Half-time: Fulham 2 Wigan 1

first_imgFine goals from Ross McCormack and Matt Smith gave Fulham the advantage despite Wigan controlling much of the play.The Whites began the game brightly and went in front after only four minutes.Sean Kavanagh rolled the ball to McCormack, who curled it brilliantly around Scott Carson from the edge of the box for his 13th goal of the season.But Wigan, in Gary Caldwell’s first game as manager, found their way back into the game and also converted their first chance, after 20 minutes.Having been restored to the starting line-up, Jermaine Pennant fired in a free-kick past Marcus Bettinelli after Scott Parker had fouled James McClean.With Fulham on the back foot for much of the half, McCormack almost grabbed his second, only to be denied at the last moment by a sliding challenge from Harry Maguire.And it was his strike partner who put Fulham ahead again 10 minutes before the break.Smith found a pocket of space 30 yards out and unleashed a sublime shot into the top corner to give the Whites an undeserved half-time lead.Fulham: Bettinelli; Grimmer, Turner, Burn, Husband; Hoogland, Parker, Tunnicliffe, Kavanagh; Smith, McCormack. Subs: Kiraly, Stafylidis, Hutchinson, Ruiz, Kačaniklić, Woodrow, Rodallega.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

SA marks Year of Biodiversity

first_imgFlowers growing in the Drakensberg’s Injasuthi nature reserve. (Image: MediaClubsouthafrica.com. For more free photos, visit the image library) The UN has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB), and South Africa, with its wealth of natural treasures, is set to mark the event along with the rest of the world.The year-long celebration of the variety of life on earth is driven by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), under the slogan Biodiversity is life, Biodiversity is our life.The CBD, a global plan to tackle important issues facing biodiversity, entered into force in December 1993. The secretariat exists to facilitate meetings of the parties to the CBD and to coordinate with relevant international bodies.South Africa became a signatory to this important convention in 1993, and a party in 1995. The country has since ratified the instrument, which means that it has been approved by Parliament and is now binding.The 10th conference of the parties, known as COP 10, takes place in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010.The IYB will be officially launched in Berlin on 11 January under the auspices of Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry.Its goals are to raise awareness of the importance of conservation and threats facing natural life, promote understanding of the economic value of biodiversity, encourage organisations and individuals to step up their conservation activities, celebrate achievements, and to forge an effective plan going forward from 2010.Global extinction crisisThe CBD has stated that global biodiversity is in the throes of the greatest extinction crisis since the demise of dinosaurs 65-million years ago.Some experts estimate that precious species are disappearing at up to 1 000 times the natural extinction rate, and worse, the CBD predicts a dramatic rise in the already-frightening rate. Current trends show that around 34 000 plant and 5 200 animal species face extinction at this moment, and that 66% of ecosystems around the world are approaching ruin. Now is the time to act.The IYB also coincides with the 2010 Biodiversity Target, an international conservation agreement to significantly reduce the global biodiversity drain due to often-irresponsible human activity. The target was first adopted by the EU in June 1991 and later confirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002.Announcing the IYB, executive secretary of the CBD, Ahmed Djoghlaf, said not one country had met the terms of the target, which were to achieve, by 2010, “a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth”.The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Countdown 2010 branch has brought together around 1 000 participants – representing governments, civil society and corporations – to work towards achieving the 2010 biodiversity target.Celebrating our biodiversityAlthough South Africa covers just 2% of the world’s surface area, it is home to nearly 10% of all the world’s plants, which amounts to 24 000 species. About 7% of the world’s vertebrates and 5.5% of all known insects also call the country home, making it a biodiversity treasure trove.Within its borders lie three internationally renowned biodiversity hotspots. These are the magnificent Cape Floral Kingdom, the Succulent Karoo – which flows into Namibia, and the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany region. Maputaland-Pondoland is shared with Mozambique and Swaziland.South Africa is also famed for its marine biodiversity. About 11 000 species – some 15% of the global total – dwell in South African waters, with 3 496 species, or over 25%, endemic to the country. South Africa is the fifth richest country in Africa and 24th in the world in terms of the number of mammal, birds, amphibians and reptiles that are native to her soil.The South African government is well aware of the immense value of the country’s biodiversity, and between 2003 and 2005 developed and implemented a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. This document, overseen by the national Department of Environmental Affairs, identified nine areas for conservation priority and also laid out steps to conserve freshwater, estuarine and marine ecosystems.The country’s Biodiversity Act was signed into law in 2004 by then-president Thabo Mbeki, providing biodiversity protection at the highest level. Among others, the act calls for full environmental impact assessments before the development of any genetically modified organisms, and also permits communities to benefit from any profits gained through exploitation of natural materials, such as medicinal plants, that involve their indigenous knowledge.Raising awarenessIn addition to the numerous environment-aware celebrations in South Africa each year, the country is hosting the Biodiversity Expo 2010, a gathering which will explore the work currently being done in that field, and establish what more needs to be done.South Africans are encouraged to attend, if possible, and to broaden their knowledge of biodiversity, perhaps even becoming involved on a volunteer or career basis.The expo takes place from 25-28 March 2010 at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Newlands, Cape Town. This well-known research institute and tourist drawcard is part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute.South Africa will mark the following environment-related events in 2010:•    World Wetlands Day (2 February);•    National Water Week (15-19 March);•    World Water Day (22 March);•    Earth Hour (27 March);•    Earth Day (22 April);•    International Day for Biodiversity (22 May);•    World Environment Week (31 May-14 June);•    World Environment Day (5 June);•    Arbour Week (1-7 September);•    International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (16 September);•    Marine Week (11-15 October);•    National Bird Week (22-26 November).Football stars support biodiversityThe UN Environmental Programme has teamed up with sportswear manufacturer Puma in an IYB campaign to support Africa’s vulnerable plants and animals, and raise awareness of the year-long event among football fans.Play for Life sees 12 Puma-sponsored African teams adopting a unique continental football strip known as the Africa Unity Kit, as their official third kit. They are Ghana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Mozambique, Togo, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco and Namibia.The 12 teams will also wear the Fifa-approved strip during friendly games in the build-up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which kicks off on 11 June in Johannesburg.The Africa Unity Kit debuts at the 2010 African Cup of Nations football tournament in Angola between 10 and 31 January. All profits from worldwide sales of the replica kit will support biodiversity programmes in Africa. Besides the kit, other items such as Unity t-shirts and lacelets – collectable shoe laces featuring patterns from leading American artist Kehinde Wiley – are available.“In 2010, Africa will be at the centre of the footballing world. The Play for Life campaign and the release of the Africa Unity Kit is a powerful statement for Puma,” said the company’s CEO Jochen Zeitz.“Puma is creating a unique kit embracing the diversity of African teams while valuing the unity of players and supporters towards a common goal – raising both awareness and funds through the sale of our Unity products,” he said.last_img read more

Parents often see obesity in kids as being “healthy”

first_imgTill age four, AT was a lean child. Then an episode of fever led to serious weight loss. On recovery, her parents made it their primary responsibility to feed her. Within a year, she put on so much weight that she was euphemistically referred to as “healthy”. AT, never too,Till age four, AT was a lean child. Then an episode of fever led to serious weight loss. On recovery, her parents made it their primary responsibility to feed her. Within a year, she put on so much weight that she was euphemistically referred to as “healthy”. AT, never too keen on sport, started spending more time on “computer games” and “chatting” on the Net. By the time she came to me as a patient, she was 10 and weighed a worrying 72 kg.Is she a rare entity in today’s urban India? The answer is a resounding and deafening ‘No’. Studies from across the country, especially among urban middle and upper classes, demonstrate that between 20-25 per cent children are either overweight or obese. Over a period of two decades, the average weight of children has increased by over five kg, which in public health terms is equivalent to an “epidemic”. Our own study, from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) among schoolchildren in Delhi, showed that about one-quarter weighed more than their suggested ideal. The problem seemed to start early, with 10 per cent of even five-year-olds being overweight or obese. And it peaked with onset of puberty in both boys and girls.The time trends of childhood obesity unequivocally mirror the surge in economic growth in India. A serendipitous confluence of biological, developmental and technical components have contributed to the emerging epidemic that we see today. From a time when food scarcities were a norm to now, when there is abundant food availability at least among the affluent, coupled with a decline in energy expenditure for activities of daily living-the shift in energy balance has been huge. Extreme endocrine and genetic disorders (a minute proportion of this entity), enhanced caloric consumption, declining physical activity, dramatic increase in sedentary activities (including working or playing on computers, watching television) and a rapid socio-economic and nutrition transition combined with easy access to consumer goods-consumables and energy saving-all contribute to the problem.advertisementFor AT, parental concern over her weight loss led to her spiralling weight gain. To them, the term “healthy” denoted the misconception that a few extra kilograms have a positive health connotation. An inappropriate health notion that finds currency across the country.Click here to EnlargeIs there more to overweight in a child than merely a cosmetic issue? The unfortunate reality is that the significant health implications of childhood obesity are yet to be universally recognised, even among the medical fraternity. When we evaluated more than 500 overweight and obese children in Delhi, 10 per cent had abnormalities of glucose metabolism (with frank diabetes among one per cent); nearly two of every five children had abnormal cholesterol levels. This data was reaffirmed recently by a larger study involving over 3,000 children-with a similar proportion having elevated cholesterol. A striking majority had high “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and low levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL). Childhood obesity begets adult obesity with its attendant risk. But, even before that, childhood obesity has immediate health implications: diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure (BP), fatty liver disease and perhaps maximally (less quantifiable but equally critical) psychosocial complications. Studies in the developed world have clearly linked childhood obesity with poor school performance and unhealthy or risky behaviour, including alcohol and tobacco use. Obesity in childhood and adolescence sets off the process of atherosclerosis and is linked to cardiovascular mortality in adults. Lung disorders, such as asthma and obstructive sleep apnea, are more prevalent among obese children. While obesity reflects increased energy intake, several micro-nutrient deficiencies, namely iron and vitamin D, are much more common in such children.An additional problem, often described from low and middle income countries like India, is when babies born small rapidly gain weight in childhood and adolescence. This has now clearly been shown to be associated with a higher prevalence of diabetes, high bp, lipid abnormalities and other metabolic disturbances. A recent study, following a group of individuals born in south Delhi 40 years ago, shows the implication of this transition from low birth weight to increased weight in young adulthood.The best strategy to counter this problem is a vexed and contentious issue. The ideal approach would be to prevent weight gain. But this is easier said than done. Prevention has to be done at multiple levels-individual, household, school and community. While it is important for the child to be counselled, home and school-based interventions are critical. Parents should be encouraged to offer appropriate food portions and encourage physical activity. And they have to ensure that such advice is followed by all members of the household. It does not help if a child finds others in the family are exempt from the “regimentation” being “imposed” on him or her. A “healthy” school environment is equally important-from suggested food items to be brought in “tiffin” to ensuring adequate sporting facilities.advertisementAT’s parents had started dragging her to nutrition experts and personal trainers, swimming and aerobic classes. But the child showed limited, if any, enthusiasm. Fortunately, her metabolic parameters did not reveal major derangement. We started a prolonged and gradual intervention programme, through multiple interactions with doctors and nutritionists, where she was encouraged to express her views. As rapport and trust developed between the child and her medical team, she embarked on a self-driven and self-targeted programme of weight loss. Over a period of one year, she lost weight and is now a trim, energetic, physically fit and outgoing 12-year-old.Unfortunately, others are often not as lucky.- Dr Nikhil Tandon is a professor at the department of endocrinology and metabolism at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhilast_img read more

a month agoEx-Dinamo Zagreb chief Mamic: Levy included price for 5 shirts in fee for Spurs Modric deal

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Ex-Dinamo Zagreb chief Mamic: Levy included price for 5 shirts in fee for Spurs Modric dealby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Dinamo Zagreb chief exec Zdravko Mamic has recalled selling Luka Modric to Tottenham.The Real Madrid ace moved to Spurs in 2008.Mamic recalled to Four Four Two magazine: “We already had an agreement for Modric to move to London. I asked Levy (Daniel, chairman) for five Spurs jerseys and he told me that he would give them to me, but that at that point Tottenham would pay a lower sum for the player’s transfer, given that from the agreed €21m it would be subtracted. “Levy is the best negotiator in the world. This story made me realize how much he values every single euro coming out of Tottenham’s coffers.” last_img

Harassment complaint made against Alberta university womens hockey coach

first_imgLETHBRIDGE, Alta. – The head coach of the University of Lethbridge women’s hockey team is to receive more training after the school investigated a formal harassment complaint filed by six of her players.In documents obtain by the Lethbridge Herald the players outlined 21 complaints against Michelle Janus.They included claims the coach told a player she had to do mandatory counselling because of a suicide attempt; that bullying was allowed; and that players had to pay between $2 and $20 into a fine jar for broken rules, some of which involved their sexual history.The players alleged the coach used ice time to threaten players, was disrespectful to people on the team and threw and broke equipment.The university would not talk about the results of its investigation.But in a decision dated July 31, the school told the players that while “the policy on harassment has been violated,” Janus would remain as head coach and undergo more in-depth education and training.“There were certain incidents assessed … as ongoing coaching and instruction for the sole purpose of improving performance,” the report said. “Other incidents … created an intimidating environment.”Player Alannah Jensen told CTV that lines were crossed.“There is a difference between being intense and being abusive,” Jensen said in a interview.CTV said Janus did not return its request for comment.The school said a code of conduct will be established in the year ahead to improve the environment around the team.Janus was named head coach of the women’s hockey program in June 2015.— By Nick Kuhl at the Lethbridge Herald and CTV Calgary.last_img read more

Chiefs slam Harper on murdered Indigenous women support growing for direct action

first_imgBy Kenneth JacksonAPTN National NewsTwo of the chiefs that stormed Parliament Hill a year ago say the actions of the prime minister indicate he couldn’t care less about murdered Indigenous women and have thrown their support behind direct action to force a national inquiry on the issue.Chiefs Patrick Madahbee and Isadore Day fielded questions from APTN National News based on the recent ultimatum by Tyendinaga Mohawk activist Shawn Brant.Brant is giving Prime Minister Stephen Harper until the end of the month to call an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women or face unspecified direct action.“Shawn has demonstrated that he backs up his words,” said Madahbee, grand council chief of Anishinabek Nation in northern Ontario. “I support anything that is done with the intent of protecting our rights.”Brant is a well-known Mohawk activist and led a blockade of Hwy. 401 in 2007 for 11 hours. At the same time he blocked the railway tracks and local road choking the route.The Harper government has refused to call an inquiry and the Prime Minister’s Office didn’t respond to questions sent by email.Madabhee said direct action is typically the only way to get the government’s attention and tactics like passing out leaflets or getting signatures for a petition don’t work.“The government has become used to that tactic. It doesn’t move them,” he said.Madahbee said Harper has no sympathy for the growing number of missing and murdered that ranges between 600 to 3,000 according to various studies.“This prime minister just doesn’t care,” he said.Madahbee was there with Chief Isadore Day of Serpent River First Nation, in northwest Ontario, when they stormed Parliament Hill Dec. 4, 2012 and tried to get into the House of Commons to confront Harper. It was arguably the beginning of the Idle No More movement as the cross-country protest escalated from that day forward.Day says he backs direct action for a national inquiry, however his answer was a little more complex.“I support direct action but think if it’s going to have an impact we must include others in that march,” he said. “Direct action must be done with the inclusion of others relevant to process.”So far Brant has refused to say exactly what he has planned but has told APTN it will be more than a blockade of a highway or railway tracks.“The notion of having all the details of a campaign is very natural. We are asking for unconditional support for a cause that needs to be concluded by whatever means necessary,” said Brant, whose Mohawk community sits near Belleville, Ont. “I understand it takes tremendous courage to trust our judgment.”Brant’s 2007 highway and railway blockades cost the Canadian economy about $100 million, according to the Canadian Security and Intelligence ServiceBrant and the “Mohawk men of Tyendinaga” have been given a mandate by the community protect Indigenous women and the first step he said is national inquiry.“We are only asking our leadership to look into their hearts and decide for themselves if tactical uncertainty is worse than the on-going slaughter of our mothers and daughters. Doing nothing is no longer an option,” he said.Day agrees doing nothing is no longer an option and said the murder and abductions of Indigenous women is an issue to draw a line on.“My opinion is we should leave the political soapbox far away from this issue and do all we can in our communities for our women and girls and contribute to a collective push to hold the federal government accountable for every loss of life of our Indigenous women,” he said. “Our First Nation women are being marginalized in a national policy by the Conservative government that is not only disgraceful (but) refusing a national inquiry is a national embarrassment to all Canadians.”Gladys Radek and Gail Nepinak have both lost family members. In Radek’s case her niece went missing in 2005 and has not been heard from since, while Nepinak lost her sister to serial Killer Shawn Lamb and her body is supposedly buried in a Winnipeg dump underneath trash.The Native Women’s Association of Canada issued another call for an inquiry last week presenting the names of over 23,000 people who want one too at a media conference in Ottawa.President Michele Audette remained neutral on the call for direct action but said she appreciated Brant’s support.At the same media conference last week, Algonquin elder Annie Smith St. George said everyone should come together in a peaceful way.“We should a never stop speaking about it, we should take it and work together, it’s time to come together in a peaceful way,” said Smith St. George. “If we can do a peaceful dialogue and not going against each other, because you know, you get hurt.”kjackson@aptn.calast_img read more

Buckeyes field hockey flash past Kent State 82

It took the Ohio State field hockey team seven games to score nine goals. Against Kent State, the Buckeyes almost matched their season total for goals. OSU (5-3) beat Kent State (4-6) on Wednesday, 8-2, at Buckeye Varsity Field. After back-to-back road wins at Ohio University and Bucknell, OSU returned home and extended its win streak to three games. Senior forward Danica Deckard helped lead OSU to the win, tallying a hat trick and an assist. Deckard now has eight of the team’s 17 goals this season. By game’s end, six different OSU players had scored and four had posted an assist. OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said her team now has the look of a “hungry” squad. “I like the way we are playing together, our timing is a lot better,” Wilkinson said. “We’re distributing the ball and off second effort we are able to finish our opportunities.” Deckard agreed. “We were just really connecting passes and making stuff happen. So, it was really good to get a game like this where we made each other look good,” Deckard said. Kent State struck first 10 minutes into the game and held onto the lead until the 23rd minute when Deckard scored two unassisted goals in less than three minutes to give the Buckeyes their first lead. OSU wouldn’t look back. A goal from senior forward Berta Queralt, assisted by junior back Nora Murer, brought the score to 3-1 with five minutes left in the first half. OSU struck first in the second half with the first career goal from sophomore midfielder Mona Frommhold and an assist from Deckard nine minutes in. The Golden Flashes countered with a goal of their own less than a minute later making the score 4-2. After giving up a second goal, junior goalkeeper Emma Voelker turned away three shots and OSU held Kent State scoreless in the last 25 minutes of the match. “Emma played great, Emma made some great touches on it,” Wilkinson said. “All the support players in that corner defense played really smart, really proud of them.” OSU continued to pull away from the Golden Flashes with consecutive goals from veteran players in the span of almost five minutes. First, it was junior midfielder Paula Pastor-Pitarque who won possession of the ball in front the net and put it past the goalie for her second goal of the season. Next, Deckard completed the hat trick with a goal off an assist from sophomore forward/midfielder Carly Mackessy. The Buckeyes kept the pedal to the metal despite their 6-2 lead and scored two more goals in the last five minutes of the game. OSU’s seventh tally came from freshman forward Peanut Johnson with an assist from fellow freshman forward/midfielder Annie VonderBrink. It was Johnson’s first career goal and VonderBrink’s first career point. “It was exciting because I’ve been working hard but it was a complete team effort,” Johnson said about her first goal. The scoring barrage ended with a second goal from Frommhold with 3:17 left in the game. The Buckeyes will continue their home stand and start Big Ten play Friday versus No. 10 Northwestern. “It’s going to be a great game, like every team in the Big Ten you can’t take any of them lightly,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be a really tough, we just have to fight for all 70 minutes.” read more

Jordan Hall has big day in win over Buffalo

Shelby Lum / Photo editorRedshirt senior running back Jordan Hall pushes through the line with the ball in a game against Buffalo on Aug. 31. OSU won, 40-20Coming into Ohio State’s season opener against Buffalo, the question was, “Who was going to step up as running back?”After OSU’s 40-20 victory, though, the question is, “Who can stop Jordan Hall?”The redshirt senior running back was named the starter in the week leading up to his team’s season opener, but there were some doubts about his ability to perform as the main running back.Hall quelled any doubts that the fans had by halftime, tallying 126 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground in the first half. He finished with 159 yards on the day, a career high.Both of his touchdowns came on big runs in the first half, one of which was a career-long at 49 yards. The other, a 37-yard sprint, came one play after Buffalo had cut the lead to 10 points and all but dashed any hope the Bulls had for a comeback.Junior quarterback Braxton Miller said that Hall’s second touchdown helped to keep the momentum in Ohio State’s favor as the game was starting to slip away from the Buckeyes.“It slipped a little bit. But Dontre (Wilson) came back with a nice kickoff return, we got up a little bit and then Jordan scored a nice little run,” said Miller.Hall credits his touchdown runs to the holes that were created for him by the offensive line.“I just was like wow, I don’t know if they messed up or the O-line just did what they do and I just (saw) it and I took it,” Hall said.It was a long journey back for Hall, who, despite being named a captain in 2012, missed 9 of 12 games because of two separate injuries.“It was tough, it wasn’t as tough because we won every game, so I feel like if we had lost a couple of games it would have been even tougher because I would have felt like I could’ve helped,” Hall said when asked about his time spent on the bench last season. “But we won every game so I was happy for my teammates.”During the offseason, it was believed that Hall would fill the H-back role in Meyer’s offense, but senior wide receiver Chris Fields started at the position Saturday, due to his ability to both run and catch the ball.Hall said he spent time preparing to be the H-back, but was also ready if he was needed as a traditional running back.“I was going to be the H and coach told me I had to learn both positions, so wherever they put me, I’m going to do what I have to do to help the team win,” Hall said.Hall finished the game with three catches for 14 yards to go along with his rushing total, but also caught a pass for a two-point conversion from senior quarterback Kenny Guiton.The two-point conversion was the second in a row for OSU, with Guiton being in on both conversions.“The first one we had a guy over to the right…basically Drew called it for me. He was like ‘You want me to block ‘em?’ and I said ‘Go ahead.’ I ran it in. And then the next one they had about four guys there, and I’m like they don’t have enough to hold Jordan and the offensive line. So I just threw it out,” Guiton said.Hall was glad to see the team come out to a fast start, taking a 23-0 lead after the first quarter, but felt that after that the team got complacent and slowed their pace.“Coach (offensive coordinator Tom Herman) Herman challenged us to come out fast, get things going, and I think we did that,” Hall said. “In the second half we slowed down a little bit, but we’ll be better next week.”Senior running back Carlos Hyde, the expected starter heading into the season, will return from suspension on Sept. 21 against Florida A&M. With Hall’s performance in the opener, it will be interesting to see what Meyer decides to do in the backfield.Hall isn’t worried about the return of Hyde, saying it’s about the team, not his individual stats.“We’re all brothers on the team, whatever we’ve got to do to get a win and do what our goal is this year, that’s our main focus,” Hall said.OSU next plays host to San Diego State at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 at Ohio Stadium. read more

Opinion Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman shouldnt be judged based on one

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman waves to the crowd during the Super Bowl Parade Feb. 5 in Seattle.Courtesy of MCTIn the two weeks between the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XLVIII, every person who encountered any type of sports media likely learned the name of Richard Sherman.The third-year cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks stole headlines from many other worthy story lines heading into the biggest sporting event of the year.Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning breaking single-season passing records and leading the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl in his second season after returning from a career-threatening neck injury?The NFL’s best offense squaring off against the NFL’s best defense in a true test of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object?How would the Seahawks’ offense, with running back Marshawn Lynch arguably being the only player who would rank in the top 10 of NFL players at his position (Lynch finished with 1,257 yards on the ground, good for sixth in the league), keep up with the prolific scoring of the Broncos?All of these buzzworthy topics took a backseat to the controversy surrounding the 25-year-old defensive back’s on-camera reaction to a sideline reporter’s questions after the Seahawks’ Jan 19 victory.Sherman’s deflection of a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree into the waiting arms of linebacker Malcolm Smith sealed the NFC Championship victory and a Super Bowl berth for Seattle.With the attention of the football world on him, Sherman had set himself up for a potentially huge payday and possibly some new endorsement deals.After Sunday’s game, Sherman’s name did not make the front page of many newspapers after he turned in a quiet but efficient performance in Seattle’s 43-8 victory over Denver.He was credited with three tackles and one pass deflection in a game where his most noticeable effects on the game were the two times play was stopped while Sherman sprawled on the turf in pain.Sherman was carted off the field during the fourth quarter with a high ankle sprain, but returned to give a relatively subdued interview — a far cry from the outburst that garnered so much attention two weeks prior.He had practically forcibly grabbed the spotlight while enthusiastically proclaiming himself to be the “best corner in the game” in the postgame interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews after his team’s 23-17 win.Despite not making any spectacular individual plays or boasting an impressive stat line, Sherman played an integral role in a team effort that held Denver and its NFL MVP quarterback to one score in the entire game.Manning never looked comfortable in the pocket, and he often checked down to short-yardage passes. He threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, was sacked, was involved in a safety after his center snapped the ball over his head, and had eight of his passes batted down in a disappointing outing.Sherman might not have earned a spot on the Super Bowl highlight reel, but at least he did not turn in a dud like Manning.Most importantly, Sherman added “Super Bowl Champion” to a résumé that already includes being a two-time first-team All-Pro and Stanford graduate.Hopefully, his calmer postgame demeanor this time around will silence his critics, at least temporarily. Social media exploded with derision and racial slurs directed toward Sherman after his outspoken on-air rant in the Andrews interview.Despite being loud, Sherman does not have any obvious character flaws or negative history and would actually make a great role model for young athletes.He was salutatorian of his high school class of Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., and attended a college known for academics instead of athletics, graduating after five years with a degree in communications and starting a master’s instead of leaving early for the NFL.“I really wanted to make that known to people that you can go to Stanford from Compton,” Sherman said when he was drafted.After the deciding play in the NFC Championship Game, Sherman congratulated Crabtree by saying “helluva game” and extending a handshake. Crabtree reacted by shoving Sherman’s facemask, which presumably was the catalyst for Sherman’s now-infamous rant.The world should judge Sherman on his credentials and achievements instead of his volume in one interview. He’s proven himself to be one of the best corners in the league, if not the best, as he claimed. Or, if Sherman goes off on another rant, maybe he can rant about his support of academics, good sportsmanship and opposition of illicit drugs. It would be hard to call him a “thug” after a rant like that. read more

Opinion Cleveland Cavaliers playoff run should be celebrated not mourned

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James heads to the bench with seconds remaining in the game against the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on June 16, 2015. The Warriors won, 105-97, to clinch the championship. Credit: Courtesy of TNSThe Cleveland Cavaliers came up short.The curse lives on for another year (unless, of course, the Indians start living up to the lofty expectations of Sports Illustrated).The Cavs have still never won an NBA championship, and the good people of the City of Cleveland still haven’t been able to weep tears of joy since the winter of 1964.So as one of those (hopefully) good people, why do I feel an absence of dread the next day? In fact, I even feel pretty good about what just transpired in the NBA playoffs, even if it was the Golden State Warriors winning it all.The answer is simple: This is clearly not the end of the road for the Cavs. The window is still wide open, and I remain as confident as ever that LeBron James will bring a trophy to the city sooner rather than later.In 1995, after the Indians won 100 games and made their first playoff and World Series appearance in 41 years, a parade was held in their honor. Sure, there was no trophy to hoist — that was way down south in Atlanta — but their runner-up finish represented something new: hope and optimism. The Indians might’ve lost the series, but the city was sure that its time was coming.Of course, the Indians did not fulfill that destiny after all, but hey, that’s Cleveland sports for you.But the NBA is a lot more predictable than the MLB, and it’s hard to see the Cavs coming up short much longer, as long as LeBron is healthy.For one, the Eastern Conference has been, and will remain, absolutely horrible. The Cavs made an absolute mockery of the conference in the first three rounds, going 12-2, including two sweeps. And that was without Kevin Love for 10 and a half of those games and Kyrie Irving hobbled or absent for about half of them.Then in the Finals, against a far superior Warriors team, missing two Team USA players in Love and Irving, the Cavs very nearly stole the series. Their 2-1 lead after three games was the first time a Cleveland team had led a championship series at any point in 67 years.And that’s where my happiness behind the fresh pain of losing the series comes from. I know moral victories do not end a two-generation drought, but I can clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel.The Cavs will be better next season. They won’t need half the season to learn how to play with each other, they will be getting Irving, Love and Anderson Varejao back healthy and they will know for a fact that they have the ability to get it done.I know how things work in Cleveland sports too well to count my chickens before they hatch, but this just has a different feeling to it.“There’s always next year” has never felt so true. read more