Welcome all! Once again it’s that time of the week where I get to have the privilege of presenting my personal favorite sports stories of the week to the best readers in the world …YOU! It might not be the top stories but I can guarantee you it will be entertaining and possibly, downright hilarious! The best part: Instead, of sugar coating everything, you have the opportunity to “Sound Off” too! Welcome to Shanda Sounds Off!
As a kid there were athletes that I (just like any other child) looked up to: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Joe Montana and “Iron” Mike Tyson. I consider myself not just a sports writer in my adult years but a sports fan. I see now clearly what was always cloudy to me as a child fan, case in point: Mike Tyson. A man who’s right upper cut could knock an opponent out for 5 mins. He was a new school legend in the 80’s flossing model girlfriends and new money.
So, watching him come apart at the seams over the years has been saddening and a little uncomfortable to watch. This week as he promoted his new Fox Sports 1 show at ESPN’s Friday Night Fights post-fight press conference in Verona, Tyson was asked about reconnecting with former boxing trainer/commentator Teddy Atlas. Tyson launched into a disheartening explanation about his efforts battling with alcoholism and drugs, hating himself and wanting forgiveness for "bad things he's done", which really hit home for me, as well as thousands of other viewers.
The former heavyweight champion is no stranger to scandal over the last 20 years between rape allegations, financial troubles and lest we forget biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear. Yes, he's been the center of controversy BUT watching him come clean about the fast life he’s living and being a "vicious alcoholic" is a major cry for help. If you missed the video, check it out for yourselves:
Mike Tyson seeking redemption and trying to right all of his wrongs from the past is an extremely profound moment in sports. There are so many others in the sports industry struggling with the same demons and feeling like that they can’t express feelings like this even with close friends and family, yet Tyson bares his soul to the people of the media, his harshest critics. This defining moment in sports history, I hope to be a wake-up call to others with similar stories, that everyone goes through battles but it’s what you do to move forward that matters.
It took a lot of guts to confront yourself in front of the world and for that, I have a new level of respect for Tyson. It's one thing to know you have a problem and to recognize it and it takes a big person to not only do something to try and change but to also voice it to the world. That's what he did this week. I wish him the best, not only is he a fighting legend but now he sets himself apart from his past and makes way for a new beginning.
Tyson on reuniting with Atlas:
“So, I went to my AA meeting. I had to make a discussion, check out what we gonna do. So I explained to them, my fellow alcoholics and junkies, that I was gonna deal with this certain situation here, and I explained the feelings that I evoked from it. Almost like, um, something like a Hatfields and McCoys, I kinda explained to them. I made the right decision. I made Cus proud of me. I made myself proud of me. I hate myself. I’m trying to kill myself. I hate myself a lot, but I made myself proud of myself, and I don’t do that much. I was happy I did that.”
Does this erase your past thoughts of Mike Tyson and allow him to start fresh with you as a fan? Sound Off in the comments!
"Nothing is impossible to a willing mind" is the mantra that Matt Brown of Norwood, Mass. has chosen to live his life by. Matt's life was forever changed by a high school hockey accident that rendered him a quadrapalegic when he was 15 years old.
The board of the New York City Marathon have denied Matt Brown and his running partner Lucas Carr the opportunity to compete in the upcoming November race because Matt can not power push his wheelchair on his own. The decision has left me screaming one word: discrimination.
One question resonates through my mind: Why aren't sponsors of the race such as the New York Times and Timex stepping to the plate in support of Brown and Carr's entry?
Like a true marathoner, Matt is exhibiting a level of perseverance, endurance and patience as he waits for this unforeseen vote to be overturned.
Brown has stated that 'marathoning' makes him" feel normal". Why is he being denied that feeling of normalcy that the majority of us take for granted? Because the race is too crowded?
New York take note: the Boston Marathon was the first marathon to incorporate the wheelchair division in 1975 .During this span, over 1,000 wheelchair participants have endured the grueling 26.2 mile iconic race to the thrills of thousands of spectators. Blind, visually impaired and mobility impaired participants have enjoyed the camaraderie of this endearing and challenging format of racing.
Dick Hoyt, and his son Rick, who suffers from cerebral palsy, have run the Boston Marathon a record thirty one times. Dick power pushes Rick through the roadways leading to Copley Square on a custom designed chair and is revered, admired and applauded on the annual trek .
This remarkable twosome deserve to feel the euphoria of crossing the Verranzo Bridge into the arms of Brooklynites relishing each and every moment of this unique experience.
The duo ran the Boston Marathon two years ago and have run several half marathons as a singular unit, a team effort that needs to be replicated in New York.
Recently, New York is garnering unwanted headlines thanks to the likes of the narcissistic Anthony Weiner and Alex Rodriquez. This is a prime opportunity for New York to return to the headlines in a positive way.
Matt Brown is and was an athlete. I look forward to reading Matt and Lucas' finish time as they cross the finish line in Central Park on the first Sunday of November.
I am loudly screaming, like the spectators along a marathon route, for Brown and Carr to receive their due number.
Meanwhile in Russia, it's more a matter of expression repression. With the Sochi Winter Games just six months away we have learned that "gay propaganda" is strictly prohibited in Russia. In other words, if you come, leave those rainbow flags at home or face deportation.
Let's start the discussion with Riley Cooper, a receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles. Cooper did what any number of immature white guys do at Kenny Chesney concerts. They get drunk, act like jerk, and forget that everyone around them has a cell phone that shoots video. Remember the Gronk body slam on stage in Vegas? Rob Gronkowski's antics were stupid given his broken forearm, and they might have pissed off his bosses, but they did not hurt anyone.
Not the case with Cooper, who threatened "to jump that fence and fight every n----- here, bro." Witnesses said Cooper was intent on getting backstage even though he had no credentials to do so.
Since the incident in June, Cooper has been apologizing profusely, attended counseling, and talked about letting his parents down.
Then there are the knucklehead Eagles fans who tried to defend the racial slur while pretending that they actually studied the U.S. Constitution back in high school.
Thanks to the anonymity of social media, there were spineless, clueless people tweeting in support of Cooper, like this one Sports Illustrated writer Jack Dickey found in a recent article: "We have free speech. No one apologized for saying white man can't jump, I am a giant fan but now a fan of yours too #beproud."
Riley Cooper took an unalienable American right and butchered
it. Meanwhile in Russia we learned that certain freedoms of expression are against the law.
"Homosexuality in Russia is legal, but flaunting it is against the law. Public displays of affection between the same-sex couples are punishable along with wearing certain clothing or other statements affirming gay rights."
Throughout history we have observed Russia to be more than just little bit behind the times on human rights and freedom. When I heard about this anti-gay legislation I chalked it up to some USSR law they never got off the books.
Not so. Russian president Vladimir Putin signed this bill into law on June 30. The same guy who denied stealing Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ring is now an even bigger fool.
I wonder how this is all going to play out in the world of figure skating, where any number of men are openly gay.
Johnny Weir is a two time Olympian trying to make it three. If he makes the team can he bring his Russian-American husband and not fear being deported or going to jail?
If the Russian's are worried about gay people wearing "flamboyant clothing," a good number of figure skaters are in for a big-time wardrobe change. There is plenty of glitter and feathers out there and we aren't talking just about the ladies.
Does the "kiss and cry" area ban any hugging between coaches and skaters of the same sex?
The whole thing is laughable. I grew up with figure skaters, had lots of gay friends (still do) and gay coaches.
President Obama recently spoke out on the subject and said," If Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit, every decision should be made on the track, swimming pool or balance beam."
It seems the President forgot these were the "Winter" Olympics, and more appropriately the decisions should be made on the ice, slopes, bobsled run and speed skating track."
(A technical deduction in figure skating terms)
Johnny Weir has already spoken out on the subject. (see the video below) He says he will not run up into the stands to hug his husband if he makes the team and skates well. He'll save it for a "private moment."
He shouldn't have to make that choice. Trying to please the "Russian judge" is something that goes way back in the world of figure skating. It had to do with the consistently low scores they gave to American skaters.
Back then the Russian judge wore a big fur coat and a grim scowl. Now we know the Russian government scowls at free expression. Tell that to the Bolshoi Ballet. And while you're at it, stick it under your fat ushanka. (see photo below)FULL ENTRY