Nationwide Marriage Equality a Victory for Society

This is a most historic day in our society. Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court voted to legalize same-sex marriage by a 5-4 tally, a ruling which guarantees same-sex couples the right to wed, regardless of their state of residence.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy handed down the ruling, saying, in part:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

At the core, today’s ruling to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide is a major victory for the United States of America and society. It shows how far our country has come in terms of progress and openness.

In closing, this is a day that will forever be celebrated for its historic impact.

CNN has posted the entire ruling online, which you can read at http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/26/politics/scotus-opinion-document-obergefell-hodges/index.html.

The Football Life of a Special Needs Dad

drewzuhoskydaily:

A touching story. If you know someone with autism, go ahead and read this MMQB post.

Originally posted on The MMQB with Peter King:

By Digger O’Brien, NFL Films

Imagine loving sports all your life, then getting a dream job with the NFL working for Steve Sabol. And imagine you can’t wait for the day when you can share it all with your son—until you find out that day will never come.

I have four kids; my son Frederick is 13 years old, and has a diagnosis of autism and mental retardation. If you asked him his favorite athletes, he would say Elmo, Cookie Monster and the Count; those are his three favorite people and he doesn’t know what an athlete is. I’ve been with NFL Films for 20 years and been lucky enough to attend a dozen Super Bowls, but none with Frederick. He sometimes sits down to watch an Eagles game with me, but only for the purpose of waiting for a player to fall down or get tackled, and then…

View original 2,456 more words

#NBAFinals Schedule

The 2015 NBA Finals are now all set after the Golden State Warriors disposed of the Houston Rockets in five games in the Western Conference Finals. Here is the schedule.

2015 NBA Finals Schedule: (all games on ABC, WatchESPN, ESPN Radio, Cleveland Cavaliers Radio Network, and Golden State Warriors Radio Network)

Game 1: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors (Thursday, June 4, 9:00 p.m. EDT, NBA Countdown on ABC at 8:30 p.m. EDT)

Game 2: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors (Sunday, June 7, 8:00 p.m. EDT. NBA Countdown on ABC at 7:30 p.m. EDT)

Game 3: Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers (Tuesday, June 9, 9:00 p.m. EDT, NBA Countdown on ABC at 8:30 p.m. EDT)

Game 4: Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers (Thursday, June 11 at 9:00 p.m. EDT, NBA Countdown on ABC at 8:30 p.m. EDT)

Game 5: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors (Sunday, June 14 at 8:00 p.m. EDT, NBA Countdown on ABC at 7:30 p.m. EDT)

Game 6: Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers (Tuesday, June 16 at 9:00 p.m. EDT, NBA Countdown on ABC at 8:30 p.m. EDT)

Game 7: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors (Friday, June 19 at 9:00 p.m. EDT, NBA Countdown on ABC at 8:30 p.m. EDT)

Notes: Games 5-7 if necessary. With last year’s change in format from 2-3-2 to 2-2-1-1-1, the NBA will give the teams an extra day off between Game 6 and a potential Game 7 to recharge.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is, for many people, an unofficial kickoff to the summer season, but we will always remember the true meaning for this holiday. It’s a day to honor all of those men and women in our military who are currently or were serving the United States of America, and especially those members of the military who died to protect our freedoms.

Without those freedoms, we couldn’t do what we do every day.

We cannot thank you enough for your service to this nation. You are American heroes in the truest form. May God bless each and every one of you.

Happy Memorial Day.

SaberCats Continue Hot Start to Season

We’re halfway through the 2015 Arena Football League season, and the San Jose SaberCats are starting to pull away with the Pacific Division in the National Conference.

Through nine weeks of play, the defending Pacific Division champions are perfect with a 9-0 record, 2-0 against divisional opposition, outscoring teams 551-337. Last week, San Jose disposed of the Cleveland Gladiators, 70-58 at home.

Their statistics are indicative of their great success. Just look at them.

Quarterback Erik Meyer has gotten off to a fine start this season, throwing 136-for-215 (63.2 completion percentage) for 1,812 yards, 42 touchdowns, and only two interceptions. 19 of Meyer’s touchdowns have come down in the hands of wide receiver Reggie Gray, who has more than certainly lived up to his nickname “Big Play.”

Thus far, Gray has caught 67 passes for 767 yards, leading San Jose in the receptions category. He’s also stepped up tremendously in regards to kickoff returns, where he’s lead the SaberCats with 664 yards over 30 returns. In addition, Gray has made plays on the defensive side of the football with three interception returns.

Helping the cause in receptions has been an easy job for San Jose this season. Wideouts Adron Tennell and D.J. Stephens have combined for 57 catches for 856 yards and 23 touchdowns. Darius Reynolds has also been a contributor in terms of catching the ball. He’s caught 24 passes (eight for touchdowns) on 344 yards.

Fullback Odie Armstrong has been quite the workhorse carrying the football. On 31 carries, Armstrong has gained 78 yards and scored eight touchdowns. Erik Meyer has called his own number 13 times this season for 29 yards and one touchdown rush. Reynolds has gotten in on the act, as well, running the rock a dozen times for 18 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Defensively speaking, quarterback sacks have seemingly become cakewalk for the SaberCats, as six-year veteran noseguard Jason Stewart and four-year middle linebacker Francis Maka have teamed up for 11.5 sacks resulting in 40 yards lost. Defensive end Donte Paige-Moss, one-year veteran out of The University of North Carolina, has accounted for 4.5 sacks and 13 yards lost.

However, the two impact players on this year’s SaberCats defense arguably have to be defensive backs David Hyland and Ken Fontenette, who have combined for 127 tackles and 10 picks.

This team wouldn’t be successful without the help of the players on the offensive line, such as George Bussey, center Matt Armstrong before he was lost for the season due to injury, Colin Madison, who is a former All-Arena selection. Having a great offensive line is vital to a football team’s performance, and the SaberCats’ O-line deserves all the credit.

Furthermore, San Jose is tops in every major statistical category, save for time of possession. Points scored, check. Points against, check. Offensive efficiency, check. Whatever the stat is, chances are they’ve got the lead.

Their upcoming schedule contains some very winnable games. This week, San Jose will be on the road against 3-5 Portland, followed up by a home contest versus Spokane and then an away game versus winless LA. The ‘Cats could very easily be 12-0 in three weeks’ time and just might be the team to finally unseat the Arizona Rattlers as AFL champion in late August.

#Als sign Ex-#Rams, #Cowboys Linebacker Michael Sam

In the run-up to the 2014 NFL Draft, former Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam made a courageous revelation to the media and to the country as a whole.

Before the NFL Scouting Combine last year, Sam announced that he was gay. The defensive back was ultimately selected with the St. Louis Rams’ seventh-round draft pick (249th overall) last May.

Despite a preseason wherein Sam recorded 11 tackles and three quarterback sacks, he failed to make the regular season 53-man roster. Just days before the NFL regular season began last September, the Dallas Cowboys acquired Sam, signing him to their practice squad.

Last October, Sam was waived by the Cowboys organization after a month and a half.

For months, Sam has been waiting to get back in the game in any form. Today, he’s back in football.

The Montreal Alouettes have signed Michael Sam to a one-year contract with the team, a deal which includes a vesting option for an additional season in 2016.

Sam comes to Montreal after having a great college career at Missouri, where he recorded 123 tackles (36 for loss), 21 sacks, and two interceptions.

His best season of his collegiate career came in 2013, his senior year. That season, Sam split the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award with Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley, currently with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.

In the 2013 season, Sam had 11.5 sacks (the conference leader in said category), 21 tackles, and one forced fumble (which he took back for a touchdown in the 2014 Cotton Bowl Classic, a 41-31 Tigers win, only the second Missouri Cotton Bowl victory in team history.)

Alouettes General Manager Jim Popp welcomed Sam to the team warmly on Friday, saying “With the signing of Michael Sam, we have become a better organization today. Not only have we added an outstanding football player, we have added even a better person that brings dignity, character, and heart to our team.”

Sam welcomes the opportunity. When reached for comment on Friday morning, he thanked Popp, Robert Wettenhall, Alouettes owner, and head coach Tom Higgins for taking a flyer on him. He’s eager to get to work.

“I cannot wait to put on the pads, get back on the field and work hard each and every day with my teammates to bring a Grey Cup to the great fans here in Montreal,” Sam said in a statement Friday morning.

New CFL Commissioner Jeffery Orridge weighed in on the signing earlier Friday, as well, congratulating the Alouettes organization on bringing Sam to the team, and calling the signing  “another indication of how open and progressive the CFL is.”

Personally, I’m very happy for Sam and the Alouettes organization. Michael Sam is a great football player, one who deserves a chance to show everyone what he can do at the professional level. He struck a blow for gay athletes and gay people everywhere. This is a man who deserves our respect and admiration.

Best of luck to Michael Sam.

Team Morale a Key to Breaking KISS Slump

The Los Angeles KISS have had a rough go of things to start their franchise. After going 3-15 in the inaugural 2014 campaign, they still have yet to record a victory in their sophomore campaign.

At 0-8, LA is the last winless team in the Arena League this season, and the stats reflect their record.

First off, LA has only scored 300 total points through eight weeks of play while surrendering 466, the worst aggregate score in the league. Secondly, the KISS have committed 80 penalties for 494 yards lost, also dead last in Arena in this category.

The KISS also rank last in every other major statistical category in the AFL, except for yards gained on offense. With this week being the team’s bye, it’s time for head coach Bob McMillen to take the focus off of football for right now and try to loosen his players up.

When any team endures a long slump like the KISS have endured to begin this season, sometimes doing non-game related activities can boost a club’s morale and really bring the players together.

Between games, the KISS could try a yoga session. Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt cancelled his team’s practice on May 10, before Cleveland’s come-from-behind win over the Chicago Bulls in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinal versus the Chicago Bulls, this being less than 24 hours removed from dropping Game Three at the hands of Chicago and Derrick Rose, whose game-winning buzzer-beater gave the Bulls a 2-1 series lead.

Blatt instead had a team yoga session at the Cavs’ hotel that Saturday, and the Cavs wound up taking the ensuing three games to secure a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals. If it worked for Cleveland, it can work for LA.

Secondly, McMillen could try taking the team out for a fun night of bowling. A game of bowling or two is sometimes a great stress reliever, and this 0-8 team is obviously under a tremendous amount of stress.  Plus, sports teams will often hold bowling nights with some of the players, so why not take the guys out to knock down some pins?

Thirdly, how about a night at the arcade for the team? Arcade and video games are quite a good stress reliever, and can really bring out togetherness among the players of the LA KISS. In between games on a West Coast trip last season, several players on the Cleveland Indians found an arcade in the Anaheim area to blow off steam after dropping a series to the San Francisco Giants, although the slump continued in the ensuing series against the LA Angels.

The LA KISS desperately need a slump-buster and they need one very soon. Breaking the slump begins with boosting the team’s morale, and then the KISS can work up from there.

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