Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #263

May 21 – June 3, 2017

Welcome to issue two hundred and sixty-three of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:

  1. African-American Museum Wins New Fans: Athletes
  2. Cast Aside by the NBA, Royce White Rediscovering What Made Him Great…in Canada
  3. Facebook’s personal fundraisers exit beta, now support raising money for sports teams & communities
  4. Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation
  5. Golf Grows In Harlem
  6. NFL star Richard Sherman told a Va. high school senior if she made honor roll he’d fund her scholarship. And he did
  7. Beyond Sport Global Awards 2017 Official Shortlist
  8. Paul Casey on Being a Dad & Turning His Golf Game Into a Win for Kids
  9. Report shows how football boosts girls’ confidence
  10. ‘He wrote like he was shooting for something’: Remembering SI legend Frank Deford

The Power of a Coach (Up2Us Sports)
Goodbye, Kansas (by Frank Mason III) (The Players’ Tribune)
Playworks Rings the Opening Bell (Laureus)
Football: United, City Pledge £1 Mn To Manchester Attack Fund (Peace and Sport)
Kids Play International, U.S. Olympians and NFL players celebrate “Fair Play in Every Way” (Beyond Sport)

11. Crowdfunding effort of the week – Youth Run Nola (

Just a reminder that we are moving to an every-other-week schedule for the next few months. We will continue to post on Facebook and Twitter during the off-week. Please continue to send us your stories.

One of the benefits of doing the Sports Doing Good newsletter is getting a chance to read so many good articles from a lot of talented writers. It seems like positive stories bring out even more skill from these writers, young and old. One writer who we unfortunately did not feature in the past, Frank Deford, passed away this week at age 78. We were fans of Deford. He brought a style and skill to writing that helped legitimize sports and the individuals, organizations, and institutions. Not that the world of sport truly needed legitimizing, but it certainly helped when Deford would provide such wonderful takes on the individuals and events that were thrilling us and at the same time having an emotional, physical, and even spiritual impact on us, the readers. There are, of course, a number of talented writers out there, many whose work has been featured in the newsletter. No doubt that most of them would acknowledge Deford’s influence on them and the world of sports journalism.
In addition to the story remembering Deford, we are lucky to feature the following: the attraction of many professional athletes to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.; the reemergence of professional basketball player Royce White; a new feature at Facebook that will help grassroots sports organizations raise money for their efforts; a documentary highlighting the Iroquois nation and its birthing of the sport of lacrosse; a wonderful program taking root in Harlem in New York City that is introducing the concepts of golf and STEM education to a young and talented cohort of students; NFL star Richard Sherman following through on his challenge and promise to a student to provide her a scholarship to college; the release of the Beyond Sport Global Awards 2017 Official Shortlist; pro golfer Paul Casey and his very personal desire to support the hopes and dreams of young people through his partnership with UNICEF; and details of a study that highlights the very positive impact playing football (soccer) has on teenage girls.
Finally, we would like to make you aware of the 9th Annual Kicking and Screening Soccer Film – in New York City (Discount code for tickets: KS2017) – “At this year’s 9th annual Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival in New York, we will explore the theme of “no boundaries,” which meshes perfectly with what we feel is one of the most powerful aspects of the beautiful game – the ability to tear down walls and remove barriers of all kinds. Our four feature films this year reveal how soccer can break through boundaries geographical, psychological, political, and fanatical. And, in doing so, bring us together. The festival runs from Tuesday, June 6, through Friday, June 9, at midtown Manhattan’s Scandinavia House. Tickets are on sale now!”
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.

African-American Museum Wins New Fans: Athletes
Both of the likely participants in the N.B.A. finals have personal connections. Several members of the Golden State Warriors’ roster and staff toured the museum in March. (A team video shows the assistant coach Jarron Collins next to a picture of his twin brother, Jason Collins, who in 2013 became one of the first openly gay athletes in a major American sports league.) And the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, along with his foundation and business partner, donated $2.5 million toward the Ali exhibition. “His support will help us to continue the story of Muhammad Ali and will encourage athletes to realize how important athletics is in terms of social justice,” the museum’s founding director, Lonnie Bunch, told USA Today when the gift was announced. The marriage of athletics and social justice, in fact, was a founding principle behind the permanent sports exhibition, according to that gallery’s curator, Damion Thomas. The choice is immediately apparent to visitors: The first thing one sees when approaching the permanent sports exhibition is a statue of the 200-meter medalists at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, where two of them, the Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raised their gloved fists in the black power salute. “I very rarely give a sports statistic during these tours,” Thomas said as he walked through some upper-level rooms on a recent visit. Instead, he said, the gallery “focuses on sports in the larger African-American struggle and fight for greater rights.”

Carmelo Anthony toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture with the Knicks in January. The museum has become a must-see attraction for visiting players and teams since it opened in September. Credit Tom Zweibel/

Cast Aside by the NBA, Royce White Rediscovering What Made Him Great…in Canada
Despite the rust and his arrival well into training camp, White didn’t seem to have that steep a curve to negotiate as he put up big games early. On Boxing Day against the Niagara River Lions, White notched his first double-double in his debut, going for a modest 11 points and 13 rebounds to go with four assists and a steal. Two weeks later he went for back-to-back triple-doubles and ended the week averaging 22.8 points, 11.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.3 steals and a block in four games over a five-day span. In 40 regular-season games he would record 16 double-doubles and four triple-doubles in helping the Lightning capture home-court advantage for the entire playoffs. With each week, White felt more in the flow with his team, and that familiar feeling that made him one of the best college players in the country for his one season at Iowa State returned. Everything he did—backing down a defender in the post, throwing an outlet pass to start the fast break, filling the lane for a dunk on the break—seemed effortless. But life off the court is still a struggle at times for White.

Gabe Hernandez/Getty Images

Facebook’s personal fundraisers exit beta, now support raising money for sports teams & communities
Facebook announced today it’s expanding its online fundraising tools – basically, Facebook’s own take on a GoFundMe-type service – to include support for community fundraisers as well as those for sports teams. The company had first launched its personal fundraising tools in March of this year, allowing users to raise money for educational, medical or pet medical needs, public crises, natural disasters, personal emergencies, and funerals or loss. That launch, however, was considered a beta test. Today, Facebook says the product is publicly available for all users in the U.S. who are over 18 years of age. With the new supported categories, Facebook users are now able to raise money for things like  neighborhood services, community improvements, or environmental improvements, Facebook explains. Or, in the case of sports teams, people can raise money for equipment, competitions or team fees. All fundraisers have to first go through a review process to ensure they meet Facebook’s policy and guidelines. Afterwards, users can promote their fundraising campaign by inviting friends to join and donate, or by posting the campaign to Facebook.

Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation
Two summers ago, for the first time ever, an international sporting event took place on indigenous lands. The World Indoor Lacrosse Championship was held on the Onondaga Reservation in upstate New York and was hosted by the Iroquois Nation, or, as they call themselves, the Haudenosaunee. Today, lacrosse is thought of as white kids’ sport played in prep schools in the Northeast, but the sport was invented by the Iroquois Nation some nine centuries ago. For that week in 2015, the sport was back on its home turf. (Spoiler alert: White people usurped that too.) A new documentary, Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation, dives deep into the Iroquois’ “medicine game,” as it’s known to them, and into how politics and culture collide at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship, far removed from the Exeters and Deerfield Academies of the westernized world. The story centers on Iroqouis coach Chief Oren Lyons and his efforts to promote the team and the sports’ indigenous history. It features appearances by Al Gore, Bill Belichick, Jim Brown, and others. GOOD talked to the film’s codirectors—Oscar- and Emmy-nominated Peter Spirer and Slamdance founder and filmmaker Peter Baxter— about their film and how in Trump’s America it’s more important than ever to promote stories that focus on our true history, on belonging in this country, and on how sport can teach us lessons about both.

Golf Grows In Harlem
While the foundation’s facility was under construction, the young men met at the Harlem YMCA. Randy Taylor, a teaching professional at the Foundation, recalled, “We rented out a whole entire building, and we had a STEM room, an education room, and the gym for golf, building ourselves a nice little indoor golf facility.” Before Taylor started at the foundation, he ran a successful golf program at a golf club in Middlefield, Connecticut. Something intrigued him about the vision of the foundation, “I was personally exposed to golf when I was 11 in an inner city program. The program was not as good as this one, but it was a partnership between the Tiger Woods Golf Foundation and my school. I wouldn’t be here right now if I wasn’t exposed to golf then.” It was through that exposure that Taylor saw a special opportunity to make an impact in the lives of young men, “It’s an urban community, which I can relate to very easily, and I really care about the boys here. These kids are the main reason why I am here,” Taylor said…Brown believes that repeatedly exposing kids to the concepts of STEM will help these men develop confidence. “I want them to know that other kids aren’t smarter than them, it’s just that they’ve seen the material more. So once our kids have the same exposure to STEM, they can go out do incredible things because they know they’re just as smart.”

NFL star Richard Sherman told a Va. high school senior if she made honor roll he’d fund her scholarship. And he did
Sherman comes to Richmond every year to support former Seattle teammate and friend Michael Robinson with his Celebrity Waiter Dinner and Football Camp to benefit the Excel to Excellence Foundation. The foundation was started in 2010 by Robinson, a Varina graduate, to address his concern for children who were getting left behind in their education, environment and society. The 2017 event was held last weekend. James’ encounter with Sherman occurred at last year’s event. The two were conversing when Sherman laid out the promise that if James became an honor roll student as a senior, he would grant her a personally funded scholarship. Woven into Excel to Excellence’s mission is TEAM EXCEL, an incentive program that seeks to improve class attendance and academic performance. James’ response was conspicuous. When she realized her goal of improving her GPA to a 3.0, she reached out to Johnathan Mayo, the program’s executive director. Mayo contacted Robinson and Sherman. Sherman remembered the conversation and said he would gladly honor the promise. “It goes back to knowledge is power and if you have knowledge you’re going to be as powerful as you ever want to be,” said Sherman, who graduated from Stanford University in 2010. “Nobody stops anybody from reading and educating themselves. Mike is only trying to empower these kids to be everything that they can be and if we can help with that with our presence, with our (autographed) jerseys (for an auction), with our words, we’ll do everything we can.”

Beyond Sport Global Awards 2017 Official Shortlist
Beyond Sport today announced their annual Beyond Sport Global Awards Official Shortlist, showcasing 37 organizations that are successfully using sport to promote and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). The 37 shortlisted organizations highlight a diverse portfolio of work, from organizations raising awareness of endangered marine habitats through sailing with fishermen in Vietnam; to the use of triathlon in empowering adolescent girls in Long Island; to a ground-breaking digital media training program which uses football to provide underserved youth with the skills, support and a public platform to make their voices heard. This year’s shortlist represents issues such as: health, gender, STEM education, equality, climate change, accessibility and inclusion, tech and employability. As the global force for sustainable social change through sport, Beyond Sport overhauled the Awards this year to align with the UN SDG’s. The move came from Beyond Sport’s belief that that using sport is an effective and game-changing approach to addressing extreme poverty, inequality and climate change.

Paul Casey on Being a Dad & Turning His Golf Game Into a Win for Kids
This week, Paul Casey has announced that for every birdie he hits in tournament play between now and December 2017, he will give $100 to UNICEF to fight famine and food crisis. The relationship between Casey and UNICEF developed as part of a wide-ranging partnership between UNICEF and WME|IMG, of which Casey is a client. All funds will be donated to UNICEF USA in support of UNICEF’s lifesaving work, focusing on alleviating food insecurity and treating children with severe acute malnutrition. Casey will be carrying a UNICEF-branded golf bag and will autograph and raffle off his current bag. Anyone whose pledges amount to $50 or more will be entered to win. He is encouraging others to join him and support his pledge. Here, Paul Casey writes about what inspired him to give back. “To me, food is a basic right. Food is a staple that nobody should go without. Nobody should die of starvation in 2017. I know that 2.5 million children are facing imminent death, and that’s just unacceptable. I read that statistic and then I look at my little boy, who’s asking for another snack or another juice. There are things that we need to work on closer to home, and we can do that, too — but to be able to focus on a global catastrophe that’s right on the brink of getting so much worse is important. We’re talking about a humanitarian crisis. And it’s something that can be fixed. We can intervene and provide the nutrition that’s needed. I feel that UNICEF has the clout to get in there and help. There is a solution to this problem, and I want to be part of it.”

Report shows how football boosts girls’ confidence
UEFA’s women’s football advisor Nadine Kessler said: “This study shows that girls who play football have greater self-confidence than those who don’t play the game. Drawing upon my own experience, I can’t emphasise enough how important this is when you are growing up. I am certain that we can change perceptions and make it cool for teenage girls to play football. If we manage to achieve this, we will be on our way to achieving our goal of making football the number one sport for girls around Europe.” Since UEFA launched its Women’s Football Development Programme in 2010, the game has expanded at all levels across Europe. With many of the 55 UEFA member associations investing more energy and resources into the game, elite women’s football has improved significantly. This summer the UEFA Women’s EURO final tournament in the Netherlands will involve 16 teams for the first time. On 1 June UEFA will launch the ‘Together #WePlayStrong’ campaign, a ground-breaking initiative aiming to make football the number one participation sport for girls and women in Europe by 2022.


‘He wrote like he was shooting for something’: Remembering SI legend Frank Deford
As he told NPR’s Tom Goldman earlier this month, “sports are part of your life—it’s the second tier. The first tier is eating, drinking and procreation. The second tier is religion, the spirit, music, art and the physical. Sports. It deserves to have as much attention paid to it, seriously.” Notwithstanding all those radio commentaries, Deford’s legacy will be what he put to the page. When Barack Obama honored him with the National Humanities Medal in 2013, and at the ceremony mispronounced his name as “DEFF-erd,” it wasn’t because the president was unfamiliar with his work. Indeed, someone involved in the selection process later confided in Deford how Obama had taken a personal interest in making sure he be included among that year’s flight of honorees. That insistence, paired with an inability to properly pronounce Deford’s name, suggests that the president, like so many of a certain generation, knew of Frank not from the radio, but from his written work. He knew that voice that made its way into the minds of readers as their eyes moved from word to word to word. And so, you see, of course (we’re channeling pure Frank here—the swagger with which he would seize and guide the reader): After the great satisfaction of finishing the piece, the eye returns to the top, to find the stamp of validation that caused you to dive in; that sight to quicken the pulse of fans, readers and those of us privileged to work with him: By Frank Deford.

(photo, Frank Deford) Caption: U.S. President Barack Obama presents a 2012 National Humanities Medal to National Humanities Medal to writer Frank Deford (L) during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. Deford is recognized for transforming how we think about sports. Pete Marovich/Getty Images

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Our goal is to have Sports Doing Good be a portal housing original content and excerpts from and links to the increasing number of articles, websites, video, and other media that showcase the good in sports and society. We aim to celebrate those concepts, activities, events, and individuals by highlighting them for a wider audience. Much of the news today, whether sports- related or not, is incredibly negative and increasingly polarizing, biased, and quite annoying. We are trying to refocus some of the discussion on the good, with a focus on sports.

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