Sep 15, 2014

We've all heard the saying, "spare the rod, spoil the child," but at what point does discipline of a child actually becomes abuse?

NFL running back Adrian Peterson recent indictment for child abuse has brought this discussion back to forefront. 

Peterson is accused of disciplining his FOUR year old son with a switch.  The above pictures were used as evidence of the beating.

So my question is:  Is this discipline or is this abuse?

Sep 11, 2014

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks cancelled a scheduled meeting between their CEO and city civil rights leaders Wednesday, prompting one of the group's leaders to say his community was greatly offended.

The Rev. Markel Hutchins said the meeting with CEO Steve Koonin was called off "at the last minute." He later said he received a call from Hawks spokesman Garin Narain on Tuesday night asking the appointment be postponed.

Hutchins said he needed to hear that request from Koonin, and because Koonin didn't personally cancel the meeting, the group of 12 civil rights leaders showed up as planned.

When they entered Philips Arena and were told there would be no meeting, Hutchins and the other leaders said they were insulted.

"The entire civil rights community, locally and nationally, have been offended, the likes of which we have not seen in this community in decades," Hutchins said.

The group asked for the meeting to discuss what Hutchins said was the Hawks' "disrespect for people of color." The request followed racially charged comments by Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry.

In a statement Wednesday, the Hawks asked for patience from the community and said they want to reschedule the meeting.

"Koonin postponed today's meeting last night," the Hawks' statement said. "This conversation is a priority for us. We are committed to having this meeting and will work with community leaders to reschedule as soon as possible. We ask our community to work with us, be patient with us, and help us heal."

The Hawks did not say why the meeting was cancelled.

Levenson said Sunday he will sell his majority share of the team. Koonin said Tuesday Ferry has been punished but won't be fired.

Hutchins said when he arranged the meeting with Koonin on Monday night, he made it clear the group wanted Ferry to lose his job.

"Perhaps one of the reasons why they cancelled the meeting is we made it very clear we were going to demand in our conversations that Danny Ferry be fired or resign," Hutchins said. "There is no way that a man who uses the kind of language and holds the kind of sentiments that he does should be the general manager of the basketball team in the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the cradle of the civil rights movement."

Others also have called for Ferry to be fired. Former NBA great Magic Johnson said late Tuesday on his Twitter feed "Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry should step down after making racist statements about NBA player Luol Deng."

Deng and Ferry are former Duke players under Mike Krzyzewski, who is coaching the U.S. team at the World Cup. Krzyzewski said he couldn't comment on the controversy involving his former players because he hasn't followed the news.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, serving as an assistant on the U.S. team, defended Deng on Wednesday.

"I've never been around a better person," Thibodeau said. "He's not only a great basketball player, he's an even better person. I'll stand by Luol any day. He's good. He's done a lot of great things in the community. He's a great human being. He's a very humble guy. He has a lot of integrity. I can't say enough good things about him. ... It was a privilege for me to be his coach."

Thibodeau said he "can't imagine" why Ferry made the statements.

Ferry made inflammatory comments about Deng in a conference call with the Hawks' ownership group in June when the team pursued Deng as a free agent. Ferry described Deng as someone who "has a little African in him."

Deng, who was born in what is now South Sudan, now plays for the Miami Heat. He responded to Ferry's comment on Tuesday by saying, "I'm proud to say I actually have a lot of African in me, not just 'a little.'"

A letter from co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. to Levenson recommended that Ferry resign or be fired. Gearon said Ferry made that description of Deng to the team's ownership group.

Gearon's June 12 letter to Levenson said Ferry went on to say, "Not in a bad way, but he's like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back."

Added Gearon: "Ferry completed the racial slur by describing the player (and impliedly all persons of African descent) as a two-faced liar and cheat."


 (Washington Post) -- Black men. Fellas. Brothers.

Stop complaining about Ray Rice’s (much deserved and yet woefully insufficient) punishment. Right now.

When we are beaten, slain and otherwise persecuted, our sisters, our mothers, and our women stand for us with nearly unilateral, unwavering support. They march for us. They cry out our names and demand justice. They support us in our moments of quiet fear when we shed the bitter tears of self-doubt and fatigue.

Why aren’t we doing the same?

Stephen A. Smith wasn’t alone in blaming black women for the violence against them. Too many black men are making shameful attempts to explain away the punch that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice laid on his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer. The caught-on-tape abuse earned Rice an indefinite suspension from the NFL this week. That’s the least he should suffer for knocking a woman unconscious. It’s foolish to watch that video and see it any other way.

And yet, black men are complaining about Ray Rice’s punishment and diminishing his actions:

“It couldn’t have been that bad. She married him.”

It doesn’t matter.

“She should know he’s a big man and, if provoked, he’s gonna hit back.”

It doesn’t matter.

“She hit him first.”

It doesn’t matter.

“He’s trained to hit. He can’t stop it. It’s a reflex.”

That’s absurd and even if it were true, it doesn’t matter.

When you say these kinds of things — when you look for ways to go easy on Ray Rice — you are doing two things: First, you’re telling black women, “Your lives and your sense of safety have less value to me than the recreational sports that I watch ritually.” You’re telling the women who stand for you, cry for you and demand justice for you, “Thanks for all that, but don’t mess with my game.” You damage their feeling of safety with you. You reinforce the perception that they are alone in their struggle. All of that leaves them even more vulnerable in a society that so often leaves them behind.

The second thing you do – and this is irony – is borrow from the script of people like Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s supporters. Let’s compare notes:

“He shouldn’t have been in the street.”

It doesn’t matter.

“He should have listened to the cop.”

It doesn’t matter.

“It was reflex. Cops are trained to shoot to kill. He couldn’t help it.”

Are you seeing the terrifying parallel? None of these excuses matter.

Brothers, recognize wrong and stand up for what’s right. Whatever happened between Ray and Janay Rice, and whatever they did to patch things up, is irrelevant. The bottom line is that no man has business hitting — let alone knocking out — any woman over a spat. He should regard the use of his body against her as lethal force and exercise restraint above all else.

Stop complaining about Ray Rice’s suspension. Stop minimizing his behavior. Stop giving in to blind idol worship.

And stop sipping your tea. This is your business.

When one of our sisters is hurt, abused or in peril, it’s our business. Because when some authority has us jammed against a car with guns drawn on us, they always make it their business to speak out. They throw themselves in peril to see us safe.

It’s a shame when we cannot do the same.

Sep 9, 2014

Man, if this is what is passing off as love these days then consider me not worthy of it.  My hurt breaks for Mrs. Rice, but not because she had to relive what happened to her.  My heart breaks for her because she believes its what the MEDIA has done that has cause pain to her family.  Maybe she thinks a man putting his hands on her is love.  I don't know, but at the end of the day who am I to judge.  I just pray that she and Ray get the help that they deserve so that they don't spread this pathology to their child.  Love knows no bounds, but sometimes a fist to the face might just be a wake-up call.  Maybe its just me.

(Huffington Post) --- When Keith Olbermann sees NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, he will only think of one thing: Ray Rice's left hand.

The ESPN talk show host eviscerated Goodell during an impassioned rebuke of the many parties responsible for mishandling the punishment of Ray Rice following his domestic violence arrest in February. Olbermann called on Goodell to resign from his post or be removed by team owners in segment that aired on Monday. The call for Goodell's resignation or ouster came just hours after the Baltimore Ravens released the veteran running back and the NFL announced that he had been suspended indefinitely. Both moves came only after TMZ released a video showing Rice striking then-fiancee Janay Palmer in an elevator during a February incident at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J.

"Mr. Goodell's ineptitude has not merely rendered this football season meaningless and irrelevant by contrast, it has not only reduced supporting or watching NFL football to a distasteful even a disrespectful act, but most importantly it has comforted the violent and afflicted the victim," Olbermann said. "His push to increase NFL punishment of domestic abusers to roughly one-third that of repeat pot smokers, his decision today to suspend Rice indefinitely after the Ravens had fired him are elements of classic tragedy wherein the right thing is finally done only after it is too late to matter. Roger Goodell's existence, who he is, what he has turned the NFL Commissioner's office into is now symbolized by Ray Rice's brutal left hand striking Janay Palmer, and striking her again. Mr. Goodell is an enabler of men who beat women. His position within the National Football League is no longer tenable."

(AJC) -- Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. wrote a letter to majority owner Bruce Levenson asking that he request the resignation or terminate with cause general manager Danny Ferry in June.

In a letter obtained by WSB Channel 2, dated June 12, Gearon Jr. cites a racist statement made by Ferry when discussing a potential free agent with ownership during a conference call. That player was not mentioned by name in the letter but referred to as a “highly-regarded African-American player and humanitarian.” According to sources the player was Luol Deng.
After discussing positives of the player, Ferry described the negatives as “He has a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he’s like a guy who would have a nice store out front but sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back.” The letter states the Ferry completed the slur by describing the player as “a two-faced liar and cheat.”

In the letter, Gearon Jr. noted that Levenson and his business partner and fellow co-owner Ed Peskowitz were on the call. Gearon Jr. also noted that the call had been recorded for the purposes of note taking.

Gearon Jr. states that he is “appalled” by the comments. He writes “If Ferry’s comments are ever made public, and it’s a safe bet they will someday, it could be fatal to the franchise.”


Sep 8, 2014

Woman-bashing Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was cut by his team Monday after a horrific new video showing him decking his fiancée in a casino elevator emerged.

“The #Ravens have terminated RB Ray Rice's contract this afternoon,” the team announced in a terse tweet.

The shocking development came amid renewed outrage over the way the NFL handled the scandal and as Ravens coach John Harbaugh scheduled an 8 p.m. news conference at which the running back’s future was expected to be discussed.

Rice, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in four straight seasons for the Ravens, was already in the doghouse after a disappointing 2013 season during which he gained 660 yards and scored just four touchdowns.

The new footage posted by on Monday showed Rice knocking out Janay Palmer seconds after the doors closed — and sent shockwaves across professional football.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had taken heat for suspending Rice for just two games after the first batch of tape emerged last month showing the player dragging his unconscious wife out of the elevator.

Confronted with the new footage, Goodell insisted he had never seen it before.

“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” the NFL said in a statement. “That video was not made available to us. And no one in our office has seen it until today.”

Contacted by The Daily News, the Atlantic County prosecutor's office declined to comment on the video or the NFL’s claim that they never saw it.

But an Atlantic City Police statement issued after the Feb. 15 incident at the Revel Casino made it clear that investigators had eyeballed the fracas footage.

“After reviewing surveillance footage it appeared both parties were involved in a physical altercation,” the statement said. “The complaint summons indicates that both (Rice) and Palmer struck each other with their hands. The responding officer signed a simple assault complaint against both Rice and Palmer."

(TMZ) -- This is what a two game suspension looks like -- Ray Rice delivering a vicious punch to his fiancee's face, knocking her out cold ... and TMZ Sports has the shocking video.

We've already shown you the aftermath outside the elevator ... Rice dragging the unconscious woman on the floor. But we've now obtained video of the punch that put her down, raising the question ... What was the NFL thinking when it wrist-slapped Rice with such feeble punishment?

The incident took place Feb. 15th at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City -- after Ray and then-fiancee (now wife) Janay Palmer got into a heated argument on their way into the elevator.

Inside the elevator it's apparent he strikes first ... she hits back ... and then Rice delivers the knockout blow.
The punch knocks Janay off her feet -- and she smashes her head on the elevator hand rail ... knocking her out cold. Ray doesn't seem phased ... and when the door opens, he drags her out into the hotel.

An employee of the hotel -- which just shut down for good -- tells TMZ Sports he was working there at the time and says the NFL saw the elevator footage before imposing the 2-game suspension.

We reached out to the NFL for comment several times -- so far, radio silence.

Read more:
For the second time this year, the owner of a professional basketball team will sell his controlling interest of a franchise after his racially insensitive views were made public.

Bruce Levenson, who has led the ownership group of the Atlanta Hawks since 2004, informed N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver on Saturday that he intended to sell the team, effectively cutting short a league investigation into an email that Mr. Levenson sent two years ago to fellow Hawks executives detailing his thoughts on how the team could attract more white fans.

On Sunday, when the issue came to light, the Hawks released the text of the August 2012 email, in which Mr. Levenson speculated that the team’s black fans had “scared away the whites” and that there were “not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.”

“I think Southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority,” Mr. Levenson said in his email, pointing out that he had earlier told the executive team that he wanted “some white cheerleaders” and “music familiar to a 40-year-old white guy,” and that he thought “the kiss cam is too black.”

The situation is another embarrassment for the N.B.A., which is trying to move beyond its protracted conflict with Donald Sterling, who was forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers this summer after the emergence of an audio recording in which he made disparaging remarks about blacks. It has made vivid again the outlines of racial division that exist in the N.B.A. — particularly among its owners, who are overwhelmingly white, and its players, a majority of whom are black — even as the league has distinguished itself as a leader among American professional sports in confronting diversity issues. That a racial issue came to the fore in Atlanta, long been seen as a center of black culture, is particularly striking.

It was Mr. Levenson himself, according to the N.B.A., who made the league aware of the existence of the email two months ago — a fact that raised more questions than it answered as the situation became public on Sunday. It was not clear what motivated Mr. Levenson to self-report, though the disclosure apparently came around the time that Mr. Sterling said he had hired private investigators to dig up information that would show that his behavior was not out of line with that of other N.B.A. owners.

David B. Anders of the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz was leading the N.B.A.’s investigation of Mr. Levenson, and had the process run its course, Mr. Levenson would almost certainly have faced discipline from the league.

Mr. Levenson’s email was sent on the night of Aug. 25, 2012, to Danny Ferry, the team’s general manager, and Ed Peskowitz and Todd Foreman, two members of his ownership group. While commenting on various aspects of team business, Mr. Levenson included a long passage linking the team’s struggles to sell season-ticket packages to its inability to attract white fans and corporations. In bullet points, he observed that 70 percent of the crowd seemed to be black, that the cheerleaders were black, that music played at the arena and at postgame concerts was hip-hop or gospel, and that “there are few fathers and sons at the games.” He also noted that the racial makeup at Hawks games did not match other arenas around the league.

Continue reading the main story

It was a contrite Mr. Levenson who issued a statement Sunday recanting the sentiments expressed in that email.

“If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be,” he said. “I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.”

Mr. Silver, the commissioner, responded in a statement, “As Mr. Levenson acknowledged, the views he expressed are entirely unacceptable and are in stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association.”

Those principles were tested earlier this year when the N.B.A. barred Mr. Sterling from the league, fined him $2.5 million and eventually worked with the other owners to force him to sell the Clippers for $2 billion. Mr. Sterling is pursuing an antitrust lawsuit against the N.B.A.

Bobby Samini, one of Mr. Sterling’s lawyers, declined to say Sunday whether he knew of Mr. Levenson’s email before it became public, but he was skeptical that Mr. Levenson had come forward of his own volition.

“I can’t imagine there’s any shred of truth to that,” Mr. Samini said. “Adam Silver has established a precedent and the precedent is this: If you have any information that’s damaging to an N.B.A. team, it’s worth something. It’s probably part of some shakedown scheme.”

The N.B.A. took issue with suggestions that Levenson was coerced in any way. “Any claim that Mr. Levenson didn’t self-report his email is categorically false,” Michael Bass, a league spokesman, said.

Aug 29, 2014

In a rare mea culpa, N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday that he had mishandled the Ray Rice case, in which the Baltimore Ravens running back was suspended for two games after being accused of assaulting his fiancée.

The suspension was announced late last month to an instant and furious uproar from women’s groups, organizations supporting victims of domestic violence and league players who felt the penalty was too light and inconsistent with punishments for other offenses.

“My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families,” Goodell said in a letter to team owners. “I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”

Goodell said that effective immediately any N.F.L. employee — not only a player — who is found to have engaged in assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involved physical force will be suspended without pay for six games for a first offense. Second-time offenders will be banished from the league for at least one year.

Goodell said that second-time offenders could petition to be reinstated after one year, but that “there will be no presumption or assurance that the petition will be granted.”

The about-face by Goodell, the most powerful executive in American sports, was stunning in its earnestness and clarity. The commissioner wrote frequently in the first person and admitted that he had lost sight of not only the seriousness of domestic violence, but also the league’s role as a leader in the sports world. Coming a month after the suspension of Rice, Goodell’s decision appeared considered, not rushed.

But it is also one of the few times during his eight-year tenure that Goodell has publicly admitted to making such a mistake. Since becoming commissioner in 2006, he has grappled with one crisis after another, from players using guns to spying by teams to bullying and the use of homophobic and racist language by players. He has rarely backpedaled on his decisions even in the face of withering criticism.

Perhaps most significantly, Goodell has equivocated on the issue of concussions and their impact on the health of players. For years, Goodell and the league dismissed mounting evidence about the dangers of repeated head hits, including in front of members of Congress.

The league has since changed rules and pledged tens of millions of dollars to study the impact of concussions, but the commissioner has never acknowledged the league’s past role in trying to sidestep the issue.

That evasion may cost the league dearly. Frustration over the league’s stance is one reason nearly 5,000 retired players sued the N.F.L. and Riddell, a helmet manufacturer, for hiding from them the dangers of concussions. A federal judge has preliminarily approved a landmark 65-year settlement that would award millions of dollars to players with severe neurological disorders, and spend tens of millions more to monitor other players.

Unlike concussions, which have an impact on the game and the finances of the N.F.L., the league’s stance on domestic violence is not purely a financial issue. While the league has spent years courting female fans by, among other things, having its players wear pink cleats to raise awareness of breast cancer, Goodell also announced his new policy a week before the start of the regular season and ahead of a three-day weekend, when many people are on vacation.

Goodell initially defended the decision to suspend Rice for two games. He said he spoke directly to Rice and noted that he avoided a trial by entering a counseling program. “He is a young man that really understands the mistake he made and he is out and about and determined to make a positive difference,” Goodell said at the beginning of August.

But as blowback continued, he apparently recognized the issue was larger than just Rice. In his 2,000-word letter and memo, Goodell said that his decision was based as much on the obligation of the league to be held to a higher standard than other sports leagues and institutions.

“Much of the criticism stemmed from a fundamental recognition that the N.F.L. is a leader, that we do stand for important values, and that we can project those values in ways that have a positive impact beyond professional football,” he wrote.

Groups that criticized Goodell for being insensitive to the issue of domestic abuse applauded him for reversing course.

“This decision by N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell to change the league’s policy on how it disciplines players who beat their wives and girlfriends is a big win, not just for women, but for all N.F.L. players, staff and fans,” said Becky Bond, the political director of Credo, a women’s rights group.

The N.F.L. Players Association, which has often been at loggerheads with the commissioner over his penalties for players, did not publicly endorse Goodell’s tougher stance. In a statement, the union said only that it was informed of the N.F.L.’s decision and that “if we believe that players’ due process rights are infringed upon during the course of discipline, we will assert and defend our members’ rights.”

While other leagues employ an independent arbitrator to hear player appeals, the N.F.L. is essentially the judge and jury in disciplinary cases not covered by the collective bargaining agreement. This has led many commentators to compare Rice’s suspension over accusations that he assaulted his fiancée in an elevator to the four-game suspensions for players who violated the league’s drug policy.

On Wednesday, the league upheld its one-year suspension of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for violating its substance-abuse policy. Afterward, Gordon criticized the league for not exercising “better discretion and judgment in my case.”

Still, Gordon’s penalty was based on guidelines agreed on between the league and the players union, not the commissioner. Goodell’s decision to more severely penalize those who commit domestic violence, on the other hand, has set a precedent.

“This is very rare,” said Marc Ganis, a consultant to several teams. “Goodell’s admission of having erred on something this important to society is very rare and speaks volumes about the confidence the N.F.L. has to admit its mistake.”
During the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in New York City in 2011, a decorated Marine sergeant confronted a group of police officers and gave them a lecture at the top of his voice about how they should not be hurting peaceful American protesters.

“Stop hurting these people, man!” shouts Sgt. Shamar Thomas, of the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, in a video published to YouTube. “Why are ya’ll doing this to our people? I’ve been to Iraq 14 months, but my people, you come over and you hurt them! They don’t have guns!”

He adds: “How do you sleep at night? There is no honor in this!”

We sure could use a whole lot more Sgt. Shamar Thomas in this country.

It's so interesting how black people love this country so much that we voluntarily fight in her wars, but yet when we come back home we still are treated as second class citizens. One day America is going to have to live up to her promise for all her citizens. Until that day occurs we are continue to have incidents like that which took the life of Michael Brown as well as Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, and countless other nameless black women and men.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton broke nearly three weeks of silence Thursday on the fatal police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old in Missouri, saying his death and the violent protests that followed resulted from frayed bonds of trust in a racially divided community.

The remarks by the former secretary of state during a speech to a technology group were her first about Michael Brown’s Aug. 9 death in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

As a potential Democratic presidential candidate, Clinton was criticized for waiting so long to talk about the shooting of Brown, who was black, by a white police officer after a midday confrontation on a street.

Clinton lamented the shooting and the numerous tense confrontations that followed between angry protesters and heavily armed police.

“This is what happens when the bonds of trust and respect that hold any community together fray,” she said. “Nobody wants to see our streets look like a war zone. Not in America. We are better than that.”

She said America cannot ignore inequalities in its justice system.

“Imagine if white drivers were three times as likely to be searched by police during a traffic stop as black drivers, instead of the other way around,” she said, or “if white offenders received prison sentences 10 percent longer than black offenders for the same crimes.”

Clinton noted that higher percentages of black men go to prison compared to white men.

“That is the reality in the lives of so many of our fellow Americans and so many of the communities in which they live,” she said. She said Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for racial equality “is as fiercely urgent today” as it was decades ago.

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton was among those who chastised Clinton and other politicians for waiting weeks to discuss the events in Ferguson. Sharpton said Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a potential GOP presidential candidate, should not “get laryngitis on this issue.”

Aug 25, 2014

(WVEC) --- The Navy has decided to separate Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jessica Sims, a 12-year sailor, for failing to obey an order to cut off her natural hairstyle, according to a Wednesday statement from the chief of naval personnel's office.

Navy officials have decided to separate a 12-year African-American sailor for failing to obey an order to cut off her natural hairstyle.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jessica Sims confirmed to Navy Times that she will be honorably discharged Friday, after refusing to trim her locks, which she had worn most of her time in the Navy. After a delay on her discharge, officials ruled that Sims’ locks were out of regs and that her bun was too bulky to be worn with a gas mask.

“For the past couple weeks, not knowing what the Navy was going to do, if they were going to move forward with the discharge or keep me in, had me in a little limbo,” Sims said in a phone interview Wednesday. “In the back of my head I knew that they weren’t going to change, so it was more of just waiting for the date.”

Chief of Naval Personnel spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello said Sims will be discharged for disobeying a lawful order. Her chain of command at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois, ordered her to get her hair within regs earlier this year, soon after she reported in April.

“[Assistant Navy Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Juan] Garcia and [Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Bill] Moran have completed their review and are more than satisfied that the chain of command handled this case by the book,” Servello said.

Sims, 32, first spoke to Navy Times Aug. 4, anticipating a discharge the following week. The Navy confirmed her administrative separation proceedings on the basis of her hair, which she has been wearing in small, tightly wound dreadlocks twisted into a bun since 2005.

Sims said that her hair had never been a problem until she checked in at Great Lakes. Before her move to boot camp, she had spent seven years as an instructor at Naval Medicine Training Support Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, and Field Medical Service School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

She contended that hair regulations are biased against the natural hairstyles of many African-American women. The Navy’s uniform regulations specifically ban “widely spaced individual hanging locks,” but Sims said that because hers are closely spaced and worn in a bun, they don’t violate the rules.

“I don’t think I should be told that I have to straighten my hair in order to be within what they think the regulations are, and I don’t think I should have to cover it up with a wig,” she said.

The Navy said her chain of command gave her multiple opportunities to cut her hair, but Sims said that amounted to shaving off her locks and wearing a wig. Her discharge came down to disobeying her command’s order to shear off her locks. In addition, Servello said, there were some safety concerns to consider.

“As depicted in the photos that Petty Officer Sims provided, you can clearly see the size of the bun that she wears her hair in is out of regulation,” he said. “Bulky hair makes it difficult to wear headgear and safety equipment like a gas mask, hard hat or firefighting ensemble properly.”

Sims said she always makes sure her bun protrudes less than two inches from her head, per regulation, and that she’d never had a problem wearing safety helmets or gas masks.

Taking a stand
The Navy’s decision comes a week after the Defense Department announced the Navy would be relaxing its hair regulations to allow two-strand twists, as well as multiple, hanging braids that are otherwise in regulation for length.

Sims said the new regs are a step in the right direction, but that the Navy still needs to take a closer look at locks.

“To me, my natural hair is professional,” she said. “It’s all how you keep yourself up. I could just have a regular bun and not take care of that and it could look unprofessional.”

Many Navy Times Facebook commenters agreed that Sims’ hair looked well-kept, though others argued that she failed to obey an order, and that was grounds enough for a discharge.

In the end that’s what it came down to, but Sims said she doesn’t have any regrets.

“I am happy that I took the stand that I did,” she said. “I still stand by it. I would do it again if I had to.”

Sims added that if the Navy wants to ban dreadlocks across the board, then the regulation should say that, rather than explicitly banning “widely spaced individual hanging” locks.

“I won’t be the last one standing up fighting for this issue,” she said. “I have faith in our junior sailors because they are the future of our Navy, and the majority of them were supporting the right thing.”

Sims is scheduled to get her discharge papers on Friday, then start classes at Loyola University of Chicago on Monday, where she plans to major in biology as a pre-med.

“I look at it like this: God only closes one door to open another for greater things, and I am blessed and highly favored,” she said.

Aug 24, 2014

Elon James White, CEO of This Week in Blackness, describes his harrowing experience of getting tear-gassed in Ferguson, Missouri.

Aug 21, 2014

Here's the Open Letter to America:
"Look at us....America has created a monster. The result of ignoring & mishandling an already fragile spirited, recently enslaved, presently oppressed race/generation of people. Look at us. We're the monster that now refuses to be dismissed, overlooked and ignored. We were brought to this place, unaware of our own cultures, religion & traditions therefore, we created our own. Now look at us.

For years we've been crying out for the nation to address the substandard education systems & disparaging treatment of our citizens in communities across America. Our people have had an increasing lack of opportunities for generations. There have been homes broken, lives shattered and futures lost on your watch....unanswered. Look at us. How long can u expect a nation/race/generation of people to be blatantly disrespected? Spoken to and treated with arrogant tones of insignificance. Our fathers, uncles, brothers and role models were killed and imprisoned more often than educated. Now look at us. Our friends and relatives murdered and cast aside without thought, as though your human life is more valuable than ours. How long can that go on without consequence? Now Look at us.

How long can u continue to pass the buck & make excuses of why u can't do today what should have been done yeste-year? Although I DO NOT support the negative responses & actions of my people in light of this tragedy....I WILL NOT condone your lack of effort to show any urgency to improve the treatment of our people, nor the living conditions in our communities. Your refusal to address these life altering issues makes events such as these seem inevitable. Although I too am at fault to a degree and I admit that I may not have all da answers... I do have a fun fact for you. Insanity is...Going about things the same way, expecting a different result. U wanna different result? U must take different action. What else do u expect? Look at us!!!"

Here's the Open Letter to 'His People':

"Look at us. Rebels without a cause. Soldiers without a general. A lost generation. Ready For War. No strategy…no training. Armed only with our grief, aggravation and passionate disdain for our treatment in America. Sick and tired of everything...especially ourselves. We'd rather use the tragedies of our environment as an excuse to act-out, go-off, or turn-up, rather than use our education, talents and future opportunities to get-out, speak-up and make-a-change.

Look at us...Too Enraged to sit around and do nothing. But Too Entrapped in da cycle of vengeance/hostility to do anything WORTH doing. Look at us. So upset with our conditions that we've gone into "F***-it" mode... "F***-the-world" "F**-the-Police" and even "F***" the wishes and requests of a grieving mother, father, family who lost a son...who's memory they would NOT like to see tarnished by OUR negative ACTIONS/DECISIONS. Naaah G, that ain't the code, this ain't da way.

Notice I say, 'Look at US.' Because make no mistake now.... I AM ONE OF YOU!!!! My life experience, execution of talent/opportunity, and use of education are the only things that separate US. I TOO know what it's like to be stereotyped, profiled, and feel hopelessly stuck in unbearable conditions with no signs of prosperity. I’m just as enraged, frustrated and overwhelmed with despair as everyone else. I just refuse to take any action that will contribute to any outcome other than change (for the better).

Look at us. We're giving them every excuse and justifying all action necessary taken against us. We're making it easier for the young black man in America to be just as excusably profiled as a middle-eastern man in an airport (no offense).

When faced with opposition, we must take what our opponent gives us, not fight against them using their strengths. All action taken MUST contribute to a more desired outcome. What I see us doing is just as futile as swinging wildly into the wind, waiting on the air to get tired. One question to MY PEOPLE: What are we changing...Really?

Look at us. Destroying our own community, but continuing to spend money in theirs. Refusing education...revolving in the same cycle of ignorance instead of evolving out of it. I must admit that I TOO am disgusted wit America's treatment. I TOO demand change. But Goddddaaaaamn man.... Look at us!!!!! Although I too am at fault to a degree and I admit that I may not have all da answers... I do have a fun fact for you. Insanity is...Going about things the same way, expecting a different result. U wanna different result? U must take different action. What else do u expect? Look at us!!!"