Baseball celebrates the legacy of Jackie Robinson, but 70 years after he became the first African-American player in Major League Baseball, players of color are still subject to racist taunts. Orioles center fielder Adam Jones highlighted this when he told reporters he was called "the n-word" and had a bag of peanuts thrown at him during a game last week at Fenway Park in Boston. After Jones spoke up, other African-American players came forward to report similar incidents involving Red Sox fans, and Jones himself sat down for more interviews and met with Red Sox officials. The team has said it will place a lifetime ban on any fan caught using racist language, and has reportedly acted on it at least once already. Credit Jones for choosing to speak up—Baltimore is lucky to have him.
⬆︎ Baltimore Brigade
There are no doubt many things competing for your time and hard-earned dollar, but the Baltimore Brigade, the city's new Arena Football League team, is worth a look. The Brigade held its first home game on Sunday, offering the city a high-scoring, quick-passing brand of football that didn't lack for action. And owner Ted Leonsis' Monumental Sports crew delivered a pretty slick production for everything happening around the play on the field, with an in-game host, contests during breaks in the action, a stage full of entertainment, and a pump-up DJ, Chris Styles. The Brigade has a tough road to hoe: They're 1-3 after losing the home opener to the Tampa Bay Storm and their season overlaps with the Orioles, meaning it might be hard for the team to gain traction. But we encourage you to give them a try.
In an attempt to outdo their previous craven attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act, Republicans drafted the new American Health Care Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week. If the bill becomes law, it would stifle Medicaid expansion (that alone would strip 14 million people of coverage), increase premiums for the elderly, strip protections for people with preexisting conditions, and remove the employer mandate and incentivize (with tax credits) employers to not offer coverage to employees. Not to mention a complicated new amendment could make it harder for people who've had C-sections or postpartum depression, as well as survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence, to get affordable coverage. Yet another alarmingly clear example that the GOP doesn't give two shits about the tired, poor, huddling, marginalized masses.
⬇︎ Congressional Democratic Singers
As the Republican House caucus secured the 216th vote on what by all appearances is an odious bill that repeals Obamacare while ending at least 14 million people's chance at affordable health insurance, Democrats chanted the "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye" song at them, on the theory that, with this vote, the Republicans had doomed their 2018 election chances. This is stupid. Assuming this crappy bill gets through the Senate (a big stretch), think: How does openly taunting your adversary help you win? And will Fox News use this video to spin a magic lie about how losing your health care is all Obama's fault?
⬇︎ Safe Streets
Details were sketchy as City Paper went to press, but it appears that a $1.2 million state grant to fund the "Safe Streets" program was rescinded or otherwise canceled last week. The program, which hires ex-offenders to counsel criminals and intervene in their disputes, claims much success in reducing shootings and murders in the four small areas of the city where its violence interrupters are deployed. Administered by the Health Department and non-profits since 2007, Safe Streets workers do not cooperate with police in order to build a rapport with those at risk for violence. Safe Streets has also faced several disruptions when its workers were charged with dealing drugs and other crimes. Whether the most recent arrest has any connection to the funding problem remains unknown.