Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #88

Dec. 1 – Dec. 7, 2013

Welcome to week eighty-eight of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s first 10 stories include:

  1. Mandela Embraced the Power of Sports for Resistance and Unity
  2. Weinstein Carnegie Exclusive Interview: Jenny Turner Koltnow, AutoZone, Inc.
  3. Advocates, Athletes Launch Clothing Line to Challenge Russian Anti-LGBT Laws Ahead Of Sochi Games
  4. Taylor University’s ‘Silent Night’ Remains One of College Basketball’s Coolest Fan Traditions
  5. Gould is driving force behind Bears’ visit to tornado-ravaged Washington
  6. NFL execs connect with LGBTQ youth
  7. USOC takes a walk down Sesame Street
  8. Eddie Aikau Surf Contest Is Still The World’s Most Unique Sports Competition
  9. Braving a bold new frontier with Charles Barkley on the subway
  10. Johann Olav Koss – The Day I Met Mandela: My Lesson in Unity, Freedom and Equality Through Sport

“Living history.”
That is what came to mind when I thought of Nelson Mandela. Here was a man who helped change history for millions of people. His efforts over the past several decades also inspired countless more around the world. Everyday people and world figures were equally moved by the grace, conviction, and compassion of this man. It actually felt a bit strange to know that such a prominent figure was alive with us on a daily basis.

In addition to his other worldly traits, Mr. Mandela was a sportsman, both in play and persona. This past week countless news stories alluded to his embrace of boxing, football (soccer) and many other activities. Mr. Mandela talked often about the power of sport to impact individuals, communities and countries for the better, helping to bring people together for a common purpose/goal. He saw sport as key to our success as a human race and was a regular champion of that idea. His passing, while sad, does nothing to diminish the incredible influence he had on this world. The power of his will and love will surely continue.

In addition to the two stories we have involving Mr. Mandela, including a reflection from Right to Play founder Johann Olav Koss, we are also happy to feature: Principle 6 apparel line; Taylor University fans; Chicago Bear Robbie Gould; USOC and Sesame Street partnership; Eddie Aikau Surf Contest; and the one and only Charles Barkley.

Please continue to send along your stories. You are both our audience and our best source of stories. Our Twitter handle is @sportsdoinggood, and you can find us at

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

Mandela Embraced the Power of Sports for Resistance and Unity
A boxer, Mandela belonged to a generation that adhered to the amateur ideal of sport, believing it possessed an intrinsic value and offered lessons in fair play, gracious victory and edifying defeat, said Charles Korr, an American historian and a co-author of “More Than Just a Game,” a book about soccer and apartheid. It was not a naïve view, Korr said, but one that was savvy and pragmatic and rebutted the notion that sports and politics should not mix.

Nelson Mandela, right, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in Zurich in 2004 after South Africa was named the host for the 2010 soccer World Cup. Franck Fife/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Weinstein Carnegie Exclusive Interview: Jenny Turner Koltnow, AutoZone, Inc.
With over thirteen years experience in sports philanthropy and corporate social responsibility, Jenny Koltnow is a star in the philanthropic space, especially in Memphis, the community she now calls home. She was the Founding Executive Director of Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation, winner of the 2012 “Sport Team of the Year” award and the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy.

Advocates, Athletes Launch Clothing Line to Challenge Russian Anti-LGBT Laws Ahead Of Sochi Games
At least 34 Olympians and professional athletes announced their support for the effort, according to Athlete Ally and All Out. “We need to take advantage of this Olympic moment,” a leading LGBT advocate said.

James Blake, Olympic and professional tennis player (left), Belle Brockhoff, Olympic snowboarder (right), and several other athletes have teamed up to support the campaign.

Taylor University’s ‘Silent Night’ Remains One of College Basketball’s Coolest Fan Traditions
Each year on the Friday before the start of final exams in December, Taylor basketball fans continue their “Silent Night” tradition by keeping quiet until the 10th point is scored. At that time, they go absolutely wild. According to the Taylor athletic department, the tradition began in 1997 and annually draws standing room only crowds.

Gould is driving force behind Bears’ visit to tornado-ravaged Washington
With donations through his charity, Goulden Touch, the kicker rallied 14 Bears, plus chairman George McCaskey and president/CEO Ted Phillips to travel to Washington on the team’s off day. They visited with football players and students at Washington High School and toured ravaged neighborhoods, helping to move rubble and speaking with neighbors.

NFL execs connect with LGBTQ youth
Vincent wants to reframe the thinking, to reshape the dialogue. It’s part of the reason he and Dwight Hollier, a former NFL linebacker, are representing the league at this event Tuesday afternoon, the soft launch of the “High Five” initiative created by You Can Play and intended to connect LGBTQ youth with leaders from the pro sports community.

Longtime NFL cornerback Troy Vincent met with teens as part of the You Can Play project, intended to connect LGBTQ youth with leaders from the pro sports community. AP Photo/Doug Benc

USOC takes a walk down Sesame Street
The joint venture will include educational and youth-orientated digital content featuring characters from Sesame Street and Team USA athletes, a Sesame Street family pavilion at all 13 stops on the USOC Road to Sochi Tour, and Sesame Street winter Games-themed children’s apparel available at retail stores and online.

Eddie Aikau Surf Contest Is Still The World’s Most Unique Sports Competition
Held at Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore, the contest commemorates the life of Eddie Aikau, Hawaii’s revered waterman who tragically yet heroically died in 1978 after the Polynesian vessel Hokulea capsized in stormy waters. Aikau set off paddling on a surfboard to get help for his crew members and was never seen again.

Getty Images

Braving a bold new frontier with Charles Barkley on the subway
Following in the proud tradition of athletes taking mass transportation, Barkley took the New York City subway Thursday from the SoHo neighborhood in Manhattan to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center prior to working as a game analyst on the Knicks-Nets game for TNT. It was the first time Barkley had ever taken a New York subway, though he has visited the city many times.

Charles Barkley attracted more than a fair number of gawkers while taking the subway for the first time. Richard Deitsch/SI

Johann Olav Koss – The Day I Met Mandela: My Lesson in Unity, Freedom and Equality Through Sport
President Mandela understood that sport is an equalizer. It is a language without borders — one we all speak. It is a human instinct, an expression of joy and an education. He believed no matter where you come from, no matter who you are, a game can change your life.


Grant Hill’s Wall Street Whirlpool Chats Pave Way to John Mack
While Hill, 41, is finished playing professional basketball, the managing principal of Orlando, Florida-based investment firm Penta Mezzanine isn’t anywhere near done asking questions. Only now, armed with fame, fortune, a Duke diploma, a zealous alumni network, influential parents and a pristine brand, Hill’s questions are aimed at — and welcomed by — some of the most powerful people on Wall Street.

Snowboarder Kevin Pearce Shares Injury And Recovery In ‘The Crash Reel’
Before December 31st, 2009, Kevin Pearce was one of the most spectacular snowboarders anybody had ever seen. He’d challenged Shaun White, aka “The Flying Tomato,” for the status of top dog in the sport, having won three medals at the 2008 Winter X Games and another one in 2009. He was training in Park City, Utah, for the 2010 Olympics when he crashed.

‘The Crash Reel’ examines the real dangers of extreme sports. (Kevin Moran/Courtesy)

Towson Stifles Fordham’s Run but Not Its Spirit
“To see everything we’ve been able to overcome from being 1-10 to the season we had now, I didn’t think it was possible,” said Carlton Koonce, a senior and the team’s leading rusher. “A national championship was our goal, and we fell short. But we have nothing to be ashamed of.”

PSEG Partners with the NFL Environmental Program to Provide Green Energy for Super Bowl XLVIII
“For 20 years, the NFL has been working to decrease the environmental footprint of the largest U.S. sporting event and we are proud to help them do it now that the Super Bowl is in the New York-New Jersey region, ” said Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G. “PSEG is committed to being environmentally responsible. Working with the NFL, we can help set the example that even an event that uses as much energy as the Super Bowl can significantly reduce its impact on the environment.”

Little Big Shot and Big Brothers Big Sisters Announce National Partnership
Charles Pierson, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America said, “We are excited about this partnership and the opportunity to not only repeat the successful tournament in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but to bring the tournament to other cities as well. Little Big Shot offers our Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies a great community event aimed at raising program funds and awareness of our mission of providing mentors for children facing adversity.”

New HBO Sports documentary shines light on obsessive sports parents
Trophy Kids, which debuts Wednesday at 9 pm ET on HBO, follows four California based sports parents and their individual obsessions on developing their children into star athletes. “It raises the question of how much do we push as parents?” executive producer Peter Berg said. “What should we reasonably expect? Where are the lines?”

Canadian Paralympic Committee celebrates 2013 International Day of Persons with Disabilities – Activities continue to build awareness from playground to podium
“Every child has the right to take part in sport and live an active lifestyle. Sport not only builds great athletes, it builds great people. With our goals of expanding awareness, recruiting participants, and being a world leader, Canada faces great opportunities in Sochi and beyond.

Using sport to fight female genital mutilation
In a Women Win video, Aman speaks openly about the problem, mentioning one girl who underwent the procedure and never returned to football training because of complications causing severe pain in her leg.  It is excellent news that people are speaking out against this practice. FGM causes severe health complications for women who have undergone it.

Twitter Brings Patriots’ Edelman To Emerson College Class
Edelman and members of Superdigital, the marketing agency that helps him manage his social media accounts, arrived bearing gifts — bags of hamburgers. Edelman likes a good burger and often tweets pictures when he’s having one with the hashtag #BurgerTime. Edelman said the reaction has been fun, but it’s a lesson too.

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (center) visited a social media marketing class taught by David Gerzof Richard (front kneeling) at Emerson College in Boston this fall. (Courtesy of Maya Rafie/Emerson College)

All-female driving motorsports company in Daytona bucks trend
The hope is for one of the four female teams to ultimately have a female crew chief and all female crew, which would be the first professional all-female team in any motorsports category, according to Chris Larsen, co-owner with his wife, Elaine. The couple expects many of the crew members will be from Embry-Riddle since the company is located in the university’s research park.

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