Connect with us

Sports

Out Olympian censored from openly talking about LGBTQ youth

In September 2018, Crain came out on Instagram. As a professional athlete, she lived in fear about her sexuality

Published

on

Brooke Crain shares about her father Todd Crain on a Suicide Awareness Tribute Video (Screenshot via YouTube)

VISALIA – Team USA’s BMX Cycling champion Brooke Crain was all set to speak to students at her alma mater, Mt. Whitney High School in this San Joaquin Valley city 190 miles north of Los Angeles, but hit a snag. Cain, a two time Olympian was going to give a talk on on two subjects close to her heart, suicide prevention and healthy lifestyles when a school administrator objected to part of her planned lecture.

In September 2018, Crain came out on Instagram, announcing her engagement to Australian BMX racer Rachel Jones. As a professional athlete, she lived in fear about her sexuality. Then, on July 2 last year in the midst of the pandemic, Crain lost her biggest fan, supporter and her Dad Todd Crain, a police officer, to suicide.

Since her father’s death Crain has been proactive about raising suicide awareness and prevention. In her personal story she acknowledged to her hometown newspaper, the Visalia Times-Delta last month in an interview; “I’ve struggled with coming out for many years and with that struggle came dark thoughts,” Crain said. “Just being a professional athlete in the limelight and an Olympian, I never thought I would be accepted. I remember struggling, having few dark memories of being suicidal.”

So when she was asked to speak to students about her experiences and life Crain wanted to include her story and struggle with being lesbian and in a text message to Frank Escobar, VUSD director of student services this past week, Crain asked if she could share her coming out story because of the impact it had on her mental health.

The response from Escobar was less than enthusiastic the Times-Delta reported Thursday. Escobar told her that the subject was “kind of a sensitive area” for the VUSD school board.

“I think you can definitely reference it [coming out] in regards to aspects of MH (Mental Health). What we want to steer away from is encouraging or advocating for students to that choice,” Escobar said in the text message to Crain. “That’s where the board draws the line.”

That text exchange was publicly shared by the Olympian bike racer who said she can’t talk openly without telling her full story.  “I didn’t think that I would ever be able to be who I was in the sport as well as come out as being openly gay,” she told the paper. “That was the start of my mental health journey.”

Crain’s goal is to advocate for LGBTQ+ youth and raise awareness on suicide because both are special to her, she added. She then withdrew from participating in speaking to Mt. Whitney High’s students.

The president of the Board of the Visalia Unified School District, Juan Guerrero, apologized telling the Times-Delta; “VUSD would like to go on the record and state incorrect statements about the district were made by Mr. Escobar in a text message exchange between him and Ms. Crain,” said Kim Batty, the district’s spokeswoman. “Mr. Escobar was not authorized to speak on behalf of board nor the district on this manner.” Guerrero added, “VUSD embraces diversity among all students, staff and families. VUSD apologizes for any pain this text message exchange has caused Ms. Crain.”

Nineteen years ago this August, the Visalia Unified School District agreed to adopt sweeping reforms to address anti-gay harassment, including groundbreaking measures to train staff and students with the goal of preventing harassment before it happens, in a settlement reached with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network in a Federal lawsuit that was filed the previous year.

“This case isn’t just about Visalia, California – it’s about a nationwide epidemic in non-urban schools, where young people face unspeakable harassment and violence because of who they are,”” said James Esseks, litigation director at the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project at the time of the settlement. “”This could – and often does – happen at almost any school outside urban America.”

Young LGBTQ people are at a higher risk for suicide attempts because of the public rejection they see and hear in the news, from their governments, and from their friends and families,” Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project told the Blade in a previously emailed statement on a related storyline. “It’s important to remind LGBTQ youth that they are loved, never alone, and that their life has value.”

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. TheTrevorProject.org.

LGBTQ adults, as well as young people, can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Sports

The voice of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball, legendary Vin Scully has died

“The game is the thing, not me,” he told The LA Times in 1998. “I am just a conduit for the game. I am the guy between the expert & the fan. I am not the expert”

Published

on

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Dodgers

LOS ANGELES – The iconic phrase “It’s time for Dodgers baseball” voiced by Vin Scully, ringing out at the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers for over 60 years was termed  “the heartbeat of the Dodgers,” by the team as it sadly announced the legendary broadcaster’s passing at age 94 Tuesday.

“We have lost an icon,” said Dodger President & CEO Stan Kasten. “The Dodgers’ Vin Scully was one of the greatest voices in all of sports. He was a giant of a man, not only as a broadcaster, but as a humanitarian. He loved people. He loved life. He loved baseball and the Dodgers. And he loved his family. His voice will always be heard and etched in all of our minds forever. I know he was looking forward to joining the love of his life, Sandi. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this very difficult time. Vin will be truly missed.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom expressed his condolences Tuesday evening after the news broke of Scully’s death. In a statement the Governor said:

“Vin Scully was a master of his craft. A native son of New York, his unmistakable voice will forever be synonymous with Los Angeles.

When the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn in 1958, Vin came with them. For more than six decades, he provided the soundtrack for generations of baseball fans. He was a master storyteller whose calls had an unparalleled musical quality that was a source of comfort for millions.

Over his remarkable career, Vin consistently demonstrated the remarkable ability to improvise poetry, a true artist whose love for the game rang through every Dodgers broadcast. He was quite simply the greatest of all time, and will be sorely missed not just by his family and friends but by millions of baseball fans.”

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Dodgers

LA’s hometown station KTLA 5 reported that Vincent Edward Scully was born on Nov. 29, 1927, in Bronx, New York. He began his legendary career at Fordham University, where he worked on the school paper and for the college radio station.

He latched onto the then-Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s and followed the team to the West Coast where he would become synonymous with Dodgers baseball for the next 67 season.

Scully retired from calling Dodgers games after the 2016 season, eight years after announcing his original plans to step away from the game he loved.

He was a MLB Hall of Fame inductee in the 1980s, becoming one of only a handful of announcers to receive the honor. In 2016 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Earlier this year, he was awarded the Baseball Digest lifetime achievement award.

California U.S. Senator Alex Padilla remembered the Dodger broadcaster in a statement:

“Angela and I join Los Angeles—and baseball fans around the world—in mourning the passing of Vin Scully. From Opening Day to the World Series and every inning in between, for generations of fans, Vin Scully’s voice meant it was time for Dodger baseball. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1980s, I spent many evenings dreaming of playing baseball in the major leagues while Vin’s voice narrated the action.

“Vin’s unparalleled storytelling and love of sports allowed him to transcend baseball. Many fans recall Vin’s unique calls on some of the most memorable football games and golf tournaments of the 20th Century.

“While he became a legend for his talents behind the microphone, he will be remembered best for his decency beyond the broadcast booth. A few years ago, as California’s Secretary of State, I had the opportunity to introduce Angela and our boys to Vin at a voter registration event before the game. He was incredibly gracious to my family, as he was to all fans. He always made time for fans—regardless of age or occupation—whenever and wherever he met them. Vin Scully was truly an ambassador for the Dodgers, Los Angeles, and the entire sport of baseball. Our hearts go out to the entire Scully family.”

In a Facebook post, Out Dodgers executive Erik Braverman expressed his sadness at the passage of the team’s legendary broadcaster:

From KTLA:

Continue Reading

Sports

The LA Sparks donate shoes to homeless youth honoring Brittney Griner

The shoe drive was originally an initiative by Griner to help those in need in the Phoenix metropolitan area

Published

on

Los Angeles Sparks guard Brittney Sykes (Photo Credit: WNBA/LA Sparks)

HOLLYWOOD – Led by Los Angeles Sparks guard Brittney Sykes, the WNBA championship team’s executive staff donated dozens of pairs of shoes to Covenant House California for children experiencing homelessness this past Monday.

The shoes were donated, in part, to honor WNBA Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner who currently remains detained in Russia.

The shoes were collected throughout the WNBA season in collaboration with Griner’s team, the Phoenix Mercury, and her annual Heart and Sole Shoe Drive. As the Mercury visited all 12 cities with WNBA teams, people were encouraged to bring new or lightly used shoes to be donated to local causes. The nonprofit HavASole also contributed to the shoe drive.

The shoe drive was originally an initiative by Griner to help those in need in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Los Angeles Sparks guard Brittney Sykes (Photo Credit: WNBA/LA Sparks)

As Griner remains detained in Russia, the drive was expanded throughout the league in her honor. The local shoe drive was held in Los Angeles on July 4 when the Sparks and Mercury faced off in the Crypto.com arena, KTLA reported.

Covenant House California (CHC) is a non-profit youth shelter that provides sanctuary and support for youth experiencing homelessness, ages 18-24. In their mission statement the organization notes: “We believe that no young person deserves to be homeless; that every young person in California deserves shelter, food, clothing, education … and most importantly, to be loved.”

CHC provides a full continuum of services to meet the physical, emotional, educational, vocational, and spiritual well-being of young people, in order to provide them with the best chance for success in independence.

(Photo Credit: WNBA/LA Sparks)

Officials at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February detained Griner — a Phoenix Mercury center and two-time Olympic gold medalist after customs inspectors allegedly found hashish oil in her luggage. The State Department has determined that Russia “wrongfully detained” her.

“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor, but there was no intent,” Griner told a Moscow judge during the second hearing in her trial, according to the New York Times. “I didn’t want to break the law.”

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Cherelle Griner earlier this month and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood delivered a letter from the president to the WNBA star in answer to a letter Griner had written to Biden pleading for his assistance in gaining her freedom.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken after Brittney Griner’s guilty plea reiterated the Biden administration remains committed to securing her release.

“We will not relent until Brittney, Paul Whelan, and all other wrongfully detained Americans are reunited with their loved ones,” tweeted Blinken.

Continue Reading

Sports

Los Angeles to host 2028 Olympic Summer Games July 14 through 30th

Published

on

Courtesy of The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission (Photo by Bryan Pugh)

LOS ANGELES – In a news conference Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach alongside IOC member Nicole Hoevertsz, the Los Angeles Olympic coordination commission chair, announced that the City will play host to the Summer Games in 2028.

The Games will begin with a dual opening ceremony at the Coliseum and SoFi Stadium on July 14, 2028, and continue through July 30. The Paralympics will follow, starting on Aug. 15. There will be venues across Southern California for the various international sporting events and completions.

“With set dates in hand, Los Angeles is ready and excited to host the Olympics for the third time and the Paralympics for the first time in history,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The Games represent a once in a lifetime opportunity for LA — a bold investment throughout our communities with equity and progress as the main focus. This will bring vast opportunity into every corner of the city ensuring a lasting legacy for future generations of Angelenos.”

“Los Angeles is a special place for sport,” Hoevertsz remarked. She had competed in the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, which were also held in Los Angeles, as athlete in the synchronized swimming competition for Aruba.

“It’s wonderful to see the continued progress of the LA28 Games and especially terrific to witness the positive impact the Games can have on the community well before the Olympic flame ever reaches American soil. We have much to continue to plan and celebrate as we prepare to deliver the beauty and excitement of sport to the world. The confirmation of the Games dates now gives LA a firm deadline when it will need to be ready to welcome the world.”

The Orange County Register reported that LA 2028 will receive at least $2 billion from the IOC, up from $1.7 billion had the city hosted the 2024 Games and the largest payout ever to an Olympic host city. Los Angeles also will receive the IOC’s 20 percent share of the 2028 Games surplus. With the deal, LA 2028 will receive 80 percent of those Olympics’ surplus. LA 2028 initially projected a $166.1 million surplus in 2015 documents, an estimate considered conservative by several longtime Olympic bid analysts.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular