Weekly Roundup

June 20, 2014

Here are a few stories from this week that deserve notice:

* With the World Cup games continuing to attract attention across the globe, there have been some interesting pieces about the way the game impacts national politics. As Al Jazeera America explained, the game often becomes an extension of political efforts. While it is not always good politics, the game can be utilized in meaningful ways, such as inspiring young boys from Syria living in Jordanian refugee camps or providing an outlet of expression for Iranians. Since I do not pay for ESPN and they are restricting access to the English broadcast of the games in the U.S. (even though most of the rest of the world can watch the World Cup for free), I have been watch Univision's online stream since they have the Spanish broadcast rights in the U.S. but are allowing free streaming. So perhaps the futbol will even help me learn a little Spanish. Goooooool!

* The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office took action against the name of the Washington NFL team, calling the team's name "disparaging." This is the right move and hopefully it will stand. The name, after all, is blatantly racist. Interestingly, Southern Baptist leaders rejected motion by a prominent African-American pastor to criticize the football team's name since the SBC leaders claimed it was not necessarily offensive. Where is the prophetic voice? Meanwhile, the United Church of Christ had condemned the name just before the trademark decision.

* For the last six years, I served as an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at James Madison University (I recently left but am technically still an employee until late August). Sadly, the school has been in the news this week for failing to appropriately punish students for sexual assault. Due to video evidence, JMU officials decided to expel the three male students for their assault of a female student - but only after letting the students graduate. While two graduated this spring, the other is set to remain campus for another year. If the act was deemed worthy of expulsion, why wait? As the story has garnered national and even international attention, the response has rightly been quite critical of JMU officials and JMU's weak policies governing sexual assault cases. Hopefully this case will be a lesson to college administrators, students, and others about taking sexual assault seriously.