FIBA to the World “Diversity Shines Here” – Unless You Are a Woman

For those of you who are unaware, the 2014 Asian Games began this week in South Korea. The competition is the world’s second-largest multi-sport event, with about 9,500 athletes representing 45 countries. (Where’s ESPN?)

But even before the Games began, members of the Qatari women’s basketball team were told by FIBA, the governing body of international basketball, that in order for the Qatari team to participate in the games, the players could not wear their headscarves or hijabs, even though they do so in observance of their Islamic faith.

The reason FIBA announced was because that its rules do not allow “headgear, hair accessories, and jewelry.” FIBA stood firm on its arcane position even though it is fully aware that the women basketball players would be wearing headscarves designed specifically for female athletes and that athletes competing in rowing, badminton and other sports have been wearing religious headscarves without incident.

The Qatari team was alerted of FIBA’s stance regarding hijabs but had hoped FIBA would make an allowance based upon the fact that the wearing of a hijab was for religious reasons – not as a fashion statement. When FIBA failed to make any allowance, the Qatari women chose to forfeit the game and then subsequently officially withdrew from the tournament prior to their second scheduled game. (Yes, FIBA will invite you to play in the spirit of international competition, but if you don’t like its rules – go home.)

“We are here to push the international association that all Muslim teams are ready to compete in any competition,” stated Alham Salem M. al-Mana, a member of the Quatai basketball team.

FIBA based in decision on the premise that the hijabs create unsafe conditions on the court.  My question is how? What facts does FIBA have to support such a position?

In fact, many Muslims, and non-Muslims such as myself, have criticized the rule as discriminatory and Human Rights Watch challenged FIBA to prove that the headscarves are unsafe. “In the case of basketball, it’s difficult to see how a ban on the headscarf is anything other than an unnecessary restriction on the players’ rights to religious freedom and personal autonomy,” the organization said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch, along with a others, are pushing for FIBA to follow FIFA’s lead wherein, beginning last March, it has lifted its ban on religiously mandated headgear.

The ironic part of all of this is that the motto of the 2014 Asian Games is “Diversity Shines Here.” Apparently, however, FIBA is not bending any rules to live up to the creed.

When Its Absolutely, Positively the Right Thing To Do – Native Americans Boycott FedEx Because of Its Association with the Washington Football Team

The Osage Nation, an 18,500 member Native American tribe based out of Oklahoma, has initiated a boycott of FedEx since it owns the naming rights to the stadium where then Washington NFL football games are played.

The Osage Nation has instructed its employees to not use FedEx when an alternative service is available until the Washington team adopts a “less inflammatory and insulting” name. The Nation has also called upon other tribes throughout the country to follow suit.

FedEx has pointed out that it is closely followed the “dialogue and difference of opinion” regarding the team’s name but have made no indication of terminating the naming rights agreement it has with the franchise.

In addition, FedEx CEO, Fred Smith, when asked, declined to say whether or not he believes the team’s name should change.  This may be because Mr. Smith also owns a piece of the Washington based franchise.

In supporting the Osage Nation, RISE International vows that it will no longer use FedEx services. Hello DHL.

UPDATE: Antitrust Lawsuits Against the NCAA Regarding Scholarships Are Advancing Through Court.

A federal judge decided not to consolidate two cases alleging the NCAA’s previous ban on multiyear scholarships and limits on football scholarships are illegal. By way of background, as of 2012, the NCAA gives colleges and universities the option to offer multiyear scholarships to all athletes. This amended a previous rule instilled in 1973, which only allowed for one year renewable scholarships.imagesFormer Gardner-Webb University quarterback, John Rock, filed a lawsuit against the NCAA in 2012 claiming these rules concerning the duration and limits of football scholarships are in violation of both state and federal antitrust laws. On August 28, 2014, a similar lawsuit was filed on behalf of former Colorado State kicker, Durrell Chamorro.

In an attempt to consolidate the Rock and Chamorro cases, the NCAA objected because the Chamorro matter “suffers from certain legal defects not present in the Rock complaint.” U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson agreed with the NCAA and ruled the cases would not be consolidated.

Magnus-Stinson wrote that there are “material” differences between the Rock and Chamorro cases, noting that Chamorro pleads two classes and Rock pleads one class. Chamorro’s attempted class requires players to have received a “full scholarship, grant or tuition discount,” and Rock’s attempted class does not require receiving a full scholarship.

Interestingly from a legal point of view is that the Chamorro complaint, in an attempt to prove its antitrust claim, argues that the NCAA cannot use amateurism or competitive balance as procompetitive justifications for limiting the number of football scholarships. If competitive balance is determined to be a legitimate justification, Chamorro’s lawsuit offered five less-restrictive alternatives:

  • The NCAA could require revenue sharing among schools.
  • The NCAA could replace its current roster restrictions with new ones that actually increase competitive balance.
  • The NCAA could impose limits on facility spending, instead of permitting major schools to spend “tens of millions of dollars on facilities that lesser schools cannot hope to imitate.”
  • The NCAA could impose limits on recruiting budgets.
  • The NCAA could impose restrictions on alumni donations to the athletics department.

This case is in its infancy, but the legal arguments in the area of antitrust are getting interesting.

What’s Good for the Goose, is also Good for the Gander. Should US Women’s Soccer Goalie, Hope Solo, Be Suspended from the National Team?

In June of this year, Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, was arrested on domestic violence charges stemming from an incident in which her 17-year-old nephew and half-sister sustained injuries.

According to the police report, Ms. Solo was the primary aggressor and instigator of an assault at a family party that left her sister and nephew with noticeable injuries to their heads and faces. After pleading not guilty; her trial is set for November.

But Solo was on the field Thursday night as the U.S. beat Mexico 4-0 in a friendly match in Rochester, N.Y.  She was even given the honor of wearing the captain’s armband in celebration of her setting the team’s career record for shutouts in its previous game.

The question is why.

In light of what is currently occurring in the NFL, celebrating Solo’s achievement right now is like allowing running back Ray Rice to continue to play for the Baltimore Ravens — and then awarding him the game ball for his next 100-yard game.

One cannot argue any differences between an NFL player involved in domestic dispute and Ms. Solo brawling with her family, both qualify as domestic violence.

The glaring contrast in Solo’s case is that while several football players recently accused of assaults have been removed from the field, she has been held up for praise by the national team.

There is a growing clamor of media voices calling for an athlete accused of domestic violence to be pulled from competition until the case is resolved. But unlike the recent stories that have unfolded in the NFL, this time the call is for the U.S. women’s national soccer team to suspend goalie Hope Solo.

What do you think? Should Hope Sole be suspended from the U.S. National Soccer Team?

The NFL Hires Four Women to Help Draft League Policy on Domestic Abuse.

Even thought these concerns were prevalent in the NFL previously, the year of 2014 has brought to the forefront issues surrounding domestic violence and the abuse of children. With Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and now Jonathan Dwyer all being arrested on various abuse charges, what is the NFL to do? Especially in light of the fact that the individual franchise owners have continually failed to make the right decision and the fact that Adrian Peterson’s own mother, Bonita Jackson, in defending her son publically stated “When you whip those you love, it’s not about child abuse, but love. You want to make them understand that they did wrong.” –

WOW – she does realize her grandson is only four – correct?

What the NFL has decided to do is to hire four women, all with different backgrounds in the area of domestic violence, to help shape the NFL’s policy on domestic violence in the future.

Commissioner Goodell sent a letter to out to all NFL franchises and NFL staff summarizing the direction the NFL will be taking to handle such situations.

The full text of Goodell’s letter is below:

From Commissioner Goodell to teams and NFL staff:

Last month, I wrote to you and our staff that our organization will continue to evolve to meet our challenges and opportunities. We are committed to developing our talent and putting the best people behind our most important priorities.

Within our office, I am pleased to announce that Anna Isaacson, currently our Vice President of Community Affairs and Philanthropy, will take on a new and expanded role as Vice President of Social Responsibility. Anna has been leading our internal work relating to how we address issues of domestic violence and related social issues. In this new role, she will oversee the development of the full range of education, training and support programs relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, and matters of respect with the goal of accelerating our implementation of the commitments made in my letter of August 28.

Anna has devoted considerable attention to these issues in recent years and has developed strong relationships with both outside organizations and your staffs. Along with Director of Player Engagement and Education Deana Garner, Anna will lead our cross-organizational teams of employees in implementing these programs. We will work closely with your community relations, human resources and player engagement teams to implement programs in a way that is effective and beneficial for your own employees, their families and your communities. Needless to say, our entire office will be accountable for the success of these efforts and Anna and her team will have my full support.

In addition, because domestic violence and sexual assault are broad societal issues, we have engaged leading experts to provide specialized advice and guidance in ensuring that the NFL’s programs reflect the most current and effective approaches.

Specifically, we have retained the services of three senior advisors – Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith – to help lead and shape the NFL’s policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault. Each brings special knowledge and experience in these issues and will ensure that our efforts reflect the professionalism that should characterize everything the NFL does.

Lisa Friel was the head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office for more than a decade, where she investigated and prosecuted cases of sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, human trafficking, and other similar forms of misconduct.

Jane Randel is the co-founder of NO MORE, a national initiative to raise the profile of and normalize the conversation about domestic violence and sexual assault.

Rita Smith is the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Friel, Randel and Smith will work closely with me, Anna Isaacson, Deana Garner, and others in our organization on the development and implementation of the league’s policies, resources and outreach on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Friel’s emphasis will be on the evaluation process of incidents of alleged domestic violence and sexual assault. She will advise me and our staff on disciplinary matters involving violations of law or of the Personal Conduct Policy.

Initially, Randel and Smith will focus on:

  1. Overseeing the development and implementation of the NFL’s domestic violence/sexual assault (DV/SA) workplace policy;
  2. Building on existing training curricula and education programs for all personnel, including players and non-players;
  3. Disseminating and executing completed training programs for all 32 teams, including executives, coaches, players and staff;
  4. Identifying and managing DV/SA resources to enhance current services such as NFL Life Line and the NFL’s Employee Assistance Programs for league and club employees and their families;
  5. Identifying and disseminating information to employees and families regarding resources outside of the NFL and clubs, including local advocacy and support organizations in each NFL community.

 Other leading experts, including Kim Gandy, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence; former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey; Esta Soler, founder of Futures Without Violence; and Kim Wells of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, are working with us to provide guidance on DV/SA education and policy, conduct our policy review, and identify state and local organizations throughout the country that can serve as resources for your clubs and your personnel.

The NFL also will continue to work with former NFL player Joe Ehrmann and his organization, Coach For America, and Tony Porter and his organization, A CALL TO MEN, to expand the scope of life-skills training and education for those associated with the game of football at all levels. Ehrmann and Porter, both of whom have met with clubs as part of our annual professional development sessions, will continue to educate your personnel and communities about character, respect and professionalism.

Biographical information on Lisa Friel, Jane Randel, and Rita Smith is attached. Anna Isaacson will reach out to clubs with next steps and additional resources, including contact information for our advisors. Please contact us should you wish to discuss anything related to these issues.

We are continuing to develop our organization to strengthen our ability to address the wide range of issues we face and other changes in our office will be announced soon. Our goal is to make a real difference on these and other issues. We know that we will be judged by our actions and their effectiveness.

About Lisa Friel

Lisa M. Friel joined T&M Protection Resources in October 2011 as Vice President of the Sexual Misconduct Consulting & Investigations division following a distinguished 28-year career as a Manhattan prosecutor. Since joining T&M Protection Resources, Ms. Friel and her team have developed policies and procedures, provided training workshops and conducted sensitive investigations into issues of sexual misconduct (both sexual assault and sexual harassment), harassment, hazing and bullying for primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, athletic teams and leagues (collegiate and professional), non-profit organizations, corporations and private individuals. Ms. Friel began her professional career at the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Hired by District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau in 1983, Ms. Friel specialized in sexual assault cases for the majority of her career at the District Attorney’s Office. She was the Chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit for nearly a decade and its Deputy Chief for 11 years. Supervising more than 40 assistant district attorneys, support staff and investigators, she typically managed 300 cases and investigations at any one time. Since her first days as a prosecutor in 1983, and continuing in her tenure at T&M Protection Resources, Ms. Friel has directed thousands of investigations into allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct and has trained hundreds of law enforcement personnel throughout the world. Lawmakers in Albany and Washington repeatedly called upon her expertise to toughen laws against sexual predators, combat human trafficking, create DNA databanks and establish laws and protocols to eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits on the shelves of police departments’ evidence rooms around the country.

An instructor, educator, lecturer, and former Division 1 varsity basketball and tennis player and basketball coach, Ms. Friel has connected with diverse audiences ranging from seasoned detectives to school children, doctors to volunteer sexual assault advocates, as well as athletes and athletic personnel at all levels. She has headlined legal, sports and education conferences, has provided training to all types of audiences and has participated in numerous interviews and films addressing sexual harassment and assault, rape, stalking and domestic violence.
Ms. Friel earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Dartmouth College, graduating cum laude. At the University of Virginia School of Law, she finished in the top seven percent of her class and was awarded the Order of the Coif upon receiving her Juris Doctor. She lives in New York and is a mother of three.

About Jane Randel and NO MORE

Currently Chair of the Board of Directors of the Fifth & Pacific Foundation, Randel is a co-founder of NO MORE, a national initiative intended to raise the profile of and normalize the conversation about domestic violence and sexual assault. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape/National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s Honorary Board and the immediate-past President of the Board of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. In 2005, Ms. Randel was named one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by WomensEnews; in 2006, she was included on the Crain’s New York Business list of “40 under 40;” in 2009 she was honored by the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York for her work on teen dating abuse; and in 2012 she received the Hero with a Heart Award from the Joyful Heart Foundation. Ms. Randel also co-authored an award winning paper, “Coming into the Light: Intimate Partner Violence and Its Effects at Work” with Anne O’Leary-Kelly, Emily Lean, Carol Reeves of the University of Arkansas School Department of Management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons.

NO MORE has been in the making since 2009 and was developed because despite the significant progress that has been made in raising awareness around these issues, they remain hidden and on the margins of public concern. Virtually every domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organization in the U.S. is behind NO MORE, along with corporate leaders, branding experts, celebrities, athletes and advocates nationwide. NO MORE was designed to unify everyone working to combat these issues in an unprecedented way – whether their focus is women and girls, men and boys, teenagers, children, minorities, rural or urban communities – as well as corporate leaders from a variety of business sectors behind one, powerful brand created to transform awareness and action.

About Rita Smith

Rita Smith began working as a crisis line advocate in a shelter for battered women and their children in Colorado in 1981. She has held numerous positions in Colorado and Florida since then in several local domestic violence and sexual assault programs and the state coalitions, including Program Supervisor and Director. She was the Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for nearly 23 years. She has been interviewed by hundreds of newspaper reporters, appeared on many local and national radio and television news shows, including the Washington Post, USA Today, People Magazine, NPR, The Today Show, Good Morning America and Oprah Winfrey Show. She has co-authored several articles or chapters for books including a manual for attorneys working with domestic violence victims in Colorado, and an article on child custody and domestic violence published in the fall of 1997 in The Judges Journal (an American Bar Association publication). In December of 2011 she was named Distinguished Alumnus of Polk State College, and in November of 2013 she was chosen by the Association of Florida Colleges for the LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award. She believes that advocacy and social change are intricately connected, and cannot be done separately. She graduated from Polk State College in 1974 with an AA degree in Psychology. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Michigan State in 1976. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

Good luck to the NFL and Commissioner Goodell. Hopefully these decisions help steer the NFL in the right direction. Just remember, the new rules and policies that are to be put in place are not to be put there to protect the players, they are to protect the innocent women and children of abuse.

Minnesota Vikings Backtrack – Running Back and Alleged Child Abuser Adrian Peterson Placed On Exempt-Commissioner’s Permission List

The Minnesota Vikings have reversed its previous position regarding running back Adrian Peterson and have decided to place him on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list. What this means it that Mr. Peterson will not be allowed to participate in team practices or play on game day while he addresses child abuse charges stemming out of Texas regarding his four year old son.

After the indictment was handed down, the Vikings organization initially deactivated Mr. Peterson for its game this past Sunday, which turned out to be a 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots.

But losing wasn’t acceptable to the Vikings’ owners, Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf, so on Monday they released a statement saying that Mr. Peterson will be allowed to fully participate in practices and meetings this week and will play Sunday against the Saints.

So what happened ? Why the change of position by the Vikings’ organization? Why have the moved from deactivation, to reinstatement, to now placing Mr. Peterson on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list?

According to the ownership – “While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian,” owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said in a statement. “We want to be clear: We have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community.”

Well that is all nice but the real reason is easy – the Wilfs and the NFL have heard from their corporate sponsors and several have announced that they were suspending their deals with the Vikings while others have decided to sever any and all ties with Mr. Peterson.

Specifically, the Radisson hotel chain suspended its sponsorship with the Vikings, while Castrol Motor Oil, Special Olympics Minnesota and Mylan Inc. have all severed ties with Peterson, and Twin Cities Nike stores pulled Peterson’s jerseys from its shelves.

In addition, Anheuser-Busch issued a strongly worded statement that said it was disappointed in the way the NFL was handling all of the negative attention surrounding former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s assault of his then-fiancée, and Mr. Peterson’s arrest for child abuse.

So again, instead of the Minnesota Vikings owners doing the right thing for the right reasons, they are only doing the right thing after learning that they could lose coveted sponsorship revenue by doing the wrong thing.