One More Time

The Colin Kaepernick story just never ends. He is on the cover of Time magazine this week. The story talks about how the movement is spreading rapidly through the sports world. The Miami Dolphins, the US women’s soccer team- most notably Megan Rapinoe, The New york Liberty (Women’s professional basketball, The Minneapolis South High School girl’s Volleyball team, The Seattle Seahawks Jeremy Lane and the Denver Bronco’s Brandon Marshall, to name just a few.

Jerad Odrick, Jacksonville Jaguar’s defensive end, starts out an essay in Sports Illustrated with a quote from James Baldwin, which reads:

“To a black child in America, it comes as a great shock around the age of five, six or seven, to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you.”

 He goes on to say:

As an NFL player, I’ve asked myself on multiple occasions, Do I want to speak the truth or do I want to make money? (Athletes are losing endorsement deals over this issue).

Then we have that brilliant philosopher and Chicago sports icon Iron Mike Ditka (avid Donald Trump Supporter), who, when asked about the issue, gave this reply:

 “I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick. He probably has no respect for me, that’s his choice. My choice is, I like this country, I respect our flag, and I don’t see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on.” Colin Kaepernick get the hell out” of America if he doesn’t like it here.”

 There you have it- the moron speaks!!!

Yesterday, I went to an all day Rap and soul festival. The day was filled with many odes to bling, degrading women, and enough bad language that it could never be aired on television. What stood out for me was a moment when John Legend brought Common out on stage to sing the anthem that they won an Academy Award for last year- the song Glory, from the film Selma.

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Hands to the Heavens, no man, no weapon
Formed against, yes glory is destined
Every day women and men become legends
Sins that go against our skin become blessings
The movement is a rhythm to us
Freedom is like religion to us

comman_0004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000 people in the stadium, black and white, young and old stood side by side with their fists in the air as these words came out of the speakers, and Mike Ditka and his kind meant nothing.

There was also a great moment early in the week when Chance the Rapper, who put on the event, went to ticket scalpers in the city and bought up all the tickets that they were planning to upsell and gave them out to kids in Chicago.

Maybe the world can change for the better after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Still talking about sports (Politics is too depressing)

Tim Duncan retired a coupe of months ago. He was the perfect athlete, who played for 19 years for the San Antonio Spurs. In an age where athletes show no loyalty, Duncan gave up more money to insure that his teams were always the best that they could become. The greatest thing I heard about him- He was always the first to arrive and the last to leave- FOR PRACTICE.

In the best measure of his success, the Spurs won 5 championships under his leadership. They were and will always be, I expect, a team before individual organization. In an era where Kobe Bryant freezes out his teammates to score tons of points, Duncan seemed to want to pass more than score. He will be greatly missed in the sports world.

Another great sports story: The Cubs clinched the playoffs this week- champagne flowed, and the city went nuts. It is a great team. They were in first place every day this season- except for one day in April. They are led by their amazing manager Joe Madden, who has won championships everywhere he has managed. He is a low key guy, who moves players around like chess pieces on a board, My favorite Joe Madden quote came early in the season, when he went into the locker room to give his team a pep talk before a game. The pep talk was four words:

TRY NOT TO SUCK

Perfect. You can buy the T shirt outside the ballpark!!

Hopefully we will finally see a championship on the north side of Chicago.

 

 

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Looks like Colin Kaepernick wins!!

The San Francisco 49’rs have pledged money to support local organizations that help police- public relations. So have the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. So, I guy who wasn’t even assured of making the team this year has become the most talked about guy in the NFL

I have never believed in athletes as roll models. Roll models should be teachers, firemen and POLICE. Maybe that is the point!! So lets see how this spreads in the next few weeks, and maybe a movement can happen and change can come.

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, football teams across the country have pledged to link arms in solidarity during the anthem. Maybe kids will see this and make some change happen?

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Protest

When I was a kid I learned about the concept of passive protest (or silent protest). During the 1968 Olympics, Gold medalist Tommie Smith and Bronze medalist John Carlos Accepted their medals, and then, during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, put on one black glove each and stood on the podium with their gloved fists in the air. They were also shoeless but wearing black socks to represent black poverty. Smith wore a black scarf to represent black pride. They were booed by the crowd. They were ostracized by the US sports establishment and their families received death threats when they returned home.

In 1999 Tommie Smith was awarded the California Black Sportsman of the Millennium Award. He is now a public speaker. In 2008, they received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards.

Last year I learned about the Nashville Lunch Counter Sit Ins, where protesters sat at lunch counters and endured abuse while trying to order food. They were told not to react to smoke being blown in their faces, hot coffee being poured down their backs, and their dignity being destroyed.

So now we move forward to 2016, where Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49’rs is carrying on the tradition by refusing to stand for the Star Spangled Banner before his games. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

 It is great to see a 28 year old millionaire athlete take a stand that could harm his career. Kaepernick has stated that he is going to donate One Million dollars to rights organizations this year. Finally someone is stepping up. In an age when Michael Jordan stood for nothing, Kaepernick is proving that a lone voice can make a difference.

Last year several NBA stars (LeBron James and Derrick Rose among them) wore Black Lives Matter and I can’t breathe T shirts during warm ups before games. They took some grief, but stood by their beliefs. Recently, the New York Liberty wore t shirts expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and were fined by the league.

Tina Charles, the WNBA player of the month, said on Instagram:

Today, I decided to not be silent in the wake of the WNBA fines against NY Liberty, I Indiana Fever & Phoenix Mercury due to our support in the Black Lives Matter movement . Seventy percent of the WNBA players are African-American women and as a league collectively impacted. My teammates and I will continue to use our platform and raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement until the WNBA gives its support as it does for Breast Cancer Awareness, Pride and other subject matters. Lets see what the future holds.

Lets hope more players join the protest.

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Trump, etc.

In the 8/19 issue of Newsweek had a very interesting article written by Kurt Eichenwald, a senior writer for the magazine. Titled:

An Open Letter to Paul Ryan on Why He Must Denounce Donald Trump

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/08/19/letter-paul-ryan-donald-trump-488877.html

The article asks Mr. Ryan to ignore the political consequences (meaning he will probably lose the next election) and stand up for what is right.

Some questions that are raised:

Imagine how history will view you for staying silent.

In decades to come, your children and grandchildren will ask, “Why didn’t you do something?”

In the 8/26 issue, he continues his onslaught with a four page article detailing all of Trump’s lies under oath in court proceedings (he was once a business reporter for the New York Times, and covered Trump for that paper).

Donald Trump’s History of Lying Under Oath

http://www.newsweek.com/mr-speaker-stop-trump-let-gop-lose-election-489797

His details are mindboggling, and should be read by every voter who was even considering voting for Mr. Trump.

On a totally different note, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine concerning whether Dwayne Wade, now a member of the Chicago Bulls, would use his celebrity to help solve the gun violence in the city of his birth (and his new hometown). We figured out later that probably at the exact time we were talking about him, his cousin was shot to death on the street on the south side of Chicago. Chicago has now become a war zone. There is never a question of if we will wake up to news of a killing on our streets, but, instead how many killings will be reported each day. A very depressing way to live, in 2016 in the United States.

Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback of the San Francisco 49r’s, was photographed this weekend sitting down during the National Anthem to protest a country that treats minorities with disrespect.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in the interview. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

I think I have to agree.

 

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Guns and Roses

I have been scanning my archive lately (Alphabetically) and have recently gotten through the G section of the alphabet, which includes Guns and Roses. I photographed them a lot in their early days. Axl Rose was always a surly egomaniac with a great voice and great songs. I was through with them when he jumped off the front of the stage with his microphone stand to hit me over the head with it because he thought I had used a flash (it was actually an audience member behind me). Luckily his road manager was standing next to me and stopped him!! It seems that the band spent a lot of time and energy stopping people from photographing them in their early days.

Then they went away for about 20 years while they made their next album! They went out on tour to support that album (which wasn’t finished yet). I went to that show. They were two hours late hitting the stage, and Guns and Roses was composed of Axl, Matt Sorum and a bunch of guys that looked like G and R members,, but didn’t play like them!. Axl looked pretty good, sang pretty well also. They then did a few more tours, like Spinal Tap, always in smaller and smaller venues. I heard that Axl got quite fat during that period.

Now, he is trying to “scrub” the internet of all of the fat photos, using DMCA takedown notices to do so. DMCA takedown notices are meant to be used to protect copyright holders from piracy, not to protect rock stars vanity. Axl’s takedown notices claim that “no permission has been granted to publish the images.”

Excuse me! The photographers were granted photo passes!

Axl must know that he will be photographed by hundreds of “Photographers” with cell phones every time he steps out on stage. Will he next try to stop all of them??

 

On another note, didn’t Ryan Lochte and his three friends realize that there are cameras everywhere in the world and they cannot lie about what they were doing at that gas station last week? Also, why did they post their whole night on social media (with time stamps) to counter their whole made up story? Lochte is 32 years old- but really only 12 in real time years. He should be ashamed of himself!

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The Olympics

In September of 2009, I was driving down Route 66 toward St. Louis. My friend who was sitting in the passenger seat was fiddling with her phone, trying to get the results of the vote on which city (Chicago was included) would get the honor of hosting the 2016 Olympics. We were both shocked when Chicago was knocked out first. Shock turned to happiness when we realized that we wouldn’t have to put up with traffic jams and all the other stuff that goes along with the event. Rio “won” and is now spending billions of dollars hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.

I am a sucker for this stuff, and have already put in about 20 hours this week on the couch, watching stuff I would never normally care about. Like a six hour bicycle race that almost made me late for an appointment, as I had to see how it ended. In a heartbreaker, the guy who was leading all the way lost in the last ½ mile.

There are great stories every day about athletes that work for their entire lives to try to get up on that podium and hear their country’s anthem.

My Favorites:

Michael Phelps, once a wild teenager- drug busts and DUI busts- keeps on winning medals and is now the heart and soul of the American swim team. Who doesn’t believe that he will be back to win more in 2020?

Mo Farah, born in Somalia, runs for Great Britain, lives and trains in Portland, Oregon, won the 10,000 meter run in the last 100 meters, after being knocked down in the beginning of the race, getting up and calmly following two Kenyans for about 9500 meters and then destroyed all their allusions of winning by calmly turning on the jets and smoking them in the last backstretch.

Tori Bowie, born in Mississippi, abandoned by her mother when she was two, raised by her grandparents ( kind of the same story as Simone Biles) who is set today to run the finals of the 100 meter dash and possibly become the “Worlds Fastest Woman”)

Anthony Erwin, and American swimmer who won a gold medal in the 50 meter dash in the 2000 Olympics, stopped swimming for 7 years, started training again and made the team for this years games. He again won the gold medal in the 50 meter dash this week!

Simone Manuel, 20 years old form Houston Texas, became the first African American Swimmer to win Olympic gold. In total she won 2 silver and 2 gold this week, and is an inspiration for young African American girls the world over. Just this morning, I watched a piece on the local news about a swim club on the south side of Chicago. They interviewed a girl who wanted to be “Just like Simone” and go to the Olympics.

Then, there is Lilly King, a 19 year old swimmer who called out the Russian swimmer swimming in the lane next to her, who had already been banned twice in the past for doping, calling her a cheater. She then came out and beat the Russian girl by one second, winning gold in the 100 meter breaststroke, adding another gold yesterday in the 4×100 relay.

There were many reactions to her outspoken press conferences, the most telling being Michael Phelps saying that he doubts that he ever swam a race where all of the swimmers were ”clean.” Justin Gatlan, an American track and field star who is running in the 100 meter dash today, and who was banned twice in his career for using banned substances, said: “I don’t even know who Lilly King is.” “I have come back and done what I needed to do.”

Finally, in a remarkable display of sportsmanship, Hope Solo, the goalie on the American women’s soccer team, after the Swedish team came up with a tactic to beat the best team in the world:

“We played a creative game. We had many opportunities on goal. We showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down. I’m very proud of this team.” “We played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly, firmly believe that.”

“Sweden dropped back. They didn’t want to open play. They didn’t want to pass the ball around. They didn’t want to play great soccer, entertaining soccer. It was a combative game. A physical game. Exactly what they wanted. Exactly what their game plan was. We had that style of play when Pia was our coach. I think it was very cowardly. But they won, they’re moving on. And we’re going home,”

So I guess a totally legal game plan doesn’t sit well with her if that game plan causes her team to lose. Maybe the American coaches should lock her up and not let her do any more interviews!!

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Buddy Turns 80

Buddy Guy had his 80th Birthday celebration last week. It is remarkable that someone turns 80 and has that incredible energy every day. He still tours 200 days a year, along with playing the month of January at his club in Chicago. I hope have half that energy at 80!!!

Monday night, fans and celebrity friends joined him to celebrate. Jeff Beck, who he is on tour with came to join the fun and play some pool.

Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck at Buddy Guy's 80th Birthday Party at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago Illinois , August 1, 2016 . (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Many of the guitar players from the Experience Hendrix Tour found there way to Chicago to honor Buddy. Some very odd people were there. Jerry Only of the Misfits was there in full punk makeup. Zach Wylde represented the Metal world.

Zach Wylde; Tom Morello and Jerry Only of the Misfits at Buddy Guy's 80th Birthday Party at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago Illinois , August 1, 2016 . (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

 

Tom Morello came with his mom.

Buddy Guy, Mary Morello and Tom Morello at Buddy Guy's 80th Birthday Party at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago Illinois , August 1, 2016 . (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

 

Johnny Lang, Jimmie Vaughn and Keb Mo represented the blues world. When Buddy walked in, everyone knew he was in the presence of guitar royalty.

The greatest part of the night was when Otis Rush arrived. Otis was the first person in Chicago who invited Buddy to the stage when he arrived in Chicago.

Otis Rush and Buddy Guy at Buddy Guy's 80th Birthday Party at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago Illinois , August 1, 2016 . (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Great fun was had by all!

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Bush and Little Ed

A while back, I told the story of a photo shoot I did with the band Bush. To recap, I took them out into the alley next to the Aragon Ballroom, and positioned them in a doorway. I told the three musicians in the band to pose in the doorway, and, at the count of three, Gavin Rossdale, the singer would jump off the stoop and I would catch him flying through the air. They all thought that was a great idea, until wee were ready to shoot, when it was mentioned that his hair might be out of place when he jumped. So, I shot a few boring shots of them all standing in the doorway, and I went home. As far as I know, none of the photos were ever used anywhere.

Bush-September 1st, 1995 Aragon Ballroom Chicago, Illinois United States September 1st, 1995 Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage.com

 

 

So, fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, and I found myself in the same alley, next to the same doorway. When I ]asked the band (Little Ed and the Blues Imperials) to recreate the same situation, there was no hesitation! Guess there is less of an image situation in the blues world than in the rock world!!

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Violence in America

“In every generation, ever since Negros have been here, every Negro mother and father has had to face that child and try to create in that child some way of surviving this particular world, some way to make that child who will be despised not despise himself.”

The above was written by James Baldwin in 1964 in “The uses of the Blues.” I wonder what people in America think about that today, when African American people are being shot every day.

Last week I watched the ESPY’s. In the midst of all the sports awards, they gave out the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Last year Bruce Jenner won for becoming Caitlin Jenner. The year the award went to a high school football player from Knoxville, Tennessee by the name of Zaevion Dobson. Zaevion was sitting on a porch with some of his friends enjoying the evening when a car drove up and the passenger started shooting. Zaevion threw himself on top of ther two girls sitting with them, saving their lives, but dying in a hail of gunfire. He will never grow up to realize his potential. I don’t know what I would do in that situation- probably nothing as brave as him.

His mom, while accepting the award, reminded everyone that when the high school held a ceremony at halftime of a game to honor Zaevion, his cousin, who went to the game, was gunned down by another drive by on the way home.

Turning the clock back about an hour, the show started with Chris Paul, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade standing on stage each talking about how they are going to start speaking up against the violence filling our country. I hope they do, as they are the roll models that kids look up to. Dwyane Wade was just signed by the Bulls for about 23 million dollars a year, and returns home to a city that now leads the country in street shootings and deaths from them. Let’s see what he does when he comes home!!

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