Episode 16: Elliott’s suspension appeal, Charlottesville, and FIFA’s Players of the Year noms

On Episode 16 of Burn It All Down, Julie DiCaro, Brenda Elsey, and Jessica Luther welcome ESPN’s Adrienne Lawrence as a guest co-host. We talk about the NFL v NFLPA regarding Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, reactions to Charlottesville and the future of anthem protests, and FIFA’s questionable Player of the Year nominations.

As always, you’ll hear the Burn Pile, Bad Ass Woman of the Week, and What’s Good in our worlds.

Key Points from this episode:
• The Ezekiel Elliot case: The NFL recognizes that no victim is perfect
• Acknowledging inequality and the call for white athletes to step up
• When does the anthem protest expand beyond sports?
• Charlottesville and the shift in violent racial thinking
• What’s political and what’s nationalist?
• Thoughts on FIFA’s Player of the Year nominations
• Can FIFA count? Why Women get 10 and Men get 24 shortlisted
• Who is making the Women’s Player of the Year nominations?
• Burn Pile: Dino Costa, old man tennis injuries, NFLPA emojis, FA bling culture
• BAWOTW: A homeless medalist and FIFA women referees
• And much more!

For links and a transcript of the show…


Links:

Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension and appeal, explained: https://www.sbnation.com/2017/8/18/16141526/ezekiel-elliott-suspension-appeal-explained-nfl-domestic-violence

NFL says NFLPA is smearing Elliott’s accuser, NFLPA rips NFL’s credibility: https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/nfl-says-nflpa-is-smearing-elliotts-accuser-nflpa-rips-nfls-credibility/

Red Sox Renew Push to Rename Yawkey Way Amid Monument Debate: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/sports/baseball/red-sox-yawkey-way-monument-debate.html

Tampa Sports Teams Offer To Provide Funds For Removal Of Confederate Statue: http://deadspin.com/tampa-sports-teams-offer-to-provide-funds-for-removal-o-1797945826

Kevin Durant says he’s skipping the White House visit and his Warriors teammates ‘all agree’: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/08/17/kevin-durant-says-hes-skipping-the-white-house-visit-and-his-warriors-teammates-all-agree/?utm_term=.fca2d4c0426e

Steve Nash’s tweet: https://twitter.com/SteveNash/status/897562705371906048

Chris Long puts arm around Malcolm Jenkins in support during national anthem protest: https://www.sbnation.com/2017/8/17/16165290/chris-long-malcolm-jenkins-national-anthem-protest

Ten nominated to be The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2017: http://www.fifa.com/the-best-fifa-football-awards/news/y=2017/m=8/news=ten-shortlisted-for-the-best-fifa-women-s-player-2017-2904327.html

Portland Host Dino Costa Fired For Offensive Comments: http://www.insideradio.com/free/portland-host-dino-costa-fired-for-offensive-comments/article_76b138c6-838f-11e7-8c48-cbd39ae9d70a.html

All The Top Men In Tennis Are Broken And Calling It A Day: http://deadspin.com/all-the-top-men-in-tennis-are-broken-and-calling-it-a-d-1797899316

NFLPA’s emoji tweet: https://twitter.com/brittalih/status/897890448672301057

FA under pressure to explain £80,000 payment to Eni Aluko after bullying complaint: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/16/eni-aluko-fa-under-pressure-explain-money

Mariners hire woman as area scout: http://m.mlb.com/news/article/159132908/amanda-hopkins-hired-by-mariners-as-scout/

Team USA’s Tianna Bartoletta medals at worlds despite being homeless for three months: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/08/17/team-usas-tianna-bartoletta-medals-at-worlds-despite-being-homeless-for-three-months/

FIFA appoints female referees for U-17 football World Cup in India: http://www.hindustantimes.com/football/fifa-appoints-female-referees-for-u-17-football-world-cup-in-india/story-MxVCLgEL8sBpya5gUmzu5L.html


[INTRODUCTION]

[0:00:14.9] Julie DiCaro: Welcome to this week of Burn It All Down. It may not be the feminist sports podcast you want but it’s the feminist sports podcast you need, especially this week. Our panel includes sports writer Jessica Luther, professor Brenda Elsey and the fantastic lawyer turned sports broadcaster and legal analyst, Adrienne Lawrence joining us as a guest host this week. Adrienne, we’re so glad that you’re here.

[0:00:36.5] Adrienne Lawrence: Thank you so much for having me, I’m excited.

[0:00:39.1] JD: We’re excited, too. Our topics this week include the ongoing Ezekiel Elliot saga in the NFL, how Charlottesville has ramped up national anthem protest in sports and in ever green topics, more weirdness from FIFA and of course, we’ll have our burn pile and our badass woman of the week.

[EPISODE]

[0:01:02.3] JD: Let’s get right to our first topic that Audrey display between the NFL players association and the NFL regarding the Ezekiel Elliot case. Jessica, want to take us through this one?

[0:01:12.9] Jessica Luther: Sure, I mean, I’m going to try at least. This week as expected, Cowboys running back, Ezekiel Elliot, he appealed his six game suspension, he was suspended for violating the league’s conduct policy because the NFL found that he’d engaged in physical violence against his then girlfriend across a series of days back in July of 2016. Todd Jones, NFL senior vice president and special counsel sent Elliot a six-page letter laying out the reasons they believed his ex-girlfriend over and above him.

Those included, “The findings that fourth above are based on a combination of photographic, medical testimonial and other evidence that is sufficiently credible in the commissioner’s judgment to establish the facts, even allowing for concerns you and your representatives have advanced about the complaining witnesses credibility.”

Those concerns include, we learned this week. Inconsistencies in her account of what happened on one of those days and there’s evidence that she asked a friend to lie for her and against Elliot to the authorities. Lisa Friel, the NFL’s lead investigator believed Elliot’s accuser also mislead the NFL during its investigation as a result.

She would not endorse the woman’s credibility, there was also a September 2016 text message exchange between the woman and her friend and which she raised the idea of selling sex videos of herself and Elliot when her friend suggested, “We could blackmail him with that.” She responded, “I want to bro.”

The NFL’s report also stated that the woman admitted registering an email address titled Ezekiel Elliot’s sex vids in August of 2016. As far as we know, nothing actually ever came of that though. All of this that we know is actually included in the league’s 160 page report detailing the findings of the investigations so that means, the NFL knew it when they made their decisions.

Elliot’s hearing on his appeal is going to take place at the end of the month on August 29th. A couple more things. First, the prosecutor in Columbus where his ex-girlfriend reported the violence told USA today last year, “For the Ezekiel Elliot matter, I personally believe that there were a series of interactions between Mr. Elliot and his accuser where violence occurred, however, given the totality of the circumstances, I could not firmly conclude exactly what happened.”

Saying something happened versus having sufficient evidence to criminally charge someone are two completely different things. Also, as Julie said there and throwing its knee, the NFL and the NFL Players Association, NFL PA got into a public spat this week on Twitter about the case. The NFL charges that “Over the last few days, we’ve received multiple reports of the NFL PA spreading derogatory information to the media about the victim and the Ezekiel Elliot discipline case.”

The NFL then went on their statement to actually say really accurate things about how victim shaming works in these cases but the NFL PA responded, saying, “The public statement issued on behalf of every NFL owner is a lie.”

The NFL PA categorically denies the accusations made in the statement. There’s like so much to unpack here, the NFL really should stick to affirming their process in this case rather than trying to be a moral authority here. I think you know, it really comes out that these are really complicated cases and you know, no victim is perfect. What do you all make of what we now know in the Eli case and like where this case is headed?

[0:04:28.0] JD: Well, here is my take on this whole thing. I’m thinking back to the time when I was still an attorney and I was representing women who had been abused. You know, I used to come home and say to my husband, and this is so terrible, but I would be like, you know, “If she doesn’t – I’m going to beat her ass myself.” Because it was just like such a horrible thing to say but a lot of these women have horrible coping mechanisms, are socially stunted, which is sort of how they wound up in some of these relationships in the first place.

I mean, you can be a terrible person, you can be an extortionist, you can be someone who is trying to blackmail someone and wants to release sex tapes and still have been a victim of abuse. I feel like that’s a really nuanced sort of topic for the public to grasp and so I was floored to see the NFL actually come out and on that side of it. I don’t know what happened between Ezekiel Elliot and Tiffany Thompson.

But you know, like Jessica said, my understanding is that she had not only pictures of her injuries but the meta data of when those pictures were taken matched up with what she said happened and there are also witnesses corroborating. You know, it’s possible that you have two people who are not great in a relationship or maybe just generally not great people together. But that doesn’t mean that abuse didn’t take place. Adrienne?

[0:05:43.4] AL: Yeah, the thing that I find to be, I guess, the most pivotal in this kind of case especially because people love Ezekiel Elliot so much and he’s showing so much promise in the league and also because it took the league so long to come out with its findings. Is the fact that the NFL, they really do have to get this right because people have already questioned the process with how everything went down with Josh Brown getting the one game and yet, you know, other players getting more game suspensions.

This is just so important for the NFL to get right so people don’t doubt their system and their process. Because as a result of that, they will doubt victims even more than they already do.

[0:06:26.1] JD: Yeah, Adrienne. I think that’s such an important point and so from a legal standpoint, obviously, you know, we saw Adrian Peterson’s suspension get knocked down because of the arbiter in the appeal saying that the NFL was not fare and that they were sort of arbitrary in their decision making. Given what happened in the Josh Brown case, aren’t we kind of at risk of seeing the exact same thing happen here?

[0:06:48.2] AL: Well, the thing is with Josh Brown, he was handed the whole one game off the bat which is you know, something that still really just shake me since he admittedly in those court documents said he had a long history of abusing women. I think he even said he had memories of when he was seven and would abuse women.

Yet the NFL gave him one game. That’s something that’s extremely disconcerting but then we have the situation here where the concern is that the NFL’s going to try to make itself look better, kind of create an example. We could be in a position where they do reduce the games as kind of a halfway point, given how much people love Ezekiel. But at the same time, they could hold steadfast to saying six games, we’re not changing it to try to up the ante for their past failures.

But, it’s one of those where they just need to start getting it right and getting it right consistently.

[0:07:41.5] Brenda Elsey: I just have a question for you guys, if you’re representing a victim in this case, with such a high profile case ahead of her. How do you advice someone who may have all of these issues? I mean, what do lawyers commonly say? Just don’t go on social media at all? I mean, what’s the advice right now?

[0:08:01.8] JD: Wow, that’s a good question. I don’t know, I mean, I think that I would just tell her, you know, ‘If you want to go ahead with this, I believe you and I believe this is what happened and I believe you’re telling the truth but this stuff is going to come back to haunt you and you’re going to look bad. Just get ready for it.” I don’t know that there’s really much more you can do.

[0:08:19.4] AL: I agree, one thing I would probably tell her is to remain off of social media so she doesn’t – although, because it’s not like a standard court kind of process so there’s not necessarily something you can say that will be used against you since especially this is an appeal and it will probably be more limited. But it’s one of those where she might have to change her name and move somewhere and go somewhere because the reality is, as we’ve seen, these fans are not so much the good people that we’d like them to be or sensible people and so she could get death threats and be stalked for the rest of her life.

It’s one of those, you might just have to be ready no matter what the outcome is that some people are going to consider you to be the bad guy.

[0:09:01.4] JD: Yeah, they feel like once your name is sort of in the public domain, you’re in big trouble. Jessica, want to wrap this up for us?

[0:09:08.1] JL: Yeah, the thing I keep coming back to all of this is how much the NFL knew about all of this. They understood all the credibility issues that she has and they still chose to suspend him for six games that they are steadfastly saying that there was enough evidence that they believe her over and above him even though this is a difficult nuance case where we don’t have the perfect victim that we’re often looking for.

I just keep thinking about that whenever this comes up and people are arguing about it. It’s not like they’re denying all of this about her, they’re really owning that part of it and I don’t know, it’s really wild to see this in action and that it is coming from the NFL of all places. It will be interesting to see what happens with the appeal once we get there.

[0:09:56.9] JD: Jessica’s throwing for a loop by the NFL doing the right thing. When it comes around.

[0:10:02.1] JL: Exactly.

[0:10:10.8] JD: Alright, let’s move on to topic number two. We’re just over a week removed from the events of Charlottesville, feels like Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protest is receiving new life, we’ve had Boston Red Sox owner John Henry say that he wants to eliminate the name Yawkey Way outside Fenway Park, which reflects the name of an owner with the last name of Yawkey who apparently had many racist tendencies. Tampa Bay teams are wanting to help assist fund the removal of confederate statutes outside – confederate statues – as a lawyer I would say statutes. Confederate statues outside the state house.

Kevin Durant says, he won’t go to the Whitehouse with Donald Trump there because he doesn’t respect who is there right now. We saw Malcolm Jenkins take a knee during the national anthem and Chris Long and Justin Bread as allies; Michael Bennett called for white athletes to stand up as well to what’s happening in this country. It feels like this has moved on from being just about police brutality and sort of the dual justice system in this country.

Which Colin Kaepernick was protesting, it’s moved into something much bigger which seems to be a protest against racism and “isms” across the board and that this has just become more about equality. What do you guys think?

[0:11:23.6] AL: I do agree that this is more about equality and that other players and other individuals are starting to see that. But it’s interesting too in that same regard that several other players like Des Bryant, he said, “I have a family to feed,” that he’s not looking to push – move any needles forward in that issue in that area and just want to stick to sports.

It’s one of those where it’s not so much that people aren’t recognizing that it’s inequality, it’s that they’re unwilling to stick their neck out for it. The good thing is we do have other white players who aren’t necessarily impacted by the inequality but they are stepping up and saying something. It’s just we also need more people because generally, what is it? That the majority is the one that has to acknowledge the oppression.

It just seems extremely – I guess, interesting and to see where this is going to go and how it’s going to move forward.

[0:12:16.9] JD: Yeah, I love Michael Bennett, just disclosure for full disclosure. I had the chance to meet him earlier this year and he’s like the first pro athlete I’ve ever heard talk about intersectionality, which is just crazy. You know, his call for white athletes to step up, I thought is really poignant and frankly, as a white person, I’m embarrassed that more white athletes haven’t done this already.

And that it’s such a big deal that Chris Long did it. I mean, Megan Rapinoe did it with the US women’s team and that seems to sort of have been forgotten everyone talks about Chris Long being the first white athlete to do it. I’m sort of embarrassed and sort of dismayed that no white athletes have really stepped up before now. Brenda?

[0:12:57.7] BE: Yeah, it’s so interesting. I was at an event where Lillian Tram, the famous French soccer player was speaking – who was a victim of tons of racial abuse during his career – and the question put to him is, “What do you think is the biggest challenge and your biggest disappointment about the way racism has developed and continued and persisted in sports?”

He said, “It’s that my white teammates don’t stop play and don’t stand up to support me.” He felt as though that was really essential for his morale, not only to convince the public which is really important, but also to keep his spirit going and to not feel isolated on the team.

The fact that Chris Long went to University of Virginia too seems to have a special residence. I don’t want to bend over backwards, patting the back of white players that may not be as vulnerable and not focused on the African American players that take a lot of the heat for this. But I do want to say that it seems to be really important to the players of color to have those allies too.

[0:14:02.3] JD: There were more white athletes it seems speaking out on Twitter if not doing anything out in public eye, like taking a needle in the Anthem. Jessica, I know you brought up Steve Nash.

[0:14:12.2] JL: Yeah. I’ve been laughing about Steve Nash since Tuesday. So Tuesday was when president Trump, which I don’t know if I’ve said those words in that combo out loud before. He did his press conference at Trump Tower where he sort of, he literally walked back his racism is evil to do the violence on both sides, you know, all that – I don’t even have the right adjectives for what that press conference was like.

Then, at the very end, some reporter said something about his winery and he said this sort of bombastic statement about his “Largest winery in Charlottesville or in the nation.” I don’t remember. Steve Nash, the retired NBA player, he took to Twitter and he wrote, “To defend white supremacists and then slang his shitty ass grape juice, pretty much thumbs the man up.”

I have been laughing about slaying his “shitty ass grape juice” since Tuesday but yeah, we saw a lot of athletes take to social media in this moment and really speak out against you know, not just, not necessarily for the anthem protester or whatever but directly against what the administration is doing and the way that they have responded to Charlottesville.

You know, it seems like we have some sort of shift in how we’re thinking about violent racism right now in this moment where Charlottesville made it really blatant in a way that we hadn’t seen before. I think we do have a shift in the anthem protest and the way that we’re talking about them, it’s a lot harder to say that Colin Kaepernick was wrong.

Now, people are going to do it, I don’t doubt that at all but it’s harder now.

[0:15:53.5] JD: Yeah, I was hosting here in Chicago last night and it was crazy. I mean, every time he mentioned Colin Kaepernick, the phone lines just light up and the text line lights up and the text line, if you guys don’t know is comprised of the worst people in the world. Their comments on Colin Kaepernick were just horrible. I don’t know what it is about the national anthem that gets these people so riled up? It’s just the fact that he didn’t “respect the national” anthem that drives them absolutely up the wall.

I guess the question that I have is, when does this protest sort of expand beyond sports and when does it become something that more people are taking apart in? I’m going to Wrigley Field today to go to a cub’s game, do I sit for the anthem? I don’t know, I’ve thought about it, I think I’ll get positively killed and probably have to be escorted out by security. Especially with the Blue Angels flying overhead for the air show this weekend.

I mean, at what point does this go further and encompass more people than just those involved in professional sports?

[0:16:55.6] AL: I think that’s a really good question. Yesterday, the NYPD, they had a group of officers come together to support Colin Kaepernick and they did a press conference and it included Frank Serpico from the film Serpico. Yeah, it was pretty powerful to see that they had all come together and they said, “We’re acknowledging, we have these problems even within the NYPD.” And the thing is, it’s the acknowledgement that people are afraid to do. That’s why these colors and these people get so incense because they don’t want to check themselves because if they had to.

The reality is that they have their own biases. We all have biases. It’s the extent to which that impacts how you engage with people. It’s one of those things where people don’t want to hear it and they are not going to and they will refuse to and they’ll find every reason and way. Which is why they focus on the anthem so hard because they don’t want to have to look within themselves and see something that they don’t want to see.

It’s a complete shoulder shrug because if we can’t get them to listen, I feel like it is outside of sports already. It’s just a matter that you need the acknowledgment. That racism comes in all forms, all fashions and they are things that all ally within our selves.

[0:18:12.6] JD: That’s a really great way to say it, Adrienne. You know, I was thinking, I had a caller last night, sort of confront me and say, “You know, well if you’re thinking of sitting for the anthem, you know, you’re white and you’re rich and you live in the suburbs and what do you have to protest?” and I thought, back to my time as a public defender and how appalled I was on a daily basis by the difference in the two justice systems in this country. The way that my black, young man clients were treated as supposed to middle aged, white women from the suburbs.

Sometimes for the exact same crimes. You know, I started thinking about that and whether or not – what I do now at this point in my life to speak out and to sort of support Colin Kaepernick. I think that’s kind of you know, where we are is that we all sort of need to ask ourselves where we go from here. Jessica?

[0:19:03.7] JL: Yeah, I keep thinking about this meme that I saw about, it’s a picture of the torch, Tiki Torch wielding, white supremacist from the Friday night in Charlottesville and there’s two images of them and the top it says “This is what you see” and it’s like “Racist, bigot, white supremacist.” And then below it says, “This is what I see” and it’s like “Bank teller, police officer, neighbor.” And just sort of, the way that we need to restructure how we imagine the way racism works in this country right?

That’s one of the things about Charlottesville that we – people started to name these guys and say like, “He worked at a hotdog stand, he goes to this university, he’s the leader of the college republicans on campus.” You know? These are guys that you see all the time, they’re around you in your life and sort of rewiring how we’re thinking about this is one of the very powerful things that came out of Charlottesville I think.

Yeah, it really goes to why white people need to be stepping up and saying this stuff. It’s not just this French group of people, it’s all the people around you too.

[0:20:13.5] JD: Yeah, I think one of the saddest things about this whole episode for me is – I’m sure for a lot of other white people – is to realize as I know that our black friends have known this for a long time, how many of our friends and the people in our daily lives like Jessica said, Bank tellers and neighbors and you know, police officers have such a lack of understanding of racial dynamics in this country.

Not that I think as a white person that I’ve got a complete grasp on it but you know, just looking at the reactions, I posted on Facebook about Tina Fey’s bit and how much I didn’t like the cake eating thing. It got such defensive reactions from people who I’ve never seen weighed into politics for any other reason.

To come out to defend Tina Fey and say it’s absolutely wasn’t privileged or racist when so many people of color have said this bothered me for this reason. That was really depressing to me this weekend. Brenda?

[0:21:07.7] BE: Yeah, just something about the way in which people define what’s political and what’s nationalist, is sort of at the heart too of the way in which people who are protesting get cast as political rather than moral.

It happens again and again because think about the fact that the US government paid for military presence at NFL halftimes. We know that. What’s not political about that? Somehow, these protestors get painted as – or even those of us who want to be allies to the protesters or protesting ourselves – are painted as being political and not moral and people who just love the anthem and stand up and wave a flag are somehow being moral and unifying rather than deficit.

I also think in our daily life too, it’s like important to point out to people that it’s really patriotic to protest. That these athletes are actually trying to make the country a better place and that what’s not patriotic is just sitting back and reciting some anthem or waving some flag. Instead of actively engaging with what it means to be a US citizen. So I’d just like say, it’s already political. It’s politicized by the government and it’s just really unfair to me that people that have a different vision and more equal vision of this country and anti-racist vision are constantly portrayed as somehow politicizing an issue that’s –

I don’t know what not a political issue when the government pays for those kinds of shows? That’s politics.

[0:22:38.8] JD: Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think that’s a great point to make Brenda especially last night so many of the colors. There were so many veterans of all colors, creed, religion calling into say, “I support his right to do this that is why I fought” and it’s the guys who didn’t fight who are the ones screaming about Kaepernick disrespecting the military. So I thought that was really interesting.

[BREAK]

[0:23:07.4] JD: Let’s move on to topic number three. It’s Evergreen for us here at Burn It All Down. It is weirdness from FIFA and this week, the nominations for the men’s and women’s player of the year are out and they are… different. Brenda?

[0:23:21.2] BE: Yeah, so this week as you said Julie, FIFA came out with a short list of the best soccer players in the world both men’s and women’s. Things are a little unequal in terms of how many people get shortlisted. Women get 10, men 24 and that’s a little frustrating because it’s a way for a woman to get recognized in a way that they usually aren’t. So it would be nice if FIFA made that a little more equal. The FIFA Awards are interesting and that they’re both the club performances of players and their national team performances.

And also makes it tricky because the number of times that the national team plays a player can’t necessarily control right? So in that sense it’s pretty cool but it’s also a weird award because every year it depends on how well those national teams or how the confederation set your schedule. On the men’s side, not many surprises really. I would expect to say Cristiano Renaldo is going to win again. He’s leading in terms of the voting of the short list. Basically the Confederations Cup he was amazing.

Again winning the champion’s league with Real Madrid. I can’t imagine him not winning. It makes me sad because I am not all on Team Cristiano, which is composed mostly of statues of himself that he’s commissioned. But I have to say I’d be floored if he doesn’t win. The messiah of football, Leo Messi, served a very strange suspension this year and bowed out early at the Confederations Cup. So I doubt that we’ll see him. I guess FIFA could go for someone else but that would literary be a ploy.

I don’t think that will happen. If it does, people would just be, you know social media will explode and we won’t have internet anymore. One the women’s side things got super weird and because it reflects for people the lack of engagement with the women’s game. When they’re off and we just talked about this on the show right? That women’s sports can never just be women’s sports. So the fact that the nominations are strange and have some weird inclusions and exclusions are very frustrating for fans of this sport.

Basically the biggest surprise is Carli Lloyd being on the list and I know for a lot of you US fans, you’re like “What? Carli Lloyd is awesome” and she is. But this hasn’t been the kind of year that feels like the world’s best year. The national team is pretty underperforming, Man City is good, the best in the world? Not so much. In that sense I expect Sam Kerr of Australia to win. I mean even in terms of sportsmanship, Carli Lloyd elbowed a player in the head.

Served a three game suspension this year so not even in a sportsmanship category would she win. So I don’t know but you know what? It’s super cool because it generates all these kinds of debate and highlights and stuff like that. So I don’t know that’s my sort of take on the FIFA list so far. Is there anybody you guys thought should be included or excluded?

[0:26:24.2] JD: Well Brenda here’s my question for you. I mean you are much more versed on the international players than I am. I tend to watch the US women play and I don’t watch much more than that, which I really need to be better about doing. But one of the questions that I had for you was, when FIFA includes women that maybe you think shouldn’t be there, I don’t know if it’s just to draw up interest from American fans or if they just don’t pay all that much attention to women’s football and so they just throw the same people out there year after year?

[0:26:52.4] BE: Yeah, that’s exactly precisely what drives people crazy about this is that they feel as though the US is this market – both things, that the US is this market that they have to try to constantly attract and pay homage to. That somehow, if a US player isn’t on there, it’s going to drop down but if you were really engaged I mean you would think the club play of Megan Rapinoe would be enough? To put her there or maybe even Christen Press.

So it feels to people like both things. Both about that weird inclusion, that it must have a US player on there and also just hey, not paying attention to what is going on in the NWSL.

[0:27:33.2] JD: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I mean I guess it’s FIFA so you know at the end of the day, it’s sort of “ugh.” I mean I can say this, there are not like people in the US and I know you know this too Brenda, there’s not people here jumping up and down and being really excited because Carli Lloyd is nominated for FIFA Women of the Year. It’s just not a thing that’s on anyone’s radar. I don’t think.

[0:27:53.8] JL: I feel like if Shireen was here, she would probably bring up Nadia Nadim who I don’t know enough about this Brenda to say that whether or not she deserves to be there but Shireen talks about her all the time and I know that her team just won the Euro’s right? So why do you think? I mean –

[0:28:11.2] BE: Well her team didn’t win, they were finalists. It’s Denmark and you’re so right, she would really be mad if we don’t say that name.

[0:28:20.2] JL: Okay, good. I feel like Shireen has taught me things. I mean this 10 candidates women versus 24 for men is just the implicit thing here is that there aren’t 24 women like they couldn’t come up with 24 women to make this list which is a weird thing to suggest. Especially because we didn’t just have this huge tournament in Europe because there is so much Club Play happening this idea that they couldn’t have found 24 to make a list out of is just such a weird and also predictable thing from FIFA.

It just makes clear how they treat the women’s game as this auxiliary less than version of what the men are doing.

[0:29:04.7] BE: Completely. Absolutely because why did you come up with 10? Why 10? I mean at least 11 would have some symbolism you know? 10 is just like, “I don’t know” it’s like four guys sitting around the room that are like, “Can you think of 10?” “I don’t know I can think of nine” I mean what?

[0:29:23.3] JL: And add Carli, over to Carli.

[0:29:25.1] JD: I’m just picturing these old bloated FIFA officials like just sitting around trying to come up with women for this and it just cracks me up.

[0:29:35.2] BE: Once again, it’s just a reflection to say who puts resources where? I mean the South American Confederation, there is one South American on there who’s on the NWSL, Dana Matheson but they don’t schedule games. Actually eight out of the ten National Federations were out of FIFA rankings – Chile, Argentina because they turned down invitations or didn’t send the women to play. So they don’t even get featured.

So there’s a huge inequality too about regions in the global south here being represented. So that ten thing, it really is. It’s more than just a number, it is about being frustrated.

[BREAK]

[0:30:18.1] JD: Alright now it’s time for everyone’s favorite segment of the week where we take things we’ve hated and throw them onto the burn pile. I’ll start this week, I’m going to take Radio Shack Jock, Dino Costa getting fired yet again for acting like a complete ass hat on the radio. This guy if you don’t know who Dino Costa is, he’s been fired by just about every major market in the country. He’s a sports talk guy, he was on the radio.

I think he was either on Cleveland or Detroit talking about how women don’t know anything about sports and shouldn’t be on the radio and he tends to get his audience by saying really outrageous things. He was out in Seattle I believe and he made some comments about people should learn how to drive over protesters so that they can do this at protests all over the country and he got fired for it again and at this point, you know him having a job for six months.

And then getting fired is pretty much power for the course but what really is upsetting to me is the fact that this guy keeps getting jobs while there are so many qualified women in radio who don’t get a chance at these big prime hour, prime market slots and it’s just one of those things that is so frustrating to see over and over again. There seems to be this idea in radio broadcasting that the frat bro is what people really want to listen to.

And I am sure Adrienne can commiserate with this and that it’s just so frustrating. Jessica, you want to go next?

[0:31:38.3] JL: Sure, so mine is less a burning anger this week than just like an overall disappointment with what’s happening at men’s tennis going into the hard court season. Everyone is injured, at least the old men are. So we talked about in episode 11 about all the injuries that the men had during Wimbledon. There was a ridiculously high number of retirements in that tournament and now, we see Novak Djokovic, he’s pulled out for the rest of this season.

Stan Wawrinka has a knee injury that has him out for the rest of the season. Kei Nishikori tore his tendon in his wrist and Roger Federer has recently pulled out of two events because of a back injury. It does look like Andy Murray is going to play in the US Open but he’s even coming off of a hip injury. So what we have now is Rafael Nadal, he’s number one. He’s the last of this older great generation of men who’s standing at this point and perhaps this means we’re going to get a wave of younger men stepping forward and being great at this hard court season.

And that will be it’s own exciting storyline but I’m bummed. I’m bummed that we are going to miss out on Djokovic, Nishikori and Wawrinka and that Federer and Murray will be coming off of injury if they actually do make it to New York. So this week, I’m going to throw all the old men’s injuries into the burn pile and I am hoping for swift recoveries.

[0:32:50.2] JD: Burn it. Adrienne have you got one this week?

[0:32:55.2] AL: Yes, this week. Alright so earlier this week the NFL released a statement you know as we’ve discussed earlier in terms of condemning the NFL PA for victim shaming and starting a lot of the conversations to go against Ezekiel Elliott’s alleged victim here and the NFL PA responded at some point with emojis saying, “Where other seeds, we’ll wait” throwing in emojis and the things is it’s like it was such a monumental thing for the NFL to acknowledge victim shaming.

For the NFL PA to reduce it to emojis in a response that they ended up deleting, it’s one of those ones like, “Really guys?” You’re absolutely tone deaf because this is clearly about a petty dispute between the two of you that has nothing to do to acknowledge the plight of women that has become a problem of the league and its treatment of women all together. So it’s one of those where I’m like you know what NFL PA?

I love what you all do for the players but really you need to step up in terms of what you’re doing for society because you need to keep those emojis and start thinking you’re so cute in a situation, which is more serious than you are making it.

[0:34:03.3] JD: Alright Brenda, you are wrapping it up this week.

[0:34:05.9] BE: Okay, this week The Guardian, a British newspaper, caught on to a strange expense that the British Football Association paid an 80,000 pound expense to player Eni Aluko who is one of the big stars in Women’s Football in England. It turns out that she had complained about a “culture of bling and harassment,” particularly targeting women of color on the English National Team and it goes back to comments of coach Mark Samson.

To many of the players, asking them about how many times they have been arrested, how much time they have served in jail and all types of racialized comments that he had made to players. Aluko then was not chosen or opted out, we’re not really sure, to play in the Euros that we were just talking about and so instead, she worked in commentary and all of this seems to suggest that this 80,000 pound expense was hush money for Aluko to not “cause problems”.

So I’d like to burn this culture of bling and harassment that I have no doubt exists in the FA if Aluko says it does. She’s a stellar human being, she’s an amazing player and there’s no way she would sit out any major tournament unless she was telling the truth. So burn it.

[0:35:22.8] JD: Burn it, that’s trash Brenda. Burn that trash.

[0:35:26.2] BE: Big, big trash.

[BREAK]

[0:35:34.8] JD: Alright after all that burning, it’s time to celebrate some amazing women in sports this week. Our badass woman of the week comes to us courtesy of Adrienne Lawrence, who points out that Amanda Hopkins is breaking barriers as the first female baseball scout in more than 50 years. She’s working for the Seattle Mariners, baseball is an incredibly male dominated industry and so for her to even have gotten this far, she’s gotten to this point is pretty remarkable.

And I have no doubt that she will consider to do – or she will continue to do great things going forward. I have an honorable mention for Tianna Bartoletta who won bronze and long jump at the World Championships despite being homeless for three months after she said she escaped an abusive marriage. She posted on Instagram “Just three short months ago, I had to run away from my own home. I had decided which of all my belongings are the most important”.

“I had to leave my dogs, I had little money, I still have no actual address all to give myself a chance of having a life and the love I deserved one that didn’t involve fear of fighting, threats and abuse.” She also said that her bronze medal is the most important medal she’s ever won especially considering that she’s won gold twice before. So that was a pretty remarkable story and also, Brenda points out that for the first time FIFA has appointed female referees to officiate men’s games in the U17 World Cup in India.

Seven women from the six confederations are support referees that is a huge step for FIFA. So collectively they are all badass women. Alright, let’s move on to what’s good this week where we talk about some things that we’re looking forward to trying to end the week on a positive note. Jessica, you want to start?

[0:37:11.5] JL: Yeah, I’d love to. So what’s good in my world this week I’m in deep escapism mode at this point and so anyone who knows me at all knows that I love romance novels and I recently read Alisha Rai’s, Hate to Want You and I just want to recommend that to anybody. It’s great romance fiction, that’s perfect escapism. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s tight smart writing, it’s a Romeo and Juliet themed narrative but because it’s a romance novel, you know it’s a guaranteed happy ending and who right now couldn’t use a happy ending? So that’s what’s good in my world.

[0:37:46.9] JD: So true. Brenda?

[0:37:48.2] BE: What’s good in my world this week is something I know so little about which is the Women’s Rugby World Cup. The finals takes place on August 26th and I know in our Facebook page for Burn It All Down we posted some highlights and I know so little about watching it and being such a soccer person, I was like, “Oh my God this is thrilling! They are using their hands too” and I know it’s basic but I was like, “Holy Toledo! This is moving”.

So I was really excited so I am going to watch the finals. I’m not sure who’s in it yet because we’re still in the semis but that’s what I’m doing. It’s August 26th and I am pretty psyched.

[0:38:28.6] JD: That sounds awesome, Adrienne what about you?

[0:38:30.6] AL: So super excited because I’m going to hit the theaters again, it’s the movie Girls Trip. It broke the $100 million mark in the box office and I’ve already seen it once. It’s a journey of four black women going to New Orleans just living their best life and it’s such a huge monumental thing for the black female culture in part because there aren’t a lot of films that are focused or dedicated solely on us living our lives outside of being a slave, or a whore, or something that is not a representation of the individuals that we are in our daily lives.

And so having this hit a $100 million and far exceeding, it’s initial budget and how much it costs to make it, it’s just one of those things that speaks to the world clamoring for more information about our lives. So I lift it up, I’m excited. I love that it’s still in theaters and I can’t wait to see it again this week.

[0:39:22.9] JD: Yeah, I know. We all love it too. As for me, this has been a rough week from Charlottesville going forward even though obviously I am not there and obviously I wasn’t one of the people targeted by Nazis, like some of our other friends were but fighting with people on Facebook, trying to have a hard conversations with the other white people in your life obviously is something that can get pretty dicey and can be draining.

So I am going to Wrigley Field today, it’s my son’s birthday. I am going to sit in the sun and watch baseball. It is the closest thing I have to going to church and so for all of you sport fans out there who need to get away and have a little bit of escapism for a couple of hours this week, I think heading to the ballpark, sitting in the sun, in the fresh air and eating a hotdog and watching baseball is a great way to go, I highly recommend it.

[OUTRO]

[0:40:11.2] JD: That is it for this week’s episode of Burn It All Down. Burn It All Down lives on Sound Cloud but it can also be heard on but can also be heard on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Tune In and Google Play. We always appreciate reviews and feedback so please feel free to subscribe, rate and tell us what you like or didn’t like about the show. We hope you’ll follow us on Twitter @burnitdownpod and on Facebook at Burn it all Down.

You can also reach us via our website at burnitalldownpod.com, that’s where you’ll find all of our show notes and links to all the topics that we discussed and of course, you can email us at burnitalldownpod@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from our listeners and please take some time to check out our Go Fund Me page and consider making a small donation to help keep the podcast going and allow us to make technical improvements. We are grateful to all of those who have contributed so far.

So for this week and for Jessica Luther, Brenda Elsey and Adrienne Lawrence, I’m Julie DiCaro and we’ll see you next week.

[END]