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Penguins acceptance of Trump’s White House invitation odd, but opportune.

September 25, 2017 Leave a comment

At the beginning of June, Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, stating that he was acting on the grounds that he represents the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. Now at the end of September of the same year, mirroring the US election results in which Hillary Clinton received 75% of the Steel City’s vote, the actual people who reside in Pittsburgh have again made it clear that they don’t all agree with President Trump’s sentiments.

Trump’s incendiary comments at a rally speech on September 22nd regarding NFL players following Colin Kaepernick’s lead in taking a knee during the American national anthem, and subsequent withdrawing of Stephen Curry’s invitation to visit the White House (along with the rest of the Golden State Warriors) to recognize his team’s NBA championship win due to Curry’s “hesitation” to accept the invitation, sparked a torrent of social media based backlash from many professional athletes from across North America’s “Big 4” sports leagues (for starters, see: Blake Wheeler, NHL; LeBron James, NBA; Bruce Maxwell, MLB) as well as press releases in the media, and public displays prior to games from team owners, management, and players all standing together in solidarity against Trump, and the larger narrative of racism in America. The Pittsburgh Steelers (followed in kind by the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks) opted to not be present on the field during the national anthem in direct protest to Trump’s stance – though the Steelers’ offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva did come out to salute the flag and sing along against the wishes of his head coach.

While representatives of the NFL, MLB, and NBA all made statements and took different degrees of action, the NHL also responded, though not in sync with everyone else.

The Steelers’ city mates, the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are the NHL’s most recent Stanley Cup champions, took the road less travelled, releasing a statement on September 24th in acceptance of the President’s invitation to bring their trophy to the White House, give him a jersey, and pose for pictures, confirming Trump’s tweet on the same day about their pending visit. No date is set, however, which hints this statement release was anything but coincidental, and suggests very odd and questionable support for Trump and his recent words.

“Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit,” reads the latter half of the Penguins’ media release.

There are keywords in that paragraph to hone in on – firstly, the notion that the Penguins respect other people’s rights to free speech and expression, just not those of their own personnel, apparently. Secondly, that a political disagreement can be expressed in a way other than declining an invitation to visit the White House, and rub shoulders with a demonstrably terrible human being and even worse world leader. What exactly could that alternative angle be?

Penguins’ captain, Sidney Crosby, ran further with that same idea in a later interview, scratching the surface of something quite tangible, if you let the concept breathe for a moment.

“I still feel like we look at it as an opportunity. We respect the office of the White House. People have that right to not go, too. Nobody’s saying they have to go. As a group, we decided to go,” Crosby told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on September 24th.

If what Crosby says about none of the Penguins being forced to go is true, we’ll have to see if any of them decide to pull a 2012 Tim Thomas and skip out on the event due to political disagreement (or other pro athletes who have done the same in the past) while his whole team still goes – if that were to be any of them, some might suggest it be Ryan Reaves, the only black player on Pittsburgh’s roster, though Reaves was born in Winnipeg, Canada. But they also have 16 American born players in their lineup, and an owner in Ron Burkle who knows Donald Trump personally, who all could take that opportunity of a public audience with the President that others are either declining or being disqualified from possessing – the opportunity to have an open, visible discourse with Trump, to air grievances in a diplomatic fashion, have their voice heard, and simply hear what he has to say in response. Every player will surely get the chance to look Trump in the eye and shake his hand if only for a moment – what they do with those precious few seconds could go a long way in either direction, or absolutely nowhere at all.

It would be the perfect opportunity for the NHL to start practicing what they recently started preaching, in accordance to excerpts from the league’s recently developed and published official Declaration of Principles:

We Believe: The game of hockey is a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills. These benefits are available to all players, desirable to every family and transcend the game. Hockey’s greatest value is the role it plays in the development of character and life skills. We believe in our ability to improve lives and strengthen communities globally through hockey.  

All hockey programs should provide a safe, positive, and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

Integrity: We do the right thing, not the easy thing. We have courage on and off the ice.

Wouldn’t it be something to see someone outside of Trump’s inner circle, or the hosts of Fox and Friends, try to talk some sense into him face-to-face, rather than through TV or Twitter? We’ve all seen how well Trump remotely dialogues with his fellow Americans and foreign leaders alike through his preferred social media vehicle of Twitter. While the statements all professional athletes have been making thus far are valid and meaningful, none of them have been channeled directly at Trump’s face, not transmitted through a screen. As juvenile as it would be, Trump basically can basically still say, “Oh yeah? Why don’t you say that to my face?” to it all. And this seems to be the opportunity that the Penguins truly have, as I hope Crosby was eluding to. Might then a hockey player, generally considered fair, conservative and level-headed, be the perfect person to bring a slant of reason to this president? Trump may not listen to any of it, but at the very least someone from the Penguins could convey a message. Hopefully the team makes the most of the chance their captain already knows they have. Either they tap into the character they have developed through hockey, use courage and their powerful platform to transcend the game and do the right thing in helping all families feel included regardless of their minority status, or they instead do the easy thing that would be just showing up to smile for the cameras, nod when spoken to, and give classic canned answers to reporters while they tour the oval office and admire the furniture. I know which option I would prefer.

***UPDATE***
On October 10, 2017, the Pittsburgh Penguins visited Donald Trump at the White House, and did and said nothing. 😦

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Product Review: The Mission Belt

January 26, 2015 2 comments

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It’s impressive when a company can re-invent a basic product, and actually have their new approach reach beyond the label of total gimmick. Take the belt and belt buckle for example – l mean, since forever (actually only since the Bronze Age, says Wikipedia), anyone who has ever had a need to keep their pants from falling down has accepted that a belt strap wraps around your waist, heads through a buckle, and then is affixed with a prong securing itself in a hole on the belt’s opposite end. The belt buckle strays a little from this method, but is still conceptually the same. So it is, so it was, so it always will be, right?

Enter The Mission Belt Company. Mission Belt has, without a doubt, changed the belt game. For the better. Not only do they make a better belt than what we’re all used to, they’re helping make the world a better place too. So beat that, conventional belt makers.

muralThe major conceptual reinvention Mission Belt employs with their leather belts and buckles is a ratchet system, built into both the buckle and the leather strap. They’ve completely bypassed the standard holes and prong approach, instead giving you a completely different fastening experience. Conversely, Mission’s belt does away with the leather puncturing holes and replaces them with gear-like teeth on the underside of the strap. When this section hits the buckle after insertion, it’s met by the pawl on the backside of the connection point. The wearer simply slides the belt in as far as necessary, and the belt locks in place. When escape is necessary, freedom is only a release knob lift away. Readjustment requires only a push in on the strap – unlike the traditional belt that requires an entire unlatch and re-latch to get where you need to be. Don’t expect readjustment to be overly necessary though – unlike old style belts that can loosen over time through wear and tear, the Mission Belt stays locked in place all day unless you tell it otherwise.

Still need help with this new concept? Here’s a video walkthrough: 

Mission Belts are resizable too — here’s another video walkthrough on how to shorten the leather strap.

IMG_7524Further, you can (likely) get a buckle with your favorite team’s logo on it. 22 NHL teams are available, alongside squads from the NCAA and NBA. Each team has 2-4 pre-set leather color options, but if none of them strike your combo fancy, you can mix and match your buckle with one of the 17 leather colors the company offers. And if sports belts aren’t your thing, they have a whole line of other fashionable belts to peruse instead. A standard belt/leather combo set runs $54.95, but alternatively you can pick your own buckle for $34.95, and then pay $20 for leather of your choice, to get the combination you desire or to switch up another setup you already have in play. Sizes fit small to large, accommodating 32” to 42” waists within those standard sizes, or you can customize a belt to fit up to a 56” waist.

Beyond all that, “Mission” is not only the company’s name, it’s also part of their business plan. For every Mission Belt sold, $1 is donated to Kiva, a non-profit peer-to-peer “micro-lending” organization that helps provide opportunities to support economic development and entrepreneurship around the globe. To learn more about how Mission Belt’s team up with Kiva helps fight global hunger and poverty through micro-lending, read Mission’s statement on their practices here, visit Kiva’s website www.kiva.org, and visit Mission Belt’s Kiva lender profile here.

Additionally, find Mission on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, YouTube, and their website missionbelt.com.

Look good with Mission Belts, and feel good about looking so good too!

=========CONTEST=========

Wanna win your own Mission Belt? I am giving away a size medium (up to 35″ waist) LA Kings buckle with “Cool Grey” strap to the first commenter who can correctly answer the following question:

Wayne Gretzky finished his NHL career with 2,857 regular season points and 382 playoff points. What is the combined total of regular season AND playoff points he scored for the LA Kings?

The first person to leave the correct total in a comment will win! Good luck!

 

New AllSportsMarket Free App allows you to trade pro sports teams like stocks

October 23, 2014 Leave a comment

NHL hockey legend, Bernie Nicholls, and Hollywood stuntman and filmmaker, Ace Underhill have teamed up to build the World’s First Sports Stock Market. The duo’s brainchild, the All Sports Market App (ASM), is a sports stock market App where fans can buy and sell shares in their favorite NHL, NBA, and NFL teams.

After each game, the winning teams payout dividends to their shareholders (note: the app is free, and no real money is involved). Players can accumulate SportsFolio Points to exchange for ASM Dollars (the in-app currency), which can then be used to buy real sports memorabilia and other sports products from the Rewards Store (opens in or before January 2015, though points are collectible now). The program parallels the real stock market, except that ASM uses sports teams from leagues that people actually know, rather than unfamiliar businesses listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

ASM is free to download, free to play, and offers sports fans an alternative to “gambling”, instead focusing on “investing”. It’s more of a “reality sports” product, rather than a “fantasy sports” product.

“As a player, I always loved the fans and appreciated them,” Nicholls said. “I’ve tried to give back as much as I can. All Sports Market is taking it to the next level by opening up a whole new world of fun and opportunity for sports fans everywhere. It’s simple. You buy and sell teams like stocks on the stock market. When they win, you win!”

“ASM is a quantum leap beyond fantasy sports,” Underhill remarked further. “We know fans love consuming all the data they can find, following their players and bragging about them, but something is missing… a REAL connection to their favorite teams. We enable fans to own the game.”

The app, and its unique combination of founding talent, has drawn the attention of comedian Christopher Titus, film and television star Zack Ward, triple Grammy winner Ben Moody, Snoop Dogg, and many other celebrities and athletes who are participating in the worldwide launch over social media.

By contributing to and supporting the Snoop Youth Football League (SYFL), ASM seeks to help end financial illiteracy and create new opportunities for kids to learn finance through sports. The SYFL’s classroom setting and focus on education in addition to athletics makes a partnership with the sports stock trader a logical evolution.

“I love the kids and I always have,” said Nicholls. “I love the youth camps and programs. Having Snoop on board is just awesome. I know we’ll do great things together.”

“The children are our future,” Underhill continued in his manifesto on the sports trading movement. “As cliche as that sounds, it’s true. Financial illiteracy in this country, and the world, represses people’s abilities to overcome the day-to-day challenges of earning and handling money, as well as planning for their future. What if you could focus all that sports knowledge and passion into a positive change for your personal future?”

Upon reading Underhill’s statement, Snoop replied, “Run with it everywhere.”

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Full disclosure: I owned 50 shares in the LA Kings at the time of this picture.

ASM is a great way to really get involved with your favorite teams, giving players a feeling of novelty and involvement not normally gleaned from other sports products. It gives the fans a sense of empowerment both through the ownership of a team ‘share’, and the confidence that goes with having learned about stock trading, without having to open a text book.

To find out more about the AllSportsMarket App, visit ASM’s website: http://ASMFree.com/; Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/asmfreeapp; and Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/ASMFreeApp

You can download ASM for free on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/kr/app/asm-free!-allsportsmarket/id905746665?l=en&mt=8

Read more about ASM online:

1) Yahoo! Finance: www.finance.yahoo.com/news/hollywood-stuntman-hockey-legend-build-184700872.html

2) Reuters: www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/16/ca-allsports-snoopdog-idUSnPn5gC6sQ+89+PRN20141016

3) The Hockey Writers: http://thehockeywriters.com/all-sports-stock-market-ex-nhler-bernie-nicholls-explains/

*********

AllSportsMarket (ASM) is operated by The New Sports Economy Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established to teach finance through sports. Ace Underhill is the sole technical architect with over 15 years experience working in movies, television, and music videos with such luminaries as Snoop Dogg, Coldplay, Rihanna, Foo Fighters, and other top artists worldwide. Bernie Nicholls is ASM’s spokesman and sports industry liaison. Bernie was an explosive scorer who accumulated over 1,200 career points while playing for six NHL teams. Recently, Bernie helped coach the L.A. Kings to their first Stanley Cup in 47 years.

The Snoop Youth Football League is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded to provide the opportunity for inner-city children to participate in youth football and cheer. The SYFL serves children between the ages of five and thirteen, teaching them the values of teamwork, good sportsmanship, discipline, and self-respect, while also stressing the importance of academics. Visit: http://snoopyfl.net/

XP PSP s01e04: The Black Parade

June 17, 2013 1 comment

In episode 4 of XP PSP we discuss:

-The demise of the LA Kings and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Conference Finals, and the Hawks/Bruins Cup Final from all angles.

-steps to take when choosing a new playoff team to cheer for when yours has been ousted.

-Game fixing.

-Superstitions of fans and athletes, and how they affect performance.

-The NBA Final between the Spurs and Heat.

Download_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_1004Subscribe and download us on iTunes as well!

XP PSP s01e03: Chelsea’s Dagger

June 1, 2013 Leave a comment

In our third episode, we catch up on/discuss:

1) the first two rounds of NHL playoff eliminations, previewing conference finals, and catching up on the NBA playoffs, and our predictions across both sports.

2) 8th seeds running wild in the playoffs, and the legitimacy of an 8th seeds playoff threat across sports.

3) Which sport’s playoffs are the hardest to win.

4) The audacity of people calling close, low scoring playoff games boring.

5) cheering for players vs teams; former players becoming/succeeding as coaches (Roy, Gretzky), Tortorella benching Brad Richards, “contract years”….

….and plenty more.

Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com

Download_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_1004Subscribe and download us on iTunes as well!

Categories: Hockey, Podcasts, Sports, XP PSP Tags: , , , ,

XP PSP s01e02: By Crooked Steps

May 10, 2013 1 comment

Whoa, we made a second episode? Huh. How about that.

Well,in episode two, we discuss:

-The NHL playoffs; the demise of the Vancouver Canucks, and how to fix them.

-The differences between the regular season and the playoffs.

-The NBA playoffs; Jason Collins, and homosexuality in sports.

-Brittany Griner, and the prospect of women playing in the NBA, and other male dominated sports.

Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com

Download_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_1004Subscribe and download us on iTunes as well!

XP PSP s01e01: Evenflow

April 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Fun little venture I’ve started up with some fellow sports-minded fellas here in Korea; We’ve started the Expat Pro Sports Podcast — XP PSP — and basically myself, Sachin Mahajan, Harold Dale, Jason Hiltz, Ryan Brown, and who knows who else will rotate in and out to chat about everything going on in the sports world for about 30 minutes at a time. For those expats out there who are missing their favorite multi-million dollar athletic competitions back home, we hope this scratches your itch just a little.

In our premier episode, we chatted about:

-The NHL playoffs, previewing a few of the first-round series.

-The NFL draft, Manti T’eo, and whether owners should touch the championship trophy first or not.

-The NBA playoffs, and whether the Miami Heat can be beaten.

-Why the Toronto Blue Jays are still bad.

-Whether coaches or management are to blame for a team with good players being bad.

-much, much more. Well, a little bit more.

Special thanks to the talented Ralph Hass of http://www.hasthevoice.com/ for providing our intro voice-over.

Enjoy the first episode! Leave a comment with some feedback, tell us if you like it, and what you’d like to hear in the future.

Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com

Download_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_1004Subscribe and download us on iTunes as well!

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