Muslim Athletes in America
This afternoon’s Outside the Lines (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) examined what it is like to be a Muslim athlete in America in the wake of recent terrorist attacks followed by the scrutiny, attention and political debate on the immigration and place of Muslims in American society.
Guests joining host Bob Ley included: Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, who broke Rebecca Lobo’s Massachusetts state high school scoring record and played college ball at Memphis and Indiana State; Hamza Abdullah, former NFL player who took a pilgrimage to Mecca with his brother Husain, still in the NFL; Aaron Khan, Mohammed Schools of Atlanta athletic director and boys basketball coach; Jibreel Loftin, ninth grade basketball player at Mohammed Schools of Atlanta; Dave Zirin, author of a book with John Carlos about the ’68 Mexico City Olympics protest.
“Everyone has the consensus that you are the enemy. We need to address that.” – Hamza Abdulah
“Sometimes there are people that portray you as a terrorist, or something that you are not… It’s not shouting from the stands. It’s something that I sort of feel when I walk into a certain basketball court, and the way the players are looking at me. I don’t feel that competitive look, I feel that fear and that hate type of look.” – Jibreel Loftin (right)
“We actually had an act of kindness brought to our school – a random person from the neighborhood bought us a box full of teddy bears. They just let us know, ‘It’s OK,’ and, ‘You’re accepted in our community,’ and, ‘We don’t want you to feel like we hate you or we think you’re terrorists or anything like that.’” – Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir
He’s a Nigerian born forensic pathologist and the unlikely subject of a major motion picture. But across the nation on Christmas Day, the movie “Concussion” begins its wide release. The film stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the man who discovered the brain disease CTE in former Pittsburgh Steeler legend Mike Webster. OTL profiles the real Bennet Omalu and considers how he forever changed the way we look at football.
“I remember when he told us this is what it is, it was almost like a feeling of liberation because we had so much doubt, so much self-blame.” — Garrett Webster, Mike Webster’s son, on what Dr. Omalu’s finding meant to his family
“I am a man of science. I believe in empirically determined scientifically valid data, and that is not scientifically valid data.” — Dr. Ira Casson, co-chair of the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, on Dr. Omalu’s findings back in 2007
“I wish someone else could have, could have described CTE before me. I really wish honestly, my life would have been much, much smoother.” – Omalu, who since discovering CTE, has struggled with depression, insomnia and high blood pressure, the result, he says, of years of NFL ridicule.
James Jones: Full Circle
Sunday NFL Countdown (11 a.m., ESPN)
Credit: ESPN/Producer Luke Williams
James Jones and family at his De Pere, Wisc. home
Home is a word with special meaning for Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones. Growing up homeless in San Jose, Calif. Jones spent time between shelters and the streets, learning how to make the most of every opportunity. This season, he’s making the most of his second “homecoming” with the Packers. Michelle Beisner sits down with Jones and finds out how his tough childhood helped shape his future.
“I remember the sadness. That’s what you see in all the families. Like, ‘What happens next? Where do I go?’ His mother seemed like she was still going to take care of them. I saw the sadness on him and his sister. But, you know, moms let kids think they’re going to be OK. And I remember him saying, ‘One day I hope to come back, and help out.’” – Judy Vargas, worker at Family Supportive Housing: San Jose Family Shelter
“To be honest with you, living in the homeless shelter was probably the easiest part, because you knew for three months you were going to have a roof over your head – the same roof, you know? The hardest times were leaving the homeless shelter.” – James Jones
The Conversation with Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland, the first African-American principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre and an IMPACT25 honoree, explains to Allison Glock why she only cries happy tears these days.
This week’s Panel* (Sunday, 9:30 a.m., ESPN2)
John Saunders, Mitch Albom, Mike Lupica, William C. Rhoden
*Subject to change