Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist Review

One of the beauties of the internet is that it opens the door to opportunities that do not exist in our immediate communities. This includes the possibility of new romantic partners that we would have otherwise not met. The problem is that is impossible to sometimes tell what is fact and what is fiction.

Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist is the first season of a new Netflix series of sports documentaries that delve into high-profile scandals. This two-part documentary is the story of Manti Te’o and the girl he thought he was dating. About ten years ago, Te’o was a star player at Notre Dame and thought he had it all.

He almost had it all. The piece that was missing was the lie about his girlfriend. He didn’t know it at the time, but Te’o was being catfished. When the news hit the press, it nearly broke him emotionally and threatened his career with the NFL.

Wow. I was blown away. I felt so bad for Te’o. He is clearly a good guy who wanted to be loved and deserves love. I also felt bad for the person on the other end of the profile. They were lonely and needed someone to talk to. Unfortunately, that need morphed into Frankenstein’s monster and created a much larger problem.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist is available for streaming on Netflix.

Flashback Friday: The Blind Side (2009)

Education, as we all know, unlocks the key to our future. When we don’t have access to that education, that lack of access has the possibility of lifelong consequences.

The 2009 film, The Blind Side, is based on the true story of former NFL player Michael Oher. The narrative comes from the book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, by Michael Lewis. In his teenage years, Oher (Quinton Aaron) was a young man who had almost nothing. Coming from a large African-American family that was dealing with poverty, homelessness, and addiction. Taken in by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her family, he is being given the opportunity that many of his peers will never receive.

When he shows a spark of interest and the ability to play football, this opens the door to a life path that he never expected.

Without knowing anything about the real people behind the story, it is a tale of seeing potential in a young person who does not believe that they have any. Bullock won an Oscar for the role and deserved it. Her role is that of a mama bear who loves and protects her young ones with a ferocity that never wavers.

There are two perspectives on the movie. The first is that it is at heart, a white savior narrative. From a certain point of view, it is extremely problematic. The other is that it humanizes the white evangelical Christian Republicans. These days, it’s easy to demonize this crowd. This story shows that they are just like the rest of us, even when we disagree on a litany of topics.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Super Bowl Halftime Show Was Amazing, But it Cannot Hide the NFL’s Racism Problem

Like many people, I watched last week’s Super Bowl for the Halftime Show. I’m not a fan of either team and to be perfectly frank, I don’t understand football.

From a personal perspective, I loved it. The artists who performed are ones that I grew up with. It was a lovely throwback to what I remember to be a simpler time. My only complaint is that Mary J. Blige was the only female headliner. But other than that, I was thoroughly entertained.

Charlie Kirk, however, was not entertained. He referred to the show “sexual anarchy”. He has yet to see his 30th birthday. I would have anticipated this kind of opinion coming from someone much older, not from a guy who only graduated from college a few years ago. But I expect nothing less from people who think like him.

As excellent as the performance was, it cannot hide the accusation of racism that exists within the NFL. The lawsuit against the league by Brian Flores, claiming sham interviews for several coaching positions based on skin color, speaks volumes. When most if not all of the workforce are people of color and upper management, are either close to or 100% Caucasian, that speaks volumes.

Games like the Super Bowl are supposed to bring us together. It is one of the few uniting forces in our otherwise divided nation. I just wish that the cracks were not revealed along the way.

Thoughts On The NFL Knee Ban During The National Anthem

One of the core freedoms of our American democracy is freedom of speech.  The basic tenet of this freedom is that one is allowed to act or speak against the government without fear of reprisal or persecution. Unfortunately, freedom of speech has become twisted in a manner recently that does not reflect its true meaning.

Last week, the NFL made a decision in regards to their players kneeling during the National Anthem. In response to players such as Colin Kaepernick kneeling to protest injustice against communities of color, the ruling stated that personnel may sit or kneel during the Anthem, however, they must do so in the locker room. If they are on the field, they must stand. Any personnel who do not stand while on the field will be fined.

I’m not a football fan, but I am a fan of freedom of speech. This ban smacks of hypocrisy from my perspective. Those who took a knee or sat during the Anthem were only acting as any American does when they see injustice happening. They were publicly protesting, which is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. The hypocrisy comes into play when those who claim to love the Anthem and everything it stands for, uses it to spread their hateful rhetoric or encourage violence (i.e. the rally in Charlottesville last year).

This ruling is a perversion of American democracy.  My fervent hope and prayer is that this ruling is overturned. But until then, I will stand with the players who use their platform and celebrity for a good cause. Not just because it the right thing or the fair thing to do, but also because it represents everything that American can and should be.

Tough

With great power comes great responsibility.-Peter Parker, Spider-man

Fame is something that many aspire to gain. But fame also has its downsides.

It doesn’t matter if someone’s fame comes from the stage, the screen, or the sports arena, they are still famous. They still have millions of people who admire their work and their person.

No one is perfect, well have our faults, but when you are famous, everything is magnified.

The Ray Rice scandal has recently brought up questions about the personal lives of the NFL players off the field. If a player does something we think is morally wrong, is he to be punished a mere slap on the wrist or does he forfeit his career?

Hannah Storm, of Sports Center fame, tells an emotional story. Watching the media coverage with her daughters, Ms. Storm was forced to answer a series of tough questions asked her daughters about the scandal.

As a parent, how does one answer those questions? How does one explain to children of both sexes that Mr. Rice’s actions are wrong?  What does a parent say when a young girl sees an abused wife stay with her husband? How does that parent tell their son that hitting a woman is wrong and on the flip side, how does that parent tell their daughter that if she is in that situation one day, she should leave? How is it be explained to these children that NFL did not fire Mr. Rice right away?

It’s a tough question that I do not know how to answer.

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