No Hall Passes for “Hot Teacher”

No Hall Passes for “Hot Teacher”

When the internet was just starting to gain a digital footprint in the world (aka I was in my late 20’s), I used to frequent a website called “Badjocks.com“. Badjocks was a site where stories of teachers or coaches getting caught having sex with students became daily fodder for those who love discussing such tawdry tales.

Stephannie Figueroa, 21, is charged with child abuse for texting nude photos to an 11-year old boy. (Orlando Sentinel)
Stephannie Figueroa, 21, is charged with child abuse for texting nude photos to an 11-year old boy. (Orlando Sentinel)

What stood out to me was the unusual number of females teachers and coaches being arrested for having sex with underage male or female students.

Most (male) readers would chuckle and say to themselves “I wished I was that kid!” The fantasy dream of shacking up with the “hot teacher” continues to be the norm.

Badjocks.com came to mind as I was driving home from treatment Wednesday morning. Miami Herald columnist and ESPN provocateur/court jester Dan Le Batard talked about two stories.

The first story was a Florida female karate instructor arrested for texting nude photos of herself to an 11-year old male student of hers. The other was a 33-year old California female physical education teacher who was sentenced to 120 days in jail and given probation for having a threesome with two young males students under the age of 18.

The "hot teacher"fantasy is what it is:a fantasy. Sadly, a troubling number of female teachers or females in general has taken that fantasy to criminal levels by messing around with underage students.
The “hot teacher”fantasy is what it is…a fantasy. Sadly, a troubling number of female teachers or females in general has taken that fantasy to criminal levels by messing around with underage students.

When reading the P.E. teacher’s story on the air, LeBatard questioned the sentence given to the P.E. teacher. Linsday Himmelspach received 4 months of jail time and had her probation extended. If both of the accused were males, a stiffer penalty would have been given.

Does that remind you of a story from a few weeks ago?  The one that everyone was up in arms about???

LeBatard asked why do females who are accused and found guilty of sexual assault receives lighter sentences and not being treated with the same disdain as their male counterparts, and how is the national media and society turns a blind eye at it?

I agree with LeBatard. With all of the firestorm about the sexual assault trial of the Stanford University male swimmer, it is disturbing that adult women who commit similar heinous acts (rape, sex with minors, etc.) are not punished the same way as men do.

The only difference is the sex of the aggressors. The idea that women are not considered to be sexual predators when breaking the law is one of mere astonishment.

When I researched Badjocks.com today to see if there were any changes to the trend of female teachers and coaches illegally having sex with minors or accused of rape in some states, I was not surprised.

Out of the first 9 stories under Badjocks’ “Naughty Coaches” section, five of them were stories about females, in an authority of power, being busted for sex acts with minors.

If it's not Debra Lafave, Mary Kay Letourneau, or a male, stories like these on sites like Badjocks.com doesn't get as much attention as it should.
If it’s not Debra Lafave, Mary Kay Letourneau, or a male, stories like these on sites like Badjocks.com doesn’t get as much attention as it should.

And yet, these stories are usually ignored unless it becomes a NBC “Dateline”exclusive featuring those like Mary Kay Letourneau and Debra Lafave, only for the lurid accounts that took place.

If Brock Turner is a rapist, so to is Stephannie Figueroa, Lindsay Himmelspach, and Letourneau, who set the gold standard for statutory rape.

To treat those cases otherwise is foolish and irresponsible.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), about 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed sexual violence in their lifetime. In a 2014 Slate report, a National Crime Victimization Survey uncovered that 38 percent of men have been sexually assaulted.

Priests and men are not the only groups that rape women and men. Women do as well, however we treat that as atypical and usually blame the male victim and his raging hormones for achieving a “fantasy”. Whether these young males want to admit it or not, they are victims. Being considered as human prey by those we place our trust in to be adults…not searching for the next “Lolita.”

Adult women should be held accountable and responsible when they commit rape or assault.  They are sex offenders.

Just like men.

Domestic Violence Affects Everyone…Including You

Domestic Violence Affects Everyone…Including You
People get angry. That will happen. Beating people up isn't the way to go about it.
People get angry. That will happen. Beating people up isn’t the way to go about it.

I detest domestic violence against women, children, defenseless people, and yes, men. This also includes same-sex domestic violence (I bet you didn’t think of that). The “outrage” and reaction over the NFL suspending Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has provided me a few observations that got ignored.

Caught on tape: the main reason for the visceral reaction towards Rice was that his wife (then fiancée) and him were on tape when the incident happened. Had it not been on videotape, or TMZ getting their hands on every video sent to them, we wouldn’t have cared about the story.

It’s a CBA thing: there is no comparison between Josh Gordon and Rice’s situation. Gordon is a repeat offender of the league’s drug policy, which was collectively bargained with the NFL Players Association. The league and the players agreed to the policy and punishment for repeated substance abuse. Domestic violence does not fall under the CBA agreement. If it was, and if Rice was a repeat offender, then a harsher punishment would apply. Had the NFL  suspended Rice for more games, the NFLPA would have likely filed an appeal on Rice’s behalf, to reduce the suspension.

NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown has a history of knocking women around. No one in the media is demanding that his Hall Of Fame bust be removed for his past actions. The national media has no problems celebrating a guy who was the greatest football player in his generation, a man who has worked tirelessly to end gang violence…only for them to dismiss the fact that he has a reputation when it comes to violence against women.

That’s troubling.

If a restraining order doesn’t stop a domestic abuser from attacking his victim again, then why would you think a pro sports league is going to handle this?

As our society goes, so goes everything else…following suit.

A culture of abuse creates a culture of shattered lives.
A culture of abuse creates a culture of shattered lives.

Society: I think it is hypocritical for many to expect the NFL to be a “moral” compass when it comes to domestic violence. There were many domestic violence incidents in the past involving professional athletes (Rae Carruth, Fred Lane, Brian Giles, Floyd Maywether, etc.). And if talking heads like Richard Deitsch, Sally Jenkins, or heaven forbid, Skip Bayless didn’t mention those individuals in the past, why now?

Because people saw a videotape of a guy knocking a woman out…and people are shocked.

Those who have been a victim of domestic abuse never had a camera taping what they endured…and for that, no one would have not cared.

It’s a joke to me on how everyone wants to get all sanctimonious and wag our finger at someone, because it’s an easy story and platform to do it.  But when a regular citizen is killed or seriously injured in a domestic dispute, we shrug our shoulders and say “that’s too bad.”

We need to stop lying about our level of concern about domestic violence, race, sex, and other serious topics. Let’s face it: we don’t care about those things, until it happens to us, or that person becomes a major news story.

Domestic violence is a societal issue that affects everyone…and not just those who are professional athletes. CEOs, blue-collar workers, a neighbor, or a family member have been either physically attacked or have been the attacker.  On an average, three women are killed every day in a domestic violence incident in the United States. That’s 1,095 who won’t live to see the next day.

Did you also know that 15.5 million American children live in a home where domestic violence takes place?

Do you even care about these silent victims? 

Shame on us for being hypocrites.

Everybody loses: I am a child of domestic violence. It happened several times as my parents separated, and ultimately divorced. It’s ugly, sad, and scary. I’m not a violent person in a physical sense, but those images of my father attacking my mother in my home is a permanent mental scar, for I have longed buried and moved on, but serves as an internal reminder.

I speak from experience…not from opinion. I diffused a contentious argument between my parents when I took a glass ashtray and slammed it on the kitchen floor. I thought both of my parents were going to kill me.

I wanted the shouting to stop. I wanted the nightmare to end.

It is a vicious cycle of events that long after it ends, it affects you. It’s not just women who are impacted…it’s children as well. I’m a male. I went through counseling as a teenager and post-college to battle “victim’s guilt” and the internal anger over it. I don’t know how to throw a punch, but I do get upset at myself at times and let it boil over internally.

The fear of falling into the debilitating cycle of domestic abuse is probably a major factor why at age 38 I’m still single and have never been in a relationship. Maybe it’s a good thing (?), but after 25 years, I have learned how to stop and assess my feelings and actions, and find non-violent ways to resolve them without the use of a gun, knife, hands, purse, carrier pigeon…you get the picture.

In my opinion, the media has ignored an important narrative regarding domestic abuse: educating the public about domestic abuse, the causes, and preventative measures to stop this cycle of needless violence. The “outrage” I could care less about. I want society to understand the sobering facts about domestic abuse as a in the United States and in Iowa.

“Outrage” does little. Information and facts drives the point home. Sadly, the statistics and the real battle against domestic violence got lost in stupid bloviating.

This is our fault. We clearly didn’t learn from Rae Carruth murdering the mother of his child and Fred Lane being gunned down by his wife.

The sports world is similar to society when it comes to facing and talking about issues like domestic abuse: we don’t want to deal with it. Expecting a pro sports league to do a job that the legal system is unable to stop is hollow…unless society take a more serious role in searching for ways to stop domestic violence.

Jay-Z (left) had an unfortunate incident with his sister-in-law. He never threw a punch at her. Film don't lie. Right, Beyonce?
Jay-Z (left) had an unfortunate incident with his sister-in-law. He never threw a punch at her. Film don’t lie.

As weird as it sounds, we can take a page from how rapper Jay-Z used his hands to “defend” himself from his sister-in-law Solange in an elevator…with a camera filming the whole thing. We laughed about the incident, but think about this:  Jay-Z could have easily landed a punch. And yet he didn’t, or he would be the one the entire world would be talking about and not Ray Rice.

Funny how the media never picked up on that perspective.

We’re better than that.

If you want to learn more about domestic violence in Iowa, I will refer to you these websites: 

Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (@ICADV) – 3030 Merle Hay Rd. Des Moines, IA 50310 515.244.0828

Children and Families of Iowa (@CFI) – 1111 University Ave. Des Moines, IA 50314 515.288.1981

Iowa Legal Aid (in re legal questions/topics)

Polk County Crisis & Advocacy Services, Rape and Sexual Assault Program – 2309 Euclid Ave. Des Moines, IA 50310 515.286.3535

There are more shelters/services that help individuals affected by domestic violence. Please refer to this website for a list of services across the state of Iowa.

March Madness: Survive and Advance

March Madness
March Madness has arrived.

The brackets are out, the teams are paired up, and the debate over who “deserved” to get in or not is now underway on ESPN with Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas.

We can analyze and over-analyze this until we run out of rationale and hypothesis for every team.

Here’s the one advice I have for your team: play the team in front of you. Screw everything else.

That’s all. It’s not about the seedings, how you finished during the regular season, or who you played during the season.

After Sunday night, all of that goes out the window.

For most teams, the Big Dance is a way to redeem themselves, or reaffirm who they are. For Louisville, a chance to defend their national title. For Syracuse, a restart to what was a strong run that went south at the end of the season.

March Madness
Can Doug Gottlieb have his cupcake and eat it as well? Wichita State would like to make him eat his words too.

For Wichita State, an incentive to shut up the doubters (oh Gottlieb…). The committee did them no favors by sticking them in the Midwest (aka the Group of Death). For ISU, a chance to show what they’re capable of, and for Iowa, an opportunity to make right after a sour ending to the Big Ten season…and a very important reason to play inspired.

Similar to bowl season for college football, you get that extra practice and time to extend your season. Everyone is now 0-0 as the First Four (rudely known as the play-in game) begins.

For nearly all of the teams, the seedings mean little to them. They’re in the Big Dance. That’s all that matters. And we should have that mindset as well as fans.

Survive and advance.

Damn the seeds, strength of schedules, and all of the other stuff.

Play the team in front of you.

The Madness begins this week, if we can’t get through St. Patrick’s Day first.

It’s going to be a long fun week.

You Can’t Stop Them, You Can Only Hope to Contain Them: Zach McCabe Fiasco

Iowa State basketball coach Fred Hoiberg didn’t hold back his displeasure towards social media during his press conference on Monday. After Iowa’s loss to Wisconsin, several Iowa fans typed out their frustrations at Hawkeye senior Zach McCabe. McCabe was called for a blocking foul (that could have gone the other way), and he air-balled a 3-pointer that could have tied or at least cut down the Badgers’ lead.

Fred, if you want to combat as many trolls on social media as possible, I suggest you start using your Twitter account a lot more. People will read it.

After listening to Hoiberg, and reading the great Mike Hlas‘ column about the McCabe meltdown, I do understand that fans have greater access to voice their feelings, and unfortunately at times, cross over the line.

But if a coach thinks that cutting off social media to his or her players is going to keep them from reading message boards, texts, and Twitter, I hate to deliver bad news…

…good luck stopping them from doing that, or in that matter, using it.

It’s ironic that the NCAA has now granted permission for programs to use Instagram, to go along with texting and social media as forms of “soft” recruiting. Athletic departments uses social media to promote and build an audience for their sports and brand.

I think it has become hypocritical of us, as fans and media, to expect and demand that student-athletes block out the “distractions” in the stands and on social media. Eighteen, 19, and 20-year old kids are going to read and hear everything, because their families, friends, and classmates are on Facebook and Twitter.

If we want them to block out distractions, then how come we can’t do it ourselves?

The onus is back on the coach. No longer can coaches use the old tired excuse of “I don’t read the papers/message boards/tweets/texts” and hope that it will go away. Social media experts have long advocated athletic programs and professional teams to educate and show athletes how to use Twitter and learn how to not take stupid and demeaning comments personally.

I don’t know what took place between McCabe and several posters, but I do know one thing: I don’t hide behind a fake name or a fake avatar. When I tweet, you see my name and my face.  I use social media as a way to learn something, contribute, and to have conversations.

John Calipari can rub a lot of people the wrong way, but how is it that he understands the evolution of college sports, athletes, and social media better than everyone else? Because he adapts to it.

Which brings me to an interview that was done last week, that I feel that you should listen to. John Calipari of Kentucky was asked last week by Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic about how he uses social media. Calipari’s response will rub a lot of coaches the wrong way, including Fred, but the more I thought about what he said, it made sense.

Cue to the 5:00 mark of the interview to hear Cal’s take.

It’s ironic that Fred Hoiberg has a Twitter account, but does he actually uses it, or is someone else tweeting for him? There is no question that Kirk Ferentz doesn’t use social media. That’s why he has a ban in place for his teams. it’s a chore that no coach wants..but they need to understand and be proactive about it.

See?

The very same social media users Hoiberg is blasting…includes him, Randy Peterson, Mike Hlas, Keith Murphy, and me. Fred could’ve used his Twitter account and posted his feelings about what happened to McCabe.
It would have elicit the same response, if not greater, as a way to stimulate conversation on how we can better use social media.

What a missed opportunity, Fred.

Shutting down Twitter is a short-term solution. It’s not going to stop your players from using it…and reading everything. Calipari was spot on when he said “If you’re reading (only) the responses (of what people say about you or the team), you shouldn’t use it.” If you can’t dismiss the negative comments and interact with others who don’t stoop to that level, then you’re not ready to use social media. It’s a conversation piece.

Which brings me back to the fans. I’ve said a few weeks ago, I’ll say it again. It’s time for fans to either start policing ourselves and curb-stomp the clowns who gives us a bad name, like Jeff Orr, and the “jihadic” wing of the Hawkeye Nation (h/t to Steve Deace).

Maybe it’s me, but it’s no wonder why I’ve started to sour on some Hawkeyes fans. For the most part, Iowa fans are loyal, dedicated, and supportive. There’s a lot of them I like and respect immensely thru social media (Graham, Schmitty, PSD, BHGP, etc), but there are too many assholes in that fan base for me to stomach. They give Iowa fans a bad name.

And Dan Dakich is right…sadly. And I grew up a Hawkeye fan.

It’s Never Boring When You Have Topics to Write About

It started with a cause and a passion…five years later, a blog proved that it’s never boring in Des Moines, Iowa.

Today is the fifth anniversary of “Des Moines Is Not Boring”, a blog dedicated to touting and showing everyone that Des Moines is not boring…ever. The brainchild of Pete Jones has expanded over the years, with featured writers and topics, but the premise remains the same, which is there is plenty of events, activities, and things to do in Des Moines.

If Forbes and other publications have acknowledged that Des Moines is a busy place, then DMINB is doing their job.

Congratulations DMINB on this special day. From one local blogger to another, a tip of the fedora for a job well done and continued success.

942
No visit to the Iowa State Fair means not seeing the new tractors and combines for this John Deere guy. Remember my friends, nothing runs like a Deere.

For the first time in 12 years, I didn’t go to the Iowa State Fair. From a physical standpoint, I’m dealing with some pain in my right leg which makes walking or running unbearable at times. It was sad not being able to see some of the new things at the fairgrounds, but missing one year isn’t the end of the world.

Neither is missing a cold glass of cherry phosphate…and fried cheese curds…hot beef sundae….pork chop on a stick…sweet potato fries…JR’s mini donuts…you catch my drift?

If you have never heard or read anything from noted sports writer Wright Thompson, this week might be a good time to read some of his stuff. On Wednesday, his story on Dan Gable‘s fight to help save wrestling is required reading. To be honest, Thompson did a better job of telling the story and the life of Gable than the old SportsCentury episode did a decade ago.

As a native of Waterloo, Gable is one of the most recognizable faces that represent my hometown, along with the Sullivan Brothers, NFL great Reggie Roby, among a few others. However, Gable, with Bob Siddens, Jim Miller, Dave Natvig, Bob Buzzard, and others, put Waterloo on the map as the hotbed of prep wrestling in Iowa.

Picture of Dan Gable when he prepped at West Waterloo High for legendary coach Bob Siddens from 1964-66. (courtesy of DanGable.com)

For many sports fans, the return of football is much like the sports version of New Year’s Day. Friday will mark the return of prep football in Iowa, as Week 0 opens up for 54 teams, most of them in the 8-player class.

Where did the summer go? Sly and the Family Stone must have taken it with them.

Which brings me to do some shameless plugging, if you don’t mind. Good friend Marco Santana of the Des Moines Register profiled DM Webcasting earlier this week. I happen to know Greg Goaley and Pete Tarpey. So does everyone’s friend Paul Yeager.

Getting to do games with this guy on Friday nights…priceless. It’s time to “…go back, Jack, and do it again…” on August 30th.

This will be my fourth season working with Paul covering the CIML, notably Dowling Catholic and WDM Valley football and our third year webcasting high school football on the internet.

DM Webcasting is behind the live online streaming of both schools’ home games. Paul will handle the play-by-play duties, I’ll do the game and score updates on Twitter, Seth Drury has the sideline report, and we’ll make sure coach Andy Pollock knows how Aplington-Parkersburg is doing in their games.

In case you didn’t figure it out…there will be a heavy Wartburg presence in the pressbox.

UPDATE: Today, The Des Moines Register announced that they will carry a live feed of all the games this season, via DM Webcasting, on their website. That’s a big news for high school football fans across the state.

We’ll make our season debut next Friday as Valley hosts Waukee at Valley Stadium. I hope you can tune in, watch, and enjoy the broadcast, because as we all well know, “there is no cheering in the pressbox. If you want to cheer, buy a damn ticket”, as the great Duane Schroeder famously said.

Seeking Attention…For All of the Wrong Reasons

I’ve stopped trying to figure out Alex Rodriguez. All I know is he keeps shooting himself in the foot. it’s so bad, even the when he fires the gun, the blanks are hitting him in the foot. (NY Sports Kings)

Alex Rodriguez is a piece of work. Or he is just as confusing to understand, because no one knows what’s he thinking of, doing next, or why he’s doing what he does.

I think I have the appropriate song for him. The Beatles summed A-Rod up with this one.

I think it’s perfect.

Listen to ESPN’s Chris Singleton‘s thoughts on Rodriguez as he spoke to Yahoo Sports Radio and KLAA‘s Travis Rodgers on Thursday. Go to the 5:27 mark. I think you find Singleton’s observation very interesting about A-Rod’s personality.

—————–

Well, I guess everyone wants to say something about Steve King. I have some advice for you, if you want to accept it or not.

Stop talking about him. Seriously, stop. And yes, you can ignore him. You have no excuses. You have a mute button, a remote control, and a mouse. You can change the channel or click to another link.

The more you talk about him, the more attention he gets. That’s what he wants, and you’re helping him as his unofficial PR hacks.

I ignore him. Plain and simple. And no, don’t offer excuses on why his comments merit attention. Remember Joe McCarthy? How did McCarthy get silenced? People stop listening and talking about him, when he went overboard in his zeal to paint everyone and their momma a Communist.

Josef Stalin thought that was insane.

I wonder why some people will never get the message. Then again, I’m not a Democrat or a Republican.

No one gives a damn what an Independent thinks anyway.

——-

Anthony Weiner.  No further comment.

He’s got some serious issues. Pervert.

Sports Media, You’re Missing an Opportunity to Make a Real Difference

It’s not normal for me to take long breaks between posts, but this summer is an exception to the rule.  I’ve been running out of stuff to write about.  Yes, I could write about and offer a few thoughts about current stories, but to be honest, I’m burned out and I’m ready to move on after being inundated by the excessive reaction, over-reaction, analysis, and over-analysis (namely The Freeh Report and Jerry Sandusky).

I’ll give you two clichés that should sum this story up:  the coverup is always worst than the crime, and if you think you know someone, you really don’t, and you never will. Too bad a lot of people, especially a large number of those in the national sports media doesn’t get the message.

I wrote a blog in January 2012 and no one gave a damn to read it.  I think you should read it today, because it was my opinion then, and now, that the sports world, especially sports writers and bloggers like Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead, Brooks Melchior, Colin Cowherd, Rick Reilly, among others, are missing out on an opportunity that could be a huge benefit for the public:  using their platforms to foster change.

Rather than reacting and over-analyzing the damn story, why not promote, support, or encourage their readers to donate to organizations that are committed to eradicating all levels of abuse towards individuals, from sexual to verbal, from elderly to domestic?

If ESPN can use all of their platforms to promote The V Foundation, MLB for Komen, and NBA Cares, it makes sense to support anti-abuse support groups, especially the talking heads on sports radio, television, and social media.

For them not to, it would be a shame and would be a sign that the sports world, and those who cover sports, would rather hear themselves talk, than use the tools they have to help people learn about a topic, how to get involved, and in turn learn how to be a better person.

What I’m saying is this:  take all of that energy that being used to talk about a negative story and use it in a positive way by encouraging people to learn about the efforts being made to stop all levels of abuse, and in turn, give back to the community.

It’s interesting to me that most sports people usually don’t lend their names to causes that they can have a direct impact on.  Some of them do, but for the most part, they sit behind a computer or a microphone, and tell people their opinions.  If they were challenged or encouraged to get involved like they do at ESPN for The V Foundation and Make-a-Wish, surely they can do this for anti-abuse organizations.

I’m hopeful that some will consider it, but I doubt the majority of them will.  They’re missing out of something that could make a real difference for society.

Talking about a damn statue isn’t a priority.

Helping exploited children, battered women and elderly pick up the pieces of a shattered life and rebuilding it is a bigger priority right now.