Sweet Entrance to the Bye Week for EWU

Bye week will be a little bit happier for the Eastern Washington Eagle football team. 

Quarterback Gage Gubrud threw for 435 yards (33-39-0) and rushed for 79 yards (11 carries) on the way to a 49-31 victory over the Northern Colorado Bears. The win moved the Eagles to 3-0 in Big Sky Conference play for the season as they head into their bye week. They’ll next play in Bozeman against the Montana State Bobcats on October 29th. 


Gubrud led all players in both passing and rushing for the game. It was a sure sign of the confidence that Gubrud played with today. “When you’re up against a team that is making you be patient – teams that play that way defensively – what they’re saying is eventually that (offensive) coordinator is going to get impatient and want to call something downfield,” said EWU Coach Beau Baldwin. “Gage kept taking what they gave him. He kept taking it or he took off and ran. That is how they (UNC) got NAU last week. Gage stayed patient the entire game.”

Northern Colorado came into Saturday off to their best start since 2003 when they also started 3-1. The Bears came into the game on a high after their 21-18 upset win over Northern Arizona last week in Flagstaff. It was enough to earn them consideration with top 25 votes in last week’s FCS Coaches poll. 

Whatever momentum the Bears came into the game with, they continued to roll with it to start the game. They held a 7-3 lead after the first quarter and a 17-14 lead at the half. They made the most of their opportunities whereas the Eagles did not. 

Eastern Washington found themselves knocking on the door on two of their first three possessions but failed to put the ball into the end zone both times. They settled for fields goals both times. A Jabari Wilson fumble recovered by UNC halted the Eagles on their second drive. 

But, as these Eagles have done time and again this season, they adjusted. 


At the half, the Eagles had only 14 points to show for their 327 yards of offense. Gubrud and the Eagle offense made the most of their possessions in the second half. 

Gubrud went 12-of-14 for 151 yards passing while rushing for 49 yards on 5 attempts in the third quarter alone. Senior receiver Shaq Hill hauled in a pair of touchdowns among his three receptions in the quarter. 

“We found the big moment type of shots to Shaq,” described Coach Baldwin. “Gage saw him and took advantage. I really loved the way he (Hill) played. He was patient, didn’t try to force things, (he) took the run when it was there and played very base that way. Shaq had a monster day.”

The defense adjusted too. After giving up 17 points, 254 yards of offense in the first half, the Eagle defense only surrendered 215 yards and 17 points in the second half. Of course, it helps that the Bears lost star running back Trae Riek to injury didn’t help UNC’s offensive balance. Riek left the game in the second quarter with an arm injury and never returned. 


659 yards of total offense, 49 points and the Eastern Washington Eagles are now 5-1 heading into their bye week.

“It’s important to go into a bye week coming off a win, and that’s huge,” said Coach Baldwin. We’re happy to get to this point and find a way to win ballgames and still have the bye week (for EWU) to shore some things up and heal a few of our players. We’ll see what we can do coming out of it.”

Yes, it is a perfect time for the bye week for EWU. Two weeks to prepare for back-to-back games with the Montana schools – the first in Bozeman against MSU followed by the Grizzlies at home in Cheney. Two weeks to heal from injuries as well. And to enjoy the 5-1 start. 


CadChica Sports

Race In America: A Conversation in Shades

Picture This
Me, a mom of three biracial kids, sitting on the porch talking with my three biracial/multiracial grandkids talking about race in America.


Hey kids.

Would you mind coming over here for a minute?

No, no. You’re not in trouble. I wanna talk to you about something. It’s something that has been on my mind for awhile now. I just haven’t had the opportunity to bring it up until now.  

You’re big sports fans, right? Who are your favorite teams again?

Steelers, Patriots and 49ers? Really? laughing Boy oh boy, I gotta talk to your parents about that. 

You know that thing that Rodney Harrison said about Colin Kaepernick? You know. The one where he ignorantly said Kaepernick wasn’t black.

*kids nod*

Yeah, we talked about that didn’t we? Well see, there were quite a few folks upset about that comment. Oh, you know that already, huh? And, I’m sure you know why they were all upset too. Yeah, well, lots of media decided to write, talk and tweet about it. But, not many, if any at all, said this: 

What do you think about that? Do you think there is a racist double standard? 

kids nod

What do I think? Hmm. I’m glad you asked that question. For a looooooong time I’ve been thinking about this question. Ever since my oldest child, my daughter, was born – points at at two of the kids and says, “Your mother – I’ve been wondering about the world she would be raised in as a biracial kid. I saw the struggle to be accepted, to fit in, the inner turmoil at not being either-enough, according to society. I thought about it even more after her brothers were born.  

What kind of world… 

What kind of world do we live in that only looks at skin color? Skin color doesn’t define who you are, but many say it does. They look at a Sage Steele and say she’s black. They look at the outside without consideration of the inside. Without considering her heritage, which by the way is “50 percent” white (Irish and Italian), they say she’s black.

Heritage matters, kids.

Heritage, culture – where you came from matters. Who came before you matters. It’s all a part of you just as much as the skin on your body. Why deny who or what is a part of you?

See, society wants it all cut & dry. Society wants things to be easily identifiable. Society wants the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. Society doesn’t want to ask the question – what are you? – so they just assume. Based on your skin color. Or your facial features. Or your hair. Or, whatever. 

That’s not right, kids. It’s just not right. 


Like Sage said, if you’re good, one group claims you. If you’re not, they disown you. Even if you “look” like them, they will disown you if you don’t act/talk/think like them.  

It don’t matter the race. It happens in all races, man. All races and all countries. Don’t believe me? I’ve got some stories for you:

Y’all pay attention because there are plenty more out there. More stories of mixed race folks who have been embraced and/or shunned by one side or the other. It’s almost as if there’s a mindset “if you ain’t with US, you’re against us and we won’t claim you”. 

Yet, those same people, those SAME PEOPLE talk about wanting equality for their race. They want diversity. They want to be treated fairly. But, when someone of mixed race doesn’t ACT like a certain race, equality goes out the window because what they’re really saying is 

You’re not black enough.

You’re not Hispanic enough.

You’re not Native enough.

You’re not Asian enough. 

Heck, there’s even, you’re not white enough. 

You mean to tell me if someone of mixed-race doesn’t pick one that they can’t speak on an issue? Why? Because he or she doesn’t fit people’s definition of that race. It doesn’t fit their ideal of what a Hispanic should be or an African-American should be or…… 

Man, that’s just messed up. 

Tiger Woods was great for a time, but then that one Thanksgiving time happened and now where is he? Where are all the people who embraced him? Where are all the people who were happy about the barriers he was breaking down? Like Sage said, “claim us biracial kids when it’s convenient for u”, is that how it is? Tiger was okay to claim when he was at the top but now? 

Lord have mercy… 


Let me tell you a story. Last night, while sitting with our youngest – points and says “Your uncle” – this exact thing came up while he was filling out paperwork. One question asked him to identify himself. I immediately said, HISPANIC, knowing full well his dad would say something. 

He didn’t have to. There was a feeling in the air of…I’m not even sure how to describe it, but you could feel it. Not quite tension but…

So I asked our youngest, is there a mixed-race category? Bi-racial? Nothing like that existed on this form. So, I told him to put both Hispanic and Caucasian. His dad pipes up, Caucasian-Hispanic. 

Now, we were joking a little bit about it, but what that feeling in the air was, was disrespect. It was marginalization. I marginalized his race, who he was, his heritage, his very identity. All because I wanted our youngest to claim me, who I am, my heritage (and culture), my very identity.

Here I was marginalizing one race to promote my own. 

Is it possible, let me ask you this question now, is it possible to not look at race all the while fighting for racial identity with every fiber of one’s being? Is it possible, or maybe I should ask, will social media allow one to be angry about where we are at in this country on the topic of race, yet still not look at someone’s race — just look at them as a person, a human being like you and me? 

Seems to me that if we want change, we have to go to the root of the issue. The root of the issue starts at home. At home, we need to teach our young to respect people as human beings. A lot of folks say, “You have to earn respect.” Well, yes, but not if there are different levels of respect, y’all.

The respect I’m talking about can’t be earned. It’s given. Freely. Respect the fact that the person you disagree with is a human being. We won’t always agree with people, but we at least need to respect them as people. As a living breathing human being. 

If we did that, maybe there’d be less killing in the world. A little less anger. A little less hate. A little less judgement. A little less hypocrisy. 

Maybe we should listen to what Otis sang, “Try a Little Tenderness”. Or, try a little kindness. Try a little respect. Be willing to listen. Be willing to learn. Shoot, maybe even be willing to be wrong. 

Yeah, that wouldn’t go over too well on social media now would it? Ain’t no shame in admitting when you’re wrong, kids.  

Maybe just a little more kindness, a little more people-to-people kindness and a little less Twitter. A little less Facebook.  A little less Instagramming, YouTubing and Snapchatting. A little less selfie action. Less self and more others.

Do unto others, my loves, as you would have them do unto you…and you, YES YOU, just might change this country and this world.

For the better. 


CadChica Sports

The Joy and Teachings of José Fernández

I watched this video over and over this morning. So many thoughts ran through my head. One minute it’s “why”. The next minute is “I can’t imagine what is going through Dee’s mind”. Then it’s, “of all the sports teams, baseball teams truly become family”.

From parts of February through September and maybe, if they are lucky, into October, baseball players are together. The spring training grind is repetitive – fundamental work, pitching sessions, batting sessions. It’s all the same.

Good preparation for the season when the only difference is the scenery. A 6-game homestand here, a 10-game road trip there and all the while the faces are mostly the same, day in and day out. You either embrace it and come together as a family or you manage it all as a dysfunctional one.

Either way, baseball is family.

Giancarlo Stanton on Instagram

Giancarlo Stanton on Instagram

José Fernández was part of the Miami Marlins family, but he was also a part of the Major League Baseball family. The Marlins and baseball world are mourning the loss of this young man today. Killed in a boating accident on the waters around Miami, Fernández was only 24-years old with a bright, joyful future. His girlfriend, Carla Mendoza, is pregnant with their first child – an event that Fernández was looking forward to.

José Fernández on Instagram

José Fernández on Instagram

I say joyful because joy is the word that many have used to describe Fernández today. “I see such a little boy in him,” said an emotional Miami Marlins manager, Don Mattingly. “There was just joy with him when he played.”

Fernández would have told you that it wasn’t always joyful. After previous failed attempts at defecting from Cuba, some that resulted in jail time, Fernández finally defected in 2008 with his mother and stepsister. They made their way through Mexico to Florida where they joined his stepfather in Tampa.

I thought about that while watching the video. What his life must have been like in Cuba as a kid, going to jail, dreaming of the big leagues, wondering if life would ever be different. Baseball isn’t just a sport in Cuba. It’s life. It’s identity and Fernández wanted to be the best of himself he could be.

To be the best, you have to play with the best. Fernández knew that would be in the United States. It was his dream to play in the majors. After being drafted in 2011 by the then-Florida Marlins, Fernández got that shot in 2013. Despite a setback with Tommy John surgery in 2014 and subsequent recovery for part of the 2015 season, Fernández was still the Marlins top pitcher and one of the best young arms in the game.

There are a myriad of stories about his games. When Fernández was on, he was electric. Those days were worth writing about. He embraced them to the fullest:

Now that he is gone, there will be more stories like this one that will be told about the other side of Fernández:

What does it say about a young man that comes to this country and embraces it as his own? I think about that now while watching the video again – where we are at in this country right now. I see a young African-American man, alone in his thoughts on the death of his teammate, a naturalized American citizen of Cuban descent.

That’s right. Fernández became an American citizen in 2015. He is…was…an American citizen as me, mi familia y mis vecinos. He was, as Yahoo’s Jeff Passan put it, “He was also the best of us, the pure, smiling embodiment of the American Dream.”

Baseball, for all of its challenges with connecting with today’s sports fan, still brought people together like no other. All races, colors, countries, ethnicities. More so than the NFL. More so than the NBA. They all came together on the baseball diamond.

Perhaps that’s why I watched that video over and over again. It reminded me of what this country can be, even what it already is in some parts of this country. There can be a joining, a union, a coming together of people if there is a common goal.

In baseball, the players on the team come together for a common goal: to win the World Series. Through that process, they have to put aside some of their own selfishness, build each other up, help one another through struggles, cheer in both small victories and large. It will either bring them together, closer to the common goal. Or, it will tear them apart.

Whatever the American dream means to you, José Fernández has to be a representation of it. No matter how you define it, he overcame obstacles and challenges in his path to reach for the dream.

As I watch the video of Dee Gordon one more time, I think about the words of Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates manager, today. 

“Be where your feet are. Enjoy the moment. There’ll be a day when there won’t be another day.”

In other words, life is too short to let circumstances and challenges stop us from being in the moment. If the moments aren’t what we want out of life, then it’s time to change. 

José Fernández did. For his short time on earth, he enjoyed the moment. 


CadChica Sports

EWU Rallies for First Win Over Northern Iowa, 34-30

Hello, Old Friend

There are some football games that you can figure out fairly early how they’re going to play out. Then there are games like tonight in Cheney, WA where the Eastern Washington Eagles come from behind to beat the Northern Iowa Panthers, 34-30. 

It didn’t look that way early on for the Eagles. Led by star senior quarterback, Aaron Bailey, the Panthers took an early 10-0 lead after the first quarter. Bailey was the Panthers do-everything guy going 6-10 with 92 yards passing while rushing for 35 yards on 5 carries and 1 touchdown. UNI was 4 of 7 on third downs and 1 of 1 on fourth down in that quarter.

Meanwhile, the Eagles struggled on offense to start the game. Playing without senior All-American and Player of the Year Cooper Kupp, EWU seemed out of sync. Sophomore quarterback Gage Gubrud, in only his third career start, only went 3-7 for 9 yards passing. 

It looked as though Gubrud and the Eagles figured things out a bit early in the second quarter. The Eagles went 80 yards in 8 plays to cut the lead to three. The drive was highlighted by a 30 yard run by senior receiver Shaq Hill that put the ball inside the 20. Hill finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown reception on a Gubrud pass.  

But, the Eagle defense could not contain the Panther offense before halftime. UNI had back-to-back touchdown drives going 65 yards in 4 plays (1:48) in one and 45 yards in 5 plays (2:11) in the other, leading to a 24-7 halftime lead. 

At the half, the Panthers held a 257 to 172 total yard advantage over the Eagles. They were 5 of 10 on third down (EWU = 3 of 9) and 1 of 1 on fourth down (EWU = 0 of 2). UNI was 5 of 10 in the red zone compared to EWU’s 1 of 2. 

Then halftime happened. 

And Antoine Custer happened. 

The freshman running back from Custer, CA took the kickoff at the 7 and returned it 93 yards for a touchdown. It was the first spark that the Eagles needed. 

A quick three-and-out for the Panthers offense and EWU was back in business, down 24-14. But, a Gage Gubrud interception quickly halted that momentum leaving it up to the Eagle defense with Northern Iowa taking over at the EWU 30. 

Whatever the coaches and players said or did at halftime should be bottled up and used in the future because the Eagle defense stymied the Panther offense again. They kept the score close after a missed Matt Easley 43-yard field goal attempt. 

The Eagle offense could not capitalize going three-and-out on their next series. On their next offensive series, Coach Beau Baldwin recognized the need for another spark calling on sophomore quarterback Reilly Hennessey to lead them. “When we’re in a game, just like at any position, when somebody might be struggling or not feeling it, you want to do what’s best for the team,” said Baldwin. “We felt like making a change and doing something a little bit different.”

Aided by a crucial 4th and 1 offside call on UNI, Hennessey and the EWU offense went 65 yards on 7 plays (2:25) to cut the Panther lead to three. Northern Iowa clung to a 24-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The teams would trade scoring drives in the final quarter. EWU took the lead on a 7 play, 52-yard drive (2:55), on a 7 yard Hennessey pass to Stu Stiles. Stiles had the unenviable task of filling in for senior All-American receiver Cooper Kupp. Kupp was injured in last week’s heartbreaking 50-44 overtime loss to FCS #1 North Dakota State.  

After a Northern Iowa field goal made it 28-27, Eastern Washington could not convert on a 46-yard, 12 play drive on their next possession. UNI would take over on downs and drive to the EWU 32. A Matt Easley field goal gave the Panthers the lead, 30-28. 

“When you are in a fight and you’re getting beat up, you either keep getting beat up or you fight back,” Coach Baldwin said after the game. His Eagle team fought back in a big way on their next series.

“Sneaky Beau Baldwin”, as senior linebacker Miquiyah Zamora calls his coach, pulled out a fake field goal play on 4th and 13. Hennessey, the holder, took the snap, rolled right and found a wide open Beau Byus for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 43 seconds left in the game. The two-point conversion failed. 

“We’ve had the in our arsenal for a while,” Baldwin said in his post-game comments. “You pull it out when you think it’s right. Our guys practice it and I trust them and you execute it.” img_5002

UNI would get the ball back one more time with a chance to win, but the EWU defense was having none of that as they forced a fumble to end the game. 

It was the first victory for the Eagles against the Panthers. They came into the game 0-6 against them after last season’s close 38-35 loss in Cedar Falls. All six of Eastern’s previous losses took place in Iowa. This was the first visit to Cheney by Northern Iowa.

The win puts the Eagles at 2-1 for the season as they head to Flagstaff for an important Big Sky showdown with Northern Arizona next Saturday. The Lumberjacks defeated the Eagles in Cheney, 52-30 last season. NAU is on a two-game win streak versus EWU having beaten the Eagles 28-27 thriller in 2014 in Flagstaff. They are coming off a 73-3 win at home over Division II New Mexico Highlands on Saturday. 

For now, however, the Eagles will enjoy this win tonight. Who will be the starting quarterback next weekend? That will have to wait. Whichever guy is taking snaps, Coach Baldwin thinks they’ll be just fine, “When you have three quarterbacks that can win you games, that’s a nice luxury to have.”

A predictably unpredictable luxury. 


CadChica Sports

Life Lessons from The Book of Amy Trask

The Book of Amy Trask

Just write, baby.

I could hear the voice of Amy Trask, channeling Al Davis, telling me to write. Write what, you ask? Write about the emotions and struggle I felt during and after reading her new book, You Negotiate Like A Girl (written with Mike Freeman). Emotions? Struggle? From a book? Yeah, read on…


Journey to Leadership


When I reached that last chapter, I knew the journey was coming to an end. But, I didn’t want it to end. I felt as though I was reading about a part of my life that I never knew before. As a lifelong Oakland Raiders fan, I felt as if I was peeking into something I shouldn’t be — the man who represented the Raiders, Al Davis.

Represented doesn’t even seem like the right word, does it? Al Davis was, and in some ways still is, the embodiment of the Raiders. In my formative years, he seemed both brilliant and disconnected. Maniacal and innovative. Rebellious and…well, let’s just leave it there.

Here I was reading about Davis from someone who worked closely with him, Amy Trask. Trask was the Raiders CEO at the time of her departure – the first female executive in the history of the NFL. She worked her way up through the organization the right way – with hard work, determination and passion for the organization.

But, what impressed me most about Trask wasn’t just how she handled the relationship with Davis. That, in itself, was no easy task (She always tried ‘not to f— it up!’). No, what impressed me most was – is – her outlook on work and life. In many ways, it surpasses many of the leadership books written by so-called experts, gurus and motivational speakers.

  • Listening Skills – “Reasoned and reasonable arguments intended to problem solve can be valuable. I don’t believe, however that such arguments should ever include ad hominem attacks.” (excerpt from chapter 7, “Get the Sandwiches”)
  • Company-minded thinking: Trask made a concerted effort to learn all she could about the organization from top to bottom, even when she wasn’t yet at the top. Understand how things currently work within so you know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Encourage team dialogue: Trask was cognizant of how every cog in the wheel is important. She encouraged a team-effort to help get the Raiders through the lock-out a few years back. 
  • Think like a fan: I cannot overemphasize this point enough. I’ve been preaching this for years on Twitter to sports marketers. You want to connect with and reach fans, think like them. Amy Trask made it a point to sit with fans, talk with them, use stadium concessions and facilities like they do. Guess what? It worked. 
One doesn’t become CEO of a major sports team in the U.S. without qualities like these. It’s one thing to say it. It’s another thing to live it, then write about it. I don’t know that Trask and Freeman set out to write this book for its leadership tips, but I gleaned many tips from the stories and anecdotes they shared in it.

Not In My Twitter Village


If Trask is never named commissioner of the NFL, can she be named Twitter Commissioner instead? Twitter Czarina? Twitter Princess of Darkness? (More on that in a moment.)
As I closed the book, I had tears in my eyes. Tears because the journey “with” Trask was over. Tears because of all of the stories told (don’t even get me started on what she says about her nameless husband). Tears because of the “what ifs” about “my” Raiders. Tears because I knew I needed to write this review, but deep down I knew it wouldn’t matter. Nobody would read it anyway.

Just write, baby.

There are days when I open Twitter on my phone or TweetDeck on my desktop or laptop and I either a) cringe b) shake my head c) feel like crying d) sigh e) immediately close it. The Twitter of today isn’t what it used to be when I joined back in 2009. Today, it’s a cacophony of look-at-me’s, I’ve got an opinion and you WILL listen and arguments with no one listening.

And that’s just in sports media.

Then I heard a voice. It wasn’t Amy channeling Al this time. It was Amy saying,
Not in my Twitter village.

Amy Trask is a leader. Not a perfect leader, as she would tell you. But, she is a leader who understands the big picture. To reach the conclusion, you need to work out the story first. The story cannot have 10-20, 50-100, 500-1000 different writers each trying to write their own plot. There needs to be a common theme, a common goal to the overarching story.

This won’t happen without communication. Communication requires not just talking but listening too. Listening has become a lost art in many sport media circles.

Call it what you will: the chains/muzzles/restrictions/whatever have been removed for sports media with the advent of Twitter. Before, they could not show any partiality on any non-sports topics. Well, they could, but…not a good look for the employer – a journalist showing a bias about a subject matter meant they couldn’t be unbiased about anything.

Those days are gone. It’s been a blessing and a curse. There is more rhetoric, more bickering, more discord, more (dare I say it) self-importance than ever before. Then again, it’s always been there. It just didn’t have a method of delivery that spreads as quick as Twitter. Twitter has become this generation’s sports talk radio – only instead of callers being screened or certain types of hosts getting on air, everyone gets to talk.

Not in my Twitter village.

Darn it, Amy Trask.

What “You Negotiate Like A Girl” reminded me is to ‘be true to myself’. That has been Trask’s mantra, passed down to her by her mother (to thine own self be true). Trask has operated in that mindset her entire adult life, all the while encountering various levels of resistance.

Trask didn’t looked at her gender as a help or hindrance, although some did and do on both sides of the coin. She didn’t look at race, although she was fully cognizant of it in her organization – the Raiders did many “firsts” along this line – and in society as a whole (read her Nolan Harrison story in the book).Trask story

For her, it was about what you did not who you were. Do your job, whatever that may be, and do it to the best of your ability. You’ll be rewarded based on what you did not who you were (i.e. not because of your gender or race). Don’t whine about what you don’t or didn’t get – make your work so good that you can’t help but be noticed. Learn all you can about your job, help others when you can and just work, baby.

To read Trask’s perspective on this mindset is affirmation for me. My book is filled with folded corners, underlined sentences and numerous margin comments – some of the YES or AMEN variety. I know I’ll have to re-read it to gain even more perspective, but being true to who I am…



Final Thoughts

To me, if we want equality, we can be cognizant of discrepancies and differences that exist all while not operating in them. How? Don’t promote one at the expense of another. Work hard, be determined, learn your craft, listen well, leave toxic environments, champion others and surround yourself with those who believe in you for you.

Communication – which is BOTH listening and speaking – is paramount in any discussion on equality. We may end up agreeing to disagree, but at least we aim to dialogue WITH one another. We need to listen to each other’s point of view instead of screaming (in all caps, of course):  I’M RIGHT. MY POINT OF VIEW IS RIGHT. MY INTERPRETATION IS RIGHT. YOU’RE WRONG ON ALL COUNTS. 

It all starts with respect. Respecting people as human beings. Respecting that they are a person with value no matter who they are or what they represent. They are uniquely created human beings with a mind and a soul. We don’t have to agree with their actions, but they are human beings. 

When we as a society begin to view people in that way, society’s mindset will change. A Herculean task, to be sure. But, given where society is currently at, there needs to be a mindset change. A “village mindset”? Maybe. 

If you follow Amy Trask on Twitter, you understand many of these concepts when she talks about her “Twitter village”. However, if you do follow Amy on Twitter and haven’t read the book, I suggest that you read it. Not only will you learn about her journey, Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders and leadership, but you might even learn a little about yourself if you’re willing to…

Just listen, baby. 


CadChica Sports

The Missing Point on Colin Kaepernick and the Anthem


The National Anthem 

Colin Kaepernick

A quick Google search reveals some interesting headlines:

Criticize Colin Kaepernick but...

Former starting quarterback, now back-up quarterback, for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, did not stand when the National Anthem was played this weekend at a 49ers home preseason game. His reasoning (as told to NFL.com): 

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.”

For those unaware, the killings of young black men by police with no consequences to the police is what Kaepernick is referring to. The topic is not as simple as defining it by racial relations. Why? Because as much as people would like to believe it’s black-and-white, it’s not. 



The longer I work in this sports media business, the less I interact with it online. I’ve learned a lot about the business by asking questions, but I’ve found that I’m learning more by observing. I observe what’s being shared on blog posts, news articles, podcasts, interviews, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. I observe what sports media say when they think no one is paying attention. I observe what fans say when they want everyone to hear them. 

But, I also pay attention to the why. Why does someone believe what they believe? Why do they react to an incident the way that they do? A story that is shared 5 months ago can be quite telling into someone’s reasoning of today. A childhood memory can shape a belief system as an adult. A criminal act that occurred long ago can dictate instant tweets today.

That, my friends, is context. 

Context matters in today’s social media world. It matters especially on Twitter – since that’s where most media reside these days – with its character limits. Instead, people (media and non-media) spout off their opinions as fact without thought as to the why behind the story. 

That’s missing context.

I’ve even seen blog posts mentioning how “social media” attacked Colin Kaepernick. Their definition of “social media”? Twitter.

News flash: Twitter isn’t social media. It is but one platform of many and is a poor representative of majority of America, since, well, most Americans are not on Twitter. Side note: Twitter has 313 million active monthly users WORLDWIDE (source: Statista). That includes businesses, brands, organizations, sports teams, sports leagues — which is key to remember when we’re talking WORLDWIDE Twitter users). But, hey, go right ahead and make assertions about “social media” 

There are stories of how Colin Kaepernick was wrong and if you’re defending him you’re un-American. There are stories of how Colin Kaepernick was right and if you’re accusing him of being un-American, you’re racist. As you can see in the image above, there’s one calling for a new anthem. 

** TIME OUT **


Let me ask this question: What does the National Anthem mean to you? Does it mean the same to you as it does to Colin Kaepernick? What about to an immigrant that just became an American citizen? Does it mean the same as a military widow? How about to a fifth-generation Iowan or New Yorker? 

What the anthem means to you is exactly that. It’s personal. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is right or wrong. It means that is your perspective, based upon your life, your family, your experiences in this country. What it means to you isn’t the same as the next person.

Some place more value in the words of The Star-Spangled Banner than others. Is that wrong? No. Some see the goings-on in this country both now and in the past and cringe at what they see as hypocrisy. Is that wrong? No.

  • RELATED: Alejandro Villanueva on Kaepernick’s protest (ESPN)

We live in a democratic country that enjoys (yes, enjoys) many freedoms. One of the many beauties of America is how different the people in this country are. We are free to honor the flag and sing the words. We are free to sit during the anthem, in silent protest. 

If one has grown up in well-to-do neighborhoods all their life, how can one understand what someone who’s grown up on the streets has endured? If one has never been pulled over by a police officer for speeding, how can one understand being pulled over for doing the speed limit? If one lives and dies by home improvement shows, how can one understand those who were forced onto reservations generations ago? 

And vice-versa. 

There are complexities to everyone’s life that causes each of us to do/say what we do. Yet, some believe (in media, especially) that understanding others can be found in a tweet. Or, that they 

To define Colin Kaepernick in this one act is to marginalize everything else he has experienced prior. To define his dissenters by a single tweet or statement is to marginalize everything they’ve experienced prior. It’s narrow-minded to think either way, but this is the time that we live in right now. 

Sound bite, 140-character, 24-hour, microwave-mentality society.


There are problems in this country. There will always be problems in this country. A free society allows as much because we all bring our different beliefs and experiences to the table. (1)


Do I agree with Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the anthem? No. Does he have a right to do that? Yes. Can I understand why he did it? Yes. Do I understand why people are defending him? Yes. Do I understand why people are outraged? Yes. Are there governmental problems? Yes. Are there societal problems? Yes. 

Now, are people missing something in all of this talk? ABSOLUTELY. 

There are problems in this country. There will always be problems in this country. A free society allows as much because we all bring our different beliefs and experiences to the table. There are other topics that contribute to our differences, including money, power, faith, religion, race, ethnicity and so on and so on. We are all different so expecting us all to believe the same thing is nonsensical. 

What does this country mean to you? What does it mean to you to live in America? What does the National Anthem mean to you? What does it mean to have people giving their lives every day so you can be free? 

How you answer those questions is part of what defines you. Notice how I said “part”. If I were to define you by how you answer just one of those questions means I will ignore the other 99% of what makes you who you are. 

I won’t define Colin Kaepernick by this incident. In a way, I believe he and I share a common trait. He is a thinker. He strikes me as someone who thinks about not only the what but the who, why, where, how and when too. 

That’s how I think too. It doesn’t mean when I finally come to a conclusion that I’m right or I won’t change my mind. I always want to be learning. We will never foster meaningful dialogue without listening and learning from others, especially on emotionally charged topics such as this or race or religion or faith or politics or…….you get the idea. 

Right or wrong, agree or disagree, Colin Kaepernick is helping me to learn. Learn about him, about the NFL, about media, about society and even about you and me. Hopefully, he is learning too.

Question is…are you willing to learn too?

Don’t tweet about it, just think about it.


CadChica Sports

John Saunders: A Legacy of Love and Respect

If we had more people like John Saunders, we wouldn’t have this violence and the hate. John was about one word. Love.

~Dick Vitale


The news hit sports media, particularly those at ESPN, like a ton of bricks.

One of the most respected and beloved anchors in the business had suddenly died. The cause of death was’t given. There was no need. John Saunders was gone. 

When someone famous dies, people naturally take to social media to share their reactions. Or, in the case of me, I read others’ reactions. Not in some kind of morbid way. But, rather, to understand the person. 

How people react to someone’s death says a lot about the person. What kind of person were they? What did they do for others? Positive stories. Negative stories. Funny stories. Special moments. Are people feeling the loss? Or, is it simply “RIP”. 

I always want to know what makes people tick. Who are they? 

Be present. Love them first and last and through whatever comes in the middle.

~Scott Van Pelt (on Saunders’ parental advice to him)

As I began to read through various tweets, I began to get an understanding of a man I’d never met. Oh sure, I’d see Saunders every week on my tv or streaming device during college football season, but I had no idea who he was. Most of us never will know who the people are on the inside when the lights are off. 

ESPN’ers and non-ESPN’ers spoke of a kind, genuine, helpful soul. Yet, he was a professional. Saunders wasn’t one for big-timing people or pushing his own personal agenda to the masses. He was skillful, according to many. But, there was one word that kept echoing through my mind as I read all of the messages. 


John Saunders was respected by his peers. John Saunders was also respectful of his peers.

And, by all accounts, he was respectful of people in general. 


Respect is a lost characteristic today. Far too often in today’s social media world, it’s become about being right and setting people straight when their opinion differs from ours. If they’re wrong, or they tell us we (God forbid) are wrong, it’s our duty, no OUR RIGHT to tell them as much. 

Yes, that is sarcasm. Hard to tell in written word, isn’t it? 

That mindset, however justified in some cases, hinders dialogue. It hinders our ability to not only listen, but evaluate what someone is actually trying to say. Why are they saying what they are saying? What has shaped their thinking? Why do they believe what they believe? Who are they? 

I try to ask myself those questions when I read some of the so-called discourse and conversations that take place on social media. I used to get involved, but it seems (my perspective) that most people don’t want to hear an opposing viewpoint. They don’t want to listen. They simply want to speak. 

And that’s what social media has done. It’s given people a voice. But, somewhere along the way, the voice has become paramount. When that happens, respect is lost. 


See, if we don’t have respect for one another, it makes it hard to listen. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are different levels of respect. The kind of respect that I am talking about is respecting the fact that we are all human beings. I may not agree with you, but I am (trying to get to this place consistently where I am) willing to listen to you with respect because you are a human being. 

I (try to) value what you have to say because I value you as a human being. A human life who is just as worthy as me of being heard. No person is too big or small. We all start out the same as a human life, so why should we disrespect each other? 


That’s my take away from what was said about John Saunders. He had respect for people. It didn’t matter if they were a new intern or a seasoned broadcast veteran, a waitress at a restaurant or a national politician, a college student or a tenured professor – he respected you as a human being.

Saunders made time for you as often as he could. He knew who he was and strived to help you find out who you were too – a key element in this sports media industry we work in. 

All I can say is that there are a lot of people on tv who have their own agenda. They’re in it for themselves. But, his main message last Friday at NABJ, was he wanted and accepted the role of being a mentor.  

~Jemele Hill

Our country, our world is changing at a rapid pace. Some good, some not. Many fret over where we are at and want change now. If we truly want change, it begins and ends with respect. 

Want to help out this generation and the next? Be someone that respects self and others. Be one that respects opposing viewpoints. Be one that respectfully dialogues. Be one that respects human life no matter what. Be one that teaches our children to do the same. 

John Saunders seemed to epitomize one who respected himself and others. His aim was to help build others up and, in turn, help build a better society.When we learn to respect ourselves and others, we are helping to build a better society and world for

Like it or not, we’re all in this together. Let’s work together, despite our differences, to build a better world for us and the next generations. Respect should be the cornerstone of our foundation. 

And when our days are gone from this earth, may the words spoken about us be like those said about John Saunders this past week. 

That we exemplified love and above all else, respect. 


CadChica Sports

1 2 3 105