things. You’re bringing back some like really nice memories. I chose a Black athlete that is usually most glaringly left off listicles of Black athletes. And I think this is gonna be maybe one of the most controversial things? Which is I think that Edson Arantes do Nascimento or Pele deserves a place in the listicles of important Black athletes. Not obviously for US history necessarily, though we can talk about the cosmos. But in general for those who aren’t into soccer, he’s widely considered the greatest athlete and player of the 20th century for the world beyond the United States.
He was the most iconic sports figure and not for nothing, he’s Black. He’s often portrayed as the professional, slick, apolitical soccer player next to the beloved Garrincha or Socrates. Both of whom basically drank themselves to death. Didn’t have great discipline but had better progressive politics. And it’s true that Pele made some really shitty statements around the 2014 World Cup that he shouldn’t of. And he may not be the most progressive figure that we want, but in the 60s and 70s? The fact that the most beloved athlete in the world was Black was a really big deal.
I mean he played in four World Cups, won three. He had, I mean it’s ridiculous what is it? I know what it is 1,281 goals in 1,375 games. Right? I don’t even know what that is. At the age of 20 he began to receive offers for Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus. And the Brazilian President Quadros passed a bill in 1961 was only 21 years old that classified him as a national treasure that objectified as if he was you know like an archeological remain. Effectively making it illegal for Santos to accept transfer offers and he remained indentured throughout the rest of his career until the very end when he played for the New York Cosmos.
So you wanna talk about players and labor, oh I can’t think of a worst example. If he was White, there is no way that would’ve happened to him. There is no way. So just one more thing, you know Santos toured Africa during decolonization. And there’s stories about him stopping civil wars in Nigeria and that’s not true. But it is true that it’s incredibly important in times of apartheid, in times of wars against colonization that these figures of Black excellence toured the Congo, Nigerian, Mozambique, Ghana, Algeria. I would just like to say that I think Brazil which had three to five million people really hard to figure out. Slaves that were forced to come to Brazil. Three to five million I mean it’s just staggering that someone like Pele doesn’t make the cut when it comes to Black History Month.
I just wanna shout out him, and I understand that might be a controversial or problematic pick. Amira?
Amira: I don’t think it’s controversial. I just have a question Bren, like so from what I know that like Afro-Brazilians will say obviously Pele is Black. But obviously take um bridge at his comments, not only around the 2014 World Cup but how they feel like he’s disconnected or doesn’t do anything to advance social movements that are advanced by Afro-Brazilian people. Would you say that is the temperature around in Brazil?
Brenda: In 1980s and 90s, yes. Absolutely.
Brenda: I think one of the problems though is that Pele in the 60s and 70s is a victim of pretty hard-core racism. On the part of the government and everything else. And that gets very lost.
Amira: But it reminds me, so it reminds me of Jesse Owens. It reminds me of Jesse Owens who obviously symbolically did all this to defeat in the ’36 games in Berlin in the Nazi Olympics as they’re called to win these medals and the United States used him to say look we’re you know we’re bucking against Aryans superiority. We’re like giving the middle finger to Hitler, yeah Jesse Owens, whatever. And when he came back and they wouldn’t shake his hand. He came back and didn’t have any financial opportunities. So he’s literally making money by racing against horses right?
So that’s Jesse Owens on one hand. On the other hand, if you fast forward to like say the events leading up to ’68, Jesse Owens becomes a mouthpiece for the USOC and the IOC. And is trying to quell the kind of seeds of revolt and protest within the athletic world telling Black athletes to just chill. He’s talking publicly and saying yeah race is an issue but I have found that I can travel the world, the doors opens to me which feels very parallel to things that Pele has said you know? So it’s really interesting sometimes when we talk about this and just history in general. It’s messy and it’s complicated.
Like all these different expressions of what blackness means and all these different expressions of how that gets marshaled into political positions, specifically within athletics and I think that’s part of the richness of uncovering this diasporic history and just history in general is to wade into that mess and murk. It’s not about a poster session right? It’s not about a little blue box in the textbook that adds Black people to your global or national histories. It’s about saying hey this is messy, without it we don’t get multiple, dimensional folks. We get slogans or Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks high on pedestals, divorced from their humanity. Divorced from the issues that made them people, that’s it.
Brenda: I think that’s a perfect analogy between Jesse Owens and Pele for me. And I think it’s also a perfect analogy that Jesse Owens would never be left off of a listicle of Black athletes. And Pele is, I think the reason is of course that hostility. But there’s also this kind of negativity about the fact that he was unashamed about being disciplined. He was unashamed about trying not to drink. This sounds ridiculous but people have actually celebrated the fact that Garrincha was more beloved because he was a partier. That Pele was more unreligious, and so they really done this job of also working to disassociate him with Afro-Brazilians.
And his son is in jail serving decades of a prison sentence. And the way, the strings that they have on him, the ways in which white power in Brazil has always tried to shut down his possibilities; whether it’s to leave the country through his son. Whether it’s as minister of sport. He was one of the first Black ministers ever in Brazil, minister of sport. Tried to introduce anti-corruption laws and they just shut him down. And he’s no saint, so you’re right. I mean you need to like really explore all that stuff. But it’s also just so telling when you start to study it and you’re like wow. Even Pele, doesn’t get a pass from racists.
Shireen: I just have sort of a question slash comment. I mean Amira what you’re talking about, the messiness is so important. We see this when we talk about athlete activists, particularly Black ones and how … and I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve been very vocal about learning that in journeys and I thank you for that Amira because you’re one that pointed it out to me. I think we were talking about male ally ship and what a journey can look like. I really rethought because I used to be sort of black and white about it, and just like hard lines. You know me and those hard lines and expectations, which isn’t fair.
So while athletes have lives and history that are very complicated. And even to make it more recent, I mean Lebron was really, really criticized for not being public about Tamir Rice. And he was very … but where he is now, and where he was at that point; we have to allow those people … not that we have to allow. I’m sorry that came out wrong. There needs to be the way to have that journey and exist. And I think these types of things, this is the one thing that I worry about and I want your input. Historically as well, when we put people on pedestals and put them on listicals; we don’t holistically look at their existence and their lived experience.
That worries me, to take away the complicated ness of that journey and what that looks like. I also didn’t know that Jackie Robinson supported Nixon in the first election, I didn’t know that. But you know things were different and that was a bit different. And there’s context to that as well. Just that it’s not simple. We can’t just put people on a pedestal because of the month of February and it’s convenient for us. Are we looking heartily at the message? Are we looking organically at what they were saying? Not just pulled quotes from what we think is appropriate, do you know what I mean? Like what are your thoughts Amira?
Amira: Yeah, no Shireen I think that’s really great. And you know the problem with watered down histories is that they can be used to advance different political causes, they can be appropriated. I’m teaching civil rights movement right now that’s a great point here that I always start with. What are the misuses of the past? What are the political uses of the past? And when you make things complicated and messy they’re a lot harder to appropriate. They’re a lot harder to kind of use in these particular ways.
I think your point on Jackie’s a great way to end this. Just recently last week it was the 100th anniversary of whatever … what was it?
Shireen: 100th birthday, it was his 100th birthday.
Amira: 100th birthday of Jackie Robinson. And I think what you point to is particular. I think there’s a lot of ways where people are like if you watch the movie 42 right? You stop, you freeze him in time having just desegregated major league baseball. If you don’t get into the messiness, you don’t get into the weeds. You don’t see how the color line was broken by Latinx players years before that. You don’t see how Black sports writers, not just Branch Rickey as the white savior. But Black sports writers really were pushing for multiple angles for integration.
Then if you freeze him there you don’t get his activism, you don’t get his politics. If people just discover he’s a republican, Jackie Robinson was a republican and we freeze him there you don’t get him leading a walk out of the republican party on the convention floor because of their policies on race. You don’t get Jackie Robinson’s quotes about how can he stand and support a flag under a country that clearly doesn’t care for Black people. And I point everybody in the direction of my good friend Leah Wright Rigueur who is at Harvard and wrote a book, “The Loneliness of the Black Republican” she has a great piece on Jackie Robinson as a militant Black republican. And I think that even thinking about those words, “militant Black republican,” Jackie Robinson would be like “Huh? What?” But like that is literally the muck.
So I think you know my goal, and I really love you know everybody that you guys highlighted. But I you know really think that it’s so important during Black History Month. And generally all year to not just celebrate by saying hey, here’s a recovery. Here’s somebody we didn’t know. But to think about how the inclusion of those stories change what we thought we knew. So as Lindsay pointed to you know how does a sport change when there’s possibilities of power and high profile Black gymnasts right? How does are concept for a little girl in the random part of the country who can now be something that she can see? How does it change in terms of resource allocation?
For years there’s been report after report saying listen, Black women are overpopulated in track and basketball. But if you look at every other sport, which happened to be the sports that grow the most after title nine. They’re not present. And that’s about resource allocation as much as it is about tracking them into sports that you think are good for Black women, good for Black people. And so I think that there’s a way in which obviously my life work, what I do when I look about Black women athletes. But at least you know saying it here, as you go forward for the next few weeks of Black History Month and then stretch that beyond that. Think about what it is beyond recovery. And how understanding and knowing this history, knowing these stories allow us to get a fuller picture of all of our histories and of humanity and perhaps maybe a way forward.
Brenda: Now it’s time for the burn pile where we pile up all the things we’ve hated in sport this week and set them aflame. Lindsay?
Lindsay: Sorry, familiar bed fellow. The NCAA. I’m sorry guys, I try and be creative here but it’s just really hard. So this week the NCAA handed down its sanctions against the University of Missouri. According to an NCAA report released on Thursday, in 2015 and 2016; a rogue tutor in Missouri completed math course work for 12 Missouri athletes across three different sports. For this unforgivable sin, the NCAA has put Missouri on a three year probation and posed a ban on the 2019 post season for both softball and baseball as well as a potential football bowl game in 2019.
There’s also a 10 -ear ban from working in college athletics for the tutor. Now obviously a tutor completing class work is not good. But the NCAA on a conference call made it clear that all evidence indicates a tutor acted on her own without direction from colleagues. So I would say overall, this feels like an incredibly disproportionate response from the NCAA especially when you consider UNC had a much, much longer and more systemic academic scandal. And the NCAA completely looked the other way, didn’t hand down really any sanctions against the University of North Carolina, my beloved Tarheels.
And when you consider that as more information comes out about Larry Nassar, sexual abuse scandal we hear more and more people at Michigan State who are associated with the athletic department. Who knew about the abuse and decided not to report it, and yet the NCAA has decided that they have no reason to sanction Michigan State. That they did not you know, they did not break any NCAA violations.
So look the NCAA is crap, it does not know what it’s doing. And the way it doles out punishment is so ridiculous, so absurd, and it’s harming college athletics much more than it’s helping. It’s not helping keeping anyone safe. So I’d just like to throw the NCAA on the burn pile.
Brenda: Well while we’re on the topic of the NCAA, it’s already there; I’m gonna do a weird burn which is I’m not quite sure what to throw on the burn pile yet. But I feel as though there’s a whole lot coming out of the University of Oregon softball program? That needs a little bit of scrutiny. And one of the things that Lindsay’s burn pointed out and we’re always concerned about is the seemingly inconsistent reaction of both universities and governing body NCAA when it comes to student athleticism and programs and also their academics.
So eight players have left University of Oregon softball roster this season which is set to begin this week. The PAC 12 defending champs have been in the middle of what’s been dubbed a “culture change.” When coach Mike White who had led the team to five PAC 12 championships and five women’s college world series for University of Texas. And what we get trickles of from the college newspaper, and some interviews with White and others is that there’s rumors of dress codes, religious overtones that seem that the new leadership may be making certain players, perhaps gay players feel uncomfortable or persecuted?
It’s an incredible number of players to leave. For a program that’s just so successful. And so I wanna go to burn how these things take place. That when there’s a festering problem with students and they are still first and foremost students at the University of Oregon. There’s not a whole lot of investigation or care into what’s happening to make those students leave the program. So I just wanna burn once again, the news about them that has everything to do with the results on the field and very little about that’s going on beyond that. Burn!
Shireen: So, my burn comes off of the NHL All Star game and there’s a lot of discussion about Kendall Coyne Schofield now who actually got her NBC Hockey broadcast debut with Pierre McGuire who is originally Canadian so I’m gonna put that out there. I’m gonna be straight up about this one. So what ended up happening is during the beginning of the analysis, and let’s be really clear about who Kendall Coyne Schofield is, she’s the first woman to participate in the NHL All-Star competition. She’s a gold medalist at the Olympics, she’s a world champion. She generally knows her shit about, and none of things Pierre McGuire has. I just wanted to point that out as well.
So he turns to her, on air and says, “Tampa’s going to be on your left, Pittsburgh is going to be on your right. What are you expecting out of this game? And we’re paying you to be an analyst, not a fan tonight.” Thanks Pierre, thanks so much for clarifying with that professional hockey player. What and where the teams are located because you know it was sort of like a we don’t really need your opinion or commentary. Now that ended up exploding and he was decimated on social media, people were immediately calling out at how vacuous and insidious his comments were which is fine.
So Schofield then ended up making a public statement, and I thought it was really well done. The way that she did it on her Instagram I believe, she actually … it was posted to Twitter as well. She talked about his comments to her and she’d known him for a long time. It was one of the most incredible weeks of her life, et cetera, et cetera. She said that “I’ve known Pierre McGuire for years, he respects me, and as a woman, as a friend.” She didn’t think twice about their on air exchange because it was just sort of fun and sarcastic.
Okay so I get that, respect to what you’re saying. But the summary of what she said was, “Last night was magical, nerve wracking, incredible. And I learned two things, I learned that being a part of it and I need to get better. And all of that, I control.” So that was really important the way that she framed it. But she’s actually in control. Now two things about this, first of all it needs to be said; The Victory Press Zoe Hayden as editor reported that Coyne Schofield is actually has spoken out publicly about how she doesn’t approve.
She liked tweets about how anthem protests don’t belong in sports, and et cetera starting with the NFL. So that needs to be put into context, because I’m not gonna sit here and I can’t heartily congratulate Coyne Schofield when I know that she’s like anti Kap. So there’s that. She’s also friends with very good friends with everyone’s favorite alleged rapist Jonathan Kane who’s a hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks. So that kind of stuff, I’m sorry needs to be also laid out there. As much as I hate Pierre McGuire’s comments to her, as much as I hate his very open sexism. Because even if you guys have a great relationship please remember that broadcasting rule number one is maybe your audience doesn’t, and that’s actually who you’re speaking to.
So you know fail on his part. But there needs to be a place to talk about this, talk about how problematic Coyne Schofield is because she’s being elevated and amplified right now as a hero. Sorry, my hero for my girls and younger generation doesn’t include someone who doesn’t believe in anthem protest. So gonna burn all of that because guess what? It’s messy and it’s complicated.
Amira: Yes, I want to …
Brenda: Every burn pile this week has started with a giggle.
Amira: I wanna burn the kind of sweet duplicity of Robert Kraft who tries to keep his very nice clean Air Force Ones and multiple lanes at the same time. So Bob Kraft cares about power, and Israel. And he knows that he’s in New England, he has given for years to Democratic causes. But I want him to know, Bob we need to have a talk. You cannot think that you can … it doesn’t matter how much money you gave to President Obama. It does not matter how all of the considerable work you’ve done on domestic violence within the New England area. It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting McMillan in prison, and it certainly doesn’t matter if you’re dancing with Meek and Cardi this weekend.
If you turn around and go on Fox and Friends and give credibility to Mango Mussolini. It doesn’t matter how fair and democratic you are how much you love the initiatives that your Black players are work on. How permissible, how you’re like you know what? We don’t care if they protest, we encourage them protesting. It doesn’t matter that you publicly are supporting Patriots who have put up their fists during the anthem. If you turn around and pal around with the Cheeto in Chief. It doesn’t … you can’t do both. And that’s the thing that really irritates me about you right now Robert. Because I understand that he called you every day, every week, whatever after Myra died. I’m sure they’re on a personal level, you consider him a friend.
But he is harming the very people you think you’re rocking with and that irritates me because you wanna have it both ways and not everybody has that luxury. So if you watch the video of him dancing around with Meek Mill and Cardi B at the Super Bowl party and he looks like the cool owner and Meek is paling around with him, and he’s on a criminal justice reform with him. And he’s talking about his domestic violence policies, and all of this. And it seems like you can’t figure out how to mesh that up with his continued support and friendship with a president who harms everybody basically.
It’s because he’s rich, and he can live in a bubble, and he can do that while the rest of us our hurt by it. And I wanna burn that down.
Brenda: I hope Robert Kraft is listening to Burn It All Down.
Lindsay: Also can we just like specifically put the dancing with Cardi B on the burn pile? Just like that specifically! Also, just wanna highlight that specifically!
Brenda: A group burn.
Brenda: After all that burning it’s time to celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of women athletes in our badass woman of the week segment.
Honorable mentions go to France’s Tess Ledeux for winning gold in the Big Air competition at the Freestyle skiing and snowboard world championships. And to Marielle Thompson of Canada for her win in ski cross at the worlds which is ongoing in Utah and Phoenix as we’re recording.
Frishta Shaikhmiri, an Afghan football official who has qualified for the position of FIFA women assistant referee.
Lindsay Vonn, who announced she will retire after the world championship because her knees are injured and her body needs a break. The GOAT has won more than 82 races in her storied career.
Former Canadian national soccer player, now sports journalist with Sportsnet, Caroline Szwed for silencing Toronto Raptors Norman Powell’s sexist attitude during an interview as she juggled a basketball in heels.
The aAhletic Bilbao women’s side for drawing over 48,000 fans for their Copa de la Reina match against Atletico Madrid.
Haneen Zreika of the GWS Giants for being the first Muslim woman to play Australian rules football for a professional team.
Glasgow team of year awarded to the Glasgow City Football Club who won the Scottish Women’s Premier League title for an incredible 12th time in a row in 2018.
Alex Scott, former arsenal women’s side footballer and England National for her nomination as best pundit for the SGA Sports Journalist Association in the UK.
Katie Guay will become the first woman to referee a game in the 67 year history of the men’s bean pot tournament. One of the first showcase events in college hockey.
Shakyla Hill from Grambling State who completed her second quadruple double, second that steals, assists, rebounds, and points. The first person ever to repeat that feat in NCAA history.
And finally can I get a drum roll?
Badass woman of the week goes to Raquel Barboza. Brazilian referee who stood her ground and kept her composure while being attacked physically and verbally by players during the CSA versus Murici match this week. Salve, Raquel.
In these dark times what’s good in your world friends? Lindsay?
Lindsay: What’s good is that this week it is going to be in the 50s, it’s gonna get up to 60 at one point and I … January was a very, very, very cold month for DC. Compare it to DC and compare it to what we’re used to. So goodness am I excited to get out and Mo is very excited because Mo has been extra cooped up this month. So we’re gonna go for a nice long walk slash run this afternoon.
Amira: Yeah, I was like it’s 32 degrees, that’s what’s good! Which is so sad. It’s just been so cold. Oh my goodness. But yeah, you know what’s good in my world? Mentorship. I just wanna take a moment and shout out mentors because you know there’s a lot on my plate a lot of times. And I’m juggling a lot but I have such a great team of people. Not only supporting but guiding me. And I particularly wanna give a shout out to Marcia because she has all of her own juggling act that she’s doing, and is constantly modeling how to be not only the best mentor but the best you know all around person.
And Bren, who has been such a great mentor for me. And I’m specifically talking about the academy right now. because I have a lot of mentors outside of that. But I’m just really want to shout out academic mentors as I’m preparing my dossier for my official second year review which is a fairly daunting and annoying process. I just wanna reflect and shout out the people generally women who have been so kind and good and generous with their time and their support and their investment in me as I try to be like a real adult and professional historian.
Brenda: I think we saw in this show there’s a whole lot of professional historian going on there Amira. Shireen?
Shireen: I’m very, very excited and I can’t say why yet. But it includes pajamas, and I’m waiting. I’m not good with secrets but I’m holding onto this one closely. My soccer team is great. I have fun every week with them, I enjoy them. I love them. I love playing Sundays are my match days. I just, it brings me a lot of joy. Soccer brings me a lot of joy, we’re playing five v five which is great because it’s inside, it’s like futsal but it’s on turf. And the stadium is freezing, it’s so cold but it’s fine because I’m so covered and so is everybody else. Which is great.
I also wanna shout out that I will be avoiding the Super Bowl and it’s really fun for me. But I will partake in recipes, because the defining the food culture around sporting events really interesting. I also reading up a little bit on Dirk Nowitzki and that’s bringing me a lot of joy. Because I really like Dirk Nowitzki and it’s bringing me back to really the point of Dirk Nowitzki which is me going back to one of my second favorite sports movie “Like Mike”. because Little Bow Wow just cracks up and I enjoy that movie tremendously. And my favorite scene in the movie is with Dirk Nowitzki.
Amira: Also, he’s not Little Bow Wow anymore, he’s just Bow Wow. His daughter’s amazing I just have to say. She’s so cute and is just like-
Shireen: Is she so cute? Oh, she is so adorable.
Lindsay: Wasn’t he literally just arrested for assaulting a woman yesterday?
Shireen: Was it?
Amira: Oh god.
Shireen: Okay well, I’ll file that under just problematic. But Dirk Nowitzki’s love story is really cool. He ended up meeting his wife at a seed project, in a love seed project. It’s an organization that propels and encourages and mentors basketball players in continental Africa and he was working and volunteering his time, and he met his future wife there.
It was a really beautiful story that he opened up about. I like Dirk, he’s best friends with Steve Nash who I stan. So yeah, I’m enjoying that. So that’s what’s good, and it’s zero degrees celsius in Toronto. So I’m grateful for the warmth.
Amira: I need that converted for me.
Shireen: It’s zero, I think it’s pretty well zero Fahrenheit. It’s zero celsius isn’t it?
Amira: I don’t know.
Brenda: How dare you use a rational temperature system! What do you like use decimals and stuff? Like you know-
Brenda: Metric system?
Shireen: You know how bad I am with numbers, I’m so bad. I love metric though-
Brenda: How dare the rest of our world challenge our absolutely irrational sense of inches.
Amira: It really makes no sense but it’s so bad. When we were driving in Canada-
Brenda: It’s 32 though!
Amira: We were driving in Canada and told us how far our exit was, and I’m just like we’ll miss it! Calculate it, it’s so bad. We’re so ignorant.
Shireen: No but you know I feel the same way, when I’m in the US and it says like four miles, I’m like I feel that’s like 600 kilometers. I don’t know what miles means. And I’m just like why-
Brenda: But Shireen, no one does because it’s fool culture. It’s just based on folk. Yours is based on science. Scientists don’t use inches.
Shireen: When I think a mile, or when I think of mile-
Brenda: So you don’t need to justify yourself.
Shireen: When I think of mile, I automatically think of 8 Mile which is Eminem. That’s all I think of when I see mile.
Brenda: That’s right.
Shireen: That’s my reference.
Brenda: I think that’s perfectly fine. What’s good in my world is this conversation right now. And I’m just gonna close it out by saying the other thing that’s very good in my world is the very first weeks when you’re teaching and nothing’s been due and you’ve given no grades and everyone thinks you’re a nice professor and you think they’re the best students who ever lived. So that’s the other thing that’s great in my world.
All right, that’s it for this week’s episode of Burn It All Down. Thanks for listening. Burn It All Down lives on Sound Cloud but can also be heard on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Tune In, and Google Play. We always appreciate your reviews and feedback. You can follow us at Burn It Down Pod on Twitter. Visit our website at www dot Burn It All Down Pod dot com. Where we have transcripts, guest lists and previous shows. You can also email us at Burn It All Down Pod at Gmail dot com. And again thanks to all the patreons who support us week in and week out. If you’re not a Patreon do consider becoming one at www dot Patreon dot com backslash Burn It All Down.
On behalf of Shireen Ahmed, Lindsay Gibbs, and Dr. Amira Rose Davis, I’m Brenda Elsey have a great week and burn on but not out.