True Bull Analysis

NFL players should continue to fight for their voice.

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by Roderick Mclean

Antonio Brown is arguably the best Wide Receiver in the NFL because of his ability to be an immediate game changer. However, yesterday Brown took to his social media account to try to make an impact off the field.

Brown posted a picture on his Instagram account that encouraged his fellow NFL players too take a knee on Instagram in response to the controversial Anthem Protest rule that the NFL passed that forces players to stay in the Locker room if they wish to protest during games.

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For many players, the meaning of the protests have been overshadowed by the narrative of “disrespecting the Anthem” or “disrespecting the Flag”. Yet, the original intent of the protest was to highlight the marginalization of Black people in America, especially by the police.

For that past few years, we have seen incidents of police brutality and even fatality that doesn’t seem to be dissipating. Recently, a video surfaced that illuminated the assault of NBA player, Sterling Brown by police. Brown was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed, tased, and arrested for parking in handicap spots.

“My experience with the Milwaukee Police Department was wrong and shouldn’t happen to anybody,” Brown said.

Eight officers have been disciplined and three officers will receive unpaid suspensions.

“I will take legal action against the Milwaukee Police Department to continue forcing change in our community,” Brown said in a statement.

Police force towards African Americans is already out of hand. If this can happen to a professional athlete. Who knows what can happen next. This is why Antonio Brown and other NFL players are fighting for their voice to be heard.

The NFL should let their players protest. Police injustice seems to be increasing every day and these players should be able to use their status of power to express what they believe. What they do has a strong impact on people’s lives and they can help change the world.

LeBron’s Greatness continues to outshine his Critics.

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by Bradford Brooks

“What’s it like to be LeBron? They are calling you the savior, so much pressure but you deal with it, the weight of the world on your shoulders but you still lift it.”

This is a lyric from the 2009 mixtape “The Warm Up” by recording artist J.Cole, and this famous lyric has become a living embodiment of LeBron James’ greatness.

The kid from Akron, Ohio, who was drafted at the age of 18, is now 33 years old, in his 15th NBA season and is still exceeding expectations that were placed on him since being proclaimed the Chosen One. James is heading to his 8th straight NBA Finals after defeating the Boston Celtics on the road in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

In the victory,James put up 35 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists in the win, adding another excellent performance in a high pressure game to his already illustrious career.

Whether you agree or disagree that propelling this team to the NBA Finals is LeBron’s greatest accomplishment ever, you have to admit that we are all witnessing history.

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James has had the Eastern Conference in a chokehold for nearly a decade now and this 8th consecutive trip shouldn’t just be shrugged off as just another example LeBron being LeBron.

Love him or hate him it would be erroneous to diminish this moment.James’ performance has earned the respect to silence all his critics.

If you are still doubting his greatness you should take a look at some of these statistics.

James was playing in his 100th consecutive game of the season last night and his third game in five days. He recieved around-the-clock treatment on his right leg after playing 46 minutes to stave off elimination 48 hours earlier in game 6. He played all 48 minutes in a playoff game for the first time since 2006, when he was only 21 years old. In the fourth quarter he made 4 of 6 shots, had three rebounds and four assists after he’d played 3,757 minutes this season, more than anyone else in the entire league. His second leading scorer in Kevin Love didn’t suit up for this game 7. James leads the NBA in minutes played in the postseason, and that no active teammate James played with in Game 7 was averaging more than 10 points or 2.2 assists per game in the playoffs.

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Throughout the dysfunction and chaos this season, from departing ways with Kyrie Irving, to trying to make the Isiah Thomas experiment work, and even the inconsistent play from all the trade deadline players they acquired, LeBron made it work.

And we shouldn’t even be surprised, James has won six straight Game 7s over the past 10 years, two of them on the road. He has won seven of the past eight elimination games he’s been in, including three this postseason. And he has now come from down 2-0 to win a series three times in his career.

Respect is due for James. The trials of this season, including the weakening of his present roster and the weekly challenges that he had to navigate while shouldering an incredible burden brought him to a preposterous position. Yet, he still delivered.

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No matter who the Cavs play, James will go into the NBA Finals as an underdog, for the seventh time in his nine trips. Some will mention that Michael Jordan won six titles, Kobe Bryant won five, and that Bill Russell won 11. James has only won has three. But i believe the words of J. Cole say it best, “you’ll never play me like LeBron vs. Jordan. Twenty years, wonder who they are going to say was more important. Both changed the game, came through and made a lane, who’s to say that who’s greater, all we know, they ain’t the same.” Every superstar player has their decade, and right now it’s no question we are witnessing LeBron’s.

The Royal Wedding was a statement of Inclusion

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by Cameron Dinkins

Since the announcement of the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, many people have been waiting with immense anticipation to witness their nuptial ceremony.

Meghan Markle looked stunning in her dress designed by Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy. The dress was simple, yet elegant, much like Markle herself. The dress featured a 16-foot veil that beautifully trailed behind the bride as she cascaded down the aisle.

The groom, Prince Harry, followed the lead of his beautiful bride and looked rather dapper himself in his military suit.

The wedding itself was a spectacle and undoubtedly the most lit wedding the Royal Family has probably ever seen. The exciting gospel choir and the powerful words by Reverend Michael Curry provided a refreshing black component to one of the most noteworthy events of 2018. The newlyweds definitely spiced up the traditional royal wedding.

Curry, who is currently the presiding elder of the Episcopal Church, started the ceremony with an amazing word. He both opened and ended his sermon with quotes from the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and spoke on the power of love. His message illustrated how people must make love the way. He even touched on the topic of slavery (how ironic knowing the setting). Many in the crowd looked stuffy and seemed to not understand Reverend Curry’s delivery, but his words were something everyone needed to hear.

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Reverend Curry was not the only exciting part of the ceremony, The Kingdom Choir’s performance was one for the books. A local British choir made up of about 20 black men and women, totally shut the ceremony down with their rendition of “Lean On Me”. Their booming sound livened up the entire feeling in the room. There were many smiles as they sung their hearts out. Not only did the crowd liven a little, twitter was excited to see the soulful choir at the wedding.

The Kingdom Choir did not stop with the endless soulful hits. They sung “This Little Light of Mine” a powerful negro spiritual and a song just about every black person who has ever been to church knows well, and they sung the chorus of the hymn “Amen” as the bride and groom exited the chapel. The harmonies in the hymn were so beautiful that they could be heard over the reporters talking on the broadcast. Needless to say, the choir truly made you feel like you were at church on a Sunday morning.

In addition to the choir, Markle picked, 19-year-old, Sheku Kanneh- Mason to play the cello ceremony. He elegantly played, “Sicilienne” by Maria Theresia von Paradis;” “Apres un Reve” by Gabriel Faure and “Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert. In 2016, Kanneh- Mason was the first black person to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year.

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While the day itself seemed magical the preparation for the wedding wasn’t, there was a significant amount of drama coming from Meghan’s side. Her father would have to miss the wedding because of a heart surgery and her estranged siblings were bitter that they were not invited to wedding. Yet, through all the chaos, the wedding still was amazing. Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, was there by her daughter’s side through the whole process and was beaming with pride as she watched her only daughter become the Duchess of Sussex.

Although most of her family was absent, the congregation was filled with some of Meghan’s closest friends, whom just happen to be A- list celebrities. Oprah, Serena Williams, the cast of Suits, Priankya Chopra, Elton John and many more were in attendance.

It’s safe to say, Windsor Castle has never seen a wedding like this one. This Royal Wedding was uniquely and intentionally designed to portray a level of love and cultural inclusion very few had witnessed before. Hopefully this wedding will influence other ceremonies in the future. We know Princess Diana is smiling from Heaven right now seeing her youngest son happy in love, and there is nothing but the best wishes to the newest Duke and Duchess of Sussex, everyone’s new favorite royals.

The MVP should really be the MOP

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by Jarod Hamilton

In a sports fan’s perspective the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the player whose value to their team is so significant that if he/she was not a member of the team it would likely diminish the teams success.

While this is one of the many ways to measure a respective player’s greatness, it is also one of the most subjective.

However, if we changed the name of the accolade to the Most Outstanding Player Award (MOP) then we might be able to come to a more unified conclusion. The MOP award winner would be the player who possesses the best statistical averages after the duration of a series of games. When a player gets an MOP award he/she does not necessarily have to be the most important asset to their team. That player could have just had the best performance through the series of games.

At the conclusion of the NCAA tournament, the MOP award is given as opposed to the MVP award. Many NBA All-Stars have won the MOP in the tournament including Richard Hamilton, Anthony Davis, and Kemba Walker. However, there have been instances where a player who was not the star of their respective championship team was named the MOP, such as Louisville’s Luke Hancock in 2013.

Hancock was a reserve player for the Louisville Championship Team. The 2013 NCAA Championship (now vacated), had impact players such as Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and NBA center Montrezl Harrell. Yet, Hancock was given the award after scoring 20 points in the national semifinal and 22 points in the title game. Hancock averaged less than 8 points per game in the regular season that year.

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In the NBA, there’s a regular season MVP, All-Star game MVP, and a Finals MVP. No one really cares about the All-Star game MVP, as the players usually try to get the hometown team’s player the award in a glorified dunk contest. The Finals MVP is awarded similarly to the NCAA’s MOP award for the NCAA tournament which is a step in a positive direction because the person who contributed the most statistically gets the award. The regular season award is the problem.

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During the regular season, there are too many excuses for why the player with the best statistical averages does not actually win the MVP.

Michael Jordan won the MVP award six times in his career. However, he had many more seasons where he was statistically dominate. Jordan could have won the MVP award almost every season he played, yet, “voter fatigue” thwarted him from doing so. “Voter Fatigue” is a phenomenon that takes place in sports voting that allows a less worthy candidate to win an award because the voters are tired of seeing the same person continuously win it every season.

Other times winning the MVP award can come as a result of being on the best team with the best record. While that’s a very plausible reason for winning the award, sometimes that means someone with better stats is losing out on the award. In 2006, Kobe Bryant averaged a league-best 35.4 points per game along with five rebounds and almost five assists. Bryant led the Lakers to the #7 seed in the Western conference that season but lost the MVP award to Steve Nash.

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Nash won his second consecutive MVP award after averaging 18.8 points and 10.5 assists in the 2005-2006 season. The Suns were 54-28 and finished with the #2 seed in the Western conference. Because Nash was the best player on a better team he won the MVP. But had the award been named the MOP Bryant would have most likely won it because of the production he provided to propel the Lakers into the postseason.

If James Harden wins the MVP this year maybe the league should think about renaming the award. Harden had another incredible season and has a legitimate argument to win the award. However, when you take into account other factors such as Harden coming in second in MVP voting in two of the previous three seasons and presumable voter fatigue against LeBron James, this award may be given to Harden simply because “it’s his turn”.

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While Nash and possibly Harden are valuable players in their own right. Is it right to say they are the most valuable in the league when neither one of them was ever heralded as the best player in the NBA? That is why the NBA should clear up all confusion and change the name from MVP to MOP.

College Students should be fluent in Financial literacy

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#130425 North Carolina A&T State University.Left: James Higgs, jchiggs@aggies.ncat.edu, 919-219-6937. Right: LaVana Greene, lvgreene@aggies.ncat.edu, 616-481-6707

by Jaelan Leonard

College should be a time of exciting new experiences in route to achieving an education, but sometimes the burden of paying for your schooling can put a damper on the pursuit of your degree.

According to Studentloanhero.com, United States college students are a combined $1.48 trillion dollars in student loan debt. What is even more surprising is that students who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) borrow student loans from the federal government at higher rates and graduate with significantly higher debt totals than students who attend predominantly white institutions (PWIs).

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A study done in 2012 by UNCF.org showed that a quarter of HBCU bachelor’s degree recipients borrowed $40,000 or more to pay off their student loan debt.

“I wish I was more prepared with understanding where my finances go instead of letting my parents handle most of it. I’m in college now, so it’s important for me to be financially independent,” said Autumn Smith, a sophomore student at Hampton University.

Despite there being heavy financial burdens, many students feel the need to understand the importance of being financially literate so that they won’t fall victim to the endless battle of paying off huge loans that have lasting consequences.

In order to support lifelong financial mobility, many HBCUs have incentives to produce alumni who are successful in their careers. Some become mirror images of the university’s legacy, and are able to pay off whatever loans they have (this allows universities to stay eligible for federal financial aid).

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While in college, students can take the initiative in developing financial practices that will set them up for effective personal monetary management in the future.

However, many Students are interested in programs that help students navigate through the financial aid process and programs that focus on improving the short- and long-term costs associated with education loans and other debt assumed while in college, their repayment obligations, and their protection as borrowers.

Financial education programs, one-on-one counseling, and innovative personal monetary management tools can help provide students and graduates with information and skills to effectively manage their finances moving forward in their lives.