Every muscle in my body hurts just by watching Misty Copeland dance in this Under Armour ad. The American Ballet Theater ballerina (the first African-American soloist, in fact!) is utterly breathtaking and she proves just what someone can be capable of with hard work and dedication. It’s like a whole new way to look at the human body.
Quidditch isn’t just played in “Harry Potter” — it’s become a real-life sport on college campuses all over the U.S. “Mudbloods,” a documentary hitting limited theaters and On Demand in October, will explore the intense subculture that compels people to run around on a field with a broom between their legs at a competitive level. The filmmakers will follow the determined UCLA Quidditch team as they try to make it to the Quidditch World Cup (an actual thing!) in New York City. From the looks of it, quidditch is tough, and the players’ happy attitudes are what get them through. The movie looks totally intriguing and oddly inspirational. [io9]
So, Stephen A. Smith had a bust weekend. The ESPN panelist kicked off Friday with some what-the-fuck-did-he-just-say? remarks about victims who “provoke” domestic violence and all Internet hell broke loose. On the show “First Take,” Smith and other panelists were discussing Ray Rice, an NFL player who physically assaulted his now-wife and has been suspended for two games. (By the way, the NFL is quite rightly being criticized for this slap on the wrist punishment — another player is currently being suspended for a full year for smoking pot.) In seeming sympathy with abusers, Smith shared his opinion at two different points in the conversation that some DV can be provoked.
“Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions,” he said, adding later, “We … got to make sure [victims] can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn’t happen.” Keep reading »
I haven’t been following the Australian swimming community’s sexual abuse scandal. I only feel like I have been. That’s because these sorts of heartbreaking stories are so goddamned familiar: a coach is accused of sexually abusing the young charges under his tutelage and with whom he has shared lots of private time, often far from home.
In Australia’s case, several coaches were accused of sexual abuse of both male and female swimmers between the ages of 11 and 16. One coach is Scott Volkers, who is accused of child sexual abuse by three now-adult women. Volkers is accused, among other things, of rubbing the genitalia of a 13-year-old girl and groping the girls’ breasts; he has long claimed his innocence. Charges were dropped against Volkers in 2002 because accusations could not be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Two years later, in 2004, prosecutor Margaret Cunneen advised against recharging him.
Currently, Australia is holding an investigation (called a “royal commission”) focusing on the country’s institutional response, including whether Cunneen’s advice not to recharge him was appropriate. At the time, Cunneen showed skepticism that the abuse could be prosecuted. Which, as a lawyer, is her job to prove. However, what Cunneen said about it all was pretty offensive to these victims. Cunneen said it could all be seen as “trivial … almost fanciful” and it would be difficult to prosecute Volkers for molestation because his victim may not have developed breasts yet. “It is legitimate to consider whether 12-year-old swimmers even had breasts,” she said. Keep reading »