Simone Biles Makes History by Nailing Two Signature Moves — and One Is Now Named After Her

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Simone Biles posing on gymnatict floormat after performance smiling with hand in the air

Simone Biles has done it again!

The decorated gymnast made history on Saturday at the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, by successfully landing the triple-double during her floor routine and then the double-double dismount on the balance beam.

The moves earned Biles, 22, huge applause from the audience. USA Gymnastics confirmed on Twitter that the impressive feat ensures the triple-double will be named the Biles II, in honor of the athlete.

Biles already has two moves named for her, one in the floor exercise and one on a vault, according to CNN.

Last week, the gymnast explained why she refrains from calling herself a “superstar” gymnast despite her incredible success.

“If I were to label myself as a superstar, it would bring more expectations on me and I would feel pressured, more in the limelight, rather than now,” Biles explained during a press conference before the 2019 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Germany.

“I just go out there and compete,” she added. “I try to represent Simone… not ‘Simone Biles’ whenever I go out there, because at the end of the day, I’m still a human being before I’m ‘Simone Biles, the superstar.’”

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LL COOL J hosts his 15th Annual Jump & Ball Youth Camp

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LL Cool J posing the Jump Ball team

Over the weekend, LL COOL J returned to his hometown in Queens to host the closing ceremonies of the 15th Annual Jump & Ball Community Camp. LL was greeted by the more than 200 youth who participated in the month long camp and residents of the neighborhood where he grew up.

Launched in 2005 by LL COOL J, Jump & Ball is a free and fun-filled camp every Saturday & Sunday during the month of August for hundreds of kids from Southeast Queens.

The program was developed as an opportunity for the kids in the community to not only learn the game of basketball but also learn team building and leadership skills critical to life off the court.

LL has always been an avid philanthropist involved in numerous causes including literacy for kids as well as music and arts programs in schools. Celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year, LL’s charity “Jump & Ball” – which takes place every August in his hometown of Queens, New York – aims to give back to his local community by offering a five-week athletic and team building program dedicated to bringing wholesome fun to young people.

Guests enjoyed lie music courtesy of Rock the Bells, LL COOL J’s curated Sirius XM channel featuring classic hip hop, a special performance by the Harlem Globetrotters, free food, free back to school haircuts and more.

LL and youth at Jump and Ball

Looking to Be the First Woman in the NFL

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Toni Harris headshot

Antoinette “Toni” Harris aims to be the first woman to play in the National Football League (NFL). “If it doesn’t happen, I can just pave the way for another little girl to come out and play, or even start a women’s NFL,” Harris said in a recent interview with NBC News, following her decision to sign with the Central Methodist University football team. Harris, a 5-foot-7 free safety, is on track to become the first female football player in school history as well as the first female skill position player to sign a letter of intent to play college football on a scholarship.

Harris chose Central Methodist over five other offers. “I picked Central Methodist because of the resilience within the school itself and how Coach Calloway had been communicating with me,” Harris said.

The endeavoring NFL player gained national notoriety after starring in a Super Bowl commercial for Toyota earlier this month and has been interviewed by the likes of CNN, NBC News, and Sports Illustrated. She spent two seasons at East Los Angeles College and says she felt Coach Calloway had her best interest at heart during the recruiting process.

“Sometimes you have to pick and choose,” said Harris. “I feel that Central Methodist will be the perfect place for me.”

Sources: becauseofthemwecan.com, cmueagles.com

The Repair of Diversity in Baseball: Black Representation in the Major Leagues

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The beginning of the Major League baseball season has finally arrived. Fans are piling into stadiums to watch their favorite baseball teams take the field for the 2019 season. Baseball is considered as ‘America’s Pastime’ being created on American soil and one of the nation’s oldest sport. However, there is a blaring disconnect between “the old ballgame” and African-American participants.

Baseball has the smallest percentage of baseball players between the three major professional sports. The total percentage of African-American players is under 8% compared to the NBA’s 75%, and the NFL’s 64%. Although some of baseball’s greatest players are black, (ex: Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson, Ken Griffey Jr.) there seems to be a lack of interest with the game of baseball in black communities. There are a few theories to why this has taken place.

Baltimore Oriole’s all-star outfielder Adam Jones fills in on his belief in this detachment between blacks and baseball. “The decisions made in baseball are white made decisions. The league has experimented with various rule changes to speed up pace of play and reach younger fans, but the racial politics of baseball are the most in need of an update,” claims Jones. Simply put, Jones feels the league can do a better job connecting with African-American social issues as the other sports have made a priority.

The NBA has carried out numerous social justice initiatives including ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirts and supportive gear representing unlawful deaths of black men by police. The NFL has had its dilemmas with social justice problems as well. Colin Kaepernick is famous for his decision to kneel during the National Anthem at NFL events. This trend started a wave of players following suit and kneeling for the National Anthem as well, which later sparked a mass discussion via social media and news platforms around the nation. Although the NFL has made clear their unsupportive for the act, baseball has ‘pleaded the fifth’ when it comes to social issues. Baseball is a very traditional sport and bringing off the field racial tension is to be avoided at all cost. Seems like a fair option for leaders in the sport, however African-American players feel voiceless in expressing social issues regarding their culture. Speaking out as an African-American baseball players comes off as disrespectful to the game.

Another take to the disconnection of African-Americans and baseball is the simple fact is baseball is just too boring. As a black man and a former baseball player, I can advocate to this theory. Watching a basketball game that experiences hundreds of possessions per game and is extremely fast-paced is simply more interesting than a four hour baseball game that ends 2-1. Contrarily, black athletes can bring an element to the game of baseball that sparks excitement. There is a plethora of talent in urban areas, however baseball is a very expensive game to play. “Travel baseball averages out to $3,700 per year. But families can pay upward of $8,000 if they opt for extra training services and play in out-of-state tournaments—travel costs are the biggest determining factor here. Your child’s equipment and uniform typically cost $200 to $500.” (US TODAY SPORTS). These prices are just simply unaffordable for a talented youth baseball player coming out of an inner city area.

To contrast this glowing error in the economics of youth baseball, Major League Baseball has funded the RBI Program (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities). “The program was founded in 1989 in South Central Los Angeles by former MLB player and scout John Young to help increase inner-city involvement in baseball. Today, more than 200,000 kids a year from underserved communities around all 30 MLB Clubs participate in the program.” This program’s initiative is to draw attention to the many talented athletes in our urban communities that do not have the resources and scouting to play at the highest level. The program was the discovery point for many Major League Baseball players today like Some great players have played in RBI leagues, like Carl Crawford,”Coco” Crisp, James Loney, Jimmy Rollins, CC Sabathia, Yovani Gallardo, Justin Upton, and James McDonald.

With the funding and growth of initiatives like the RBI program, there is hope that many more of our talented African-American baseball players will have the opportunity to represent their culture at the highest level of baseball and change the diversity statistics of Major League Baseball.

(via Business Insider)

Brian Flores Ready To Join Dolphins’ All-Black Leadership Team

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Not sure if the NFL has ever had a minority head coach from Brownsville, Brooklyn, but New England Patriots defensive play-caller Brian Flores will fit that mold when he assumes the head coaching position with the Miami Dolphins.

Flores is a living example that the American Dream is still very much alive.

Once highly-touted defensive coordinator Matt Patricia left to become head coach of the Detroit Lions after the Patriots lost to Philadelphia in the Super Bowl, Flores was awarded the defensive play-calling responsibilities in addition to his job as linebackers coach. He had huge shoes to fill.

On Sunday, Flores, the son of immigrant parents from Honduras, had the kind of slam dunk final interview that a hunch could never satisfy.

“You don’t get to be defensive signal caller under Bill Belichick unless you know your stuff,” NFL sideline announcer Tracy Wolfson said in a flattering appraisal of Flores’ efforts during the Patriots’ 41-28 thrashing of the LA Chargers in Sunday’s AFC Divisional Playoff game.

The Patriots defense stifled the No. 6 scoring offense in the league behind a variety of blitz packages and defensive alignments. Now Flores and the Patriots will look to suppress the Chiefs offense, who finished No. 1 in the league in 2018.

Dolphins owner Steve Ross and general manager Chris Grier have seen enough. They intend to offer their vacant head coaching position to Brooklyn native.

Despite the owners’ whitewashing of the NFL head coaching ranks, the Dolphins seem to be on a progressive plane of their own. Miami would be the only NFL team to have a black/Hispanic coach, black general manager and assistant GM. Grier will remain the GM next season and Miami just hired former Buffalo Bills scout Marvin Allen to assist him.

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