The following was written by Cleveland sports fan, paralegal, and playwright Andrew Scheid, a Northeast Ohio native currently living in Chicago.
During the final minutes of last month’s World Cup match between the US and Belgium, I joined an army of bodies crammed into a tiny gelato shop near my office in downtown Chicago to watch the end of the game. Naturally, every set of eyes in the café was locked on the screen. Individuals who previously failed to utter a word to each other during regular encounters in elevators and hallways were laughing and sharing stories, instantly united by the national team playing on a global stage. But of course, not everything on the ground in Brazil was fun and games, with FIFA’s corporate machine having ushered in policies of massive housing displacement and police brutality in the name of the soccer tournament, along with the allocation of billions in public funds for stadiums with severely limited use.
Days later, the announcement of LeBron James’ return to Cleveland offered another reminder of the unparalleled capacity of sports to unite strangers into a community, as well as the danger created by corporate exploitation of this unifying power. Naturally, the basketball superstar’s decision brought out a collective euphoria in Northeast Ohio residents, with massive crowds gathered in downtown Cleveland to celebrate the prospect that the Northeast Ohio native would return home to lead the nation’s longest and most suffering sports town to a long-awaited championship. Yet after 4 years of petulance and poor planning,” for reasons apparent to no one, the biggest financial beneficiary of James’ return is the Sultan of Subprime himself, Dan Gilbert.
Gilbert, of course, has already gotten plenty of leverage out of James’ talent, especially … Click here to continue reading at Belt Magazine …
“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.” — Francis Bacon
“If the fool would persist in his folly, he would become wise.” — William Blake
As much as only a damn fool would [click to continue…]
Folks in Cleveland and everywhere are fairly up in arms over the disparity between the NFL’s recent 2-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for having (allegedly) violently battered his wife, and the whopping 16-game suspension that star Browns receiver Josh Gordon is expected to receive pursuant to league policy for having tested positive for marijuana use.
The NFL’s lack of regard for the humanity of females has been pretty well pointed out in this story, and the “hit women, not joints” jokes have been made. But remaining underappreciated in all this is the extent to which the nation’s prison state mirrors that of its National Football League when it comes to a “war on drugs.” Not that it’s much of a surprise to see a multi-billion-dollar corporation violate the public interest by manipulating a set of bad laws, but the NFL’s marijuana policy offers an especially clear example.
Plenty of this is absurd enough on its face. Gordon was able to lead the NFL in receiving in just 14 games last season, breaking three league records and three more franchise records despite his “drug problem,” and despite … Click here to continue reading at Belt Magazine …
If we’ve learned anything in the days since LeBron James announced that he’ll return to his native Northeast Ohio to play again for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s that the reports of locals burning his jersey had been greatly exaggerated.
Not only did the majority of Cavs fans never burn their gear, they didn’t throw it out or hand it off to Goodwill, either. Hell, even Dan Gilbert and his family hung on to their LeBron gear, per the Cavs’ owner’s (possibly apocryphal) tweet: “My 8-year-old: ‘Daddy, does this mean I can finally wear my Lebron jersey, again?’…Yes it does, son. Yes it does!”
No, those jerseys at Gilbert’s house and others were tucked safely in closets and basements, tacit reminders of the hope Northeast Ohioans held that LeBron might one day come home and they’d wear them again.
Last Friday night, they did.
Click here to continue reading at CleveScene.com …
More here shortly on “a relationship with Northeast Ohio that’s bigger than basketball.” For now though even LeBron would have to excuse a few days, or a few months, or whatever the case may be before getting back to the real world, so to speak, and anyone would have to agree that things are looking at least a little bit up in Cleveland.
At some level it’s of course good news that a government office with jurisdiction over the issue took an official step in recognition of the Washington Redskins name for what it is: A racist slur adopted by a racist in celebration and furtherance of white supremacy. Yet despite all the excitement about bootleg Redskins merchandise and $9 billion dollar lawsuits, the US Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to cancel the registration of six Redskins marks represents a small measure, probably unconstitutional, that even if upheld on appeal would hardly cause the NFL franchise to lose any trademark protection at all. In the end, it’s little more than a reminder that we live in a world where it has to be so hard to take such a small and obvious step in the first place.
Which isn’t to say that the reminder is unhelpful. [click to continue…]