Oakland Athletics Become First MLB Organization To Employ Female Coach
Vincent Frank, Forbes
The trend towards women becoming more involved in the professional sports world took another dramatic step in the right direction on Tuesday when the Oakland Athletics became the first Major League Baseball organization to hire a female coach.
A’s hire first female coach in MLB history
Alyson Footer, MLB.com
The name of the national organization Justine Siegal founded is called “Baseball For All,” a fitting title considering she just got a new job that, before now, had only been offered to men.
The A’s announced on Tuesday that Siegal, who a few years ago became the first woman to throw batting practice for a Major League team, will serve as a guest instructor for the club’s 2015 instructional league.
A’s invite Justine Siegel to Instructional League
Press Release, A’s
The Oakland Athletics have invited Justine Siegal – who is best known as the first woman to thrown batting practice for a Major League Baseball team – to serve as a guest instructor for the A’s 2015 Instructional League slate from Oct. 4-17 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex in Mesa, Ariz.
Healey, Kraft launch antiviolence initiative
Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth
Attorney General Maura Healey and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday announced a violence prevention initiative aimed at high school students across the state.
With $500,000 from the Patriots charitable foundation and $150,000 from Healey’s office, the initiative will select 90 schools from across the state and run two adults from each school through a three-day violence prevention program run by a mentor program at Northeastern University.
Maura Healey: Other NFL Owners Should Follow Robert Kraft’s Lead On Domestic Violence Prevention
Amanda McGowan, WGBH
Healey and Kraft announced this morning a new program to educate teens on domestic and relationship violence and how to prevent it. The “Game Change” program will be funded by a $500,000 grant from the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and $150,000 in additional funding from Healey’s office.
“The NFL hasn’t done what it has needed to do in this area. They need to, and I hope other owners in the league follow Robert Kraft’s lead. This is a huge statement,” she said on Boston Public Radio with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan Tuesday.
Kraft, Healey announce partnership to prevent youth violence
Shira Springer, Boston Globe
The collaboration between Kraft and Healey, officially called “Game Changer: The Patriots Anti-Violence Partnership,” is one component of a $1.5 million domestic violence and sexual assault prevention initiative undertaken by the Krafts and the foundation.
Anti-violence program backed by New England Patriots targets high school level
Katie Lannan, State House News Service
“The earlier we can educate young people about healthy relationships, the earlier we can build a sense of dignity and respect in how we treat one another,” Healey said. “And I know that this will all go a long way to increasing the chance that we have of making a difference and reducing violence.”
New England Patriots owner, state of Massachusetts team up to address domestic violence and sexual assault
Shalise Manza Young, Yahoo
“The violent actions of an NFL player a year ago was caught on camera. The video went viral,” Kraft said. “It was a horrific incident and an incredibly negative story for the entire NFL. But as a result of that high-profile participant, the crime brought international attention to the topic of domestic violence. That level of attention, discussion, disgust and outrage has been long overdue.”
Patriots, AG Healey Launch Domestic Violence Prevention Program For Students
Lisa Creamer, WBUR
State Attorney General Maura Healey and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft are launching a joint initiative aimed at educating young people about relationship violence. The new campaign, called “Game Change,” seeks to train teachers, coaches and students in public high schools across Massachusetts to prevent relationship violence.
Patriots partner with Healey for school program on curbing domestic violence
“Game Change: The Patriots Anti-Violence Partnership” will train students, teachers, coaches on relationship violence in public high schools across Massachusetts.
Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society: “Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society has embraced that platform for over 30 years and is excited to be a part of this first-of-its kind statewide initiative to empower young people, teachers and coaches with the skills and tools they need to promote healthy relationships and to recognize and prevent teen dating violence in their schools and communities.”
Patriots partner with Healey for school program on curbing domestic violence
Shira Springer, Boston Globe
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will fund educational programs aimed at high school students. With Kraft’s backing, Healey plans to launch the educational initiative in nearly 100 schools this fall.
Patriots give $500K to fight teen dating violence
Attorney General Maura Healey announced a new partnership called “Game Change: The Patriots Anti-Violence Partnership,” which takes a multi-faceted approach to violence prevention education.
AG Healey, Patriots, partner against teen dating violence
Attorney General Maura Healey and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation are joining forces in an effort to stem the tide of teen dating violence in Massachusetts high schools. Healey and Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday unveiled the “Game Change” program, which seeks to educate high school students, teachers and coaches about domestic violence and sexual assault.
Patriots contribute $500K to help stop teen dating violence
Dan Hausle, WHDH
Patriots owner and CEO Robert Kraft is joining forces with Attorney General Maura Healey in an effort to stop teen dating violence.
‘Deflategate’ Ruling ‘Resonates Well Beyond The NFL’
Steve Brown and Lynn Jolicoeur, WBUR
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be on the field for the season opener next week after all. A federal judge on Thursday vacated Brady’s four-game suspension stemming from his alleged use of deflated footballs during last year’s playoffs. Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, joined WBUR’s All Things Considered to discuss the ruling.
Rise of naming rights in Fargo-Moorhead illustrates payoff for sponsor companies
Grace Lyden, The Forum
Hear the name often enough, and you might start paying closer attention to the Fargo-based sporting goods store. At least, that’s what experts say about million-dollar corporate naming rights at athletic venues.
So what is the payoff for companies that spend millions of dollars on naming rights? Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston, said even the sponsor companies probably don’t know their exact profits from naming rights. “They think that it empowers their brand, but they’re probably not circling it all the way back to see,” he said.
She’s the boss: Is the future of coaching female?
Motez Bishara, CNN
Say goodbye to the old boys’ club that’s been filling vacant managerial slots since the dawn of professional sports, and welcome in the dynamic women that have been rising up the ranks everywhere from the NBA to the PGA. “What you’re going to find in the NBA, in professional soccer, in the NFL is that men will listen to just about anyone who they think will make them a better player and perform better,” Dr. Justine Siegal of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society told CNN.
The reality of ‘on street harassment’
This summer I am interning at the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. In a recent project, we discussed the lagging participation and retention rates of middle and high school female athletes nationwide. Although our sports culture is slowly becoming a more inviting space for young women, there are still many barriers. Street harassment is just one of them.
Life for Justine Siegal, first woman to throw batting practice to Major Leaguers, ‘is about getting back up’
Marc Bona, Northeast Ohio Media Group
It’s difficult to pinpoint the moment where Justine Siegal became a pioneering champion for women playing baseball. It could have been on the barren fields of Venezuela, where she played baseball with the grace and determination and spirit of any competitor. That’s where a father approached her and said, “My daughter wanted to play baseball. I told her no. But after seeing you, I’m going to tell her yes, she can play.”
For women in sports, ‘inclusion is the name of the game’
Joe O’Connell, Northeastern University
Becky Hammon, the NBA’s first full-time female assistant coach made history again last week. Serving as the Spurs’ head coach in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League, she became the first woman to lead a team to the league title. For Justine Siegal, the director of sports partnerships at Northeastern’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, there is no question that Hammon and countless other women have the skills to coach men’s professional sports teams. They just need the opportunity.
Rosa Nguyen, The Boston Globe
The Wayland School Committee voted Monday to fund a schoolwide survey about the high school athletic department after the former athletic director alleged that it is rife with problems.
The survey of high school students, parents, coaches, and teachers may “give a voice to different elements of the community,” said Paul Stein, Wayland’s superintendent of schools. The survey will be conducted by Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society;
Joseph P Williams, US News and World Report
Even casual sports fans would recognize the names on a state-by-state list of the nation’s highest-paid public employees in 2014: big-time college basketball coaches Bill Self (Kansas) and Rick Pitino (Kentucky); NCAA football championship winners Bob Stoops (Oklahoma) and Urban Meyer (Ohio), each earning upwards of $5 million a year.
Price tags for superstar coaches like Stoops ($5 million a year from the University of Oklahoma) and Pitino ($5.75 million from the University of Louisville) are “becoming an issue for a lot of state legislatures,” says Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston.
Jenn Smith, Bennington Banner
“Adults seek to continue their sports career for numerous reasons, from fitness to camaraderie,” said Justine Siegal, Ph.D. of sports psychology and director of sports partnerships for the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.
She’s also the founder of girls baseball advocacy organization, Baseball for All, and the first woman to throw for batting practice for a Major League Baseball team (the Cleveland Indians).
“As kids, we learn to play and as adults we like to learn and achieve new things too. We all like success, and I don’t think that changes with age,” Siegal said.
Michael Wyner, Wayland Wicked Local
The Wayland Public Schools plan to work with the Center for Sport in Society at Northeastern University on the district’s athletic program, following the dismissal of Athletic Director Stephen Cass in early May, who subsequently detailed allegations to the School Committee about unethical conduct in the program.
Stein and Mizoguchi said in the coming weeks they will create a plan with the Center for Sport in Society to include focus groups of coaches, athletes, parents and faculty members.
Shannon McCaffrey, Atlanta Journal Constitution
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is seen punching — and knocking out — his fiancee in a hotel elevator. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is accused of rape. Read about how SEC football is addressing misconduct by their collegiate athletes.
Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times
The Women’s World Cup has only been kicking around for a week, yet it seems all the requirements for a major American female sports competition have already been fulfilled.
“We live in such a patriarchal sports culture, it continually diminishes the talents and accomplishments of women while highlighting their objectification,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “You look at the Women’s World Cup, it’s there at the forefront once again.”
Thomas Teele and Bill Plaschke, Inside Bay Area News
It happens far too often. A city’s team plays for a sports championship and win or lose, fans riot shortly after the final game ends. Look no further than San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit or Vancouver for examples. But few of those cities have as much protest fatigue as Oakland.
“It’s hard to ignore the number of times this has happened in our cities,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. “There’s a thin line between fan and fanatic for a small number of people.”
Sarah Spain, ESPN W
“The girls here have good sportsmanship,” Grace DeVinney said as she plopped down on a wooden picnic bench, happy to steal a few minutes in the shade. “Better than boys.” In about 90 minutes, DeVinney’s team, the Central Florida Rays, would face the Carolina Terminators in the championship game of the first all-girls national baseball tournament.
Siegel grew up playing baseball, went on to coach in both the men’s collegiate and professional ranks, and was the first woman to throw batting practice to an MLB team. She started Baseball For All in 1998 as a 23-year-old in Cleveland. For her “day job,” she’s the director of sports partnerships at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society.
Over the years, Siegel has learned from every small tournament she has run, every parent who has yelled at her and every girl she has helped coach. She put all that knowledge into creating the tournament in Kissimmee, which she believes will be a turning point for girls in baseball.
John Powers, The Boston Globe
They once were America’s red-white-and-blue heroes, the lovable underdogs who served up a feel-good story after the trauma of 9/11. “At this time in our country we are all Patriots and tonight the Patriots are champions,” owner Robert Kraft declared in February 2002 as he accepted the championship trophy after the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory. Three rings and two scandals later, the Patriots have been labeled cheaters and Tom Brady’s All-American-boy image has been tarnished after a National Football League investigation concluded it was more probable than not the quarterback knew he was throwing footballs that deliberately had been softened.
“Deflategate is a pointed attempt to deflate the dynasty,” observed Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. “The Patriots have become the New York Yankees of the NFL. The Evil Empire.”
Tom Chard and Mike Lowe, Portland Press Herald
The Hyde School is pulling its boys’ basketball team from competitive play with other Maine high schools after school officials said their students were subjected to racial taunts and questionable officiating in February’s Western Class D championship game in Augusta.
Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, said: “If it happened once, it happened one time too many. Incidents like this point to the need for that conversation (on race) and the need for it in every sector or society. … The fact that there were racial slurs, if substantiated, shows that we aren’t past that behavior and the reason why we aren’t is that we haven’t had a deep-dive conversation on race.”
Deborah Becker, WBUR
The coverage and discussion of so-called “Deflate-Gate” is everywhere. But, why so much national attention and how much is too much?
Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, joins Morning Edition to talk about what all this coverage says about the influence of sports culture in our society today.
Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, The Boston Globe
Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, the president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the National Football League’s new adviser, said Tuesday that football is safer than it has ever been, but she called on the NFL to commit more money to medical research and better educate the public about sports injuries.
“There’s always risks when you’re a leader stepping into a territory so fueled by debate,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “She’s in a spotlight.”
Rupa Shenoy, WGBH News
Fans of the New England Patriots are questioning quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. Local fans says they’re comparing his punishment to previous NFL sentences handed down for offenses many people consider more grevious.
Is deflating footballs as bad – or worse – than domestic violence?
Executive Director Dan Lebowitz of The Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University takes something of an opposite view. He says the NFL is turning Deflategate into what he calls “Deflectgate.”
“It’s trying to make the public… think about the League in terms of the integrity of its game, and take the gaze away from the domestic violence incidents, from the child abuse incidents, and from the concussive issues that continue to plague the game.”
The deflategate suspension could cost Tom Brady nearly $2 million in salary next season, but will being labeled a “cheater” impact his expensive endorsements?
Some say Brady may take a hit to his brand, which currently has an estimated net worth of $120 million. The quarterback has at least a half dozen endorsement deals, including Under Armor and Wheaties.
Dan Lebowitz, the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Sports in Society at Northeastern University, says that although the scandal may hurt Brady, it won’t define him.
Fluto Shinzawa, Boston Globe
In the jargon of the Wells Report, it is more probable than not that NFL quarterbacks other than Tom Brady prefer — and play with — footballs outside the permissible range of inflation of 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch. It is more probable than not that the NFL faces weightier issues, such as domestic violence and concussions, that make improper football inflation a transgression of the kindergarten classification.
“We pay enormous attention to sports in our country,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society. “It is the celebrity platform, more than anything else. There is a ubiquitous spotlight on sports with the 24-hour news cycle. We’re dissecting it in a way we don’t dissect any other segment of society.”
Hannah Sparks, Boston.com
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a legendary name in boxing, but he is also a convicted domestic abuser, who Deadspin reports has been arrested or cited in seven assaults on five different women.
“Whether it’s boxing or football, the sport is a hyper-masculine construct — we look at men as gladiators and then we revere them for being those gladiators, and give tacit approval of their behavior off the field because we have elevated them to the status of superhero,” Lebowitz said.
The fact that violence is so tied into the definition of manhood means that men have a special responsibility to be involved in changing the status quo, Lebowitz said. Men need to be allies of women, he added, whether that means modeling respect or helping organizations that help survivors of domestic abuse.
Sophia Pearson, Claims Journal
The National Football League won final court approval of a $765 million settlement of ex-player head-injury claims, overriding criticism that the money still falls short and the deal terms are unfair.
“In the moment, in the snapshot, it’s definitely a victory for the NFL and it creates a dynamic where they hope to sort of leapfrog from this issue to talk about the game of the future and the development of a safer game,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society.
The NFL will have to be proactive in using the brand to focus on safer ways to operate in youth leagues, he said.
Daniel Wood, The Christian Science Monitor
A possible deal to bring a National Football League franchise back to the nation’s largest city has been percolating in the local press for months. However, competing projects are also being proposed in several other locations. And because a 26-page initiative petition details a complex plan with a three-way land deal between property owner, the city of Carson, and Charger owners analysts say there are many ways the stadium could be derailed.
“This would be a huge feather in the cap for Los Angeles in terms of having the NFL pedigree in a city that has multiple world champions in both hockey and basketball,” says Dan Lebowitz, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “And it would be a new kind of draw for younger players who are attracted by the cache of living in the entertainment capital of the world.”
Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor
The second marathon since a twin bombing attack near the finish line in 2013, the race was also held amid the trial of the bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Survivors of the bombings, as well as family members of the youngest victim, Martin Richard, have asked that Tsarnaev be spared the death penalty, a view polls have repeatedly showed that a majority of Bostonians share.
“We’re not typified by a punitive nature” in Boston, Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, told USA Today. “We always see some sort of path to redemption.”
G. Jeffrey MacDonald, USA TODAY Sports
Boston and fans are scheduled to line up today for the Boston Marathon, just as they’ve done since 1897. But this year is markedly different because one thing is coloring all else: the federal trial of marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The trial hasn’t tainted the event, Bostonians say. On the contrary, the ability to run and cheer shows the city’s true colors as “compassionate and resilient, not revengeful,” according to Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.
Radio Boston, 90.9wbur
It was a stunning conclusion Wednesday in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player, Aaron Hernandez: guilty on all counts for the murder of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez now faces life in prison, without parole.
Hernandez claimed he’d been nurtured by “the Patriot Way.” But Wednesday’s verdict raises new troubling questions for the NFL about violence on and off the field, including domestic violence — and now, murder — by it players.
So, what does this mean for the Patriots? What does it say about “the Patriot way” and the NFL?
Guests: Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society and Bill Littlefield, host of NPR’s Only A Game.
Rainer Sabin, The Dallas Morning News
Hardy’s signing created an entirely different discussion about the seriousness of domestic violence — an issue that has cast a pall over the NFL in the wake of the vicious punch thrown last year by former Baltimore running back Ray Rice that floored his then-fiancée.
Before Rice was exiled by the Ravens in September, Hardy was convicted of assaulting a woman and communicating threats — charges later dismissed before an appeals trial because the accuser, his ex-girlfriend, refused to cooperate with the district attorney’s office.
“When you think about the brand of the NFL, and you think about the Cowboys, they are so synonymous that the club, in many respects, is a microcosm of the larger league and microcosmic of society in general,” he said.
Daily Times Chronicle
The 7th annual Shannon Lee Meara Foundation fundraiser will be held on March 21 from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Sons of Italy in Woburn.
This year the Foundation is very excited to announce its sponsorship of a new program, Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), in coordination with Northeastern University.
The program will be initiated this spring at WMHS and Lowell High School, with future implementation planned for other high school communities. MVP, founded in 1993 by Sport in Society at Northeastern University, motivates high school student leaders to play a central role in solving problems that historically have been considered “women’s issues” including: rape, battering, and sexual harassment.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics, hottytoddy.com
The Rebels’ Choice Awards is built into the celebration of National Student-Athlete Day, which is celebrated every year in April. Established in 1987, National Student-Athlete Day is America’s day to celebrate outstanding student-athletes who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics while having made significant contributions to the community. The day was established by the National Consortium for Academics & Sports and Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society and is co-sponsored by the NCAA.
Rob Okun, Masslive.com
Men promoting gender equality and decrying violence against women is “suddenly” the next new cause. Except it’s not. The issue is, though, finally getting sustained media attention. That’s good news.
In Massachusetts the work is decades old — from a batterers’ intervention program in Boston in the late 1970s to an anti-violence men’s center in Amherst founded in 1982.
Director of Athletics at Northeastern University Peter Roby and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern were key supporters of the Mentors in Violence Prevention program at the school two decades ago. The program trains student athletes and others how to move from passive bystander to active agent of change in the face of sexual violence and domestic abuse.
Today, Roby says, it is critical “to engage my sports colleagues in a coordinated effort to end this epidemic and make our community safe for everyone regardless of gender.”
Alyson Aiello, Newburyport News
Bystander. It’s a passive, even powerless, role by definition. But the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, has been working to radically change that definition with a nationally-recognized program called Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) that empowers bystanders to responsibly and safely intervene and help prevent violence before it happens.
Jarrod Chin is the director of training and curriculum for the Center for the Study of Sport in Society. He has played an important role in implementing the MVP program locally. Chin said non-violent intervention skills for student leaders are created to match their unique needs.
“It’s a teen approach,” he said. “We help them decide what’s realistic for them and what they feel comfortable doing. It’s all about skill building.
Erik Matuszewski, Bloomberg
Almost a year to the day that the former Baltimore Ravens running back knocked his then-fiancee unconscious in a New Jersey hotel elevator, Rice issued a statement thanking the Baltimore Ravens and their fans, apologizing for his action and saying he wants to make a positive difference by raising awareness for domestic violence.
“Rice’s road to redemption is going to be much more difficult than say Vick’s or Incognito’s,” Lebowitz said. “When you look at the vicious nature of the punch and some of the aftermath, it’s very hard to erase that from the collective consciousness of the nation.”
Rice had an indefinite ban lifted by the NFL in November, but went unsigned over the final month of the regular season.
Nova Safo, Marketplace
In its efforts to improve player safety, the National Football League has recruited a prominent physician, Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, as its first chief health advisor.
“The NFL is on such a ubiquitous platform, and it’s had such a spotlight on it,” says Dan Lebowitz, who heads the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.
“Looking at the practices within the league around safety … is not only smart,” he says. “It’s important in terms of the sustainability of the league.”
Erik Matuszewski, Bloomberg Business
Richie Incognito has returned to the National Football League after a 15-month absence, getting a chance at redemption with the Buffalo Bills after becoming the face of the Miami Dolphins’ bullying case.
“We live in a society that largely, and should be, in many respects defined by redemption,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston. “He did pay a penance in much the same way that Michael Vick did.”
Lebowitz, whose organization worked with the NFL on workplace conduct training in 2010, said it’s important not just to have a road back to redemption, but for individuals to embrace the opportunity and want to take advantage of it.
“It’s a second chance to learn from mistakes and move on,” Lebowitz said, “to become a productive member again of a cohesive team moving forward for a common goal.”
Robert Weisman and Dan Adams, Boston Globe
The National Football League, moving to quell criticism that it has long neglected the safety of players, on Monday named the president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as its first chief health and medical adviser.
But changing the culture of the NFL won’t be easy, league watchers said, whether dealing with head injuries or other issues.
“It’s uncharted territory,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “Hypermasculinity is woven through the entire fabric of professional male sports, and the NFL is the biggest sports and entertainment brand in the country. There’s a general undercurrent of toughness that can impede the acceptance of medical advances.”
Her appointment as chief medical adviser “shows the NFL is going to be proactive even if they were initially reactive in dealing with the concussion issue,” Lebowitz said. “Dr. Nabel can start a conversation that can carry far beyond the NFL. The concern over concussive activity has reverberated right down to the level of youth sports.
Whether or not it defies reason and logic, sports can be an effective economic engine and can be a mirror on American society. It is not unusual these days to find serious sports-related academic programs at U.S. universities, such as The Center for Sport in Society at Northeastern University or the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. Webster’s defines a game as “a physical or mental activity or contest that has rules and that people do for pleasure,” but that definition seems antiquated when the pleasure translates into billions of dollars, pride of place and genuine social impact.
But, still, just a game — and a downright silly one at that. The notion of 11 grown men — many of them overgrown — trying to drive 11 other grown men into retreat in order to deliver a prolate spheroid across a line drawn in the grass can best be described as ludicrous. And yet, we love it.
90.9WBUR, NPR Radio Boston
For some people, even for some football fans, it’s become sort of complicated rooting for this sport, being a fan of this sport.
Thursday, we heard about the latest study on concussions and traumatic brain injury. We have heard stories about domestic abuse by players, even a murder case involving a former Patriot and a league that’s slow to acknowledge or respond to these ills.
That’s the context of an unusual Super Bowl viewing party in Cambridge Sunday called the “Super Bowl/I Hate Football Party,” hosted by the Humanist Hub at Harvard University. The party is a chance for people to come together to watch the game, debate it’s merits and sort through some of its moral complexities.
Dan Lebowitz, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University and Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain at Harvard University appear as guests.
Jake New, Inside Higher Ed
According to NCAA surveys, more than 60 percent of Division I college men’s ice hockey players think it’s likely they’ll play professionally, but less than 1 percent ever go on to the National Hockey League. About 45 percent of Division I women’s basketball players think they have a chance to play professional basketball, but only 0.9 percent of players are drafted by a Women’s National Basketball Association team. (The NCAA said that it is currently procuring data on a player’s chances of joining other professional leagues, such as those in Europe, but the information is not yet available.)
“It’s the nature of how elevated sports are in this country, even at the youth level,” said Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. “By the time a basketball or football player gets to Division I or Division II, they’ve already been a star in their own town and community. They have been elevated to celebrity status at such a young age, before their frontal lobe has even fully developed. It creates a high confidence level, but also a delusion around what’s actually possible.”
Patrick Ronan, The Patriot Ledger
“We live in a society, in some respects, that wants excellence,” Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, said. “When you achieve and sustain that excellence, people who are external to that fanhood start trying to find reasons to defame that excellence.”
“We’re a society that, ironically, loves our heroes, loves celebrities,” Lebowitz said. “We love the elevation heroes have, which we give them. But in some weird sort of contradictory way, we also love to watch them fall.”
Ray Routhier, Portland Press Herald
America’s state religion, for practical purposes, is sports. We hold sports stars to a higher standard when it comes to playing fair, even though we know on a rational level that they cheat, too. Just look at the steroids scandal in baseball for proof.
But we want our sports stars to say it ain’t so.
“People look to sports for so many things, for a deflection of their own problems, for heroes, to see what leadership looks like. We are a society that loves to elevate people to hero status, and we take a great interest when they fall,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of The Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston. “When we find that these heroes have the same human fallibility as the rest of us, we overblow those instances.”
Alex Speier, Boston Globe
There is no shortage of stories related to efforts by players and teams to gain a competitive advantage by manipulating equipment or uniforms. To varying degrees, the practice is found across all four of the major sports, and certainly in many others as well.
“The concept of pushing the envelope in one way or another that might be considered cheating, or that is considered cheating, isn’t foreign to any league,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “It isn’t foreign to just about any venue or piece of our society.”
The following is a far-from-exhaustive synopsis of some of the efforts to tilt the playing field in the four major sports.
Adam K. Raymond, Men’s Journal
It would be easy to look back at 2014’s major sports stories and conclude that athletes, owners, and league executives are terrible miscreants who don’t deserve another penny of our money or second of our time. But it would also be wrong.
Yes, sports in 2014 were dominated by a series of exhausting off-field embarrassments. But even those stories included memorably redemptive moments. If nothing else, they also started public dialogues about longstanding social issues including racism (thanks to Donald Sterling) and domestic violence (thanks to Ray Rice). “You’re looking at two major issues that very few people pay attention to despite the fact that they’ve existed for a very long time. What sports did was create a platform for a national conversation,” says Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.
Mike Lowe, Portland Press Herald
The New England Patriots trailed the Green Bay Packers, 26-21, in the final minutes of their game three weeks ago. The Patriots needed the ball back, but the Packers completed a first down that would allow them to run out the clock. On the Patriots sideline, cameras took close-ups of a frustrated Tom Brady shouting “fudge” three times. Only he didn’t say fudge.
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston, said pro athletes are held to a high standard – but it’s important to realize star athletes are human, too. “With those expectations that we hold them to,” he said, “it’s also OK to recognize that human fallibility intersects with those expectations.”
Adam Reilly, WGBH
Jack Woods has been playing basketball since preschool. But three years ago, he got serious, joining a highly competitive travel program led by Eric Polli. Now, Polli said, Woods is a player to be reckoned with. “You want someone to score? He can score,” Polli said of the 14-year-old shooting guard. “He can shoot. He can attack the basket. He is the definition of a scorer.” For Woods, who said he models his game after Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade, early dedication to one sport seems to be working out. But some skeptics contend that for society at large, it’s a troubling trend.
Northeastern University Sport in Society Director Dan Lebowitz discussed the costs of pushing kids to specialize in sports at such a young age.
Schuyler Dixon, Associated Press
Houston Scarborough coach Ajani Sanders understands there are people who don’t think his 0-10 team with a 57-game losing streak should be in the Texas high school football playoffs. And he isn’t worried about what the score might be against perennial postseason contender West Orange-Stark on Thursday night. Sanders talked to his players about winning this week. Just like he does every week. ”They’ve asked me … `Coach, you just got beat 66-6. Why are you so excited?”’ Sanders said. ”All I want in life is an opportunity. Hey, this week is opportunity No. 11.”
”He’s got this incredible chance to have a teaching moment for all of his players that they’ll remember for years and for the players on the other team that won’t be traumatized and will remember for years that compassion plays into a lot of things, even something as competitive as sport,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.
Jimmy Barret, NEWSRADIO 1140 WRVA, 98.5FM
In today’s show, Jimmy Barret and Dan Lebowitz discuss two of sports’ current controversial figures: Alex Rodriguez and Ray Rice.
The New York Yankee star has been given partial immunity by the Feds in exchange for his admittance to using PEDs. “I think baseball is taking a really pro-active stance in trying to clean the game up…there had been a period of time where a lot of players had been involved in that” commented Dan Lebowitz, executive director for the Center for the Study of Sport in Society. “Things become issues in the social fabric of our society and they get sort of amped up and performance enhancing drugs have been that issue not only in baseball but in a variety of sports where people want to somehow think about the landscape being clean all along”.
Ray Rice is currently appealing the NFL’s ruling, sparking controversy about his potential reinstatement. “The degradation of women through violence of any sort is awful, yet at the same time, he is due his due rights and they did originally come down with a suspension and then changed that suspension.” said Lebowitz. “I do believe that he’ll be reinstated, I think the hard part for him will be whether a team picks him up. There’s an awful lot of running backs in the league and there’s an awful lot of running backs available and I think that some teams will be afraid of the public outrage or outcry of taking him”.
Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, The Christian Science Monitor
It’s a warm October night in Waterville, Maine, and 20 upperclassmen on the Colby College men’s soccer team settle into a ring of purple chairs. The freshmen will meet, too, but for this group, it’s the second discussion with their Mentors in Violence Prevention-trained coach, Ewan Seabrook, about the role they can play as respected athletes to prevent harassment, dating violence, and sexual assault.
These conversations are happening more and more at colleges nationwide. MVP and Green Dot have each conducted trainings on more than 250 campuses. Men Can Stop Rape has eight college chapters, and the group One in Four, with an emphasis on men’s engagement, has 15. Fraternities and male sports teams often participate in “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” events – wearing heels to raise awareness about gender violence. And many college men have started their own peer educator groups.
Gloria Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor
After the Giants squeaked out a seven-game World Series win Wednesday night over the Royals, hometown revelry should have made the players proud, right? Not quite. Instead of covering the home team in appreciative glory, fans and others took to the winding San Francisco streets for a night of celebration that quickly turned destructive. Bonfires lit up around the city, at least one person was shot, municipal buses had windows smashed, and police made multiple arrests.
This sort of behavior is more easily explained in the context of crowd behavior as much as sports fan behavior, says Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport and Society at Northeastern University in Boston. “People take the cloak of crowd anonymity to allow themselves to do things they would not normally do if they were actually being accountable for themselves,” he says. This is accelerated when the individuals have already taken on a strong group identification by being a loyal team fan, he points out, adding “there is a very thin line between being a sports fan and a sports fanatic.”
Courtney Haupt, The Oneida Daily Dispatch
After retiring from professional football 20 years ago, former Syracuse University quarterback Don McPherson turned his attention to domestic violence, giving lectures around the country. On Thursday night that passion brought him back to Central New York. McPherson, who spent seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Oilers, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Ottawa Rough-Riders, delivered a lecture at the Cazenovia Forum, examining the issues of bullying and domestic violence.
In the middle of his final professional season, McPherson accepted a job at Northwestern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. After hearing one of his colleagues talk about the statistics of domestic violence, his focus soon shifted again.
“Racism in sports was my thing because I experienced it,” McPherson said. “But I knew women in college and after college that were survivors of domestic violence. Why wasn’t that my issue? We all have women in our lives that we care about so it’s our issue as men.”
Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor
Sexual hazing in high school sports, including new allegations against seven football players in Sayreville, N.J., points to underlying issues about how ‘manhood’ is seen by society, experts say.
“The present construct of manhood is, ‘Can I dominate you,’ ” Lebowitz said, elaborating on what he called a “rape culture.” That equation needs to be flipped, he adds. Such behavior needs to be seen as so abhorrent that bystanders naturally say, “This is socially unacceptable” and speak up.
Daniel Wood, The Christian Science Monitor
California State University – the largest in the US – announced it will appoint advocates for victims of sexual assault on all 23 of its campuses. Lawmakers praised the move, saying it could spur similar action around the country.
Dan Lebowitz, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society, says the Cal State move will have very positive influence for the spread of such measures on other US campuses. The center has developed a model for several US campuses as well as the military, and he says the key is training.
“Yes it can be costly, but the cost of not knowing how to deal with these issues can be far worse,” says Jarrod Chin, director of training for CSSS. He notes that after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State was fined $60 million for not handling the issue properly.
Jason Kornwitz, News@Northeastern
Community leaders convened at Northeastern University on Thursday afternoon for a panel discussion on reducing youth violence through collaboration between Boston police, city officials, and sport-based youth development organizations. The speakers comprised officials from the Boston Police Department and the Boston Public Health Commission, including BPD Superintendent in Chief William Gross. Attendees included representatives of more than a dozen SBYD organizations, including Playworks, which aims to use recess to “unlock kids’ superpowers,” and SquashBusters, an after-school urban youth development program at Northeastern.
The two-hour event, moderated by Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, marked the start of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society’s 2014–2015 series on the role of SBYD organizations in addressing the root causes of youth violence in Boston. Over the past few years, the Northeastern-based center has found that these organizations are uniquely positioned to address youth violence through their educational programing and life skill development.
Adrian Walker, The Boston Globe
Dan Lebowitz has watched with dismay as the lords of pro football have tied themselves up in knots over their inept handling of domestic violence cases involving their players. America’s favorite sport has turned into a nightmare, the action on the field overshadowed in recent weeks by terrible behavior off of it. Many observers have called for the firing of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over his handling of allegations of violence by players against women in their lives. Lebowitz runs the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. The title of the program doesn’t really convey all that it does. One of its major activities is counseling teams and sports leagues on how to deal with social issues that overlap with sports.
Lebowitz began by stressing that this problem is broader than sports, by which he meant it isn’t useful to act as though football players are necessarily more prone to awful behavior than anyone else. “There has to be an appreciation for kindness, compassion, and respect for women,” Lebowitz said. In other words, teach all men that hitting their wives, girlfriends, or children is not acceptable, and it will stop happening in the NFL, too.
Douglas Moser, Eagle Tribune
On Sept. 8, a leaked video showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice slugging his then-fiancee in a casino elevator in Atlantic City. Within days, local and national domestic violence hotlines and service providers saw a surge in calls for help, advocates say. State and local domestic violence prevention and assistance advocates say that, while a terrible spectacle, such vivid depictions of real abuse can be a powerful catalyst for change.
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, said the proportion of men committing acts of domestic violence is no different among the general public and professional athletes. “It’s a societal problem,” he said “It’s convenient to point to football players, but it deflects our own responsibility for creating social change.”
Nick Forrester and Julian Garcia, The New York Daily News
Six days before thousands of Ravens fans lined up outside M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to trade in their Ray Rice jerseys, the team’s former star running back stood on the sideline at New Rochelle High School, watching as his old squad rolled to victory.
But in a case like this, where a former high school star has not only been accused of committing as an egregious an act as punching a female partner in the face, but was also captured on camera doing it, the coach’s approach was a “misguided interpretation of what loyalty to your team and teammates is…,” according to Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.
“Ray Rice did something that’s outrageous,” Lebowitz said, “so it’s hard to comprehend someone welcoming him back with open arms.”
Gloria Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor
A week after the Ray Rice video surfaced, the National Football League is still scrambling to douse the media firestorm over the league’s handling of domestic violence by its players. Commissioner Roger Goodell has come in for heavy criticism over his handling of a domestic abuse case involving the former Baltimore Raven, which became deafening last week after a video surfaced of Mr. Rice knocking out his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City elevator. Rice was released by the Ravens and indefinitely suspended by the league, but that was not enough to mute calls for Mr. Goodell’s resignation.
New policies are a good start, says Dan Lebowitz, director of the Center for Sport and Society at Northeastern University in Boston. But they need to be followed by meaningful education initiatives. “What I care about is what are the NFL players going to do going forward with respect to personal conduct and are they going to reach out and mentor younger men,” he says, adding that the leadership needs to come from Goodell, “but it has to come from within the ranks of the NFL, as well.”
Joanna Weiss, The Boston Globe
Psychologist Ron Slabywas driving around this week, listening to sports talk radio, where the subject, of course, was Ray Rice. The NFL had just announced that it was beefing up its training around domestic violence. The radio host was scoffing. “What training?” he was saying. “All you need to do is say, ‘Don’t hit your woman, period.’ ” No, Slaby thought. That’s exactly what doesn’t work. What we ought to be asking, Slaby suggests, is, “What would I have done if I were there?”
This is what the NFL has to do: Change the way players think about domestic violence, and not just out of fear of a six-game suspension. Slaby told me about one program he helped to develop, called “MVP,” for Mentors in Violence Prevention. It began as a project by one of his graduate students. Now, it operates out of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. And it uses sports as both a metaphor and a jumping-off point.
Eric Matuszewski, Bloomberg
The visceral and violent act of a celebrity athlete — captured on video that was shown repeatedly — caused it to resonate across the U.S., said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “In this instance there is a video and it goes viral,” he said. “Even people that don’t ever think of this type of incident get to see the dynamic of what power looks like when it’s promulgated on another individual, particularly in a domestic violence dispute.”
With controversy swirling around the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident and questions of what league officials knew and when, one expert says the bigger question is what effect it has on attitudes toward violence against women. Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Anthony Silva that while people are focusing on what this means for the future of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, he thinks attention should be turned to the issue of domestic violence.
“How come it’s taken us so long to pay attention to gender violence and is it something like the celebrity platform of the NFL that’s going to galvanize that national and international conversation that we should have been having a long time ago,”
Aileen Voisin, Sacramento Bee
Ray McDonald is playing football and broadcaster Ted Robinson has been suspended. What’s wrong with this picture? Plenty. Everything. Though for very different reasons, both 49ers’ employees should be on the sideline Sunday for what was supposed to be a grand-opening celebration of Levi’s Stadium instead of the setting for an ongoing discussion about athletes, domestic violence and a franchise that moved south and seemingly lost its way.
“Because we are a patriarchal society, a lot of the root cause here is attributable to hypermasculinity,” said Dan Lebowitz, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “ ‘If I can dominate you, I’m a man.’ That’s a powerful dynamic. But where is the construct that teaches youngsters that being a man includes showing kindness, compassion, respect for women, respect for people of all races?” The Boston-based center has been addressing gender and racial inequities and promoting social change for almost 30 years, largely through youth programs and partnerships with various amateur and professional sports leagues, among them the LPGA, the WTA, USA Cycling, the Association of Surfing Professionals and, on a less consistent basis, with the NBA, Major League Baseball and NFL.
O’Ryan Johnson, The Boston Herald
The NFL announced the hiring of former FBI chief Robert S. Mueller III to probe how the league handled evidence in the Ray Rice scandal, as pressure on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ramped up with the report that a top NFL official had seen the damning knock-out video.
“They have to do something,” Daniel Lebowitz of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University said about the owners and new questions about Goodell’s role. “It’s about the degradation or the lack of respect for the rights of women. On top of that, and what magnifies that, is this idea that we have a bunker mentality and glorify sports above all else, that we would minimize violence against women.”
Jesse Washington, The Associated Press
It seems benign at first: Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson wanted to sell more tickets to white people. The problem arose with Levenson’s email describing his solution: Decrease the percentage of black people at his games. The email drew widespread condemnation, and led to Levenson’s decision to sell his controlling share of the pro basketball team.
“It shows the undercurrent of the tacit approval of institutional racism that people can’t even identify in themselves,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport and Society at Northeastern University. “What’s wrong with us that we put commodity before the benefit of the human condition?” Lebowitz asked. “How come we always think about individual profit over collective good?”
Fox News Boston
This interview with Executive Director Dan Lebowitz discusses the recent changes to the NFL domestic violence policies and suspension of Ray Rice after surveillance video surfaced of him abusing now-wife Janay Palmer in a hotel elevator. Released by media site TMZ, many question if Roger Goodell or others within the NFL administration had access to this video evidence before it was publicly leaked. Executive Director Lebowitz discusses Ray Rice and his punishment, as well as the larger context of gender based violence in society.
Gloria Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor
Two weeks ago, National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell said he had gotten the Ray Rice decision wrong and rolled out new standards against domestic violence. Now, faced with a new video showing the running back cold-cocking his fiancée in an Atlantic City elevator, some analysts say, it’s a chance for Goodell to make good on his words. On Monday, after the video was released, the Baltimore Ravens cut Rice from their team and the NFL slapped the 27-year-old with an indefinite suspension.
“Hopefully, this can contribute to a broader dialogue about violence against women,” says Dan Lebowitz, director of the Center for Sport and Society at Northeastern University in Boston, adding, “something positive can come from something very negative.”
Eben Novy-Williams, Bloomberg
Bruce Levenson’s decision to sell the Atlanta Hawks, the second basketball franchise this year to change ownership in the wake of an owner’s racist comments, may lead to wider discussion of America’s racial inequality, according to the head of a sports sociology organization. Levenson announced yesterday that he will sell his controlling interest in the Hawks as a result of a 2012 e-mail in which he says the team’s black fans “scared away” its white ones. Levenson apologized for the e-mail, which he reported to the National Basketball Association in July, calling it “offensive” and “inappropriate.”
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, said he hoped Levenson’s admission and its ramifications would help more Americans understand the level of racial inequality in the nation. “Because it’s happening in the NBA, and that’s a celebrity platform with a ubiquitous spotlight, I think that it has the potential to not only start that national conversation, but to inform people about what reality really is,” Lebowitz said in a telephone interview. “It’s easy for people to just point at a Donald Sterling or point at a Bruce Levenson and say, we live in a post-racial world, and I wouldn’t have said that.”
Emily Sweeney, The Boston Globe
Last August, three Somerville High School soccer players were accused of raping a freshman with a broomstick at a preseason camp in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from that episode, and other disturbing reports of hazing at other schools, has prompted the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to become more proactive when it comes to hazing and bullying.
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, said another reason why there is little data on hazing is because it was not always viewed as a bad thing. “Hazing is a form of bullying that’s most often associated with sports, fraternities,” and other organizations, he said. “It’s an extreme form of bullying. “It hasn’t been studied that long,” said Lebowitz. “Until people identify or recognize it as a social ill, you won’t see empirical data.”
The Wall Street Journal
A major shift has been the reframing of responsibility for women’s safety. Until a few years ago, that burden was placed almost entirely on women, said Alison Kiss, the executive director of the Clery Center for Security on Campus. More recently, new bystander intervention models have taught men to act if they see their friends heading in the wrong direction with women. One of the most receptive audiences to these training programs are fraternities, said Jarrod Chin, a director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, which pioneered the training in 1993.
How important and effective is the bystander approach? When The Center’s Mentors in Violence Prevention curriculum introduced the approach to the sexual assault prevention field over 20 years ago, this strategy revolutionized prevention programming. Many forces can drive a male college student to commit sexual assault, but one of the most important may be the company he keeps. A number of studies, on college campuses and elsewhere, have shown that having friends who support violence against women is a big risk factor for committing sexual assault. Now prevention efforts are exploring the idea that having male friends who object to violence against women can be a powerful antidote to rape on college campuses.
Listen to Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director speak about the NCAA changes to governance ruling on college sports. Last week a federal judge issued a ruling that is poised to upset college athletics as we know it, during a hearing over former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit over use of his image. The judge said athletes like O’Bannon are entitled to a share of the billions of dollars that their sports generate. The decision comes in the wake of a decision from the NCAA itself that schools can pay stipends to athletes and loosen recruitment rules. Does this mean college athletics are going pro? Is this the end of a highly commercialized system that critics say was masquerading as an educational enterprise? And what does it mean to the handful of schools in the Northeast with big Division One sports programs, like Boston College and the University of Connecticut?
Fox News Boston
This interview discusses the death of fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr, who was struck by Tony Stewart during a race Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Executive Director Dan Lebowitz joins the Fox News Boston sports team to address Stewart’s aggressive history and the legal investigation following the crash, plus the difficulty of applying judicial law to accidents that occur during the course of sports play.
Fox News Boston
In this interview about the changing landscape of college sports, Executive Director Dan Lebowitz talks about the recent historic ruling by the NCAA, which gives the five biggest conferences the ability to unilaterally alter some of the fundamental governing rules within college sports. This proposed new governance model is meant to support the academic goals of collegiate student-athletes and empower their education as well as their athletic opportunities. Interview topics include paying collegiate athletes, scholarship and tuition support, and expanded athlete health care.
Gloria Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor
California joins 19 other states that have imposed limits on physical contact in school football. Experts are sharply divided on how much can be achieved in a game that’s ‘inherently risky.’ California just opened the Pandora’s Box labeled “fixing football” a tad further this week by enacting a law limiting physical contact in middle and high school football practice to three hours a week. And that’s only during the actual season. Out of season, it’s nix on the tackle time during any scheduled practices.
Youth participation in football is down, however, notes Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston. If professional football wants to have the kind of robust network of young players funneling up through the various levels that it has traditionally relied upon, he notes, “it will have to change.”
The center is in the midst of a year-long study devoted to answering the question of where the best middle ground lies, notes Mr. Lebowitz. “How do we reduce the risks of traumatic injury without losing the athleticism, the grace, and the character-building that go along with sports in our culture?” he asks.
Marie Szanislo, The Boston Herald
Local universities balked yesterday at a proposed College Athletes Bill of Rights, which they said would force them to pay for lifelong health insurance for players injured during games. Representatives from the area’s Division 1 schools said the proposal would put them at a competitive disadvantage on the field and burden already money-losing athletic departments. The College Athletes Bill of Rights proposed by Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim would require schools in the city to cover an athlete’s medical expenses for any sport-related injury for the rest of the player’s life.
Gloria Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor
Summer camp – the very words have the whiff of marshmallows and campfires, canoeing, and lazy afternoons spent making lanyards and searching the woods for arrowheads. But as families prepare to send the kids off with the usual sleeping bags and bug spray these days, the camps many are headed to are anything but quaint. Now there are camps with long lists of high-adrenalin extreme sports ranging from scuba diving, dirt biking, and flying on a trapeze to ATV racing, bungee-jumping, stunt diving, and skateboarding.
This trend toward hyperspecialization and extreme activities raises at least a modest red flag for Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society. “We live in a competitive society and many parents and children push to do the specialized things that will give them a competitive edge in their futures,” he says. But this can be at the loss of the well-rounded education that has long been a vital component of civic development. Life is not just about extreme or specialized skills at these early ages, he says. “The more well-rounded our early education,” he says, “the less chance we have to be narrow or prejudicial in our thought.”
As summer approaches, many schools across Massachusetts are winding down youth sports leagues for the season. But, for many kids, that doesn’t mean they’ll stop playing. They’ll go to training camps, sign up with private coaches and elite summer leagues. Many kids beg for these extra programs. But often it’s the parents — trying to give their kids that “extra edge” — who are pushing them. After all, it’s never too soon to start thinking about that college scholarship, or ticket to the pros — even for a 6-year-old. Listen as Executive Director Dan Lebowitz discusses the issue of parental involvement in youth sports and what postive youth development looks like.
The end of the school year means that many schools across the country are preparing for prom, and the ways that some teens are inviting their dates is getting very elaborate. Jarrod Chin, director for training and curriculum at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society joined us for more on the subject. He said with the advent of social media, many kids feel that over-the-top invitations are the way to go.
Chin said that schools shouldn’t need to establish rules on it, but that parents should talk with their kids on the impacts the invitations can have. He said that it is important to talk about relationships and find out if a video is just to get attention on social media or if the person asking really does have feeling for the other person.
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Abby Rodgers walked out to her date’s car and found roses, a teddy bear and a card sitting in the passenger’s seat. Inside the card was the million-dollar question: Will you go to prom with me? The 17-year-old high school senior was touched. Everyone at her all-girls private school in suburban Philadelphia was hoping for some sort of “promposal,” the act of inviting someone to prom in an elaborate fashion, often involving props, dancing flash mobs or maybe even police or actor Bryan Cranston. In the moment, Rodgers said yes, “because it was such a nice gesture and he was so sweet and brave to go through with it.” Later that evening, when she had a chance to process what had happened, she realized she didn’t actually want to go with him.
“As promposals have become more elaborate and public, so, too, does the potential for increased humiliation and social pressure,” said Jarrod Chin, director of training and curriculum of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, a nationwide youth mentoring program that focuses on violence prevention and healthy relationships. “If their identity could potentially be challenged by a ‘no’ to prom, we need to provide young men with the skills and ability to handle what could be a really embarrassing and traumatic public refusal,” Chin said. That’s where parents and adults come in, he said, to talk about realistic expectations around prom dating in general. “As adults, we shouldn’t minimize promposals or teen relationships as puppy love or harmless crushes.”
David Filipov, The Boston Globe
For the 34th time in National Hockey League history, the hated Montreal Canadiens stand in the way of the Boston Bruins’ march to the Stanley Cup. But when the league’s most storied rivalry resumes Thursday night at TD Garden, the story is as much the history of why we hate the Canadiens. What bugs Boston fans now is how the Canadiens play. In a sport based on mano-a-mano physicality, the Bruins are all of that: tough, gritty, punishing hitters, stalwart defenders. The Canadiens? They flop at the slightest contact; they provoke fights and skate away.
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society, said Boston’s distaste for the Canadiens extends from what is perceived as the Montreal team’s elitism, contrasted with “the handworking mantra of guys who carry lunchpails.”
“It’s almost like the 1 percent versus the 99 percent,” Lebowitz said. “The Bruins are the 99 percent, and the Canadiens are the 1 percent.”
Nancy Cohen, NPR
A White House task force on Tuesday recommended ways to reduce rape and relationship violence on college campuses, pointing to, among other things, programs designed to teach students to intervene before an assault happens. One of the programs, known as “bystander intervention,” is based on the idea that both men and women can interrupt behaviors to prevent sexual violence. On a Saturday afternoon at Northeastern University earlier this month, a group of students held what they called a “Prevention Festival”…as part of the prevention festival, Betsy Gardner and Tyler Cooper from Northeastern’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society trained students in bystander intervention. The training is designed to change social norms and encourage people to find ways to intervene.
Fox 25 News Boston
The NAACP in Los Angeles is rescinding a lifetime achievement award it was set to give to Donald Sterling on May 15th. But after Sterling’s reported racisit remarks, Leon Jenkins, the President of the LA NAACP says, “There is a personal, economic and social price that Mr. Sterling must pay for his attempt to turn back the clock on race relations.” Jenkins adds that Sterling’s relationship with the NAACP goes back at least 15 years. He says Sterling has given money for scholarships to the group and donates the most to the NAACP of any LA sports franchise. In 2009 they honored with a humanitarian award. But say they had to act until he can prove it was not him.
“They are thinking about a social responsibility they have do they want to be remiss in overlooking or do they want to be a positive part of the conversation moving forward,” said Dan Lebowitz, who heads the Center for the Study of Sport and Society at Northeastern University. “It’s probably an untenable situation in some respects for Doc… I think moving forward he can use this as a teaching moment as well. ”
Daniel B. Wood, The Christian Science Monitor
The NBA has many options for taking action in the case of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, if officials determine that his is indeed the voice caught on tape espousing racially offensive views and that the tape has not been rigged. Among possible punitive actions are a suspension, a hefty fine, efforts to arrange for Mr. Sterling to sell a controlling interest in the Clippers to someone else, and, if the owners of the other teams are willing, forcible ouster.
“This incident has a flip side of being a great teachable moment,” says Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Institute for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, in Boston. “What is an incredibly negative situation tinged with hatred and racism has the benefit of sparking introspection for the young generation coming up and looking forward to dramatically changing demographics where Hispanics are surpassing whites in population in many regions.”
Accusations of bullying and harassment are not something typically associated with women’s sports, but that’s what allegedly took place at Boston University, resulting in the departure of women’s basketball coach Kelly Greenberg. This video report examines the accusations against Greenberg and if there is a difference in expectations and sensitivities in women’s coaching.
“We’re sort of in the midst of figuring out what that looks like, what it means, what positive coaching looks like and how it effects youth development.” Dan Lebowitz
Fox 25 News Boston
After four players quit the team, BU launched an in depth investigation. The panel interviewed current team members and former players. While they say not all the complaints could be substantiated, there was enough evidence to find that Coach Kelly Greenberg’s behavior didn’t meet university standards. Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sports in Society at Northeastern University, says our society is redefining the term bullying as we continue to talk about it.
“Moving forward all of us have to embrace an empathy standpoint. What does it feel like for the athlete? How are they feeling when this is coming at them? And I think more coaches are gonna have to be attune to that on the men’s and women’s side of the equation,” Lebowitz said.
Nancy Cohen, WBUR 90.9
Many colleges are reaching out to students to help stop sexual harassment and assault. They’re teaching what’s known as the “bystander approach,” which marks a shift from relying solely on women to protect themselves to the idea that bystanders, both men and women, have a role to play in preventing sexual violence. On a weekend afternoon at Northeastern University earlier this month, a group of students held what they called a “Prevention Festival”…as part of the prevention festival, Betsy Gardner and Tyler Cooper from Northeastern’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society trained six women and one man in bystander intervention. The training doesn’t tell students what to do; instead, it encourages them to come up with ways they’d be comfortable stepping in.
Rachel Lenzi, The Toledo Blade
How do we help and prepare collegiate athletes for life after sport? NCAA Division I colleges invest in their athletes to prepare them competitively and academically — to make the grade both on the playing field and in the classroom. But there’s another facet that comes into play: completing degree requirements to move into the work force. For those who don’t become professional athletes or coaches, they must find a job outside of sports. They may face a disadvantage in not having enough or any pre-professional experience. They may have devoted too much time to major college athletics and merely completing their degree, and not enough time to academic and career development. Their resume may be short or, even worse, blank. Or they may not be able to navigate the work force and the interview process. They may not be able to shed their identity as an athlete — one that has defined them for years.
“You have to ask, what are you doing on a programmatic level to build the professional development of a student or a student-athlete?” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Northeastern Center for Sport in Society, a Boston-based think tank that examines sociological issues in the realm of athletics. “How is your institution taking data and testimonials to build upon this?”
Sampan, New England’s Only Bilingual Chinese-English Newspaper
At-Large Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is once again partnering with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), Boston Police Department (BPD), Casa Myrna, and Girls’ LEAP, as well as new partners Fenway Health Violence Recovery Program, Hollaback! Boston, Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society, My Life My Choice, Boston Public Health Commission’s Start Strong Program to hold the 2ndannual “Raise Your Voice, Day of Empowerment Summit for Survivors of Sexual Violence and our Allies.” The Raise Your Voice Summit is an opportunity to build supportive survivor/ally networks and learn tangible skills for preventing and intervening in sexually abusive behavior. This year’s summit includes more workshops and expanded focus to include topics specific to men, LGBTQ survivors, high school and middle school aged students, and service providers.
National Student-Athlete Day honors student-athletes and the network of parents, coaches, teachers and school systems that make it possible for young people to strike a balance between academic and athletic achievement and who use sport as a vehicle for positive social change. The day, established by the National Consortium for Academics & Sports, is co-sponsored by the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and Northeastern University’s Sport in Society.
The Times and Democrat
Student-Athlete Day is a NCAA Initiative that recognizes the accomplishments of student-athletes nationwide who excel in the classroom, on the playing field and in their communities. National Student-Athlete Day was this past Sunday, Apr. 6. National Student-Athlete Day was created by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and the Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society, with partnership from the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations. NCAA involvement began in 1994.
WBGH Boston Public Radio
City Councilor Tito Jackson talked about learning recently that his biological mother was raped at 13, became pregnant, and gave up Jackson for adoption. Jackson recently revealed this history in front of the Boston City Council. Jackson gives a shout-out to Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director here at the Center for the Study of Sport in Society for helping him “in this walk”.
Davis Harper, NHL.com
Nine years after its founding, the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation is the gold standard for inner-city hockey programs. Initially centered on ice hockey, the program has expanded to include academic, life skill, mentorship and nutritional offerings.
According to Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society, the Snider template makes perfect sense. “At the end of the day, when I think of sport, I think of it as something that keeps your adaptive learning window open. You’re in a space of safety in many respects.”
Matt Schooley, Sudbury Patch
Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School’s Mentors in Violence Prevention Team hosts the Courage to Care Healthy Relationship Summit on Friday March 14th. Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick will be the guest of honor, offering welcoming remarks to student leaders from 15 schools in the state who will learn about promoting healthy relationships and reducing dating violence in their communities.
In addition to remarks by Patrick, the wife of Gov. Deval Patrick, the summit will also include Malcolm Astley of the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, clips from CBS 48 Hours “Loved to Death,” and workshops led by facilitators from Northeastern University’s Center of Sport and Society and the school’s MVP student leaders.
Carol Feingold, Newburyport Wickedlocal
This past fall, the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center partnered with Sport in Society at Northeastern University Center to offer its nationally recognized MVP program to students at the Amesbury and Newburyport High schools.
“This is providing them with an opportunity and a space to talk about gender-based violence and how it affects their lives personally,” Jarrod Chin, the director for training and curriculum of Mentors in Violence Prevention(MVP), said. “One in three adolescents in the United States is the victim of physical, sexual or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Clearly students are affected by these issues. If adults aren’t acknowledging this, the students can’t get the help they need. We’re trying to get young people to talk about it and equip young people with skills to intervene. When they see problematic behavior, they can begin to address it. We want students to understand, to empower both boys and girls to help out their friends.”
Allie Grasgreen, Inside Higher Ed
It’s clear that bullying and emotional abuse by coaches of any gender has deep roots. But several complaints and lawsuits in recent months focused more attention on behavior that people would historically expect to see more from men. The question then arises, “Are reports of bullying by female coaches increasing, or just more concerning?”
“To have this conversation isn’t an indictment of some of the people that have been in the news recently; really, it’s more of an indictment of the culture of coaching in general,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society program. “There’s a general sense that sports is the ultimate framework for toughness, and that goes across genders…. You’re supposed to be impenetrable, on the court and with feelings.” “I think really what we have here is a social justice issue around, what does bullying look like,” he said. “The conversation has to change around how we view athletes as that impenetrable force.”
Boston Public Radio Staff
Northeastern University’s Dan Lebowitz joined Jim and Margery to talk about recent allegations of bullying by a college basketball coach. Lebowitz is the Executive Director of Northeastern’s Sport and Society. (Starts at 1:24:14)
Lebowitz says “I don’t want the conversation to be specifically about an indictment either of Kelly Greenberg or any kind of coaching culture at BU. I mean, this could happen on any college campus or allegations could happen on any college campus. It should more be a conversation really around are we looking at the coaching community? Are we looking at the coaching norms? Are we thinking about models that can include both the goal of winning and the concept of competition, but also need to be mindful and intentional about positive relationships and behavior and what positive youth development looks like.”
Greg Botelho, CNN
Are sports stars more prone to dangerous, criminal behavior — including those involving guns — than your everyday Joe? Will they more likely carry guns and use them? And are more and more of them breaking the law and spiraling out of control?
Dan Lebowitz, the executive director for the Sports in Society center at Boston’s Northeastern University says that because “celebrity culture drives the news cycle” and because star athletes are celebrities, these kinds of stories are read and spread everywhere. Yet even if it might seem that way, it doesn’t change the fact that — when compared with crime rates for all adult males — professional athletes are no more likely to kill someone, get arrested for a gun crime or be convicted of domestic violence.
Paige Allen, Sun Chronicle
Locally, it’s not unusual for high schools to have boy’s hockey teams, but only a few have girl’s hockey, forcing girls who want to take up a stick to play with the boys or start up their own program.
The Mansfield/Oliver Ames team and the King Philip program are only a few years old, but their players have come out swinging, breaking stereotypes and putting their all into the game.
Dan Lebowitz, director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, said women’s hockey is a sport that’s taken off, and that the Olympics do play a role in popularizing the sport. “The Olympics popularize a lot of things,” he said. “It’s incredibly captivating and hard not to watch with exhilaration.”
Emily Sohn, Discovery News
As spectator sports, Olympic events make hearts race and palms sweat as viewers vicariously experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
But can watching some of the world’s fittest athletes compete actually make spectators fitter?
“There’s something amazingly special and unique about the Olympics in terms of the whole aura of commitment, perseverance, dedication, training and the whole beauty of sport itself,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston.
Mason Levinson and Aaron Kuriloff, Bloomberg
Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin and other teammates were harassed by three starters before Martin’s departure from the National Football League franchise last season, investigator Ted Wells found.
“I don’t think the league can or will turn a blind eye to it,” Lebowitz, whose organization worked with the NFL on workplace conduct training in 2010, said in a telephone interview. “They’ll start looking at other locker rooms or they’ll do the thing they have in the past, which is to find a positive educational response.”
I just want to go to the team who drafts me,” Sam told ESPN. “Because that team knows about me, knows that I’m gay, and also knows that I work hard. That’s the team I want to go to.”
But there’s no playbook for this in the NFL.
“The world of sports is very homophobic today and we need to change that culture,” said GLAD’s Bennett Klein.
“He’s going to be both embraced and vilified depending on certain crowds,” said Northeastern’s Lebowitz. “But if he proves himself to be a winner, I think a lot of that negative conversation will go away.”
Jim Braude and Margery Eagan
Missouri defensive end Michael Sam told the New York Times on Sunday that he is gay. Sam is up for the NFL draft this year — by some accounts likely to go early in the draft — and announced his sexual orientation to stay ahead of pre-draft rumors and speculation. (Sam had already come out, privately, to Missouri teammates.)
Jim Braude and Margery Eagan asked callers whether it’s time for more athletes to come out, if it’s old news now, and whether Russia’s LGBT policies indicate a need for further activism.
Dan Lebowitz joined Jim and Margery to talk about Michael Sam and gay athletes. Lebowitz is Executive Director of Northeastern University’s Institute of Sport in Society.
FOX25 News Boston
In this video clip Dan Lebowitz discusses the impact of Michael Sam’s declaration of his sexual orientation.
Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant
Michael Winerip, New York Times
BYSTANDER INTERVENTION is so easy to grasp, even by the most inexperienced college freshman, that the program may well be the best hope for reducing sexual assaults on campuses. Mostly it is common sense: If a drunk young man at a party is pawing a drunk young woman, then someone nearby (the bystander) needs to step in (intervene) and get one of them out of there. Of course, that can be tricky at times.
Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, which pioneered bystander training 20 years ago, has seen a marked uptick in demand. As Jarrod Chin, its director of training, says, “There is nothing like the threat of losing money to get people’s attention.”
Sgt. Emily Knitter, www.army.mil
“Some of the things that are great about the Army, like the importance of ‘battle buddies’ and ‘no one gets left behind’ are huge bystander concepts, and they really apply to this work,” said Jarrod Chin, the head facilitator for the program.
“I don’t think you can do this work as a facilitator unless you personally have thought about and worked through these issues,” explained Chin. “It is all about being authentic. You can’t tell someone to do one thing but then believe something differently yourself.”
After years of training that reinforced singular viewpoints on specific issues, this seminar-based approach took some of the participants longer to get used to than others.
“This class forces you to be yourself. You can’t just repeat answers you think are going to be right,” said Sgt. 1st Class Armando Hall. “You have to truly believe what you are saying. I think that if we come in at this angle with the Soldiers we will probably be able to reach them in a different manner than if we did a regular class with 50 PowerPoint slides. If you really talk to them on their own level and bring out things that they may have seen or experienced, and they start to think about their personal stance on these issues, then we have won.”
“It’s analogous to the parent worrying about how their kid’s going to get into Harvard. That same sort of mindset has attached itself to the landscape of youth sport and people are trying to get that ‘advantage’ for that kid,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of sport in society at Northeastern University. “To me, it takes the joy out of youth sports and the focus off of collegiality and team spirit. Now, instead, it’s about the individual. That’s with so many other things in our society. We’ve moved away from anything that speaks to inclusion and the common ground.”
Ben Bolch, LA Times
“It may be that people embraced the moment as a teaching moment, as a life-changing moment, as a way to sort of step outside themselves and be more self-aware about their actions and move from that point on to be better,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. “I think that we’re better when we allow for that in every aspect of our social fabric of our country, and I don’t think sports is any different.”
Hal Habib, The Palm Beach Post
“I think for many, many years, Notre Dame was just synonymous with what college football was,” says Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “If someone was to beat USC, it was Notre Dame. … They were the benchmark of college football. This year, they ended undefeated, they had an awful lot of close games, but I think what (coach) Brian Kelly has done there is he created a dynamic where they’ve returned brand value to the brand beyond the loyalty of their fan base.” A transcendent impact, in other words.
“Everyone on the planet likes a bit of nostalgia,” Lebowitz says. “Notre Dame represents that.”
Dorothy Seymour Mills, Society for American Baseball Research
Justine Siegal wanted to play baseball for as long as she can remember. “It’s in my blood,” she says. Justine grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, so “I wanted to be Orel Hershiser.”
From the age of 5, Justine was playing on boys’ teams and knew she was a good player, although at 13 she was told by a coach that he didn’t want her on his team because he thought girls shouldn’t play baseball. She expected to play at the high school level, but the administration at the private Hawken School said she couldn’t try out.
Lindsay Jones WUSA9
“That’s the conundrum of domestic violence in general. This is about how badly the whole country handles it,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director the Center for Sport and Society at Northeastern University in Boston. “This is big conversation, not just around the Jovan Belcher situation, but around the acculturation of young boys, and why we still have a definition of manhood that doesn’t allow for kindness, compassion and respect for women as part of that definition.”
Mike Marzio, Aljazeera
In this four minute interview, Executive Director Dan Lebowitz, speaks to the tragedy of the murder suicide that took place in December 2012 involving former NFL line backer Jovan Belcher, of the Kansas City Chiefs. Specifically, Dan speaks to what the NFL has done and are doing to address the acculturation of manhood and healthy masculinity. As Dan notes in the interview, “the NFL has empowered their player development people…to address the issue of how their players act and comport themselves in relationships.” The interview link can be found HERE.
Sheila M. Eldred, Discovery News
When Richie Incognito was suspended from the Miami Dolphins last week under allegations of bullying teammate Jonathan Martin, most of his teammates came to his defense, claiming that Incognito’s actions stemmed out of football tradition.
“If entrance into a group requires a lot of effort or enduring something that is unpleasant or embarrassing, we attribute greater worth to the group,” said Clark Power, Notre Dame professor of psychology and founder of the Play Like A Champion Educational Series for youth and high school sports. “In sports, we might say that we will value being a member of the team more to justify going through the hazing we are put through.”
Although current members of the Miami Dolphins have publicly supported Incognito, denying that his actions were harmful, some former teammates expressed their doubts.
“Hate is a strong word but I’ve always hated Incognito,” Lawrence Jackson, a former NFL player, said on Twitter. “Just for perspective, he’s the guy that makes you want to spit in his face.”
College teammate David Kolowski said Incognito’s bullying goes back to 2002, when one player walked out of practice after Incognito knocked him to the ground during practice, USA Today reports.
Bystanders, most hazing and bullying experts agree, have a great deal of power in such situations. But football players are so indoctrinated in a culture that celebrates a narrow view of masculinity that it’s easier to blame the victim, said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston.
In his 1910 essay on “The American Boy“, Theodore Roosevelt wrote about the value of athletics, specifically football, and the lessons that sports can teach. He said, “in life, as in a football game, the principal to follow is: hit the ground hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard.” Words to live by for millions of American high school athletes.
Or maybe not. Because those words provoke a question: what is the value of high-school sports? Before you answer, consider this: unlike most countries worldwide, the United States spends more tax dollars per high-school athlete than it does per high school math student. And we wonder why we lag in international education rankings?
That’s how writer Amanda Ripley begins a recent and provocative piece for the The Atlantic, entitled, “The Case Against High-School Sports“. She argues that compared to many other industrialized countries, American schools spend far too much money and time on sports; resources that could be spent on actual classroom learning. It’s a controversial argument, but do you think she might be right?
Dan Lebowitz, in defense of sport, said:
” If you look worldwide we have an overarching structure of competition that defines social structures almost everywhere. I would argue that sport offers the opportunity for a leadership platform to teach life skills, life lessons, community building, cooperative reliance, collaboration, interdisciplinary thought,leadership skill sets, leadership tool kits, collegiality, positive self-identity, positive collective identity, collective community, and also a sense of pride. It also teaches us the lessons we need, moving forward into adulthood about long term health strategies as we are a country that faces an enormity of negative number with relation to obesity problems and the onset of diabetes. ”
Mike Lowe, Portland Press Herald
Jake Knop was about to join the Portland High football team as a freshman and he had some concerns – but not about playing.
“I had heard stories before about the past, people who had been in the school and how they had been hazed against,’’ he said. “I was a little concerned about the hazing at first.’’
But Knop’s concerns were allayed almost instantly. First, he and his classmates walked into their own locker room. Portland has separate locker rooms for the freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams and upperclassmen are not allowed in the freshman locker room. Then Portland coach Jim Hartman laid down the no-hazing-allowed talk at the first practice.
“It’s something you have to be vigilant about,’’ said Hartman.
“When something like this happens,’’ said Kevin Kezal, the Thornton head coach, “we like to talk about it.’’
And that, said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for Sport in Society at Northeastern University, may be the most positive thing to come out of Miami. Bullying is a national problem, and not just in sports.
“When you look at this, and what it does, there’s an awful lot to talk about,’’ said Lebowitz. “Because of the ubiquitous spotlight on sports and the 24-hour spotlight of television, this starts a national conversation on bullying. What needs to happen now is that we take this national conversation and make it an ongoing conversation on bullying.’’
Lebowitz said that the situation in Miami escalated because no one stepped in. “Now we have to empower (people) to feel that they can (step in), to give them the tool set to do it,’’ he said.
The NFL is having a rocky year- at least from a public relations standpoint.
This year alone, more than 40 players have been arrested- most notably New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who stands trial for murder. Then, there’s the bad press generated from the Frontline documentary League of Denial, which exposed the NFL’s efforts to cover up concussion risks to players.
Now, the sports world is abuzz over reports of ruthless hazing in the Miami Dolphins locker room. It’s a story that’s transcended the sports pages and is raising questions about what’s expected and tolerated in the NFL.
Dan Lebowitz said: ” A lot of the people who conform to [hyper-masculinity], Maybe they’re just fronting; in many respects maybe they feel just like Martin but they realize their livelihood, their longevity in the league all these things are at risk so they conform to something they don’t even agree to.”
Katherine Bower, Workingmother.com
Jessica Mendoza will never forget how it felt to stand at home plate three months after giving birth to her son, Caleb, worried she no longer had the stuff to make the U.S. national softball team. Or how it felt in her first at-bat when she smacked a home run into the stands. “I almost cried,” she says. “I thought, Thank God, I can still hit.” Yes she can. since becoming a mom—and gaining new perspective—Jessica has slugged the best stats of her career.
Forty-one years ago, Title IX gave women’s sports legitimacy. Now a handful of elite athletes are showing that motherhood and a pro career can mix. Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings won her third Olympic gold medal with sons Joseph, now 4, and Sundance, 3, cheering in the stands. Later, Kerri revealed she’d been pregnant during the games. Her daughter, scout, arrived in April. All in all, Kerri’s performance was a huge So there! to naysayers who told her getting pregnant would be a career kiss of death. “I heard everything, the silliest things—your body will never be the same, you’ll hurt your shoulder from carrying a baby, you won’t make any more money,” she recounts.
Women’s baseball advocate Justine Siegal, director of sports partnerships for sport in society at Northeastern University, coaches girls in boys’ hardball tournaments worldwide and turns the lifestyle into a Montessori-style learning experience for daughter Jasmine, 15. “When we go to oversees tournaments, she’ll do media interviews and participate with dignitaries in opening ceremonies,” Justine says. “We’ll talk about stadium design, foods in different countries or the lessons in how girls handle sportsmanship.”
Eben Novy-Williams, Bloomberg
Brian Holloway said he was one week into his National Football League career when he learned that his Stanford University education and academic interests would make him a target.
To cope with verbal abuse from his New England Patriots teammates that often took a racial turn, Holloway set aside his true character to become a better, more enraged football player, he said. It was a person he didn’t particularly like.
“I tapped into a dark side,” Holloway, 54, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “The command to contain your anger and aggression, that dam broke for me. And as an intellectual, it feels extremely uncomfortable allowing that side of human nature to come out.”
His experience from 1981 has made Holloway an admirer of Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, 24, who showed a different response to bullying when he walked out of the team’s practice facility last week. After Martin’s representatives told the Dolphins of alleged workplace misconduct, Miami suspended offensive lineman Richie Incognito and asked the NFL to conduct a review of the workplace.
“Had Martin simply started a fight, a lot of people would have dismissed it as just a locker room isolated incident,” Lebowitz said in a telephone interview. “This is a watershed moment where someone who has made his living in what is considered a sports battlefield, as a gladiator, is saying that emotional abuse matters.”
Richie Incognito’s stall inside the Miami Dolphins locker room was loaded with packages, papers and plenty of football equipment Monday.
The sign was gone, though.
“There are two things Richie Incognito does not like,” read a small sign that until very recently adorned the front of the now-suspended Miami offensive lineman’s locker. On one line in small orange letters, the first entry on that list was “Taxes.” The second line, in larger black type, was “Rookies.”
“He’s a funny guy,” Dolphins cornerback Will Davis said Monday. “Everybody loves him.”
Maybe, maybe not. There’s not much to laugh about in the Dolphins’ locker room these days, not with offensive lineman Jonathan Martin having left the club to handle emotional issues. And Incognito, his alleged tormentor, since banished from the team in yet another entry on a long list of troubling events marring his playing career.
Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of Northeastern’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, said: “I think that part of the problem is thinking that we could police [Incognito’s behavior] better and thinking about policing as opposed to engaging those players and the whole team in an organization in an ongoing conversation about changing culture. This isn’t about legislating behavior; saying what’s right and what’s wrong. I think its time for a lot of sport culture to take a hard look at itself and say what can we do better, how can we engage people in a leadership mentality better, not electing a leadership council but having a curriculum around [leadership] that teaches them a skill set to intercede in this sort of incident.”
Stacy Teicher Kadaroo, Alaska Dispatch
Calls continued to mount Thursday for the athletic director and even the president of Rutgers University in New Jersey to be fired for not taking tough measures sooner against men’s basketball coach Mike Rice, who was fired Wednesday for his violent treatment of players after ESPN brought video footage to light. Many see the initial discipline Mr. Rice received as a slap on the wrist and suggest it points to a double standard in the treatment of big-time coaches compared with other educators. But the incident is also prompting dialogue about broader societal issues – including the tolerance of antigay and gender-based slurs in sports, and whether the desire to build “toughness” in athletes too often turns into a destructive stream of negative feedback. The reaction to the video at Rutgers and nationwide, some say, shows signs of shifting social views on what is good, hard-nosed coaching designed to push players to improve and behavior that is simply petulant bullying. Years ago, Rice’s behavior might have been shrugged off by many as “tough love,” but this time, “there was a certain sense of outrage” expressed by everyone from sports commentators to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, says Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society, which advocates for social responsibility in sports.
While Rice’s behavior may have been extreme, the content of his tirades against players points to aspects of school athletics that should be challenged and reformed, Mr. Lebowitz says.Not only did he use antigay slurs, but he also used demeaning epithets suggesting that his players were acting like women. “It raises the question of the construct of manhood in athletics and elsewhere,” Lebowitz says. “There’s a code of toughness in men’s athletics,” with players perhaps not coming forward about Rice because of a fear of being thought of as wimpy or unmanly.For the same reason, pro athletes rarely come out as gay before retiring, Lebowitz says.
“We’ve seen a lot of icons in our city and David Ortiz is an icon at this point. He’s Mr. October in the real sense, whereas if you think about Reggie Jackson he was considered Mr. October in his time, yet nobody talked about him bringing joy to his clubhouse or joy to the people around him and Ortiz is a guy that really makes his teammates better.” said Dan Lebowitz “Ortiz brings that cooperative spirit of teamwork.”
Robyn Norwood, ESPNW
More than 1,200 girls played high school baseball last season. Most were in a solitary and sometimes lonely role, the only girl on a team full of boys.
“The opportunity to play baseball with other girls, it’s nice to see I’m not alone,” said Lucy Grant, a 13-year-old from Bethel, Conn.
More than 30 girls from around the country gathered over the weekend at Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy south of Los Angeles to play in a three-team, all-girls tournament organized by the nonprofit Baseball for All.
From a distance, the girls and young women, ages 12 to 19, looked much like other youth players in their mannerisms and skills.
Youth violence is a serious problem in high schools across the United States. According to the Eastern Illinois University, nearly one million high school athletes are victims of hazing rituals every year. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that the youth violence affects all communities: urban and rural, wealthy and poor. Playing sports helps children to develop self-confidence, build self-esteem and offer us health and social advantages. On the other hand, there have been recent incidences involving high school sports players and participation in acts like hazing, violence and rape.
While discussing the factors involved in this widespread issue Ricardhy Grandoit, the Program Manager for The Center for the Study of Sport in Society, said:
“I think the question is around how are we acculturating manhood in this country and how are we addressing healthy masculinity. If boys are seeing in the media that men are supposed to be tough, men are supposed to behave a certain way, and that’s the type of message that they’re getting. In turn it makes them feel ok when they commit such an act. It’s like ‘ Ok, well I’m a man. I’m going to show my manhood by making someone less than a man.’”
Sports no doubt have power to unite people. With the Red Sox coming out strong against the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series, fans feel a bond like no other.
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport and Society at Northeastern University joined us for more on this topic.
Before the game started, there was a moment of silence for Colleen Ritzer, a Danvers, Mass. teacher who was killed and found in the woods.
“I think there is a great healing component to sports,” said Lebowitz. He said sport is a collective community and that with all of the various people, they can all bond through sports.
He said that he thinks the magical season of the Red Sox speaks the language of unity and does indeed help people heal and grow.
Oliver Brown, The Telegraph
Sport has a habit in America of fashioning resonant responses to tragedy. Memories of the 2002 Super Bowl, marked by readings from the Declaration of Independence in the solemn shadow of 9/11, or of the No 19 baseball jerseys displayed this summer in honour of 19 fallen firefighters in Arizona, spring readily to mind. It seems fair to venture that the Boston Red Sox, embarking upon their first World Series for six years at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, derive inspiration from this same intersection of trauma and triumph. Six months on from the Boston Marathon bombings, President Obama’s ensuing salute to Bean Town as “one proud city, tough and resilient” has lost none of its unifying power.
According to Dan Lebowitz, executive director for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, “there is a magic to this team.” Lebowitz argues that while the marathon atrocity, in which three people were killed and more than 260 injured, was “so injurious to the city, the next thing you know there is a team of destiny rising through the ashes. It creates this dynamic of hope.”
David Filipov, The Boston Globe
From the start of this unlikely season, the Boston Red Sox have been inextricably linked with the Boston Marathon bombings. The blasts at the finish line detonated minutes after the final pitch of the 3-2 Rd Sox victory in the traditional Patriots Day game. It was star sluggger David Ortiz who oined Boston’s memorable, expletive-pierced rallying cry. The Boston Strong logo borrowed the Gothic “B” that adorns the team’s caps. And Fenway became the venue where, throughout the summer, crowds cheered the victims and the healers as they walked-or were helped- to the mound for the ceremonial first pitch. And now that this bearded band of ballplayers has reached the threshold of baseball’s highest crown, its rise from last place to the World Series has taken on a deeper meaning in a city rising from one of the most shockingly violent episodes in its history. Boston needed the red Sox a bit more than usual this year, as a distraction, a measure of comfort, and a unifying force. And more than ever, the team took on the personality of its recovering city.
“There is a magic to this team,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “The Marathon happens, it was so injurious to the city… and the next thing you know there’s this team of destiny rising through the ashes. It creates this dynamic of hope for the city moving forward.”
David Elfin, Moment
While the 21st century has yet to produce a Jewish baseball icon such as Greenberg or 1960s strikeout king Sandy Koufax, it’s already being heralded as “the Golden Age” of Jews in the major leagues. This wildly ambitious claim stems—in part—from a surge in the number of Jewish players. Last year there were 14, an all-time high, and the 2011 season began with 10 and is up to 12. These are startling numbers considering that there have only been about 150 Jewish players during 143 seasons of baseball…
Fortunately, today’s Jewish players, unlike Hall of Famers Greenberg and Koufax, whose every moves were scrutinized by hundreds of thousands of American Jews, have more room to be themselves, which can mean anything from playing while fasting on Yom Kippur to declining to discuss their Jewish heritage. “When Sandy Koufax was the best pitcher in baseball, we were just 20 years removed from the Holocaust, and Jews were very proud that he was Jewish,” says John Thorn, an author of several sports books and the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2008. “Today, Jews are so assimilated and blended in the culture that we don’t need Jewish baseball players.”..
“I don’t think Jews rooting for Jews has changed from the days of Greenberg and Koufax,” says Lebowitz. “Youkilis is still the first name I look for in the box scores every day, and so do my sons. I root for Braun and Kinsler and the rest of the Jews in baseball.”
Ryan Butler, Boston Globe
“I commend the leaders in this room,” Sport in Society executive director Dan Lebowitz said. “It’s you that will change the lives of kids throughout the city. So for that, I thank you.”
Justin Rice, Boston Globe
Collaboration build stronger bonds and sparks more creative connections, and in the growing field of sport based youth development, this is facilitated by the Center for the Study of Sport in Society through innovative forums, networking opportunities, and professional webinars. Instead of focusing on competition over resources, Sport in Society listened to the needs of individual organizations, visiting and touring their programs and facilities to find collaborative solutions that focused on sharing ideas and resources. With Northeastern University, Sport in Society can act as a hub of information and capacity building, helping to create connections that strengthen the entire sport based youth development industry. On September 19th the Center hosted its first forum of this school year, a successful panel discussion about Building a Postivite Culture in Sport Based Youth Development Organizations. More forums, seminars, and professional development with be available over the next year; more information is available on our Events page.
“Since I came to Sport in Society in 2008, a lot of places were talking about being a clearinghouse for sport-based youth development and yet nobody had elevated above the ground in the way we wanted to. We are at the forefront of figuring out how to answer individual needs relative to everything around sports-based youth development.”
Allie Grasgreen, Inside Higher Ed
Alcorn State University is in trouble this week for electing to place football competition before campus safety, and for breaking NCAA rules, by playing new transfer and alleged rapist Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie in their game against Mississippi State University last Saturday. McKenzie was arrested and suspended from the Vanderbilt football team for allegedly gang raping a female Vanderbilt student this past June and had just transferred to Alcorn State. University President M. Christopher Brown II admitted the school made an “error in judgement” and has removed McKenzie from the team until further notice, but many on campus are enraged that they even accepted and played him in the first place.
Executive Director Dan Lebowitz weighed in on the situation and how it sadly reinforces the concept that athletics are more important than student safety, and the idea that consequences don’t apply to superior athletes. Colleges need to work together to change that culture, and not support the perversion of competition that leads to unethical decisions like the one made by Alcorn State. Hopefully this situation, and the negative reactions to the decision to play McKenzie, can spark the important, difficult conversations and cause the necessary change.
“If you accept the attitude that football trumps even the most socially unaccepted behavior – gang rape – then what does it say actually about your view on civil society and your place in it?”
Radio Boston, WBUR
Recently, two incidents of hazing have unfortunately cast a shadow over the start of the 2013-2014 school year in New England. Both of these incidents occured on sports teams, but Executive Director Dan Lebowitz argues that the culture in general, on social media and other online platforms, encourages male domination beyond the sports fields. Boys and men are acculturated to see violence and winning as the hallmarks of manhood; these violent and sexual incidents of hazing are products of that perverse view of how a man should act. Many people feel that hazing has been around for decades, but in the past several years the allegations of bullying, on both sports teams and other groups in middle and high schools, have become more drastic and violent. Teen suicides as a result of school bullying has also risen drastically in the past several years. Lebowtiz advocates for better education for coaches, teachers, and administrators along with education and preparation for students, so that everyone feels empowered to act as a bystander and prevent incidients like these before they occur.
“Rape culture is a phenomenon of power dynamic…we don’t allow in that definition kindness, compassion, respect…we somehow have taken that out of the definition of what the construct of mahood is.”
Phil Terrigno, The Journal News
How much is too much when it comes to posting online? There are hundreds of millions of people on social media sites like FaceBook and Twitter, and many young athletes use these platforms to connect with their fans, share athletic accomplishments, and promote their teams. But in addition to fans, potential employers and recruiters monitor students athletes’ accounts, and they should be aware of potentially jeopardizing future jobs or player offers because of old posts on their online sites.
“When people are trying to get a full view of what your character is or what you might be bringing to an organization, both positives or negatives, it might be prudent to assume that they are going to look at (social media)”
In this clip Executive Director Dan Lebowitz discusses the recent arrest of Celtics player Jared Sullinger on charges of domestic assault, for allegedly pinning down and beating his girlfriend. This incident brought up conversation about athlete privilege, and Sullinger’s dual-parent family structure, but Lebowitz attests that the real problem is the current perception of manhood. The narrow definition of manliness in our society values aggression and domination, and encourages the submission of women as a sign of male status. Therefore problems like Sullinger’s arrest are reflective of issues within out culture as a whole, and not indicative of a problem just with athletes. Changes in our society will encourage changes in our sports culture, and vice versa.
“We have men behaving badly across all landscapes and it has a lot to do with, again with the construct of manhood that we have and the way in which we do acculturate young boys and the way in which we also don’t elevate the status of women in our world.”
Fred Bever, WBUR
Executive Director Dan Lebowitz discusses the recent arrest of Celtics player Jared Sullinger, who pled not guilty on Tuesday to charges including assault and battery and witness intimidation. The 21 year old athlete turned himself in and issued an apology statement through the Celtics. During their court meeting, girlfriend Deann Smith asked to be able to maintain contact to work on their relationship after Sullinger was ordered to have no contact; the two will be able to communicate by phone with a third party present. Many wondered if the situation was effected by Sullinger’s status on the Celtics, where he played as a reliable rookie last year. Unfortunately, domestic assault is a problem among all levels of society; the arrest of an athlete makes bigger news, but they don’t abuse women at ahigher rate than other male non-athletes. A case like this can serve to highlight the problem, as long as we recognize that its not exclusive to athletes and is instead an issue deeply entrenched in our culture; the stereotype of manhood must be altered to discourage abusive or violent acts against women before we can have real change.
“I look at it more in terms of the way we acculturate young boys in this country and the construct of manhood that we have…whether its athletes or its people in business or doctors or lawyers…”
Sparked by a recent hazing incident at a Northbridge, MA high school Executive Director Dan Lebowitz addresses the larger issue of bullying, both in high schools and on sports teams. Although the student does not want to press charges, these allegations do start important conversations about forms of bullying that are often unfortunately entrenched in team history or school initiation rites. As schools look to educate about bullying prevention and leadership potential, they need to emphasize making changes to the destructive “rites of passage” that often occur during the transitional years of school.
“The issue here is the leadership culture. What kind of leadership culture are you going to establish for your team, from the AD on down, from coaches on down.”
Several football players are facing suspension after an alleged hazing incident involving a freshman during a practice earlier this August. Police are investigating the event, but the unidentified student is not pressing charges. Many in the high school and extended community are shocked, but as Executive Director Dan Lebowitz points out in this clip, there is a definite pressure on younger male athletes to follow a certain stereotype of manhood. This stereotype involves showing a certain amount of roughness and ability to handle hazing, but this culture needs to be changed before more unfortunate incidents like this occur.
“There’s an awful lot of pressure in a lot of locker rooms to adhere to…a certain code called manhood…that being tough is male, facing hazing as if its just a rite of passage.”
Shannon Mullen, Marketplace.com
NFL players have been in the headlines a lot lately, and not for touchdown. The new season doesn’t kick off until September, but in the six months since the last Super Bowl, at least 30 players have been arrested for everything from street racing to assault and murder. Guys who break the league’s code of conduct can face fines, suspension or get kicked out, regardless of whether they’re convicted.
“The NFL’s actions are not constrained by the accused player’s legal rights,” says former league player Michael Oriard, who wrote the book, “Brand NFL: Making and Selling America’s Favorite Sport.” Oriard says the league protects its image by acting fast when players misbehave, “and the tarnishing is only slight and temporary, unless the event is an enormously important one. The O.J. Simpson trial was probably the worst instance of this sort.”
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League is pleased to announce that it’s partnering with Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies in Boston, Mass., to offer the brand new CWHL Education Award to qualified CWHL players and staff members.
The CWHL Education Award is a continuing education subsidy meant to help those who play in or work for the league pursue their post-secondary educational goals with less financial strain. The award is available to students enrolled in either a bachelor or masters program at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies, and is worth 25 per cent of the per credit tuition charge for the duration of the degree, for up to seven years from initial enrollment.
“Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies is thrilled to partner with a true leader in the world of sport, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League,” Northeastern University’s director of sports partnerships Dr. Justine Siegal said. “Our staff, faculty and students are eager to begin working with the most elite athletes in women’s hockey to help them achieve the next level of their educational and professional goals.”
Mary K. Pratt, Boston Business Journal
Boston’s decade-long string of athletic championships have put it in the running as the sports capital of the nation. But when it comes to our share of sports agents, the city’s playing in the minor leagues.
To be sure, the Bay State in general has only a sliver of the sports-agent business nationwide, and the agents who are here seem to prefer to work outside spotlight.
Clearly, the city’s far from the days when Boston-based pioneering sports lawyer Bob Woolf represented some of the biggest names of the time such as Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Doug Flutie, Robert Parish, Derek Sanderson and Carl Yastrzemski.
But the sports-agent business here hasn’t had that kind of buzz in decades.
However, there’s been lots of noise lately around superstar Jay-Z’s new venture into the sports agency business and – here’s the local hook – his decision to bring onboard Boston-area attorney Kimberly Miale.
Dan Lebowitz, executive director at Northeastern University’s Sport In Society program, said there are some 15 agencies in the state, but the majority of these agencies’ clients are either international players or a tier down from the leagues’ biggest superstars. The vast majority of local players have agents based elsewhere,
Nevada Public Radio
Dan Lebowitz weighs in on the brawl that occurred at a Mexican League Soccer Match held in Las Vegas, Nevada. He explores the underlying reasoning behind the fan-induced brawl and examines how the definition of manhood and the concept of fanaticism could have led to the fight. The city, hoping to have a professional soccer team of its own, faces an uncertain future after the debacle.
“Once we congregate in large groups, we’d be better off thinking about the communal sense of well-being, rather than the individual sense that I’m going to exert my power and my fanaticism over you.”
Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant
It was a startling two days for the image-conscious NFL.
On Wednesday last week, in Massachusetts, tight end Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. A day earlier, in New Jersey, rookie linebacker Ausar Walcott of the Cleveland Browns was charged with attempted murder.
Both players were immediately released by their teams, but under the national media spotlight, the NFL was painted as a lawless organization.
There have been 38 arrests of NFL players this year, ranging from disorderly conduct and DUI to domestic violence and assault, according to a database kept by the San Diego Union-Tribune. But having two players arrested on murder charges in two days raised the issue of violent behavior in the NFL to a new level.
Generally, the egregious behavior of pro athletes is not much different than men across the landscape,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society program. “We’re sort of talking about an American culture that’s rife with men behaving badly.This is a social construct problem.”
Mike Dyce, Sports Illustrated
The NFL had a rough week. Aaron Hernandez’s arrest and arraignment took center stage, while Ausar Walcott’s attempted murder charge and Joe Lefeged’s illegal weapons charge just made it all even worse. Josh Brent of theDallas Cowboys was back in jail after failing a drug test while out on bail.
And the NFL has a problem, maybe an epidemic on their hands.
“One is too many,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday, regarding the arrests. “We have policies and programs that hold all NFL employees accountable and provide them with programs of education and support.”
Though statistically 28 out of 3,000 players currently on NFL rosters is low compared to the rest of society.
“You’re hoping it’s a teachable moment, where they can grasp the topic, understand it for more than it has been sensationalized for, and have a takeaway for them to where their thought process actually gets improved through it,” said Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston.
By Lindsay H. Jones, USA Today
Dan Lebowitz reiterates the fact that the percentage of NFL Players that get arrested is extremely low compared to the rest of society, but is sensationalized because of the media coverage in the celebrity-centric world. He hopes that moments like this, when high profile athletes make mistakes and get in trouble, can serve as an example to young men in American society. People need to see beyond the headlines to really understand what mistakes were made and gain insight on how to adjust their behavior accordingly. That message is especially applicable to NFL rookies, who attend a mandatory prevention symposium dedicated to educating them on how to behave as professional athletes and act as role models for people in society who look up to them. Among the annual speakers are players who had difficulties with staying out of trouble in the past and have since learned, like former defensive tackle Tank Johnson. Current player Adam Jones, who is no stranger to issues with the law, was also speaker this year.
“You’re hoping it’s a teachable moment, where they can grasp the topic, understand it for more than it has been sensationalized for, and have a takeaway for them to where their thought process actually gets improved through it.”
By Sam Mellinger, The Kansas City Star
The Aaron Hernandez case is deeper than just a football issue, Dan Lebowitz believes. Instead of blaming the sport, which has a lesser rate of arrest than the rest of society, the concept of manhood needs to be revised. The primary reason behind the large number of arrests in the National Football League is how modern society defines being a man, which often includes comfort with a gun and the ability to exert physical superiority over others. Young men, emulating their professional athlete idols, become aggressive and fall into the same definition of manhood as Aaron Hernandez and others, like Indianapolis Colts safety Joe Lefeged, who was recently arrested on gun related charges. This is a societal problem more than anything else, and the fact that athletes and other men around the world behave this way perpetuates the issue for younger generations.
“Aaron Hernandez got caught up in the trappings of what he thought manhood was, and he didn’t pull himself away from that.”
By Paul Doyle, The Hartford Courant
Dan Lebowitz responds to the incidents involving Aaron Hernandez and Ausar Walcott of the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns, respectively. Although they are both unfortunate situations, statistics show that the rate of arrests for NFL Players is lower than men in the rest of society. The reason the NFL arrests are so overblown is largely due to the media coverage and a current society of celebrity idolization, he elaborates. The real problem is the landscape of modern American culture and how it is fascinated with the lives of professional athletes.
“Generally, the egregious behavior of pro athletes is not much different than men across the landscape. We’re sort of talking about an American culture that’s rife with men behaving badly. … This is a social construct problem.”
By NPR, WBUR 90.9
Dan Lebowitz of Sport in Society was on 90.9 WBUR Boston radio, responding to a caller’s comment about the murder charge surrounding Ex-Patriots player Aaron Hernandez. The caller made points to what he refers to as “the trappings” of Aaron’s old life. Dan speaks to this as well and points to the notion of how we, as a society, acculturate boys in this country and what that does to the notion of manhood.
“A lot of sports are hyper-masculine. It goes back to what is our definition of manhood and masculinity. We don’t start at a young age talking to boys about kindness compassion, respect for women a variety of other issues. We’ve kind of boiled manhood down to I can beat you up or I can knock you down on a field or I can make sure that I am dominant over you. So if everything is a power dynamic both on and off the field, in sports which have been hyper masculinized particularly at the professional level, its a bit disingenuous to be surprised by that.” -Dan Lebowitz
By Emanuella Grinberg, NECN
Dan Lebowitz of Sport in Society responds to the recent arrest of Patriots player Aaron Hernandez and the topic of criminal tendencies of professional athletes. Lebowitz states that it is not only athletes who are committing these crimes, but men across the world are behaving unlawfully. He suggests that more educational leadership programs be instituted for professional athletes. Lebowitz proceeds to discuss how athletes’ criminal actions become “sensational news” because they are idolized and “we live in a celebrity culture.” This interview ponders past recurrences revealing that it is not unusual for men to break the law, yet news of athletes doing so has become so widely reported due to their status within our society.
“I think what you do is you have to have leadership education that is constant, that kind of moves with the times, that talks about the types of things like this [the Hernandez arrest] and uses it as a teaching moment, talks about a larger culture and the mistakes of youth that we all get subject to, particularly these athletes that are under a microscope 24 hours a day on the field and off the field.”
By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
After the tragic death of Lauren Astley in Wayland, Massachusetts, a neighboring high school, Lincoln-Sudbury, decided to take a pro-active approach to preventing men’s violence against women. Astley, a recent high school graduate, was strangled and stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend after she had ended the relationship in July of 2011. The warning signs of a tumultuous relationship were present, yet nothing was done to prevent the ultimate death of Astley.
Students and faculty at Lincoln-Sudbury summoned assistance from Sport in Society’s MVP (Mentors in Violence Prevention) program in order to prepare their students for situations similar to Astley’s. The MVP program teaches students the signs of an abusive relationship and how to step in as bystanders. Many have the misunderstanding that a bystander has only two options; putting themselves in danger or doing nothing. Yet that is not the case and MVP teaches students a variety of options for intervening in potentially abusive situations without endangering themselves. Lin-Sudbury participants of the MVP program educated their peers on the topic with a school-wide presentation. Many stated that they will change the way they talk, act and intervene on issues regarding men’s violence.
“The program was developed in 1993 at Northeastern University’s Sport in Society. It enlists student athletes and leaders to speak out against sexual harassment and other forms of abuse typically considered ‘women’s issues.’ ”
By Chelsea B. Sheasley, The Christian Science Monitor
Aaron Hernandez has been in the spotlight as of late and not for his abilities on the football field, but rather due to his relation to Odin Lloyd who was found dead near Hernandez’ home on Monday, June 17th. Hernandez’ house was searched but no arrests or charges have yet been made. With the Patriot’s player’s connection to this homicide, the public perception of football players having trouble with the law has been brought to surface, yet again. This year, alone, 28 arrests of professional football players have been made. However, many argue that these individuals are highly scrutinized due to their high profile professions. Football is not the only sport where arrests are common, as baseball and basketball players have also had many incidents with the law.
“[Professional athletes] are in the public eye and their profile is extremely high,” Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s center for Sport in Society, told The Christian Science Monitor at the time of Mr. Burress’s indictment in 2009. “We are talking about very young people with a lot of public scrutiny, and some handle it better than others.”
Fox 25 News
With the Aaron Hernandez investigation underway, Fox News interviews Sport in Society’s own Dan Lebowitz. Discussed in this brief interview are the possible detrimental effects the investigation will have on Hernandez’s own reputation and the reputation of the New England Patriots. Lebowitz also discusses the pressure society places on professional athletes and the attention given to such young individuals.
“I think that with every athlete that operates under a microscope you have a personal brand and you’re also carrying your team brand.”
“I think that the thing that people forget about professional athletes is that they’re under a microscope, not only on the field but off the field as well and they’re oftly young.”
By Dan Lebowitz, Aspire
This powerful post on the Northeastern College of Professional Studies blog, written by Executive Director Dan Lebowitz, discusses the importance of NBA player Jason Collins coming out. The first professional male athlete in a major American sport, Collins broke down a social barrier in openly admitting his sexuality, and through his brave actions sparked an international conversation about sexuality, masculinity, and sports. Traditionally, sports have had the power to move the public opinion on social issues, and Collins has taken an important step in opening the door for other gay athletes and eventually cause a positive shift in the entire culture of American sports and our ideas about what it means to be a man.
“There should be many definitions of healthy manhood. Jason Collins reminds us of that.”
By Adrian Walker, The Boston Globe
How does gender effect the recent announcement from Jason Collins that he is a gay, currently-playing athlete? Technically, Collins is not the first active athlete in a major sport like basketball to come out in America, but he is the first male to do so; WNBA prospect Brittney Griner actually came out ten days before, and a few other female star athletes have made the same announcement to much lesser media attention. What does this say about our attitudes and expectations toward male and female athletes? And our perspective on masculinity in general? Executive Director Dan Lebowitz points out that Collins is broadening the definition of manhood by uniting a different sexual orientation with a traditionally rough and “manly” profession. Collins’ announcement and the attention paid to it will pose these questions to the general public, and slowly cause a shift in our cultural attitudes about traditional male roles. proving again how much sport can impact and lead in social change.
Collins’s announcement challenges comfortable but homophobic notions about athletic heroes, said Dan Lebowitz, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. He calls the revelation a civil rights watershed moment. “The sports world is typified by this hypermasculine definition of manhood that hadn’t allowed for these conversations of an athlete of a different sexual orientation,” Lebowitz said. “I think it creates a positive self-image for every gay kid who is an athlete or every gay kid who isn’t an athlete. They can find people who are like them. There should be a lot of room for a grand definition of what manhood is. It can be a million things, including being a gay athlete.”
By Tom Layman, Boston Herald
As the first out active athlete, Jason Collins is a trailblazer in American sports, and this article explores the potential for other athletes to follow his lead. The official reactions of the NBA Commissioner David Stern and his peers in the league have mostly been positive and supportive of Collins’ leadership role. Former athletes such as retired NFL player Wade Davis are also congratulatory, especially since Davis himself came out after he left football. Proud of Collins, Davis feels that this moment will be a watershed for sports and that he won’t be excluded on future teams and in locker rooms, but knows from personal experience how difficult it will be for another athlete to make that step. Executive Director Dan Lebowitz agrees, aknowledging that change won’t occur overnight. Although Collins has opened the door and thrust major American sports in the discussion on gay rights, it could still be a while before another active player is brave and comfortable enough to make that next step.
“Society evolves,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director at Northeastern University’s Sport in Society center. “Sports are kind of this great platform for the movement and continuum of social justice. . . . The continuum in terms of gay rights has really gained steam recently. I think he felt he could make this move now, where probably earlier in his career he might have felt that he couldn’t.” “People are so visceral around civil rights issues that I think it will take a while for another athlete to come out, at least an active athlete,” Lebowitz said. “Although I hope not.”
In this television interview, Executive Director Dan Lebowtiz is explains the importance of NBA player Jason Collins’ openly aknowledging his sexuality, and how that will impact both is future and the league’s. Lebowitz compares this moment to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball, another instance where sports had the power to transform the social landscape and further social justice within the larger society. Some people are concerned that as a free agent, Collins’ statment could hurt his chances of signing with a team this upcoming season, but his obvious talent and long career almost guarantee he will be asked to play another year. The next season will be interesting, since as Lebowitz points out, fans might have a negative reaction to his sexuality; Collins could be the target of slurs and abuse. But as any social justice pioneer knows, those voices will eventually fade to leave a more open and even playing field.
“There are a lot of teams and a lot of markets that will take him,” Lebowitz says, adding Collins still has the basketball skills.” “I think in many respects it is a Jackie Robinson moment,” he says. “This is about evolution, social justice evolution.”
By David Barron, The Houston Chronicle
The impact of Jason Collins’ announcement in Sports Illustrated that he is gay spread far beyond the sports world and into popular culture, prompting a variety of reactions and questions about the role of male athletes in America. But does Collins coming out indicate that major American sports are actually behind in matters of social justice? Internationally, other active male athletes have come out, and just 10 days ago Baylor University baskeball star Brittney Griner told media she is gay. In openly admitting his sexuality, Collins at least starts an important dialogue about manhood and our culture’s expectations of male athletes, and most players are supportive of his honesty. Although some reactions have been negative, Executive Director Dan Lebowtiz emphasises the importance of this first step and the necessary conversations it sparks.
“For an active athlete to come out makes a big statement about manhood in general,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society. “We’ve thought you could never talk about homosexuality in terms of sports. It hasn’t been equated with that. But here you have a phenomenal athlete with a long career making a statement about who he is, and what you have is sports being a social justice engine. In terms of sports in the locker room and on the field, it is a bold move.”
By Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor
Basketball fans in Los Angeles are beginning to own their two NBA teams, to the shock of the Lakers. A few years ago most fans didn’t even aknowledge the Clippers existance, but know find themselves cheering on the Clippers during their playoff run, while the Lakers struggle without Kobe Bryant. Top players like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are adding to the team’s credibility and popularity, perhaps signaling a more permanent switch in the loyalty of LA fans. As Executive Director Dan Lebowitz points out, Bryant has been in the league for so long that a changing of the guard seems inevitable, and judging from the rise of the underdog Clippers, there seems to be serious change in Los Angeles.
“The Lakers have been the shining star for decades, and the Clippers almost the laughing stock of the league,” says Dan Lebowitz, president of the Center for the Study of Sports in Society atNortheastern University. “Now the Clippers are the darlings of the league, the Cinderella team to watch. This is going to be good.” “Kobe has been the face of basketball there for so long, it seems it’s time to pass it on,” says Lebowitz, noting that the Clippers managed the draft well in recent years and made good trades. “They created a great team with good chemistry between players.”
By Lynn Henning, The Detroit News
As the 2013 baseball season starts, this article looks at the Detroit Tigers and the progress of the club since owner Mike Ilitch bought the team in 1992. The city and its fans have embraced the Tigers, and their popularity has soared despite economic hardships in Detroit. Last year the team sold more merchandise than any other MLB club except the Yankees, and the signing of big stars like Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander is part of a major plan by Ilitch to propel the Tigers into the World Series. Unfortunately, team popularity and fan spending doesn’t offset the cost of big stars, and the Tigers were one of few teams to actually lose money last year according to Forbes. But the Tigers are a franchise to be reckoned with, and Executive Director Dan Lebowitz sees a few reasons why.
“To put the Tigers into popular cultural perspective, they are the Chrysler 300 of Major League Baseball,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director for the Study of Sport and Society at Northeastern University. “Who doesn’t like that car?
“They’re likeable from the top down. (Manager Jim) Leyland’s basically this old-time baseball guy, this baseball sage who’s a great connection to the pastoral past of baseball. And then they’ve got Justin Verlander, who is just a phenom in leading his team by example. And what you see is that this team is, in so many ways, great, gritty and fun. Greatness is always appreciated on a national scale. But grittiness is always appreciated on all kinds of levels for what it means to the competitive spirit of the game.”
“There’s a great amount of diversity on that club,” Lebowitz said, speaking of a team with a heavy Latin presence, as well as three African-American starters. “How do we embrace that diversity? How do we celebrate that diversity as greatness?
“The Tigers do that.”
By Peter Haskell, CBS New York
In this interview, Peter Haskell talks about the firing of Rutgers University head basketball coach Mike Rice, and what his dismissal means for a school already facing scrutiny over the suicide of freshman Tyler Clementi in 2010. For a university looking to salvage its image and improve its reputation, Executive Director Dan Lebowtitz recommends a hard look at their coaches and leadership. Rutgers can use this as an opportunity to hire someone who won’t act in a verbally or physically abusive manner, and will treat their players with respect; a coach leads their student athletes by example, and the school can now look for a coach who will set a positive and appropriate example of strength and masculinity, both on and off the court.
“How are we gonna carry that brand? What’s the image that we want to put forth around that brand?” Dan Lebowitz “It’s a training about what leadership means. How do you embrace leadership? How do you teach coaching? How do you coach coaches to be better? If a player speaks up, then he’s going to be denigrated as someone that isn’t manly”
By Rachel Lenzi, The Toledo Blade
The University of Michigan is proud to support their basketball team as it drives towards the NCAA Championship game, a position their team last reached a decade ago. The basketball program at Michigan has encountered a fair amount of difficulty off the court, with a Federal investigation in 1996 uncovering the largest NCAA payout scandal and prompting a larger conversations about violations in college sports. Athletic teams are huge business operations whose interests often conflict with the rules of Division 1 sports, a back and forth that ultimately damages the legacy of these college programs. With an opportunity to revamp the basketball legacy, Michigan looks ahead to the Final Four with a clear and sanction-free team.
“Whether it’s the NCAA or it’s big business or politics, there’s always going to be a percentage of people who go beyond the rules,” said Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for Sport in Society in Boston. “In any context, there’s always parameters of rules. And there are people who go outside of them. But in the issue with the NCAA and why people do it, there’s a reason we see it magnified in college sports, especially in Division I football and basketball. Those are economic engines, and they’re enormous.”
The onus on the new guard at Michigan is to do things “the right way” — part of a cycle that Lebowitz said is “a push-pull dynamic in college athletics, in terms of operating with ethics, integrity, and the parameters of guidelines.”
By Mark Lamont Hill, Huffington Post Live
Is there a culture of violence and entitlement in traditionally male sports? Executive Director of Sport in Society Dan Lebowtiz, Katie Hnida, the first woman to play Division 1 college football and a sexual assualt survivor, and Assistant Professor of Social Work at Rutgers University Sarah McMahon discuss the recent Steubenville rape trial, and sexual assualt in athletic contexts. The idea of “jock culture” and protection for young male athletes has become a seriously debated topic, and this interview looks at the link between rape culture and sports. The powerful discussion explores sexual violence in our society, being a bystander on a sports team, and the challenges for young male athletes growing up and navigating the jock culture in America today.
“We don’t have a construct of manhood that teaches…that its ok to be respectful of women. If we compartmentalize Steubenville…we excuse ourselves from being complicit in the way we as a society…treat women in general.” Dan Lebowtiz
By Kathleen Dunn, Wisconsin Public Radio
In this hour long radio show Jarrod Chin, the Director for Training and Curriculum at Sport in Society, and Sarah McMahon, Assistant Professor from the Center on Violence Against Women & Children at the Rutgers School of Social Work, discuss the potential links between jock culture and rape culture. The recent Steubenville rape trial highlights the possible connections between the entitlement of young male athletes and sexual assualt in America. Chin argues that although this trial focuses on two rapists from an Ohio football team, it is a chance to discuss how the media portrays violence against women, the importance of being a bystander and the epidemic of sexual violence in greater society. The Steubenville case is a chance to begin these conversations and examine societal norms, and the difficult but necessary job of changing the way people view gender and power based violence.
“When you look at the culture of a sports team, it starts with the coaches. It really takes…being educated around these issues.” said Jarrod Chin “This is not a woman’s issue. It’s a man’s issue. It has to be something that people are talking about.”
By Brian Lee, Worcester Telegram and Gazette
On Sundays at the Oxford Community Center, the 6-8 year old basketball players are all considered winners; unfortunately, some feel that their no-score league is actually making them all losers. Opponents of the community basketball program feel that kids need to learn early how to be competetive while having fun, and not keeping score inhibits that. Except that in the seven years since the league went scoreless for its youngest players, enthusiasm has only grown, and kids spend more time learning about the game, the rules, and the skills instead of constantly checking the scoreboard. The ability to foster that cooperative spirit, instead of competetive one, is the real win for the players.
“There’s always that push-pull between the competitive spirit of what sport is and the cooperative spirit of what teamwork is, and when is the right time to teach that cooperative spirit in an open window in terms of some of the developmental process of youth,” said Dan Lebowitz, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston “But there’s enough of a framework throughout all of society around competition that it’s not so negative that in a first-grade league, you’re not keeping score so that the focus on the game is on cooperative spirit, and sort of positive teamwork, and understanding how to work as a unit,”
By Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, WGBH
An interview with the first female individual state champion wrestler in MA, Danielle Coughlin from North Andover. Hosts Jim and Margery talk to Executive Director Dan Lebowitz and Boston Globe sports reporter Shira Springer, asking if Coughlin is an aberration or sign of things to come. This leads to a discussion about gender roles, and our definitions of femininity and traditionally male sports, where Lebowitz attests that changing perceptions are giving women and girls more opportunity to break socially constructed gender barriers.
By John Jeansonne, Newsday
What made Caleb Moore attempt to flip over backwards on a 450lb snowmobile? After his death attempting this stunt in the 2013 Winter X Games, Frank Farley, a psychology professor at Temple University explains the T-Type or Thrill-Type personality that causes some people to engage in such high-risk behavior. These adrenaline trailblazers engage in dangerous stunts but are rewarded, both biologically and culturally, when they accomplish such death-defying tricks. However, the T-Type personality isn’t limited to extreme sports; from the Mayflower to the moon, people have been pushing the envelope by forging ahead despite an uncertain outcome, often to great reward. Unfortunately, this past winter the X Games featured the downside of thrill seeking, to great loss.
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for Study of Sport in Society, told ESPN‘s Outside the Lines that, while such deaths as Moore’s are “always incredibly tragic,” they are not new to sports, and that “we are sort of complicit, as a society, in the tragedy.”
“We expect,” Lebowitz said, “a lot of super-human effort and super-human performance from our athletes. The bar keeps getting raised and the envelope keeps getting pushed and, in some ways, it’s a Pandora’s Box. There’s no going backwards.”
By Jan Hubbard, American Way
Who was Jackie Robinson off the baseball diamond? His commitment to social change extended beyond the dugout; Robinson was deeply committed to social change and used his influence as an athlete to advance the civil-rights movement. An incredible example of the power wielded by athletes and their ability to effect social change, this article explores his impact on American society.
“He had the success; he had the position,” says Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston. “It was incumbent on him as a leader of men, not just of his race but of men, to speak out. Looking back, it wasn’t that surprising. He was a positive force in moving the pendulum forward in the area of social justice.”
Following the death of snowmobiler Caleb Moore during the Winter X Games, Outside the Lines held a panel discussion about safety and extreme sports. In this segment Sport in Society executive director Dan Lebowitz, Denver Post reporter Jason Blevins and Scott Guglielmino, Senior VP for the X Games hear the reaction among athletes in Aspen and start a conversation about future precautions and safety regulations.
By Pat Graham, Associated Press
In addition to the deadly snowmobile crash at the 2013 Winter X Games, athletes discuss several other accidents that occurred during competition and training. Most extreme athletes try to minimize risk through extensive practice and safety training before ever attempting high-risk tricks outside in a competition. However, they do accept the reality of their extreme adventure sports and know that danger is a part of the lifestyle. This mentality pushes the athletes achieve new records, but unfortunately this attitude can result in serious injury and death, causing some to wonder if the glory is worth the risk.
“Should we be asking these questions? We absolutely should be,” said Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, which examines the role of sports to promote healthy development and social responsibility.
The people performing these superhuman feats “really are just human,” he said. “How do we maintain safety in that progression when that progression sometimes pushes every envelope to some amazingly extreme point?”
“There are going to be benchmarks set and people trying to exceed that benchmark,” Lebowitz said. “That’s just the essence of our society and our social culture.”
By Sheila M. Eldred, Discovery News
How far is too far in the world of extreme sports? With competitions pushing young athletes to dangerous levels, many people are concerned with the safety regulations and expectations for extreme sports. At this year’s Winter X Games, 25 year old Caleb Moore died during the snowmobile competition, prompting another discussion about safety in high-risk sports.
“We’re all complicit in where sport has gone,” said director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society Dan Lebowitz. “There’s a responsibility in all of us as members of a functioning, inclusive society….It’s a tug of war: the loving of the pushing of the envelope, but also stepping outside of ourselves and asking the question, have we perverted the essence and beauty of sport and teamwork?”
“We bow down to the sensational in sports, where we glamorize the incredible violence and risk-taking and then sometimes we don’t like the outgrowth,” Lebowitz said. “There’s a certain level of expectation that people are looking for: these incredible tricks of hanging off a snowmobile with one arm. There’s this incredible balance in fueling interest by paying attention to the sensational and maintaining some semblance of it being a sporting event.”
A person familiar with the situation says Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey’s network. WBZ-TV talked to Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society Center.
A positive in this, says Lebowitz, is that the Armstrong case puts a microscope on doping in cycling, and is already sparking a conversation of how the sport can move forward. “The confession stage is more of a person saying to themselves, you know what, it is time for me to make this a positive both for my life, for other cyclists, for the sport of cycling and for sport in general,” said Lebowitz.
By Cynthia Mccormick, Cape Cod Times
There are more than two roles in the world of bullies and victims. There also are bystanders and witnesses — well-intentioned people who do not know how or whether to intervene. But students at Barnstable and Dennis-Yarmouth Regional high schools are learning how to speak up and stop bullies, dating violence and domestic abuse.
Now in its fourth year at Barnstable High School and its first year at D-Y High, the program is based on the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program developed at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. “When you see a problem, you don’t just stand by,” said Barnstable High School senior Katherine Anzola, 17. One student who received training helped prevent another teen at a party from being sexually assaulted by telling the assailant to leave and getting the intended victim to safety.
By Sheila M. Eldred, Discovery News
The cycling world is waiting to hear what Lance Armstrong will confess to this week during his much-pulicized interview with Oprah Winfrey about his alleged drug use. Speculations over his doping and motives for a possible confession abound; some within the sport fear that a confession about use that occured over the past decade will tarnish the cleaner, improved image that professional cycling has been trying to maintain in recent years. But as Executive Director Dan Lebowitz points out, a confession and clarification of right and wrong from such a major star will only positively impact the sports community as a whole.
“I think there’s no downside to him coming clean,” Lebowitz said, “and the upside sends a really positive message about what is right and wrong.” Whatever happens, Lebowitz said his story represents “both the great possibilities of humanity and all of the fallibility.”
By Hal Habib, Palm Beach Post
Can a school renowned for national championships — but devoid of any since 1988 — recapture more than a glimpse of glitter? Can Notre Dame reclaim the unofficial title of America’s Team of college football?
“I think for many, many years, Notre Dame was just synonymous with what college football was,” says Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “They were the benchmark of college football. This year, they ended undefeated, they had an awful lot of close games, but I think what (coach) Brian Kelly has done there is he created a dynamic where they’ve returned brand value to the brand beyond the loyalty of their fan base. Everyone on the planet likes a bit of nostalgia,” Lebowitz says. “Notre Dame represents that.”
By Larry Fine, Reuters
The murder/suicide committed on Saturday by Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher left the National Football League, its fans and health professionals struggling to understand what drove him to do it.
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, said he saw the Belcher tragedy as something that speaks to societal problems transcending sports. “This is an issue of men’s violence against women, not just football players being too violent,” Lebowitz said. “When I look at it, I try to take it out of the realm of sport. I just think about the way we acculturate young boys in this country and our whole view of manhood.”
Sport in Society has worked for the NFL on a 2010 training program aimed at gender equality and respect in the workplace, and ran a training project at the soccer World Cup in South Africa on preventing gender violence. Lebowitz continued, “If you look at how many NFL players commit gender violence in proportion to the overall population, the percentage falls in line with the general population, three to five percent. We don’t have a healthy concept of what manhood is and how certain things that we see as an affront to manhood probably aren’t that at all.”
Lebowitz said the awful incident could spawn an opportunity to educate others. “Nothing happens in a bubble. This is the fifth NFL player to commit suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot … this one was (preceded) by a murder. Right now there is an absolute heightened spotlight on all the issues around sports in general. “How do we make a healthier sport, and how do we make a healthier man? How do we engage in a real conversation about respect for women’s rights and freedoms?”
By Marissa A. Wagner, KTSA.com
San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are under fire following a Halloween picture of the two players that was posted this past weekend. The picture depicts the two NBA stars in costume at a Halloween party, holding what appear to be toy guns at a man dressed as NBA Referee Joey Crawford.
“Obviously, you never want to want to see athletes bottling behavior that isn’t great; but on the other hand it is at a Halloween party, and so you know that’s sort of the one time of year that goolishness and violence, and even dead bodies show up on people’s front porches when kids are trick-or-treating,” said Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of Sports In Society at Northeastern University in Boston. “So, I don’t want to take it too far out of context, because it isn’t like the gun incident in the NBA locker room from a couple of years ago, and it’s obviously no where near the level of the incident that tragically happened with the NFL player this past weekend.
“There’s such a great spotlight on sport that athletes, for better or worse, are everyday role models and carry the badge of leadership. Ironically, I think that Timmy Duncan is probably one of the most humble, amazing, and great models of behavior in the NBA. I wouldn’t want to read too much into the picture given the context, but when you know that you live your life in the fish bowl and under the spot light, sometimes the things you do in jest can come back to haunt you. I think here, given the vision in the picture, they’re sort of taking a joking, although maybe not in the best taste, approach to the adversarial relations that sometimes exist between players and referees. Joey Crawford is probably one of the most respected referees in the league, and so they probably felt that at least in some ways it was okay to do it at his expense,” said Lebowitz.
By Justine Siegal
When the right opportunities don’t come to you, sometimes you just have to create them. In this presentation, Justine talks about her own personal history and the importance of baseball in her life, and the ways in which she provides everyone with the chance to develop the same love of sports. Through her work at Sport in Society and her own organization Baseball for All, Justine fosters a healthy appreciation for sports and the positive lessons we can all take away.
By Mike Lowe, Portland Press Herald
Maine native Ashley Marble seemed to have it all, but behind her driven personality lurked darkness and depression. Now, after a debilitating ankle dislocation, she’s focused on recovery – physical and emotional.
“Part of it is, there’s an expectation with stardom, with fame, whether limited or large,” said Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for Sport in Society. “Athletes are competitive and they probably don’t want to show weakness.”
By Jessica Teich, Boston Globe
Dorsey Levens, former running back for the Green Bay Packers, was at Northeastern University on Thursday to screen “Bell Rung,” his documentary detailing the strife that comes with professional football.
Joining Levens for a panel discussion about concussions were former New England Patriot Sammy Morris, a free agent running back in the NFL; Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern’s sport in society program; Neal McGrath, a neuropsychologist who specializes in the evaluation and rehabilitation of traumatic brain injuries at Sports Concussion New England; and moderator and sportswriter Ron Thomas.
By Peter Howe, NECN
For fans screaming over another weekend of often terrible officiating by out-of-their-depth National Football League replacement refs, it can be astonishing: The battle that led team owners to lock out unionized referees largely comes down to a league grossing $9 billion a year that’s pressuring 121 refs who collectively make $18 million a year to give up pensions for 401(k)’s.
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for Sport and Society, said of hockey, “It’s just a much different league. The length of the season’s so much longer. The NFL, you have a 16-game season. Every single game is an event. The NHL, the season’s more like the length of baseball. In some respects, the difficulty for the NFL referees is that each week fans are watching, ratings are up, and no matter what, it’s the NFL … You might have some unhappiness among the fans; on the other hand, people are watching every single week because they love the game.’’
Lebowitz added that he thinks “the league and the player’s association have strong leadership – there’s a culture of integrity in the NFL, among players and owners and the commissioner and officials alike – and where there’s leadership, there’s confidence this will get resolved.’’
By Mike Lowe, Portland Press Herald
As public funding dwindles, Lewiston ME and other schools offer their athletic programs as business opportunities.
Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston, said there’s nothing wrong with selling sponsorships and naming rights. “Personally, I think that if you’re creative or innovative enough to find funding that creates a positive experience, that increases access to high school sports, it’s a good thing,” he said. There are many times when the private sector and the public sector come together for a good cause, he said. This is one of them.
“It will benefit the students by providing access to sports without forcing user fees on them. It will benefit the community by providing a safe environment to gather and play. It speaks a lot to the corporate social responsibility of the corporation that does it,” he said. “To me, it’s a good use of advertising dollars and one that actually benefits people.”
September 17, 2012
By The Washington Post
“You throw like a girl” [Sept. 11] misses most of its target. As a former physical education teacher and current instructor for the International Baseball Federation, I have coached children from around the world. I have found that throwing “like a girl” is not biologically inherent but rather a result of coaching, expectations and opportunity. Gender is not the dominating factor in their throwing mechanics; experience is.
By Dan Feldman, Maryland Gazette
In the aftermath of five DeMatha Catholic football players being removed from the team for allegedly soliciting prostitutes during an overnight trip to North Carolina two weeks ago, area high school coaches are evaluating their policies for overnight trips.
Dan Lebowitz the executive director of Northeastern University’s Sport In Society, said he still sees the value in overnight trips — not only for sports teams, but all youth organizations. “We’re trying to expose players to worlds beyond their community,” said Lebowitz, whose organization advocates using sports to promote social justice and diversity.
“I don’t think that’s a negative at all. The fact that something happened on this trip shouldn’t create a dynamic where other people start thinking, ‘Well you know, the risk is too high.’ I think, in every instance, we’re trying to create more worldly young people and bring youth beyond the boundaries of their own community and to other arenas, other areas and see the world in another light beyond their neighborhoods, beyond their schools.”
August, 28, 2012
By Matt Collette, Northeastern News
What does the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to strip Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France victories mean within the cycling community and, more broadly, within the sporting community at large?
“This decision is, in many respects, another emphatic exclamation point on how much this era of performance-enhancing drugs has created a cloud of suspicion over all that is sport. There is no performance, no record, no phenomenal feat that can escape this spotlight. This is something larger than Lance Armstrong and the cycling community. It is, instead, another example of lost innocence in which the leaders and stars of our global community become exemplary not for their greatness, but instead for the fallibility that plagues all of humanity…”
August 7, 2012
By Casey Bayer, Northeastern News
For some Olympic athletes, many years of dedication and hard work is rewarded in the form of a shiny gold medal. But most Olympians fall short and, in some cases, never compete again. We asked Justine Siegal, the director of sports partnerships for Sport in Society, a Northeastern University research center, to explain how elite athletes fare in making the transition from Olympic competition to everyday life.
August 2, 2012
By Jon Saraceno and Kevin Johnson, USA Today
Violation of the Olympic ideal … or a strategic business-as-usual gambit? Ethical and philosophical debates aside, in what is believed to be an Olympics first – expulsion of multiple athletes for match-throwing -eight female badminton players from three Asian nations were disqualified Wednesday from the London Games.
“Sport at its best is a great intersection between the cooperative spirit of teamwork and the competitive spirit of trying to excel,” said Sport in Society Executive Director, Dan Lebowitz. “The Olympic Games are in many respects ultimate testimony to sport as it should be played.”
August 2, 2012
As the world waits and watches the summer games, the athletes competing in the Olympics are under plenty of pressure, which can bring trouble with it. One example is the badminton cheating scandal. Teams from China, South Korea, and Indonesia were tossed from the games for blatantly attempting to lose their matches in order to manipulate the quarter-final draw.
Sport in Society’s Executive Director, Dan Lebowitz spoke to NECN about the controversy: “We live in area of suspension around performance enhancing drugs. The steroid era in baseball, the tour the France, and the drug testing in the Olympics. This is obviously not the first time it has been mentioned in the Olympic games, and both men and women have drawn suspicion and have been caught.”
July 24, 2012
Fox 25 News
The country is abuzz with talk about the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn state and its football program. Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of Sport in Society from Northeastern University, joined the FOX 25 Morning News to share his opinions.
July 23, 2012
By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV
The NCAA has slammed Penn State with big fines and penalties for failing to act in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Few people will feel the impact of those sanctions more than this year’s incoming freshman.
Dan Lebowitz of Northeastern University’s Sports In Society program says students will learn a very different lesson about colleges and athletics. “We need to get back to a point where academic institutions that have great athletics find some medium between the two,” says Lebowitz. “Where athletics do not trump the integrity of the institution, don’t trump the academic intentions of the institution.” And Lebowitz says the current sanctions instead of the “death penalty” provide everyone with a teachable moment.
July 23, 2012
By Dan Mauzy, WBUR
In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, today the NCAA ordered Penn State to pay $60 million and stripped the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno of many of his college victories. The college will also be prohibited from participating in post-season play for four years. NCAA president Mark Emmert announced the sanctions this morning, saying, “Our goal is not to be just punitive, but to make sure the university establishes an athletic culture and daily mindset in which football will never be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people.”
July 17, 2012
By Allie Grasgreen, Inside Higher Ed
The revelation last week that incriminating facts regarding Sandusky were covered up by those top officials – including President Graham Spanier and the beloved, legendary head coach Joe Paterno – triggered a storm of fury from a stunned public. Demands came for the university to rid the campus of its most visible homage to Paterno, a bronze statue outside the football stadium. Other commentators went further, saying that canceling the upcoming season (and maybe more) might be the only way to show that this is not a university ruled by the sport.
“I can’t see any other action that shows that great intersection of wanting to do better — introspection, remorse, pain, leadership, humanity, empathy — in its real sense,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Sport and Society program. “If they’re hoping for football to return to prominence, wouldn’t they want it also under a cleansed brand?”
July 16, 2012
Healthy masculinity means having a definition of what manhood is. The cultivation of boys in our country and world-wide is about a toughness scale.
Do too many people present young males with an inappropriate idea of what being masculine means? Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of Northeastern’s Sport in Society, joined “The Morning Show” to discuss this issue.
July 14, 2012
By Rusty Miller, The Associated Press
People have attached a $50-million price tag on Penn State football,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport In Society at Northeastern University. “Obviously, people made an egregious decision to err on the side of the $50 million rather than on the side of the rights of children.”
July 9, 2012
Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of Sports in Society
There are moments that remain with us forever. They are transcendent and impact a world well beyond the compartmentalized of individualism. The 1968 Olympics were that for me. When Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood victorious on an Olympic platform, radiant, with their raised fist, I was 10 years old…
June 2, 2012
By Lauren Horn, Northeastern News
The Center for STEM Education brought 160 local eighth-graders to Northeastern’s campus for Early College Awareness Day. Sport in Society coop, Emily Nolan, was featured on the panel. Emily advised the eighth graders to “challenge yourself in high school classes, because even if you’re not sure you can do it, it will lead to big bonus points when you apply for college…also, try different things and you’ll figure out what you like. I took sign language and education classes before I discovered that I really liked psychology.”
June 2, 2012
By Patrick Hite, newsleader.com
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, said that in places like the Shenandoah Valley, where Christian prayer is an important part of many people’s lives, others should be accepting — just as Christians should be understanding if someone doesn’t wish to pray or wants to say a prayer in accordance with their own religion. “It’s actually a platform to engage a conversation about all people’s rights… why people would embrace it, why people would want to pray there, why that’s part of the fabric of the community for them. And then from the other vantage point, why people that didn’t practice that religion might feel like they needed some avenues for inclusion that didn’t involve religion.”
June 2, 2012
By Mark Ambrogi, Indy Star
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society program, said high schools in more affluent areas definitely have some advantages. “Affluence doesn’t so much affect performance but the ability to have better training facilities, better weight rooms, probably more coaches, a more variant number of sports available at the high schools,” he said. “Those things would probably translate into more championships.”In almost every landscape — political, business, sports, education — affluence plays a role in advanced opportunity.”
May 25, 2012
By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
“I think we’re all fallible that way…We are drawn to celebrity. We are drawn to grandeur in many respects. There’s a push-pull in each of ourselves — the lure of grandeur versus the beauty of hard work…It’s not just sports, either…You see it with movie stars and politics as well…We award abhorrent behaviors and don’t spend a lot of time celebrating behavior that ought to be celebrated…The way our culture is, we often say we want one thing, but we often bow down to negativity and the celebration of the egregious…Pop’s mentality is just as important to the Spurs’ culture as Duncan “quietly leading the team to excellence year in, year out…He knows the game’s challenges and how to get the best out of his squad, and there is a “great human reciprocity between him and his players…” He teaches his players how best to carry themselves as part of the Spurs’ brand, and the players know how to wear it, even if the jerseys don’t sell so well…You can’t base success on monetization…Establishing the culture has been important to the team’s success…This is a team that has achieved through cooperative culture…I don’t try to match it up against another ballclub. I just say, ‘There’s a place that’s doing it right.
May 11, 2012
By Carey Goldberg, WBUR
That need is very real, said Justine Siegal, director of sports partnerships at Northeastern University’s Sport in Society program and a doctoral candidate in sports psychology there. It is estimated that about 20 percent of athletes need “considerable psychological adjustment” after they leave the sport, she said. “They face challenges with their athlete identity: Who am I if I’m not an athlete? Your peers change because you’re not with the same group. Your body changes and it often becomes less fit.” “You don’t necessarily have a plan outside of your sport,” she added, “and that can be very disconcerting, to be so goal-oriented your whole life and then just have to walk away and move on to a new goal. When you haven’t planned out what that goal is, you can feel lost.” But you should, Justine Siegal said. It is key to begin “exit” planning well in advance, “always knowing that at one point, you’re going to have to leave the sport. Unfortunately, the old school coaching is to let them completely focus on their sport, and when they do that, that means they’re not preparing for a world outside their sport.” Counseling can also really help, she said, “exit counseling” and group counseling with other athletes who are making a transition, teaching them how to transfer their sport skills — goal-setting, time management, stress management — into life skills. “Unfortunately, there’s not enough counseling groups,” she said. “There should be more.” Former athletes can “give back to the sport” in many ways, Justine Siegal said, “whether as a coach, administrator or volunteer. It keeps you in the game and you’re helping other people to enjoy it, especially children. I think there’s nothing better for healing than seeing a child love doing something you both love.”
May 7, 2012
By Justin Rice, Boston Globe
“We are all so excited for ourselves and for each other,” Beantown Jumpers co-coach Lynne Travers said in an e-mail. “This team is like one big family and we are always there for one another. The kids are so selfless and giving of their time, their energy and of each other. There isn’t a week that goes by that my heart isn’t bursting — for them, for what they are accomplishing, and for how much they appreciate being a part of the Beantown Jumpers. They are the highlight of my day at work and seeing them blossom and grow as young adults, athletes and students makes me so proud.”
May 4, 2012
By Bridget Blythe
Nearly half a dozen NFL players in recent years have taken their own life, and Junior Seau’s suicide is again turning attention to the league with questions about whether they do enough to protect players. Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s “Sport in Society” organization, joined NECN’s Bridget Blythe to discuss.
April 27, 2012
By Bob Hohler
Pioneers of racial tolerance in sports, the Boston Bruins in 1958 became the first National Hockey League team to sign an African-American player, making Willie O’Ree the Jackie Robinson of hockey. Yet they found themselves Thursday addressing hateful racist commentary circulated by Bruins fans and others on social media after Joel Ward, a black forward for the Washington Capitals, scored the winning goal in overtime of Game 7 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs Wednesday at TD Garden.
April 19, 2012
By Al Lesan, South Bend Tribune
A pioneer in the women’s game, Sport in Society’s Justine Siegal is a right-handed pitcher whose fastball topped out in the upper 70s, and still remembers the hurt she felt when she was cut by the Colorado Silver Bullets, in a women’s professional league. “I didn’t sleep for a month,” she said. Siegal has harnessed that experience into helping mostly minor-league professional players who have been recently released. Getting back to school or putting an education to work are the top tips. Though it has just been launched, seven players have been assisted.
April 6, 2012
By Jeffrey Brown, PBS News Hour
“The spotlight of sport creates such a great platform for discussion about right and wrong, about ethics and a number of other things. So, in many respects, the concussion issue, the league’s response in terms of leveling fines for hits hopefully will engage in larger national discussion where people will start thinking about ethics in general. Like, what is ethical and why aren’t we more ethical? So these questions could be asked in the political realm. It could be asked in the financial realm. It could be asked elsewhere. But I think it’s that great spotlight of sport that allows for a discussion along a much wider audience,” said Dan Lebowitz.
April 5, 2012
By Daniel B Wood, Christian Science Monitor
“Rometty’s job is to do her best to lead IBM and do a great job at that,” says Justine Siegal, the first female coach of a men’s professional baseball team, the Brockton Rox of the independent Canadian American league. “It is up to society and others within IBM to fight this battle over membership.
April 5, 2012
By Paul Guggenheimer, Essential Public Radio
“Small market teams have to understand what their audience can afford. And if they’re not going to be a winning team, they have to know what will draw people in, by making an experience out of it,” says Justine Siegal.
March 22, 2012
By Barry Svrluga, Washington Post
“Maybe, because of this, a whistleblower might no longer be called a ‘snitch,’ but somebody who cares about the collective good of a system. That could be true not only in sport; our culture can be helped by people who stand up and make a statement,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society. Lebowitz said the actions of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell — not just in the Saints’ case, but in dealing with fines and suspensions for unnecessarily violent hits — have set a “tenor for the tenure of Roger Goodell, and that tenor is he’s going to establish a code of conduct for that league.”
March 19, 2012
By Daniel Kreiger, New York Times
“Japan is leading the way,” said Justine Siegal, the founder of Baseball For All, an organization devoted to creating opportunities for girls to play. “What’s happening there serves as a great inspiration.” She believes the way to expand the game on a mass scale is with Japanese-style youth leagues for girls, who typically get funneled into softball around puberty. “If there’s nowhere to play when you’re 13, then the numbers will drop,” she said.
March 8, 2012
By Peter May, New York Times
“This is about a male culture and how we have a construct that’s wrong,” said Dan Lebowitz. “It transcends sport. It’s about how are men going to be held responsible for the way they treat women. We focus almost entirely on how tough they are. We don’t pay nearly enough attention to compassion, to kindness, to respect for women.”
March 7, 2012
By Emily Sohn, Discovery News
In the case of the Saints, it may be time to reexamine the way our society defines manhood and stop encouraging boys and men to value toughness over respect. By coming down hard on bad acts, the NFL and other organizations can do a lot to model less violent behavior for the next generation of young athletes.
February 28, 2012
By Jason Kornwitz, News@Northeastern
“The attention surrounding Jeremy Lin is based in part on the fact that his athletic ability challenges our stereotypes about what certain groups of people can do in our society,” says Jarrod Chin, Director of Training and Curriculum at Sport in Society. “Too often the ‘model minority’ stereotype limits what Asian-Americans are seen as capable of doing. Not since Wat Misaka played for the New York Knicks in 1947 has an Asian-American played in an NBA game.”
February 24, 2012
By Jason Kornwitz, News@Northeastern
Sport in Society welcomed expert panelists to the Northeastern campus to explore the relationship between sports, race and the media. Panelists included Ron Thomas, director of Morehouse College’s Journalism and Sports Program, Charles Fountain, an associate professor of journalism at Northeastern; Justine Siegal, director of sports partnerships for Sport in Society; Boston Globe columnists Derrick Jackson and Adrian Walker; and Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson.
February 20, 2012
“People are moved by identity,” explained Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of Sport in Society. “There really hasn’t been a Chinese American player that impacted the league like this until now. And the best thing about this is that he’s been amazing on the court and humble off the court…I think if people thought a little more inclusively and a little less divisively, they’d embrace the story the way it is.”
February 18, 2012
By Carrie Muskat, MLB.com
Theo Epstein said on Saturday that the club has invited people from Sport in Society of Northeastern University to conduct seminars this spring for the players, in hopes of helping them make the right decisions off the field. Sport in Society covers such topics as leadership, diversity and inclusion, violence prevention and community service.
February 18, 2012
By Doug Padilla, ESPN
In conjunction to the written words in “Cub Way,” Theo Epstein said experts from the Center of Sport in Society out of Northeastern University will work with the players this spring. “Sometimes we take for granted that these young kids, because they are great at what they do on the field that they are good at handling the tough circumstances they find off the field,” Epstein said. “I think it’s our responsibility as an organization to give them tools to use.”
January 20, 2012
By Julie M. Donnelly, Boston Business Journal
Eight former Patriot players were chosen to see where they were now after leaving the NFL. The focus was on Matt Chatham who decided to pursue an MBA at Babson college and started a Crepe company after graduating with a business degree. “What lasts much longer is the athlete’s personal brand, which is a powerful tool to launch a business” said Frank Cutilla.
January 13, 2012
By Paul E. Kostyu, Cincinnati.com
The money spent on college sports in the United States is unlike anything else in the world, said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society. Other countries use a club sport system.
January 12, 2012
By Kathryn Uggerholt, The Huntington News
“Women’s ice hockey has seen a tremendous growth in our country,” Justine Seigal, director of sports partnerships at Sport in Society said in a phone interview Tuesday. “The more women’s sports are given the same coverage as men’s sports, you’ll see fans come. It’s about awareness and letting people know these are athletes that can play,” Seigal said
December 30, 2011
By Nancy Armour, Washington Post
“I think there is a disillusionment there, but I think it’s reality. We haven’t seen behind the curtain before,” said Jarrod Chin, the director for training and curriculum at the Center for Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “We’ve used sport as a way to ignore problems. But now what we’re seeing is they exist there, too. That’s what makes it the worst year in sports. What people are coming to realize is the thing we thought was such a great escape has a lot of the same issues we’re trying to escape from.” “In our society we create these myths around athletes and athletics,” said Sport in Society’s Chin. “But they’re myths, and that’s the whole issue.”
December 27, 2011
By Mark Ambrogi, Indianapolis Star
“We here at Sport in Society find it interesting that somehow and for some reasons, when it comes to (high school) sports, it’s become acceptable,” said Jarrod Chin, director of training and curriculum for Sport in Society. “We pose the question, if it’s not acceptable in the classroom but everyone agrees high school and youth sports are about education, then why is it OK for coaches to use profanity?
December 17, 2011
By Lauren Carter, Attleboro Sun Chronicle
“I don’t think he’s been defamatory, visceral or aggressive in telling other people what they have to believe,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. “Why can’t we enjoy the fact that he’s trying hard and doing well? There should be some kind of nice message in believing in yourself, having a solid work ethic and pushing for a positive outcome.”
December 15, 2011
By Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor
“This creates a national rivalry in a city that hasn’t had one – like the Mets/Yankees, Nets/Knicks,” Dan Lebowitz said. “It presents an intra-city rivalry that will be good for the fan base on both sides of the equation and will likely make the Lakers better from serious competition as well.”
December 15, 2011
By Mitch Sherman, ESPN
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society, describes the mix of modern culture with the professionalization of sports at even its lowest levels as “the ultimate prescription for failure.” “We live in a world where the extraordinary is considered normal,” Lebowitz said, “and if you’re not exceptional, we can find somebody else who is.”
December 14, 2011
By Media Forward TV
Dan Lebowitz, Director Sport in Society, a Northeastern University Center talks a about gender equality and two recent inductees into Sport in Society, Harvard Women’s Basketball Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith and Writer / Broadcaster Jackie McMullen
December 13, 2011
By Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor
“This is consistent with the new, low-tolerance policy of the NFL alongside the growing research showing the long-term effects of concussions,” says Dave Czesniuk, director of operations for Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston. Czesniuk suggests that the suspension might have an effect. “This has gotten a lot of attention and because I don’t think [Harrison’s] intent was malicious or distasteful, the suspension will likely cause other players to tiptoe a little bit more around making similar-type hits,” he says.
December 13, 2011
By Kim Carrigan, Fox 25 News
“The idea is to bring a spotlight on bullying and to create an environment where kids can be educated and empowered in what they can do, what their position is, how they can interrupt as bystanders. We use a leadership platform to teach kids about how to be proactive in taking a stance against bullying.”
December 12, 2011
By Lauren Keiper, Reuters
“[Child sexual abuse] a larger social issue, and sport is one avenue where sexual predators find ways to assault young people,” Chin said. Chin said that publicity from the abuse probes of coaches at major universities may be spurring victims to speak up. “I think a lot of people are feeling like they can say something, tell their story, that they are not alone,” he said, adding that the Sport in Society program works to educate coaches, parents and teammates to recognize the signs of possible sexual abuse and to address it.
December 8, 2011
By Andrew Astleford, Fox Sports Midwest
“If you look at the history of sport . . . every era comes to an end. When eras come to an end, new stars arise. . . . It’s going to be painful for the city, but I think a new era will rise,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society.
December 7, 2011
By Dave Wedge, Boston Herald
David Czesniuk of Sport in Society said Kraft is too savvy to simply roll the dice: “I’d be surprised if Bob Kraft hadn’t done all his due diligence. He’s not just a leader of the local team but also of the league. I’m sure the NFL will also do its due diligence and make sure everything is appropriate.”
December 7, 2011
By Bill Kirk, Merrimack Valley Eagle Tribune
Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society, said the problem in the case of Andover, as in many cases of adolescent hazing, is that boys’ frontal lobes aren’t fully developed until they turn 25. “They are still in the developmental stage,” he said. “They need education and training and structure that empowers them to make positive decisions.” He said one program being promoted by Northeastern focuses on bystanders. “They need to be able to say, ‘I’m going to intercede in a way that’s going to stop the event,'” he said. “But people aren’t educated enough to make good decisions.”
December 2, 2011
By Gene Lavanchy, Fox 25 News
The fallout from the alleged hazing incident involving the Andover High School boys’ basketball team is far from over. There have been hints of criminal charges could be on the way. But this can – and does – happen anywhere. Dave Czesniuk, Senior Associate Director at Northeastern’s Sport in Society, spoke with Gene Lavanchy of Fox 25 Morning News.
Say it ain’t so, Joe: US sector’s pact with the drop-kick devil
November 24, 2011
By Jon Marcus, Times Higher Education
Does the Penn State scandal show sport’s stranglehold on American academy? Says Dan Lebowitz, director of Sport in Society, “the money from athletics is astronomical. Sometimes that tends to trump ethics.” Lebowitz goes on to stress, “It’s not unique to sport. It’s not unique to universities. It’s the big-business mentality. This happens in the financial sector, the political sector, and an awful lot of other places.”
With players’ lawsuits filed, hope barely flickers for an NBA season
November 18, 2011
By Daniel B. Wood, Minnesota Post
Hopes that at least part of the season could be salvaged are dimming by the day, especially now that the NBA players have disbanded their union and filed two antitrust lawsuits against the league. “The NBA has shut down before and baseball has had its strike seasons, and it took awhile but the fans did forgive,” says Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society. Read More…
Penn State scandal prompts anger, reflection
November 13, 2011
By Peter Schworm, Boston Globe
The sexual abuse scandal at Penn State, perhaps the most shameful in the history of college sports, has brought a national outcry, led to the firing of the university’s president and legendary head coach Joe Paterno, and plunged a football-crazed campus into turmoil. It has also sent a shockwave through higher education, renewing the long-running debate over the outsized influence of big-time college athletics, the entitled status sports enjoy on campuses hungry for prestige and payouts, and the hard trade-offs involved in building competitive teams. Read More…
Penn State fundraising may feel sting of scandal
November 11, 2011
By Ros Krasney, Reuters
The future of fundraising at Penn State is coming into question. The university assures donors that no money goes toward legal fees, while a hockey benefactor says he stands by Penn State. Still, “from now, when you mention Penn State, the first thing people will think about is the scandal. The legacy can not help but be tainted,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society. Read More…
Penn State mess casts spotlight on all colleges
November 11, 2011
By John Zaremba, Boston Herald
Penn State’s alleged pedophilia cover-up could prove to be a powder keg that explodes into a nationwide scandal of Catholic clergy-abuse proportions, rocking colleges and other cloistered institutions where child molestation may have gone unreported for years, experts said yesterday. Dan Lebowitz, who leads Northeastern University’s Sport in Society center, said Penn State’s gold-standard athletic department has now set an example of a different sort — how not to handle shocking criminal accusations against its own staff. “It sort of equated child sexual abuse with an NCAA infraction. It is not. It’s just an egregious lack of judgment,” Lebowitz said. “When we come to a point in our world where we’re equating child sexual abuse with an NCAA infraction, we’ve lost our way. Read More…
How rage over Jerry Sanduskysex-abuse scandal engulfed joe Paterno
November 8, 2011
By Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor
The future of a legendary coach, a storied football program, and the course of a university appear to be at stake as the fallout from the sexual-abuse allegations leveled at a former Penn State football coach grows. Read More...
More Families are Choosing To Pay For Club Sports
October 17, 2011
By Kate Merrill, WBZ TV
Kids’ sports can be expensive. And when it comes to money sports clubs are in a league of their own. At an FC Stars practice session in Lancaster dozens of soccer players stream onto the fields eager to see their teammates and get to work. This one club alone has 52 teams and as many as 700 players ranging in age from 7 to 18. Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, worries the playing field is becoming too unlevel. “In a society that already has an enormity of disparities based around wealth it creates s a disparate landscape that is particularly unfair to kids.” Lebowitz goes on to say, “There will be a number of other great athletes that deserve to be involved that can’t afford to pay.” Read More…
Pitching in a pressure cooker
October 4, 2011
By Greg St. Martin, news@Northeastern
The joys of professional sports often go hand in hand with the enormous pressure for teams and athletes to succeed — and appease their passionate fan bases. News@Northeastern asked Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of Sport in Society, to talk about why the pressure on professional athletes gets so intense, whether it’s happening more frequently in youth sports as well, and what can and should be done to maintain balance. Read More..
Gloucester sells stadium’s name
October 1, 2011
By Akilah Johnson, Boston Globe
Thanks to funding from New Balance, Gloucester High School (MA) will perform much-needed repairs and updates to its athletic facilities and rename it the The New Balance Track and Field at Newell Stadium. Gloucester extended the offer to any entity willing to pay at least $500,000 and keep Newell Stadium in the new name. New Balance was the only corporation to take up the city’s offer, agreeing to pay $50,000 annually for 10 years. Read More…
What’s Holding You Back? 9 Ways to Spark a Breakthrough
By Lindsy Van Gelde, O! Magazine
Naysayers come with the territory. Baseball lover Justine Siegal endured a lifetime of put-downs. As a 13-year-old, she was told that her coach didn’t want her on his all-boy team. At 16 she heard that no man would listen to a woman on a field. “I’m shy but determined,” says Siegal, who in 2008 spoke at the Society for American Baseball Research conference. “I stood in front of hundreds of people, mostly men, and asked them what major league baseball was planning to do beyond selling pink jerseys to get girls involved.” Read More…
Northeastern’s Center for Sport in Society Quietly Plays a Prominent Role in the Sports World
September 20, 2011
By Ryan Durling, BostInnovation
Sports leadership, civic engagement and gender equity paint a pretty abstract picture of the purpose and role of the rapidly-growing non-profit. What was established by Richard Lapchick in 1984 as a degree completion program for professional athletes still serves to educate athletes, but in many different ways. Read More…
Baseball for All: Justine Siegal’s Mission
September 19, 2011
By Leigh Henderson, Working to Be A Leader Blog
Leigh Henderson speaks with Sport in Society Director of Sports Partnerships, Justine Siegal, about baseball, Title IX, the inspiration behind Baseball for All, and Justine’s long term vision. Justine explains, “Title IX was a huge significance in my life. I think just my opportunity to play sports in school is proof that Title IX works. It’s funny because I played soccer with the boys until my sophomore year in high school. There just wasn’t girls’ soccer. Now soccer is what all the girls are doing. It’s awesome! It’s that kind of generational growth that I dream of seeing for girls’ baseball. Based on soccer’s growth pattern, it’s realistic to say, that with work done now, the next generation of daughters could play in an all girls baseball league.” Read More…
Sports helps Muslim athletes cope with fallout from 9/11
September 11, 2011
By Paul Newberry, MassLive
Led by pioneers such as Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muslims athletes have helped introduce their faith to mainstream America. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, sports again helped break down some of the barriers and that surfaced in the wake of the deadly hijackings. Read More…
The 9/11 legacy of a Little League girl
September 10, 2011
By Marty Dobrow, ESPN
ESPN’s Marty Dobrow explores the connection between Christina-Taylor Green’s dreams and the rise of girls in baseball. Read about SIS Director of Sports Partnerships Justine Siegal’s Sparks, an all-girls baseball team, as they pursue a dream in the Cooperstown Dreams Park tournament. “Baseball is my platform for civil rights,” says Justine. Read More…
Paying People to ID sports fans: a winning idea
August 24, 2011
By Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor
A California lawmaker wants to set up a fund to pay people who help identify violent sports fans. His legislation comes after brutal attacks this year at Dodger Stadium and Candlestick Park. “This legislation is just what is needed,” agrees Jarrod Chin, Director of Training and Curriculum at Sport in Society. Read More…
August 15, 2011
By Jason Kornwitz
Real Madrid has signed a 7- year- old soccer player from Argentina, who will begin training with the Spanish club’s youth squad in September. We asked Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society, a Northeastern University research center, to explain how parents, coaches and professional organizations can best safeguard the social and psychological development of a sports prodigy.
NFA stars offered help to graduate
July 3, 2011
By Justin Rodriguez, Times Herald-Record
In Newburgh, NY, a group of high school athletes failed to graduate after reportedly being permitted to skip 1,187 classes. Dave Czesniuk, Senior Associate Director at Sport in Society, comments on the school district’s responsibility to the students and how they must change the system that encourages such behavior. “The Newburgh School District should do anything possible to make it up to those kids,” said Czesniuk. “That is their responsibility. I hope it just isn’t reactive in nature, just to cover their butts, to answer the public outcry. You see that a lot in sports. Newburgh still has to revamp the experience and change the culture in the basketball program.” Read More…
Sox cover bases with Spanish social media
June 22, 2011
By Carla Gualdrom, Boston Herald
With 11 Spanish-speaking players, the Red Sox hope to hit a home run by expanding their use of bilingual social media, launching a new Spanish-language Web page, a Spanish Twitter account and a Facebook page called “Los Red Sox.” Read More…
Four BCS comissioners made $1M
June 20, 2011
Associated Press, ESPN
Four of college football’s six powerhouse conferences paid their top executives $1 million or more, an Associated Press analysis of tax records shows, far eclipsing the compensation of most university presidents. Dave Czesniuk, senior associate director at Sport in Society, argued that the figures reflect the over-commercialization of college sports. Read More…
LeBron James in sportlight off-court, too. Is he selling caffeine to kids?
June 7, 2011
By Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor
Off the court, LeBron James is being challenged by pediatricians over his caffeine-heavy energy product, Sheets Energy Strips. “I would fault him for not understanding the platform on which he stands,” says Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston. “And I call on him to be as responsible as he has been in other areas – in which he has been quite well behaved. Read More…
Stanley Cup Finals: The hit heard ’round the Hub
June 7, 2011
By Steve Annear, Boston Metro
When Bruins forward Nathan Horton took a hit Monday night, the fans felt it. “When something bad happens to an athlete that has a positive image for a large number of people, those people are going to feel wounded,” said Dave Czesniuk, Senior Associate Director at Sport in Society. Read More…
She’s not the retiring type
June 6, 2011
By Adrian Walker, Boston Globe
Feature story on Doris Bunte, the first black female State Representative in Massachusetts, public housing advocate, and former Director of Government Relations for Sport in Society. “She didn’t just embrace the mission and collect a paycheck,” said Sport in Society Executive Director Dan Lebowitz. “She brought people together… I’ve got great love for her.” Read More…
Here, a hangout for trash talking
June 3, 2011
By Billy Baker, Boston Globe
At Barstool Sports, cheap shots flow along with sexism; Meghan Mahoney, Director of Programs at the Northeastern University Sport and Society Center, comments on the rise of the self-proclaimed sports/smut website and the dangerous sexism inherent in its messages. Read More…
Ohio State football scandal: Is coach or ‘hypocritical’ NCAA to blame?
May 31, 2011
By Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor
Ohio State announced Monday that Coach Jim Tressel has resigned as the NCAA investigates the Buckeyes for possible rules violations. “This is another case of the shark-like, business side of collegiate sports coming to outweigh the value and educational welfare that should be paramount in a university setting,” says Sport in Society Senior Associate Director Dave Czesniuk. “It’s evidence of how much deference the football program is given by the university president. It’s ridiculous,” says Mr. Czeniuk. Read More…
After The Tornado: The Lone Competitor Left At Joplin High
May 29, 2011
By Tom Bergeron, Yahoo Sports
After a tornado wreaked havoc on Joplin, MO, high school junior pole vaulter Mariah Sanders had to decide whether or not to compete in the state meet. Sport in Society Executive Director Dan Lebowitz says Sanders’ trip to the state meet is part of the healing process for more than just her. Read More…
Use gay slurs controversy to tackle homophobia in sports
May 27, 2011
By Lateef Mungin, CNN
Gay slurs hurled by three different athletes in the last month is more than just testosterone-fueled temper tantrums. The behavior is symptomatic of a deeper problem and should be used as an opportunity to tackle homophobia in professional sports. Read More…
Amid more doping allegations and probes, Lance Armstrong battles back
May 24, 2011
By Ron Scherer, Christian Science Monitor
When he was in the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong was known for his incredible ability to get his bicycle up steep hills before most other riders. Now, Armstrong faces an onslaught of allegations by some past colleagues that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the grueling race. A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has been investigating to see if any fraud was committed. Read More…
DNA testing for sports genes
May 23, 2011
By Fox 25 News
At least two companies have begun selling tests that claim to help match children with the sports they are genetically programmed to excel at. “What we’ve done is we’ve taken something that’s humane, the enjoyment and healthy development of youth sports and we somehow attach a professionalized framework to it, which opens us up to ethics and [overbearing parents]. There’s probably a million athletes out there who are playing a sport that they didn’t start out in, or that they didn’t think they were great in, so everything in life is an experiment, in success and failure.” Read More…
A discussion that cannot be muted
May 20, 2011
By Jason Kornowitz, news@Northeastern
Phoenix Suns President Rick Welts told The New York Times that he is gay, becoming the first man in a prominent position in men’s professional sports to go public with his homosexuality. Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director at Sport in Sociey, commented on the state of gay athletes in professional sports. Read More…
Violating the spirit of Title IX
May 10, 2011
By Jason Kornowitz, news@Northeastern
Pressured to comply with Title IX, many collegiate athletic programs have resorted to deception by padding women’s rosters with under-qualified athletes, no-show athletes and male practice players counted as women, according to an in-depth investigation by the New York Times. Dave Czesniuk, Senior Associate Director of Sport in Society, weighed in on the impact of technically legal roster management practices on fans, athletes and athletic programs. Read More…
Sports have become too much
May 5, 2011
By Jennifer Gish, Albany Times Union
Sports are supposed to offer life lessons: teamwork, handling defeat, working hard toward a goal, performing under pressure. They give kids a place to belong, a rung on the social ladder of high school. But there’s a new perception in high school athletics that kids have to participate on travel teams to make their school squads. Couple this with other bad plays in youth sports — irate parents on the sidelines, kids with personal trainers — and it seems we’ve forgotten why high schools decided to offer baseball and basketball alongside algebra and art class in the first place. Dan Lebowitz spoke with the Albany Times Union on the state of youth sports. Read More…
Traveling an uncertain path
May 5, 2011
By Pete Iorizzo, Albany Times Union
Travel teams at the high school level are professionalizing youth sports and placing undue pressure on performance and specialization, rather emphasizing love of the game and the values it can provide. “We’ve lost the beauty of what amateurism is, and there is a beauty to amateurism, a playfulness,” said Sport in Society Executive Director, Dan Lebowitz. Read More…
High school football scouting combines make more dollars than sense in wake of Lamont Baldwin injury
April 15, 2011
By Preston Williams, Washington Post
After a high school student athlete spent almost a week in the hospital as a result of an injury suffered at a football combine, Sport in Society Executive Director, Dan Lebowitz, spoke with the Washington Post on the significance of football combines at the high school level. “We’ve sort of squeezed the dynamic of fun with youth sports and replaced it with a corporate structure of development, down to nearly the fifth-grade level…Once you do that, you create a cultural mind-set that you have to do this not only to compete, but to be considered a competitor…People start confusing what it’s going to take to get to where they want to go, or confusing the right vehicle to get there, and they sort of get herded into these arenas — combines or AAU programs that are detrimental to their developmental growth.” Read More…
Kobe Bryant Slur
April 14, 2011
By Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor
Jarrod Chin, Director of Training at Sport in Society, spoke with the Christian Science Monitor about the NBA’s Kobe Bryant hurling a homophobic slur at a referee. Chin said, “it is language that a lot of men use in our society without knowing what it really means and how ignorant and hurtful it is.” He went on to explain that “when you use that word … you are calling out that person to prove that they are really a man, and to do that, they have to assert it through physical violence.” Read More…
Sports costs give affluent high schools a big edge
March 16, 2011
By Patrick Dorsey, Indianapolis Star
Participation in sports today is often associated with significant costs; costs which can limit opportunities for youth depending on their families’ financial status. Sport in Society Senior Associate Director, Dave Czesniuk, spoke with the Indianapolis Star on the subject, explaining that “it’s prohibitive all around…a very pyramid-like structure. As you (move up) from the every level to middle school to high school to college, the opportunities become less and less.” Read More…
Miguel Cabrera’s Issues are bad PR for Tigers
March 11, 2011
By Lynn Henning
Sport in Society’s Dave Czesniuk highlights the important role teams must play in supporting the development of their players off the field, and the influence that a team’s development of socially responsible players has on its bottom line. Read More…
Fans on Fire: A Consuming Passion
February 4, 2011
By Time Weisberg
Dan Lebowitz spoke to South Coast Today about sports fanatics and the unifying power of sports. “There’s a beauty just in fanhood alone,” he says. “Even if you’re a fan of a different team, you’re still a fellow fan. It keeps the social continuum moving forward.” Read More…
February 1, 2011
With Callie Crossley, WGBH
With football fans across the country gearing up for the Superbowl this Sunday, Dan Lebowitz joined Chris Nowinski and Dr. Ann McKee on WGBH’s The Callie Crossley Show to take a look at the toll that football concussions can take on players from high school to the NFL. Read More…
ESPN Announcer’s Behavior Is Indicative of Larger Societal Issues
January 4, 2011
By Paul Farhi, Washington Post
Sport in Society’s Executive Director, Dan Lebowitz, spoke with Paul Farhi of the Washington Post about an event that transpired over the weekend between ESPN’s Ron Franklin and Jeannine Edwards. Read More…
Rivalry Shouldn’t Bring Out The Worst in Fans
November 23, 2010
By Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Deseret News
Sport in Society’s Jarrod Chin spoke with Sara Israelsen-Hartley about the levels of rivalry in sports – and what happens when fans take rivalry to extremes. Read More…
NFL Partners with Sport In Society On Workplace-Conduct Training Program
November 17, 2010 By NFL Staff
The NFL has joined with Northeastern University’s Sport in Society Center to develop a workplace-conduct program for the league and its 32 clubs. The program will be created by the end of this year and implemented individually by all NFL clubs with each team’s staff adapting the curriculum to be most effective for that team.
“Sport in Society applauds the NFL for its commitment to values-based leadership and its understanding of the important role sport has to play in society,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director for Sport in Society, which provides professional development and consulting for organizations that use sport as a tool to promote social responsibility. Read More…
Hazing Hits Close To Home
November 9, 2010
Sport in Society’s Executive Director, Dan Lebowitz, appeared on WGBH on “Greater Boston” with Emily Rooney to open dialogue about the issue of hazing. With the recent suspension of five women and a coach from the Needham High School soccer team, in response to an incident of hazing, it is more pertinent than ever to challenge thinking and inspire leadership around this issue. Lebowitz explains: “When you talk about team-building, you want it to be positive, instructive, and inclusive. You don’t want it be negative, or destructive, or exclusive. You have to establish a code of conduct and rightful rules of engagement.” Read More…
Fan favorite Seau goes over the edge
October 18, 2010
By Michael Naughton
Former Patriots linebacker Junior Seau had a Hall of Fame football career and was a fan favorite in the multiple cities in which he played. So when news of his domestic violence arrest and his driving his car over a California cliff surfaced yesterday, it left some questioning what led the likeable, respected and popular athlete to allegedly commit those acts. Read More…
College Football, Minnesota Vikings, and “Real Men Do Cry”
September 8, 2010
By Paul Guggenheimer, Dakota Midday Public Broadcast
On September 11th the University of South Dakota will play Minnesota, and on September 25th South Dakota State University is scheduled to play Nebraska. USD and SDSU are subdivision teams about to face-off against powerhouse, Division-1 teams. The question is why would subdivision teams want to compete in “mismatched” games? On September 8th Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society, gave his analyses to Paul Guggenheimer on the Dakota Midday Public Broadcast. Read More…
Sporting a Conscience
July 29, 2010 By Tom Matlack
You wouldn’t necessarily expect a former boxer from the projects, who overcame a leg with limited mobility, to be the country’s foremost expert on sports and manhood—but he is. Meet Dan Lebowitz, who runs Northeastern University’s Sport in Society Program. His organization provides curriculum and trainings to NFL, NBA and NCAA teams particularly around the issues of manhood and men’s violence against women and his organization has been invited to the White House three times to participate in roundtables related to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Get Moving” platform. Dan is very close to John Carlos and Tommie Smith and has honored Muhammed Ali and Bill Russell at his annual gala. Read More…
Quinnipiac Case Proves More To Do For Female Athletes
July 27, 2010
By NECN Morning
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that cheerleading is not a sport that would keep Quinnipiac University in compliance with Title IX, the 1972 federal law mandating equal educational and athletic opportunities for men and women. Dave Czesniuk of Sport in Society at Northeastern University Center said on NECN Morning cheerleading has come a long way in recent years, but that was not enough in the court’s eyes. Read More…
Bigger, Stronger, Faster: Doping, Training, and Human Evolution, and How Sports Change as Players Get Huge
May 20, 2010
By Kate Dailey, The Daily Beast
Floyd Landis’s admission that he did indeed take performance-enhancing drugs is one of the least shocking sports headlines in recent memory. In fact, the idea that doping scandals are still making news might be more surprising: illegal drug use exists in all major sports. It’s a vicious cycle: players get bigger as the sport evolves, others feel the need to take performance-enhancing drugs to compete, and they get even bigger as a result. Read More…
A Basketball Program Rises by Dipping Lower
May 7, 2010
By Daniel Libit, New York Times
On a recent evening at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Mac Irvin gazed out the glass window of the basketball coach’s lounge to the practice court below. While Irvin and others have succeeded at what they set out to do, some raise questions about the impact on the young players who are funneled into the basketball system. Read More…
Q&A with Dan Lebowitz: Harnessing the Power of Sport
April 10, 2009
By Susan Salk
In October, Dan Lebowitz became the third executive director of Sport in Society in the 25-year history of the social justice organization. Following in the footsteps of founding director Richard Lapchick and his successor Peter Roby, now the director of athletics, is an exciting opportunity, he said. As the center readies to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Lebowitz comments on the past and future of the center, and how sport continues to play a positive role for people of all backgrounds. Read More…
Sport Teach Lessons
March 8, 2010
By Taft Coghill, Jr., Fredericksburg News
High school and middle school athletics are under intense scrutiny. School systems are getting less money as the nation copes with the recession. Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society program, said that’s a mistake. He said high school athletics are “utterly essential” to society. Read More…
IMG starting high school national championships
January 25, 2010
By Steve Wieberg, USA Today
High school sports’ creep onto the national stage could become a charge. Sports, entertainment and marketing giant IMG will announce today that it is stepping into the arena, joining a Pennsylvania-based high school coaches’ association in launching a series of national championship events — most involving state all-star teams — at its Brandenton Fla., training academy. Read More…
January 2, 2010
By Harvey Araton, New York Times
Expanding business here, there and everywhere is the American way. But Peter Roby, the athletic director at Northeastern and a former director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society, said that big-time college sports was in for a government-induced smackdown. Read More…
Aftermath of wild drive has Tiger Woods’ image in hazard
December 10, 2009
By Hal Habib, Palm Beach Post
For years, Tiger Woods was the world’s best-known athlete, even though his crafted image allowed the public to see virtually none of his private life. Read More…
Manny Pacquiao is hope for battered Filipino community
November 12, 2009
By Zachary R. Dowdy and Robert Cassidy
After typhoons ravaged their homeland, Filipinos look to boxer Manny Pacquiao to lift their spirits. Pacquiao captured Filipinos’ imagination and became one with national identity, said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. Read More…
Girls Soccer Violence: How can it be stopped?
November 12, 2009
By Tom Bergeron, Rivals High
In a story about Girls in a Rhode Island high school soccer game that were involved in an all-out brawl. The story surfaced after a video of a New Mexico women’s soccer player became an Internet sensation for its stunning examples of poor sportsmanship, if not on-field violence. Some see these incidents as just another example of a sports world out of control. Dan Lebowitz, the executive director for the center of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston, sees it as a potential learning lesson. Read More…
Coaches’ accountability questioned after Crossland fight
November 11, 2009
By Seth Elkin, Gazette.net
The rare, wholesale firing of seven Crossland High School football coaches after players were involved in a scuffle has raised a debate in Prince George’s County about the behavior of student athletes and the accountability of coaches in controlling athletes’ behavior on and off the field. Read More…
Teaching Kids to Respond to Violent Crime
October 20, 2009
By Johannah Cornblatt, Newsweek
In a story about the rape of a young girl and the dozens of witnesses that stood by and did nothing the MVP program is cited as a solution to passivity among young people. The MVP (Mentors in Violence Prevention) program, which was developed in 1993 at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sports in Society, tries to teach students how to stop violence when they see it. The MVP program involves a two-day training period for teachers, coaches, and administrators, who then return to their schools equipped to train their students. “Most people think they only have two choices for intervention,” says Jackson Katz, a cofounder of the program and an architect of the bystander approach. “One is to intervene physically right at the point of attack, and the other is to do nothing. And that’s a false set of choices.” As part of the MVP program, students sit in a classroom and talk about the menu of options—from getting a group of friends together to calling 911—available to them. At the heart of the program is a set of scenarios that allow students to imagine what they might do in a variety of situations. Each scenario comes with a list of viable interventions for bystanders.
Crew: Nordecke a boon and a bane, but here to stay
October 29, 2009
By Shawn Mitchell, The Columbus Dispatch
In a story about growing pains in fandom of the MLS team the Crew Sport in Society Director Dan Lebowitz comments. “(The Crew) is in a quandary,” said Dan Lebowitz, Northeastern University Sport in Society program director.”People want fanaticism, but that doesn’t come without baggage.” Read More…
October 23, 2009
By South Coast Today
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month — a time to “Be a Real Man.” That was the message of an Oct. 7 program at UMass Dartmouth, sponsored by the Greater New Bedford Domestic Violence and Youth Empowerment Committees in partnership with the UMass Dartmouth Women’s Resource Center and Sport in Society, Northeastern University Center.
October 22, 2009
By Fox Sports
Rush Limbaugh getting axed from a group trying to buy an NFL team was bigger than Rush Limbaugh. The conservative radio provocateur said it himself.
October 16, 2009
By ESPN.com News Services
Conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh lashed out at NFL union leader DeMaurice Smith, activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the media a day after being dropped from a group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams. “This reflects where we’re moving in an ethical nature,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport and Society at Northeastern University.
October 14, 2009
By Jessica Camerato, WEEI
The Celtics will visit Boston public middle schools throughout the season to motivate students and emphasize the importance of staying in school. Top students will be honored for academic success and perfect attendance at the end of each year. The Stay in School program, presented by Arbella Insurance, is a collaboration of efforts from the Celtics, New England Sports Museum, Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society, and Boston Public Schools.
September 15, 2009
By Scott Eyman, Palm Beach Post
Dave Czesniuk, of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston, isn’t quite as stunned, and points to the context of the sport. “The extreme reaction comes from one, tennis is an individual sport, and two, the perceived demure nature of women’s tennis.”