Sports Voice of Harlem

It's amazing how you think the industry is so big and little things remind you about how small it really is and how important it is to network. I had been in dire need to speak to an another woman in sports about the challenges I had recently been facing being a double minority (black and a woman) in an industry that is predominately ran by middle-aged white men. I heard about Ms. Stephanie Stepp, the struggles she had in the television world, how she looked towards radio as an alternative, and how that move has catapulted her career a lot faster than television ever could. After speaking with her I felt it only right to share some of the things she shared with me to the blog world.

What inspires you?
I love what I do. Just love it! There's nothing in this world, but God that could make me quit. Not my color, gender or someone else's tactics.

What separates your radio show from that on say ESPN radio?
What makes my show different from other shows is me. Anywhere I go I bring what I have to the table. There's only one me. I try not to be anyone else.

What was your most memorable interview?
To date, my most memorable interview was former running back and current Cleveland Brown Hall of Famer, Jim Brown

What one thing would you say is the reason for your success?

I don't walk around thinking I'm black, I'm a woman, it's going to be hard for me.

What are some challenges you’ve personally had to face being an African American Female working in the sports industry?
The greatest challenge overall is not giving up when things aren't happening fast enough. When I'm broke and can't pay my rent on time. When my talents and abilities aren't always enough because in some cases I don't know "the right people" as some would think. It's 2008, whoever doesn't like seeing my face in the locker room, at press conferences or TV is not my problem. I have bigger fish to fry.

What advice would you give to young females trying to get into this industry?
My advice is to find a way to keep going when your tank seems empty. Surround yourself with positive people who want to see you succeed and believe in yourself.

What's next for you???

A TV show, I want to do TV and radio simultaneously... and I want to write a couple books about childhood experience as well as about working in this industry. I have a passion to write about mother/daughter relationships and living in NYC being from Baltimore, and I'm quite sure at one point in time about the sports industry itself. I'm currently working on a book tribute to family members and friends with drug addictions. It's tentatively titled "AA."

Her radio show
"What's going on?" airs on 90.3 FM every Sunday from 3pm-4:30pm. If your not in the NYC area you can listen online.


She also has a myspace page - www.myspace.com/whcr


Black Magic Documentary

I had the opportunity to see a screening last night of the "Black Magic" documentary and it was truly amazing. Being an alumni of an HBCU made it all the more special for me to get apart of the history of the soil where I spent 4 years of my life.

If you haven't heard about it, its a 4 hour documentary that ESPN will be airing March 16th and 17th in 2 parts. The documentary tackles the injustices during the civil rights movement while using an angled that I don't feel has ever been presented before, from the mouth of the basketball player.

Street ball legends that shaped the way kids play basketball today, coaches that took chances and played African Americans knowing they might lost their jobs, the late night secret matches that HBCU's held against all-white schools in order to prove that they were better than them, but secret because at that time it was forbidden that the teams play each other. It was an absolute privilege to have been able to see the film last night. We actually saw a shorter version, not the entire 4 hours so I will still be tuning in, in March.

The most rewarding part about the screening was that the man they called Black Magic (pictured here) was in attendance. Earl "The Pearl" Monroe as well as Cleo Hill both sat on a panel following the screening with the Producer of the documentary, Dan Klores, along with ESPN's Jemelle Hill, and NBA player Jalen Rose. One thing they discussed was an incident that happened in Orangeburg where some students were gunned down by police. One of the students was a basketball player. It showed just how corrupted the justice system was in relation to African Americans, and because of the documentary, the case if being re-opened and investigated. Maybe justice will finally be served in that case, even if it is some 40-50 years later.

One point that stuck out with me about the panel discussion was there comparison to the HBCU school now, and how it was when they were playing. They talked about how they feel its a bad idea for all the HBCU's to try to move up into Division I schools when they don't have the recruiting dollars or the school records and successes to get top high school players to attend their school over say a Duke, Georgetown, etc. That HBCU basketball has always been and will forever be about the fellowship. It took me back to my days at North Carolina A&T State University, where no matter how bad our team was, we still went to every game and showed our AGGIE PRIDE.

I'm getting off tangent but seeing the old clips they showed of the Greensboro 4 sit-in just made me so proud to have decided to go to an HBCU, and gave me a different aspect on the history of those schools. This is definitely a film that you are not going to want to miss. I suggest you all check it out when it airs.


Michael Vick vs. Marion Jones

I haven't spoke about the Marion Jones situation because I was extremely disappointed and embarrassed. I was that track & field girl growing up that looked up to her. To find out that her talent was tainted by a form of steroids...well nevermind... This post isn't about that... It's about the sentencing. She only got 6 months??? Yes, 6 months. For lying to investigators about performance-enhancing drugs and a check-fraud scam. Now I'm not saying she should have gotten a longer sentencing. I think that having to pay back all her earnings and losing her metals was a huge punishment in itself, but how the heck do you only get 6 months for something that effected the world, I mean this was the Olympics people, and Michael Vick received 23 months for dog fighting. I just cant fathom how that can be justified.


Published Article : Tommie Harris

My article published in the Winter 2007-2008 issue of GAME Sports Magazine

In a day where media overwhelms you with athletes getting indicted, arrested, charged with DUI’s, and presented with paternity suits, Tommie Harris is a breath of fresh air. Arguably the most explosive defensive lineman in the game, this monster of the midway will decimate you on the field, but has a big heart off the field.

The 6-3, 295 pounder who can bench-press 440 pounds, put his muscle to work during the off-season in 2005 when he spent 2 weeks in Gbanga (a small village in Liberia) helping build a school for an orphanage. Upon his return he started the Tommie Harris Foundation that is dedicated to raising money “for the purpose of inspiring hope, enriching kid’s lives, and building a better future for our children.”

So humble and bashful when asked questions about how important it is for him to give back to the community; he sits back in his chair and I could tell he doesn’t like talking about his charity efforts. He feels anyone who has been blessed with the things he has should do whatever they can and is not looking for recognition for doing so. Realizing I wasn’t going to get much from him in this regard his marketing agent Bill Horn speaks up for him. “Tommie is such a giving person and loves kids. He never turns down an autograph from a kid.” He continues on, telling a story about a 10 year old boy that was shot while riding his bicycle. Harris was in New York when the incident happened and called the boy to make sure he was alright. As soon as he returned to Chicago he went to see him, bought him a new bike, and a signed jersey.

Horn, who was also a representative for the late great Reggie White, often compares the two. Harris had the chance to meet him when he was in college before he died and White became sort of a mentor to him. ‘I believe Tommie is the same person that Reggie was both on and off the field”, Horn says, “And can do much greater things than Reggie did.”

In April he turned 24 and instead of having a star-studded, VIP only exclusive bash, he decided to team up with Prevent Child Abuse America and turned his birthday party into a fundraiser. The general public could buy tickets to the bash where they mingled with him and his celebrity friends, and the proceeds went to charity.

He’s extremely laidback about giving back, and is so fortunate for what he has, but when the 2 time probowler is asked what his goals are on the field he sits straight up and says, ''I want a Super Bowl ring, and I believe this team is capable of winning it this year.'' (His response before the season started.) Since, the Bears have been having a really hard time. The defense has succumb to some key injuries with Nathan Vasher (groin), Lance Briggs (hamstring), and even Harris whose hamstring skeptics felt wasn’t really 100% at the beginning of the season and then went on to sprain his knee in week 3’s game against Dallas. Offense has had its struggles as well with the quarterback switch from Rex Grossman to Brian Griese in week 4, and their running game not being as effective after losing Thomas Jones to the NY Jets.

Many people have given up on the Bears this season, and have even went as far to say that the team is no longer hungry and was happy just making it to the big game. Others feel they’ve just fallen in the traditional trap that the team that goes to the Super Bowl and loses, always has a terrible season the following year. Despite all of that, Harris still has a positive outlook on his team and still feels they have a chance to make it to the big game. “We just need to fix some things on strategy, offensive and defense-wise and we’ll be ready for the play-offs.”

Harris led the league with 5 sacks after only 4 games, but doesn’t dwell on what could have happened if he hadn’t severely injured his hamstring last December. Instead, he vows to show us this season by proclaiming himself the “Real Deal” and ensures that he is back at 100% and ready to start where he left off. So far this season he has proved just that. With the completion of week 7, Harris had 6 sacks leaving him only 2 shy of tying for the sack leader. He is definitely on the path to become “Defensive Player of the Year,” which has always been one of his goals. ''Someday, I'd like to get five sacks in one game,'' Harris said. ''That would be as good as it gets. The most I've ever gotten is three.''

A leader both on and off the field, I leave you with one of his favorite quotes, “Character is what’s displayed when no one else is watching.” Well Mr. Harris, if no one else is...GAME is definitely watching!


Will Demps on Essence.com

Will Demps is a Free Safety for the NY Giants. I recently read an article about him that made me look at him different but in a positive way. It's easy for us on the outside looking in to assume that all professional athletes do off the field is get their swerve on and sleep with hundreds of women, and party all the time. Its hard sometimes to look at them like regular people, and actually sit back and think that they have the same, if not worse times finding that one true love as well. Having a couple friends in professional leagues, I often asked them questions as well. It has to be extremely hard for them to get to that point where they would marry a girl, especially when they've met the female after they went pro. How do they really know her intentions and if she has an ulterior motive. They don't, that's why you see a lot of them just go with what they know and marry women they dated in college... and nothing at all is wrong with that. Either way... this post is getting longer than I expected... here is the article:

By Will Demps as told to Chee Gates
Credit: Lewis Payton Essence.com

I've gotten far in my career using my strength and athletic skill. When I'm in game mode, I'm focused-no distractions, no lapses of concentration. But when it comes to groupies, I am constantly reminded just how weak my flesh can be. Groupies are everywhere I go. They study the football schedule for whatever city I'm in that week and after a game, will stand shivering in the cold, waiting for me to walk by and take notice. Or they go to the club ahead of time, scheming to cop VIP access. They hang in packs like vultures at the venues thick with players, posed with breasts spilling out of their shirts.They try to look innocent, and if I happen to strike up a conversation with one, she might pretend she doesn't know that I play for the New York Giants, but I know better. In fact, most groupies have done their research beforehand, using Google to find out my salary and other personal details. They don't care to get to know me as a person or share my triumphs and pains. All they see are dollar signs and a free ride.When I first broke into the league in 2002, I entertained these kinds of women-I called them Breezies because they're so fine even the wind around them stops. It was hard not to. They were relentless in their pursuit: In exchange, they wanted money, jewelry, vacations and celebrity status. I've had my share of fun with these types. I've flown beautiful women with agendas to big games and events across the country. I've wined and dined them at the fanciest restaurants, knowing that I could've shared my bed with three at a time if I had wanted to.Unfortunately, the fun is never free. After the party dies down and the glitter wears off, I'm left to deal with the emptiness inside and the fact that I've given in to temptation. In my heart, I know God wants better for me. After years in the league, I realized that my behavior and mind-set were just as flawed as the groupies' I encountered. In our search for happiness and security, we wound up playing each other.Some of these women attach themselves to athletes and celebs because they have low self-esteem, no direction and no ambition- except to work the circuit. The only long-term deal many are looking for would be getting pregnant and scoring child support. In the end I know these women can never fulfill a need beyond my libido. What I really crave is love, tenderness and understanding-an intimate partnership with a woman who could become my wife. I'm far from perfect and all of this is easier said than done. But if God gives me the strength to ignore my physical urges and temptations, I know I can have that kind of relationship.Most nights I stay away from the splashy scene. Removing myself from temptation makes that kind of error less likely. And I surround myself with like-minded players (there are a few). I don't participate in a locker-room competition with other guys. As a result, I see myself growing and changing. I'm making smarter choices every day, and that's what life is about.


Sista Sports Contributors

To get to know Eb the Celeb you can go HERE but to get to know the other Sista Sports Contributors peep the bios below:

The Sistas

Name: Raquel "Rocky" Penzo
Blog Alias: The Jaded NYer
Email: thejadednyer@sistasports.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheJadedNYer
Blog: www.poplife06.blogspot.com

Talk about someone being a walking stereotype... The Jaded NYer is Dominican-American that lives and breathes baseball. It's in her blood; the saying goes, "In DR, they grow ball players like platanos!" Although she doesn't play, she's been watching this sport since she was but a wee lass, and some time around pre-adolescence settled on the Amazin' Mets as THE team to root for... despite what everyone says about them. Favorite baseball memory to date? Merengue Night at Shea Stadium, 2008: Johan Santana(#57) pitches an AWESOME game and then Dominican superstar Sergio Vargas performs his hit songs on the field. Heaven on earth...

Name: Tiffany S. Jones
Blog Alias: Smarty Jones
Email: smartyjones@sistasports.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/smartysworld
Blog: http://difference-of-opinion.blogspot.com

Smarty Jones is a make-up and dress hating, life-long “tomboy” whose idea of a good day is any random Sunday afternoon in the fall watching NFL games on three channels. She’s a former high school, injury-prone basketball player turned writer. While she hates the commercial wasteland that the NBA has become, she is excited about the WNBA and what its existence means for little girls all over the U.S.

The Brothas

Name: Greg Morris
Blog Alias: G.Mo
Email: gmo@sistasports.com
Blog: http://www.chocolatecityweb.com

Born & raised in the DC area, this brotha has always subscribed to the slogan that "DC Stands For Dallas Cowboys". He remains a die hard fan who gets a huge thrill antagonizing Redskins fans in the District who question his allegiance. When it comes to the NBA, he's a huge fan of the Boston Celtics and has been since his pops threw a 'Tiny' Archibald jersey on his back in the late 70's. His best Celtics experience by far was being at the 2008 NBA Finals. As far as baseball goes, the NY Mets are his squad. Credit that to his grandmother in NYC who used to watch Mets baseball while baking cookies for him when he was a youngster. G.Mo is passionate when it comes to sports and doesn't just settle for viewing from a distance. He's attended over 500 live sporting events in his lifetime. No distance is too far or expense too much to see his squads.


The Truth about Eb & Sports

A lot of men are thinking that it's a fluke that I like sports so much, and actually play Madden, and am not a butch or lesbian, and actually quite cute if I do say so myself...lol! So I thought I'd do an about me section so my readers can get to know the sports side of Eb a little better. I've been running track since the age of 4. I could barely walk and my dad had me on a track. It's a family tradition. I was pretty good too, got a Varsity letter my freshman year, but was seriously injured my junior year. After that I seriously fell out of love with the whole thing (even though very still in love with watching til this day) and started concentrating more on volleyball. My Senior year in high school, I was captain of the team and a Section V All-Star. I chose not to play any sports in college besides intramural stuff.

Die Hard Dallas Cowboys fan and have been since birth since my dad is a Cowboys fan. I spent many Sunday dinners at my Grandma Gwen's house who is the real reason I love football so much. She is probably the biggest female football fan I know. She reps her Buffalo Bills through the good and the bad. I can talk Football toe to toe with the best of them, but to assure you that I am a truly a girl, if it weren't for the football booties, boxing would probably be my favorite sport to watch. My grandfather is a big boxing fan, and because of him I love the sport as well but don't really follow the daily ins and outs. I know I'm probably losing all cool points with the Brothas for my "Football booties" comment but oh well...
Football booties make me weak in the knees. I'm a Fantasy Football addict and I play a little Madden from time to time since I have it for my Nintendo Wii, but I'm more partial to the fighting video games. I'm a beast at Tekken.

I absolutely hate baseball, so you will probably never eva eva eva see me write anything about that. I can't bear to watch Nascar or Golf either.

Basketball is give or take with me. Its becoming really predictable. Well, the NBA anyway. It seems now I can only watch if I have someone to watch with me during the regular season. The play-offs usually have me glued to the TV. I don't have a specific team I root for but I have certain players I like to see do well. I live for NCAA March Madness every year.

Professionally, I worked in the Mobile (which evolved into the Digital Media) department at ESPN for 3 years. I had a great boss and was given the opportunity to explore a lot of things above and beyond my job description that included :
  • producing segments (check below the video of the day section on the main page for examples of things I've produced)
  • interviewed athletes
  • being in involved in content ideas
  • running production shoots
  • being the liaison between agents to book athletes for segments
among other things.

Besides my passion for sports, I also have a strong passion for Music. I talk about and everything else Eb the Celeb over at my personal blog at www.ebtheceleb.com

Not a huge fashion guru, but I can get clean with the best of them at night, and still rock a mean jersey during the day.
Feel free to comment if you have anymore questions for me but I think that just about wraps it up.