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NFL Exec Troy Vincent Talks Draft, HBCU Initiatives

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “This is a moment where we need some semblance of hope in some of our communities, and we are hoping that’s what occurs next week,” stated Troy Vincent, who starred for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Redskins over a stellar 15-year career.

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"We're working together to honor the rich history and provide opportunities to students and administrators from these great institutions," said Troy Vincent, who starred for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Redskins over a stellar 15-year career. (Photo: Billy Zagger B-Train Films)

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Troy Vincent’s career and life have come a long way since the Miami Dolphins selected him with the 7th pick in the National Football League (NFL) Draft in 1992.

The former five-time Pro-Bowl cornerback has risen to become the second-in-command for America’s most popular sports league, ranking behind only Commissioner Roger Goodell, which makes it possible that he’ll one day ascend to the top job.

No former player, not even the most popular, have ever risen higher than Vincent in the league’s top office. No African American has ever served as commissioner.

On April 23, Vincent will help Goodell kick off the NFL Draft, which will be conducted virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a moment where we need some semblance of hope in some of our communities, and we are hoping that’s what occurs next week,” stated Vincent, who starred for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Redskins over a stellar 15-year career.

This year’s draft, which begins with Round 1 at 8 p.m. EST on Thursday, April 23, and concludes with Rounds 4 through 7 on Saturday, April 25, marks the first time the process is held exclusively online.

Draft night begins with a Draft-A-Thon fundraiser to benefit those affected by the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The fundraiser will receive heavy promotion throughout the draft and through a multi-person video chat hosted on the NFL’s digital properties and will feature celebrities, football legends, other influencers and health-care workers.

Rich Eisen and Deion Sanders will host the event, and Kevin Hart, Quavo, Toni Harris and Kane Brown will be among the guests, according to the NFL.

Draft-A-Thon will allocate funds to six national charities and their local chapters: the American Red Cross, the CDC Foundation, Feeding America, Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army and United Way.

Half of the total money raised will go to the national organizations to be distributed across the country wherever the funds are needed most.

The other half will be directed to local chapters of those organizations as decided by each NFL team.

Before the pandemic, the draft was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas.

“We did a Zoom call with all of the top 30 prospects, something we usually do in person, but these are unprecedented times,” Vincent stated.

“The commissioner and all of us remain completely aware of the reality of what’s going on, and we hope that maybe for one hour or during two or three hours we can provide an alternative, give you a little joy on your television sets.”

He added that the young draftees are understandably excited, but much of that has been tempered.

“They are used to traveling, and we are used to doing this in person, so when they ask questions like when will they be able to meet their teams, we have to tell them that we must stay in compliance with [stay-at-home and social distancing] orders and guidelines,” Vincent stated.

Watching the news can be a bit of a downer, too.

Vincent said in between calls; he is reminded by news reports of the reality of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 36,000 lives in the U.S. alone.

“For us holding the draft, we’ve had to be responsible,” Vincent stated.

Responsibility was something Vincent learned at a young age, and he recalled a stern reminder given to him by his grandmother after the Dolphins drafted him.

“When I did my contract, I was taking care of my grandparents, and I remember being in the car, and the Dolphins offered me more than $1 million,” Vincent recalled.

“My grandmother was sitting in the car next to me, and I told them that the money wasn’t what I was looking for per year. When I hung up the phone, my grandmother told me to pull the car over. She said, ‘I just heard you say no to a couple of million dollars.’”

He continued:

“She told me how she and my grandfather worked for $1.45 per hour for 30 or 40 years raising my mother and aunts and uncles and how they never wanted for anything. She said she never wanted to hear me turn down that kind of money again. She said, ‘You need to all that man back.’ I did call them back.”

It’s also because of that upbringing that Vincent has been integral in the NFL’s outreach to African Americans.

He’s spearheaded work between the NFL and HBCUs and the league’s social justice platform, which emphasizes education, economic development, and community and police relations.

The platform includes the funding of grass-roots community organizations and establishes a digital learning curriculum for African American history in 175 underserved high schools.

Working with the Players Coalition, an independent 501(c)(3) entity, the NFL formed a joint player-owner committee focused on social justice, which focuses on reducing barriers to opportunity, and prioritizes making improvements in three key areas:

  • Education and economic advancement
  • Community-police relations
  • Criminal justice reform

Additional programs focus on reducing poverty, promoting racial equality and supporting workforce development.

“Every community knows the grassroots organizations in their respective neighborhoods that do the work, the daily hands-on work,” Vincent said.

It’s also been about four years since the NFL started the “Strength of HBCUs, Impacting Prof Football.” Since 1948, which celebrates and honors the historical impact of HBCUs and their players on the game, and to provide career opportunities in the game of football.

Click here for an overview of the various initiatives between the NFL and HBCUs.

“The NFL’s partnership with HBCUs has deep roots in football’s history,” Vincent noted.

“We’re working together to honor the rich history and provide opportunities to students and administrators from these great institutions.”

The NFL’s HBCU program celebrates the history, increases opportunities for HBCU students and athletic administrators, and provides access through career forums, workshops, internships, and other programs.

“It’s really important for us to identify men and women of color, particularly those who are Black, for these efforts,” Vincent noted. “This allows us to deal with Black and Brown people at these historic institutions where there are multiple programs to take advantage of.”

For more about the numerous NFL community initiatives, click here.

To donate the Draft-A-Thon, Click here.

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COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.
The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Burl “The Coach” Jones, Sports Editor, Houston Forward Times

Recently, Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban made a statement that Texas A&M bought every player they signed with NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals.

Alabama came in second in recruiting this year. That has rarely happened since Saban stepped on campus at Alabama. He also stated that Jackson State University, an HBCU coached by Deion Sanders, signed the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal.

The NIL phenomenon was created in June 2021 by the NCAA. This allows athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Previously, the NCAA made billions in revenue off the backs of college athletes. With the advent of the NIL, expect a shift in the landscape of college football recruiting.

Schools like Texas A&M, Texas, and Oklahoma, have very rich boosters and alumni who have access to millions. They will come up with very creative ways to offer lucrative NIL deals to 5-star recruits. This apparently doesn’t sit well with Coach Saban, who is used to having his way, and getting most of the 5-Star recruits to sign with Alabama.

This will definitely level the playing field and gives schools like Texas A&M, that hasn’t won a National Championship in decades, a chance to recruit 5-Star athletes on a national level and could eventually lead to them winning a National Championship in the near future.

At least that’s what they hope in College Station.

As far as Coach Saban’s statement about Jackson State signing the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal is concerned, that was quickly debunked by Coach Prime, who immediately tweeted that he will address that lie. He followed that up with this statement:

“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban. I’m sure he tried to call. We need to talk publicly- not privately. What you said was public, that doesn’t require a private conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation.”

Coach Saban is speaking from a place of privilege and bigotry. He is used to having his way and getting the players he wants. How dare a little old HBCU such as Jackson State get the #1 recruit in the country? It’s a slap in the face to all HBCUs to insist that they must pay a Black kid to attend an HBCU.

Paying recruits is certainly not new; it has been going on for years.

Former Houston Texan Travis Johnson, who was a 5-Star recruit, recently stated that Alabama offered him six figures in 2000 when he was being recruited.

“Y’all were the NIL before the NIL,” he said.

Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.

Coach Saban needs to be concerned about that pipeline that he had in Texas, getting those 5-Star recruits to leave the state. That oil money in Texas will be keeping those boys at home. Texas and Oklahoma will be joining the SEC in a few years and that will also influence Saban’s ability to recruit in Texas.

With all those factors coming into play, here is a bit of advice Coach Sabin:

SHUT UP AND COACH!!

“I’m just Telling It Like It Is!!”

The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th. Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head. Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people. It’s that simple and that sad. Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.
The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D., Houston Forward Times

Racism is a longstanding social illness in the United States of America. Seemingly, there is no cure for it.

It has been with us for as long as I can remember. The result of it has created heartache and heartbreak.

Lives have been lost and it has left the stain of disgrace on this country. Accomplishments, it could be argued, are sometimes overshadowed by our blatant disregard for some members of our beloved community.

I know for sure that racism will be around for as long as I live. It has been a part of my life experiences.

Unfortunately, and I say this with no pride, I have witnessed racism up close and personal.

I have been around long enough to watch the many levels of racism that exist in this country.

For example, we have had educational racism. Segregated schools were the norm until the case, Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka ended it.

Did that stop us from getting an education?

The answer is a resounding no!

Black colleges, now called Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), were founded in order that higher education was afforded to African Americans.

At this moment, HBCUs are the hottest and most talked about educational venue in the land.

Everybody wants to attend an HBCU. I am a graduate of an HBCU (Johnson C. Smith University), and I know the power and influence they have.

The right to vote has always been problematic for African Americans. It is a fundamental right for all Americans, according to the Founding Fathers.

The problem is that the ‘current fathers’ don’t see it that way.

Will that stop us?

The answer is another resounding no!

African Americans are now voting in record numbers and that trend will continue.

There are states in this union that are creating trumped-up rules to keep us from exercising our privilege at the polls.

Some in this country have taken racism below ground zero. There are people in our states who hate Black people and want to kill us.

That is a powerful statement, yet it is factual and true.

Interestingly, there are citizens who believe the opposite. I suspect their experiences are different, and they live in an almost contactless America.

If you are one of those people, pay close attention now.

Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th.

Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head.

Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people.

It’s that simple and that sad.

Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.

The victims were assaulted at a Tops Friendly Markets store and the victims ranged in ages from 20-86.

This crime of hate is unthinkable and was done with malicious intent.

The killer was not a Buffalo resident. He drove approximately 200 miles from Conklin, New York, to commit this heinous crime.

Gendron had already scouted out the place for his crime. He knew that many African Americans shopped at that location. That is sick beyond words.

According to reports, Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said, “We found some things that show he was here in early March, and then again, we know he was here on Friday, basically doing reconnaissance on the area.”

Gramaglia added, “He was in the store, both on Friday and Saturday.”

These statements were made by him to CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Payton S. Gendron surrendered to police after this life-altering atrocity.

America, where are we headed? Only time will tell.

The post Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings appeared first on Houston Forward Times.

The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices

NNPA NEWSWIRE — A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.
The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The average price for a gallon of gasoline has hit record numbers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

This week prices rose nationally by four cents, and consumers wondered why the cost is so high.

A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.

“America has an abundance of resources right under our feet, and policymakers should send a clear message that America is open for energy investment,” Smith declared.

API noted that gasoline prices are determined by the supply and demand of crude oil and expenses for refining, distribution, retailing, and taxation. Those fundamental market realities drive prices at the pump, officials stated.

The main components of retail gasoline prices are the cost of crude oil, taxes, refining costs, and distribution and marketing costs, API officials stated.

Of those, the price of crude oil has the most significant impact – accounting for 56 percent of the cost.

“Because of this, changes in the price reflect the global cost of crude oil, which is influenced by current conditions and expectations of consumer demand, supply, inventories, geopolitical events, and other factors, generally have an effect on pump prices,” the organization stated in a fact sheet.

Further, federal, state, and local governments levy various taxes in fees on transportation fuels.

The nationwide average tax on gasoline is 57.09 cents per gallon, including a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and state-level taxes that range from 68.15 cents per gallon in California and 15.13 cents per gallon in Alaska.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers recently discussed the critical importance of American energy leadership “at a time of geopolitical volatility and rising energy costs around the world.”

Sommers urged policymakers to advance U.S. natural gas and oil production to support stability in global energy markets and ensure access to affordable, reliable energy for American consumers and our allies overseas.

“Most everyone knows that the world needs oil and natural gas in a big way and will for decades or more to come; the only question is where that oil and gas is going to come from,” Sommers remarked.

“As much as ever, we need to think hard about that economic truth and our energy future. That means recognizing energy from natural gas and oil as the critical strategic asset it is to America.”

“We can’t treat oil and natural gas as a kind of switch that is turned on or off to suit the moment,” Sommers continued.

“Production and delivery don’t work that way. Yet the overriding policy lately has been to cancel pipelines, block permits and deny leases – all things that discourage investment.

“As more Americans face the consequences of bad policy, the elements of good policy become that much more apparent and desired. We have an opportunity together to re-center the energy discussion with basic realities and good common sense as our starting point.”

Sommers called on the administration and Congress to develop a new five-year offshore leasing program; hold onshore leases on federal lands per the Mineral Leasing Act; approve LNG export applications and allow the approval of exports to non-free-trade-agreement nations, and craft transparent, consistent permitting regulations to enable the development of vital energy infrastructure.

The U.S. has pledged to increase LNG exports to Europe by 65 percent over the next six years.

How quickly could U.S. oil producers scale up production to put downward pressure on domestic gasoline costs?

What could the federal government do to promote that production?

API officials said it begins with access to resources, advancing infrastructure, and enabling – rather than deterring – the industry’s financing.

“Importantly, financial markets have become less hospitable to the natural gas and oil industry partly because of the Biden administration’s positions, policies, and signals,” API officials asserted.

“Those who have capital may be reluctant to invest in long-lived energy assets in such a climate, and a relatively fixed pool of cash flows that could be re-invested by industry have been increasingly spread thin.”

API listed four “concrete actions” the organization believes the Biden-Harris administration could immediately take to support American production.

They include conducting federal lease sales, completing a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing, supporting energy infrastructure, and reopening access to Alaska.

“The administration should reinstate the leases it suspended in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the permit development it approved in the National Petroleum Reserve,” API officials wrote.

“These were permitted with stringent environmental standards and could prove a significant source of domestic production over time.”

The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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