As we celebrate Black History Month, one figure who was a trailblazer in the game of baseball died today at the age of 83.
Frank Robinson, who was born in Beaumont, Texas, was a World Series champion, finished his baseball career with 586 career home runs, and led the way for minorities in management in the game.
“Frank Robinson’s résumé in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career.”
The Cleveland Indians gave Robinson his chance at managing in 1975 when they made him player-manager and gave him the distinction as the first black manager in the Major Leagues. He earned the AL’s Manager of the Year Award in 1989 after leading the Baltimore Orioles, which famously lost its first 21 games the year prior to an 87-win season. At his Hall of Fame induction in 1982, Robinson paid homage to Baltimore, Memorial Stadium and its fans.
Plans for funeral arrangements were not immediately announced. In lieu of flowers, his family suggests donations in Robinson’s name to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis or the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C.
To learn more about Robinson, visit: https://www.mlb.com/news/frank-robinsons-top-10-mlb-moments/c-300017338
XFL to host player showcase
The XFL today announced it will host a series of player showcases across the United States in June and July. In partnership with American National Combines (“ANC”), these showcases will give prospective football players a chance to exhibit their skills in front of XFL coaches and personnel directors. Players will be evaluated based on performance for inclusion in the XFL Draft player pool for the upcoming 2023 season.
“We are excited to kick off this showcase series and begin opening more doors for aspiring football players across the entire country,” said Dany Garcia, Chairwoman and Owner. “Our intentional showcase locations, such as Jackson State, one of the largest HBCUs in the country, and our Hawai’i Showcase in Honolulu, are direct reflections of our XFL core values of diversity, inclusivity and accessibility. As an organization and league we will continue to push the boundaries and unlock new opportunities to advance the game of football.”
“These showcases are an incredible opportunity for passionate players to show up and ball out for a chance to join the XFL,” said Dwayne Johnson, Owner. “The XFL is all about being at the intersection of dreams and opportunity. It is our goal to make football more accessible to more players, and our highly experienced team of coaches and personnel directors are ready to help make these professional football dreams come true. The door is open for elite talent across the country to join the XFL – including my home state of Hawai’i. I’m looking forward to seeing these players bringing their best and leaving it all out on the field.”
Russ Brandon, President, added, “We are ready to discover and evaluate seasoned athletes looking to compete in a dynamic, fast-paced game and grow professionally with the XFL. Our football operations team continues to gain momentum and our head coaches are eager to seek fresh talent for our 2023 season. This will be an exciting summer ahead, and I’m looking forward to seeing the turnout at all of our events.”
Registration is now open for the XFL showcases. If you are interested in attending, please register here: www.showcases.xfl.com/register
If you have any questions about the events and player eligibility, please visit our FAQ page: www.showcases.xfl.com/faq
|XFL WASHINGTON, DC SHOWCASEFriday, June 17, 2022University of Maryland, College Park, MD||XFL HBCU SHOWCASE*Saturday, July 16, 2022Jackson State, Jackson, MS|
|XFL FLORIDA SHOWCASESunday, June 19, 2022IMG Academy, Bradenton, FL||XFL ARIZONA SHOWCASEFriday, July 22, 2022Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ|
|XFL HAWAI’I SHOWCASE*Saturday, June 25, 2022McKinley High School, Honolulu, HI||XFL TEXAS SHOWCASESunday, July 24, 2022Choctaw Stadium, Arlington, TX|
Wendell Scott, NASCAR’s First Black Driver NFT
NFT Collection Honoring the Man Who Broke the NASCAR Color Barrier
A series of historic NFTs created by Wendell Scott Ventures will be introduced and sold to commemorate the iconic and groundbreaking life and legacy of Wendell Scott. On December 1, 1963, Wendell Scott broke NASCAR’s color barrier by becoming the first African American NASCAR driver to win a Grand National race, NASCAR’s highest level. Until Bubba Wallace’s win on October 4, 2021 there had never been another black driver to win a NASCAR race. To this day, Wendell Scott is the only black NASCAR team owner. Despite Wendell Scott’s triumphant victory, he was never awarded a trophy for this win. It wasn’t until August 28, 2021, nearly 60 years after his Jacksonville win that his trophy was posthumously awarded to his family.
Coming off of a successful in-person NFT auction hosted by Authentik Studios at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, in which the first-ever NFTs of an African American NASCAR driver were sold, the collaboration with Worldwide XR, CMG Worldwide and VueXR continues with a broader release on March 6th with the premiere NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway.
100 years after his birth and 58 years after his NASCAR victory, Wendell Scott continues to break barriers as his legacy is now irrevocably entwined with technology that is shaping the future of how users engage with the world around them. NFTs are a fitting mode to share the story of Wendell Scott as NFTs, like Wendell Scott, disrupted society while simultaneously paving the path for change in a broken system. Akin to NFTs impact on technology, cryptocurrency, and the future of Web 3.0, Scott’s impact shook NASCAR’s status quo and made the sport more inclusive and accessible. Owners of these NFTs have a chance to be a part of history in the making.
A monumental series of firsts, these historic NFTs were created in partnership by leading digital agency Worldwide XR (WXR), Extended Reality content developers Vue XR, and Wendell Scott Ventures (the joint venture between David Steward II’s Lion Forge Films (Academy Award®-winning Hair Love), parent company Polarity, a leading black-owned entertainment holding company and Scott 34 Racing) and are the first ever NFTs to be released of an African American NASCAR driver. This will be Nifty’s first time releasing a 3D Augmented Reality (AR) digital car on their platform. The first of it’s kind and an exact 1:1 replica of Wendell Scott’s first-ever NASCAR winning 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air. Much like the blockchain allows users to operate on a decentralized system, the Extended Reality (XR) version of Scott’s car breaks it away from its physical confines of its display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and brings it to the masses. This AR asset can also be utilized in Metaverse applications.
Depending on which NFT is purchased, owners will also receive Authentik Studios’ SILO™ Digital Frame that brings your NFTs to life by allowing users to display your collections on a 43″ HD high-fidelity audio display from the comfort of their home. Users can access their entire NFT gallery via the SILO™ App & enjoy their NFTs in unparalleled 4K resolution.
About Wendell Scott
Born in rural Virginia in 1921 during the Jim Crow Era, a time when racial segregation was enforced by law, Wendell Scott’s life and career was filled with adversity. After serving as a mechanic in a segregated division in WWII , he was denied access to NASCAR due to the color of his skin. From his first job as a taxi driver, Scott sharpened his driving skills bootlegging moonshine during the Prohibition era.
Scott used trials and tribulations to propel him forward. Scott became the first African American team owner and spent nine years in the “Dixie Circuit”, a smaller regional competitor to NASCAR, until he was finally able to persuade NASCAR to grant him a license to race in 1953 – officially breaking the sport’s color barrier.
Scott won the Jacksonville 200 race in 1963, only to see the win given to a white driver on a “clerical error” (later reversed). After competing in 496 NASCAR races, with 147 Top 10 finishes, a horrific near-death crash in 1973 ended his career. Scott died of cancer in 1990 and was officially inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015, becoming the first African American in NASCAR history to do so.
Wendell Scott’s career was repeatedly challenged by racial prejudice and threats on his life. However, his determined struggle as an underdog would prove to win the hearts of thousands of fans and fellow racers. Scott was, and still is, a pop culture icon who was the subject of the film “Greased Lightning” starring Richard Pryor and was the inspiration for the character of River Scott in Disney’s animated film “Cars 3.”
The Wendell Scott Foundation is run by CEO Warrick Scott and provides educational programs designed for students aged 8 through 18 using STEM-related resources and programs, as well as learning and mentoring opportunities to communities across the country. For more information about the Foundation go to www.wendellscott.org.
Robert Smith could be 1st Black NFL Owner
Robert Smith is a businessman and philanthropist who has had a very successful career in the financial industry. He has been interested in owning an NFL team for some time, but had not found the right opportunity.
The Denver Broncos are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. They have won 6 Super Bowls and are currently valued at $2.6 billion, making them one of the most valuable franchise in football.
It should come as no surprise that a billionaire from Colorado has emerged as one of the possible bidders for the Broncos. An NFL success story, his efforts will make him the first black team owner in NFL history.
Smith would need to spend $1.2 billion, as the NFL requires primary owners to put up 30% in cash.
According to a Denver Gazette report, six groups are looking to buy the Broncos. One has former quarterback Peyton Manning and former president & general manager of the Broncos John Elway. Others include a group led by Ms. Brittany Bowlen – daughter of late owner Pat Bowlen.
The sale of the Broncos could go for more than $4 billion, making it the richest team sale in the history of American sports. If the team sells for $4 billion, Smith would need to spend $1.2 billion, as the NFL requires primary owners to put up 30% in cash.
Denver native Smith has pledged to pay off student debt acquired by 400-plus of the University’s graduates. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners which he founded in 2000.
Smith has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion and is ranked as the richest Black person in America, according to Forbes. The Broncos have a current value of $3.75 billion, with room to grow to more than $4 billion if sold now.