News Under the Radar – January 28, 2014

Willamette College athletic logo. The home of the Bearcats in NCAA Division III and member of the Northwest Conference.

There are a few nuggets to dispense today. You know, a few things you haven’t heard about, and a few things you have heard about, but probably can’t get enough of (or are sick and tired of it).

  • Connor Mertens asked his coach, Glen Fowles, of Willamette College (Division III) for a meeting. Fowles, was under the assumption that Mertens, a placekicker, was going to ask for a transfer.

Mertens didn’t ask for a transfer.

Mertens told him that he was going to reveal that he was bisexual.

The team and his coaches has his back.

You won’t see the mainstream media cover this, unless if it’s Division I or professional sports. This is why I’m a shill for Division II, III, and NAIA athletics.

  • Shonda Rhimes, superstar creator of ABC hit shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal”, received an award last weekend. Rhimes and “Scandal” executive producer Betsy Beers were given the Diversity Award, presented by the Directors Guild of America. Rhimes, in her acceptance speech, thanked the DGA for the award and went a step further, saying that she’s ready to get past the idea of handing out diversity awards.

“When I heard I was getting a Diversity Award, I was really, truly, profoundly honored. I began to get calls from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, etc., and I was asked to comment on the award. Asked how good I felt about the award. Asked if it made me feel like I was doing the right thing. Asked if it had been a struggle making diversity happen on my casts and crews.

“While I’m still really and truly profoundly honored to receive this award, but I was also a little p***ed off,” Rhimes says, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. “So was Betsy. So over many, many, many bottles of wine we discussed this.

“We’re a little p***ed off because there still needs to be an award,” she continues. “Like, there’s such a lack of people hiring women and minorities that when someone does it on a regular basis, they are given an award.”

-Shonda Rhimes, excerpt from her acceptance speech to the Directors Guild of America, January 25, 2014

Riddle me this…who else in Hollywood would assemble the most diverse and talented cast on television? Shonda Rimes, that’s who! (TV Guide)

I wholeheartedly agree with her and her explanation nails it. Similar to what Travis Rodgers said about Jason Collins, there is going to be a time where no one is going to care if you’re gay, lesbian, Asian-American, or African-American. People are going to care if you: can do the best job possible, be productive in society, and do great things, regardless of sex, race, and orientation.

Personally, it’s nice that companies like Principal, Bankers Trust, and Wells Fargo, to name a few, have received the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Diversity Award, but it feels that they are always the ones who get the award every year for something they already do every day: open access and opportunities to people of different backgrounds and walk of life. If a company is promoting and encouraging diversity by hiring and giving their employees opportunities to advance their skills and succeed, then an award isn’t necessary.

They’re setting the standard for other companies to follow. And they are doing it consistently every day. The biggest award is that they are giving talented people from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to work at a great place, and in turn, those employees are encouraging others to work there as well.

  • Last week, Des Moines was named America’s “wealthiest” city. There was a lot of hoopla over that by the locals. But some were not entirely giddy about it (me, I was reserved about the recognition. It’s nice, but there’s still work to do to make it better). After offering a take on it with Juice, I stumbled across this story, which reaffirms that we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to unemployment…
  • …in which led to Mike Konczal‘s piece for the New Republic. He writes that the two most important words the President should say in his State of the Union address and why those two words are crucial to the economy. It’s an interesting read.  
What Winnipeg and Bell Media is doing tonight is something Don Cherry would definitely be on board for. (
  • When bad things happen, we spend time ruminating over what could have been done, whose fault is it, and why it happened. The Winnipeg Jets of the NHL and Bell Media have no time to think and talk about “what could have been done.” They’re approach is “let’s do something to help those in need now.” Tonight, the Jets will be wearing warm up jerseys to honor Rick Rypien, who would have played for the Jets after signing as a free agent in 2011. Rypien committed suicide after signing, after years of battling depression and mental illness.

Bell Media is donating 5 cents for every text message, mobile and long-distance call, Facebook share and tweet. At the time that CBS Sports hockey writer Brian Stubits filed his story online, 35 million messages were sent. That comes up to $1.75 million to be donated to mental health initiatives in Canada.

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…the State of the Union is too long. Per ABC News on Twitter:

That’s ridiculous and stupid. Stop interrupting the speech, hold your applause until the end and, cut all of the long-winded human-interest stories and talking tough. What did our country do right, what did we do wrong, and what do we need to do for the upcoming year. 

That’s simple, isn’t?

  • Finally, Jim Cantore…badass [h/t Deadspin].

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