JACKIE JOYNER-KERSEE: THE ATHLETE & THE ACTIVIST

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Not every athlete becomes legendary.  Not every athlete can say that they were one of the greatest in the world.  Not every athlete can say that they went beyond their sport and are true activists for change.  I know one who can, Jackie.  Joyner.  Kersee.  Not only is Jackie Joyner-Kersee track and field royalty but she is the quintessential activist athlete.  She was the first American to win gold in the long jump and the first woman to earn more than 7,000 points in the heptathlon. Her three gold, one silver and two bronze medals were earned over the span of four Olympic Games, but her determination to improve the lives of others has spanned over her entire lifetime.  Her Foundation, that has raised over $12 million, improves the lives of children and families in impoverished, often forgotten about East St. Louis.  And her latest endeavor is bringing technology to large groups of underserved people.  When you talk about athletes who use their platform to bring the change they want to see, Jackie Joyner-Kersee is in fact, one of the greats.

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GladiatHer Grads: Jacqueline McDevitt & Her Phan Cave

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I really need you all to understand that there are some pretty amazing woman who have played college sports. Legitimately amazing. Jacqueline McDevitt is one of those amazing women. She’s gone from lacrosse novice to expert coach and business owner in a matter of 10, short years. In following her passion for sports and branding, she has developed an ingenious way for sports fans across America to better enjoy their coveted tailgates. Check out what she shared with GladiatHers.com. Continue reading

GLADIATHERS OF IG: Th33BestICanBe

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Guess what, we’ve got a new feature for you guys! We’re constantly inspired by the women and girls we see on Instagram who show their awesome athleticism and dedication to sports.  So we decided to start sharing some of these women with you! GladiatHers® of Instagram will highlight some women and girls we think you should take a look at and follow for inspiration on staying healthy, being fit and being positive.  Our first GladiatHers® of Instagram hails from Liberty City, Miami. With 3,034 followers (and counting) she is the epitome of strength and tenacity.  Meet Th33BestICanBe…  Continue reading

HAIL TO THE REDNECKS

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Not too long ago I found myself in my home state of South Carolina standing in an NFL gear shop with my brother. I was doing some shopping when I characteristically found myself engaged in football banter. The target of the Townes Trash Talk was a random, middle-aged white man. He was an avid Carolina Panthers fan, and my brother and I proudly pull for the burgundy and gold of the NFC East. When we mentioned that our team resided in the nation’s capital, this random man said, “Oh, you like the Washington Rednecks.” My brother and I shook our heads, laughed it off and continued with our light-heartedly back and forth. But when I got home, I couldn’t seem to shake the fact that this man had called my beloved team the Rednecks. Rednecks. The term didn’t personally hurt my feelings but his statement served as a wake-up call. While the term redneck conjures up a number of images, the one I’m most familiar with is that of a rural, poor, white, Southern person who holds bigoted, ultra-conservative views. Growing up in the grand old South I had run into my (un)fair share of those kinds of “rednecks.” So when the gentlemen called my team the Rednecks, that’s what I saw; a bunch of racist white men flying burgundy and gold flags with pictures of Native Americans on them.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF ALLIES

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Much of the sports world has been engaged in a fierce debate about NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his protest against America’s racism and historic patterns of institutional injustices against people of color.  While much of the media may be showing that the vast majority of football players and Americans are disgusted by Kaepernick’s refusal to stand in reverence for the National Anthem, conversations on social media and in-person show that many, many people support Kaepernick for peacefully exercising his First Amendment and human rights.  One such supporter has been U.S. Women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe.

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MY MONTH AS HOPE SOLO’S PR MANAGER

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Sigh. Hope Solo. Instead of talking about what a great goalie and representative of women’s sports she is, we’ve spent the majority of August talking about what a poor sport she is. She’s seriously been a public relations nightmare and I can only imagine that her management team is in full-on crisis management mode right now. Lately, she’s let her lack of sportsmanship, thoughtfulness and maturity be on display for the world to see. And watching it all play out from the comfort of my home has been a bit like driving past a bad car wreck…You don’t want to see it, but you just can’t look away.  While taking in her epic meltdown, I’ve frequently put myself, a non-PR expert,  in her PR team’s shoes. What would I tell Hope? How would I have tried to change things? Here’s some of what I’ve come up with:

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AND IF YOU DON’T KNOW, NOW YA KNOW…

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The Olympics have come and gone.  I must say, aside from Ryan Lochte’s full-on frat bro display of stupidity and utter disrespect, I enjoyed what I saw.  I was unquestionably entertained and inspired.  I actually think that it’s the inspiration piece that really makes the Olympics so great.  Not only are athletes providing entertainment and bragging rights, but they’re using their lives’ work to inspire and teach millions of people.  That’s why we wait in anticipation and watch without flinching every four years; we want to be inspired and be taught to be better than we were yesterday.  Through the Olympics we learn about true perseverance, love, dedication and talent.  We learn just how much each athlete has to give up for the opportunity to represent their country, and we’re inspired to give a little more of ourselves.

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