Dwyane Wade’s last game memorable


Miami Heat star and shooting guard Dwyane Wade finishes his NBA career with a triple double against the Brooklyn Nets with good friends and NBA stars Chris Paul, Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony watching court-side. Wade capped off the night with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

It was a story-book ending to the “One Last Dance” tour for Wade: He secured his triple double after long-time teammate and close friend Udonis Haslem knocked down the shot off of Wade’s assist.

“For me, I wanted to make that night memorable for him,” Haslem said. “What other way than to be the guy that knocked down that last shot to give him the triple-double. I shot the ball, it felt like a game winner. I felt the pressure, I felt the pressure of a game-winning shot.”

Watching the game on TV, it seemed like a home game. As Wade dribbled the ball as time went out, the Barclays Center erupted into cheers. Fans were decked out in Wade gear. It did not matter who won this game. It was about honoring an NBA legend.

Wade finishes a 16-year career as a three-time NBA champion and 13-time All-Star. The American Airlines Arena will definitely not feel the same next season with Wade on the bench. Not only was he an incredible player, but also, a great leader that touched many lives that was best captured in the recent Budweiser commercial.

Miami-Dade County will always be Wade-County. Wade’s legacy will forever be remembered as he helped transform the Miami Heat franchise and the city of Miami.

Loughlin, Huffman appear in court


Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman made brief appearances in federal court on Wednesday in Boston, both facing mail fraud charges for their participation in the recent college admissions scandal.

Both allegedly paid a college prep company to cheat on standardized tests or bribe college coaches to get into top colleges. They are among dozens of wealthy parents accused of participating in the scheme.

In court, Huffman and Loughlin both waived their rights for a preliminary hearing and were free to leave. Prosecutors are seeking prison for the defendants and these charges carry a maximum of 20 years. While others entered plea deals, Loughlin and Huffman have not.

Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, was in court with her as he is also charged in the scheme; however, Huffman’s husband, “Shameless” star William H. Macy, has yet to be charged.

In the immediate aftermath of the case, the Hallmark Channel dropped Loughlin and she will no longer have a reoccurring role on Netflix’s “Fuller House.” As for her daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, they are still in enrolled at the University of Southern California despite their parents being accused of bribing the USC rowing coach to get their daughters onto the team even though they never participated in crew. However, USC officials said they are reviewing their enrollment.

The next court date has not been set, but prosecutors are going to make sure the defendants pay the price for what they did. Hopefully, the government can learn from this scandal and improve the college admissions process to ensure equality for all students. The amount of money one has should not be a factor in the college admissions process rather it should be focused on the students’ abilities.

Charges dropped against Smollett


In a stunning twist, Chicago prosecutors dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett on Tuesday after he was accused of staging a racist and anti-gay attack on himself. However, Smollett still maintains innocence.

Despite refuting Smollett’s claim of being a victim rather than the mastermind behind the attack, prosecutors felt Smollett’s completion of 16 community service hours and $10,000 bond donated to the city was a sufficient punishment.

Chicago police and Mayor Rahm Emanual are angered by the prosecutors’ decision, believing Smollett staged the attack upon himself to gain publicity and advance his career.

This shocking decision leaves many people confused across the state as well as the nation because the Chicago police had said it had plenty of evidence that Smollett did orchestrate the attack on himself.

In hearing this decision, I was shocked myself because I saw the sharp criticism against Smollett and calls for justice all over the news and social media. Top officials made appearances promising that Smollett will be properly punished for his crimes.

I am left wondering as well as many others if Smollett’s fame played a factor in handling of this case. If this was a regular individual, would they receive the same punishment for 16 felony charges? I do not think so. Not only that but Smollett continues to lie about really happened so he did not seem to gain any lessons from his community service hours. Is there something happening within the State Attorney’s Office of Chicago that we don’t know about? It definitely seems like it as the office has completely changed its stance regarding this case for no apparent reason. Hopefully, the Fourth Estate can get to work in exposing what is really going on here and provide people answers to their questions.

New Zealand announces gun changes


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced new law gun control laws that will ban all military-style weapons and assault rifles in wake of the mass shootings that killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

“On 15 March, our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too,” Ardern said. “We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strength our gun laws and make our a country a safer place.”

However, Ardern later clarified that this new legislation will be proposed to Parliament in beginning of April. She hopes to restrict access to such guns while the country waits for Parliament to pass the new legislation.

It took only 72 hours for New Zealand to act and make the proper changes to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring.

The United States has a mass shooting almost every week, but no progress has been made in banning military style assault rifles, such as the AR-15, the common weapon in mass shooting

Not only has Arden fulfilled her promise of pursuing gun control, but also vowed to not give the shooter notoriety or mention is name in conversation. The “No Notoriety” campaign has not been as successful in the United States as the media continues to mention the perpetrator.

Prime Minister Ardern stands as a symbol for gun control and should be applauded for her response following one of the deadliest shootings in New Zealand history.

Feds list people to question at border


Customs and Border Protections created a secret list of reporters, lawyers and activists who should be questioned when crossing the into the United States from Mexico at the San Diego checkpoint last year.

According to NBC News, at least 21 people confirmed they have been questioned as they crossed the border. They were told they were being questioned and must give up access to their cellphones due to an ongoing national security investigation.

The individuals featured on the list traveled with the caravans from Central America hoping to seek asylum in the United States. Many of these activists and journalists are speaking out against the U.S. government for singling them for unwarranted extra questioning.

However, officials deny targeting “journalists for inspection based on their occupation or their reporting.” They claim many of these individuals may have connections to the assaults staged against CBP agents back in November.

Some fear that this will have a chilling effect on reporters as well as activists from doing their jobs since those who report on immigration and provide help to asylum-seekers are the individuals being targeted on this list.

Border officials do have the right to question an individual they suspect committed a crime, however, it is widely inappropriate to detain someone based on his or her occupation and directly violates his or her First Amendment rights.

Reporters need to continue telling this story and questioning officials to get the bottom of this matter because the vague response from officials of conducting a national security organizations does not suffice.

Summit ends abruptly, Kim praised


The second summit meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, between President Trump and Kim Jong-un ended abruptly Thursday after no agreement could be made over nuclear weapons.

The summit kicked off Wednesday night and the two leaders were expected to sign an agreement; however, Trump said he walked away because Kim was insistent upon the United States lifting all sanctions on the North Korean economy.

Trump said North Korea must give up its nuclear capabilities and halt nuclear weapon production before any sanctions are lifted. However, despite not signing an agreement, Trump felt the meeting to be very productive and even predicting the two leaders will become great friends.

Although the meeting failed in producing the result the United States hoped for, it did solidify how Trump views the North Korean dictator who is accused of human rights violations and committing brutal atrocities upon his people.

Additionally, President Trump failed to publicly denounce Kim’s atrocities and did not address human rights in the summit at all with the leader. Even more concerning, Trump believed Kim’s denial in playing any part in Otto Warmbier’s death.

Otto Warmbier was an American student who was detained in North Korea for 17 months. He was released to the U.S. in a vegetative state and ultimately died from his condition.

It is alarming that Trump has no problem in calling people out, such as credible and qualified reporters, but praises a brutal dictator. The United States stands as a symbol for freedom and human rights; yet this seems to completely contradict that.

Trump said, “He likes me. I like him. Some people say ‘oh, you shouldn’t like him.’ I said, why shouldn’t I like him? I like him.” Maybe he shouldn’t like him because he is a dictator who is responsible for torturing and murdering innocent civilians.

I applaud the many news media organizations for their editorial pieces about Trump praising Kim. Many reporters point to how this is very concerning as Trump seems to be allowing Kim to continue his human rights abuses. It does not seem Kim will relinquish his power and end his oppressive regime in the near future since it seems Trump sees no problem with his rule.

Actor Jussie Smollett no longer a victim


After “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett reported last month that he was victim of a racist and homophobic attack, Chicago Police now believe he orchestrated the attack upon himself, charging him with a felony of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. He is being held on $100,000 bail and must surrender his passport.

Initially, Smollett told the police that he was beaten by two masked men as they yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, placed a rope around his neck, and poured an unknown substance on him. Additionally, the studio where “Empire” is filmed received a letter filled with homophobic and racist language just a week before the attack.

Police were skeptical of Smollett’s story from the beginning, but still treated him as a victim until they completed the investigation. In a press conference, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack as well as provided money for the materials. Johnson believes this was a stunt for Smollett to increase his publicity in hopes of receiving a salary promotion. Smollett, however, denies the allegations.

“Actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said. “Why would anyone especially an African American man use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?”

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, the news and entertainment media glorified Smollett as a symbol for the gay and African-American communities. However, many, including Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, were dissatisfied with how quick media organizations were to cover the attack.

“I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention,” Johnson said.

Although hate crimes are widespread and happen daily, they rarely make the news. But in this case, it did because it involved a public figure. Thus, it was alarming that the media is so quick to publish a story about a celebrity, but when a common citizen deals with such an ordeal, it is rarely mentioned. Even staffers working for Good Morning America had doubts about Smollett’s story after he had an interview with GMA host Robin Roberts.

Some feel this will negatively impact future victims of hate crimes as they may be afraid to speak up in fear of being accused of making it all up. Smollett could have been a great leader, but his ego got in the way.

This ordeal will definitely further divide our country as the media will be under a lot of scrutiny for believing Smollett’s story and not waiting for the investigation to be concluded. In the end, Smollett damaged his reputation and the media’s credibility with individuals accusing media organizations for distorting reality.

How much should we cover the shooter?


It has been one year since the worst mass shooting in United States history. On Valentine’s Day 2018, tragedy disrupted the happiness and love at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

According to authorities, a former MSD student brought his semi-automatic rifle into a freshman building where he shot and killed 17 students and faculty in less than 10 minutes.

During the immediate aftermath of the shooting, survivors, which included students David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky and Jaclyn Corin, launched a campaign called the “March For Our Lives” to end gun violence around America. Additionally, they vowed to never forget the lives lost by making sure their names are always brought up in commemoration.

After the shooting, the news media goes through the usual script of covering a mass shooting: explaining what happened, the lives lost and background of the shooter. However, many of these young activists are calling for the media to stop glorifying mass shooters.

Most recently, USA Today published a story in honor of the one-year anniversary of the shooting. In doing so, the reporter, John Bacon, highlighted all the key figures at the center of the shooting to discuss where they are today, which included discussing the young student activists and the shooter along with an image of him in court.

In response to the article, David Hogg appeared on MSNBC where he said, “They’re [USA Today] one of the best news organizations at making shooters famous in the first place. They always plaster the shooter’s face everywhere. They always give them several hundred pages of coverage.”

Hogg advocating for news media outlets to change how they cover mass shootings is part of the broader campaign called “No Notoriety” that began as a result of the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. There have been studies done to show that many mass shootings are repetitions of each other as perpetrators see the news coverage of the shooting and want the notoriety of being a school shooter. These aspiring shooters who hope to achieve fame see that is a real possibility through the news media. Thus, this campaign is calling for the news media to stop naming and showing pictures of the shooter.

News media outlets face difficult decisions in covering mass shootings. Now, many, such as Anderson Cooper, are pledging not to name the shooter during coverage or release any images. However, the American news media have the responsibility to keep the public well informed about what is happening around the globe and nationally. Yet, they need to be responsible in reporting. Instead of focusing on who it was, the news media must focus on why or how it happened.

We should use the news media coverage surrounding mass shootings to better understand why this keeps on happening and find the solutions to prevent them from happening in the future rather than as a means to talk about the shooter. When the media glorifies and identifies mass shooters, the victims are hurt twice: once by the perpetrator and the media. Since it seems as though mass shootings are going to be a constant in the U.S. for years to come, news outlets need to do their jobs but must be mindful of the victims and their families because their wounds are consistently reopened due to reappearing images and identification of the shooter in the news.

Fact-checking Trump’s SOTU address


President Trump delivered his second State of the Union address to both chambers of Congress Tuesday night. In his speech, Trump made calls for unity and bipartisanship. However, along with many of his hopes for the future of the country, he discussed and reflected on matters pertaining to immigration, the economy, and foreign policy among others.

Throughout his speech, Trump made a number of claims that I, myself, wanted to make sure were correct. Therefore, when I went to read different news outlets reactions to the speech, I found some interesting pieces about examining the accuracy of Trump’s claims. It is quite unnerving that different news media outlets have to “fact-check” our president, someone who we trust to tell us the truth.

I applaud these different news media organizations to go through the president’s speech and check for falsities. We live in a country where we are bombarded with falsehoods and so-called fake news. However, we rely on these presidential addresses to hear about the state of our current affairs. But, now we are left thinking, what are we supposed to believe?

I particularly enjoyed The New York Times piece titled, “State of the Union Fact Check: What Trump got Right and Wrong.” Today, our news media landscape has become very partisan, making unsubstantiated claims about our government. However, in this piece, a number of reporters came together to detect falsehoods and exaggerations in the president’s speech by presenting data and information that disproves what he said.

When Trump spoke about immigration, he said, “The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now immediately upon its building with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is on the safest cities in our country.”

However, New York Times reporters prove that this statement is false by showing that El Paso has never been one of the most dangerous cities in the United States and prior to the building of the border fencing in 2008, the city’s crime rate had already been decreasing.

If the story had failed to provide the evidence for which Trump’s claim was false, I would be less likely to believe it. As we know many say Trump has lied previously; however, many of those claims have lacked support. These reporters tracked the accuracy of these claims through extensive research and that is what you call good journalism.

It is through strong reporting like this that a democracy flourishes. The press or the Fourth Estate helps U.S. citizens stay well informed and holds officials accountable. The advent of the free press was grounded in the idea that it serves as watchdog of government and this piece serves as a tool for citizens to track the progress of our country under President Trump for the last two years.

UM forward Hernandez ruled ineligible


The NCAA announced Monday afternoon that University of Miami junior Dewan Hernandez is ineligible to play the rest of the college basketball season and must sit out 40 percent of next season’s games. The 6-11 forward has missed the first 19 games of the season.

“I am very disappointed in the outcome,” Dewan Hernandez said in a statement. “I don’t believe the NCAA treated me fairly and it is with a heavy heart that I have decided to withdraw from the University of Miami and prepare for the 2019 NBA draft.

After electing to forgo the NBA draft and return to the University of Miami for his junior season, Hernandez received a crushing blow to improve his draft stock after the NCAA ruled him ineligible prior to the season. After a lengthy appeals process, the NCAA officially rejected his request for eligibility.

According to the NCAA, Hernandez received monthly payments and benefits from the agent Christian Dawkins who was found guilty in October for conspiracy to commit fraud along with three other defendants. Dawkins was at the center of a FBI investigation into the alleged corruption in college basketball where there were reports of a dozen student athletes being provided improper benefits. Hernandez was one of the athletes listed in the report.

University of Miami’s athletic director Blake James wrote on Twitter, “Today’s decision by the NCAA regarding Dewan Hernandez is not only disappointing but unfair. Based on the totality of the facts the University is not in agreement with the decisions and interpretations of this case and made it well-known to the NCAA staff that we have many reservations about the reliability of evidence and ultimate conclusions.”

The NCAA claimed the punishment could have been much harsher considering the allegations, but the existence of particular factors lessened Hernandez’s chances of being ruled permanently ineligible.

Hernandez’s lawyer Jason Setchen said he felt frustrated and disgusted after hearing the ruling. “I was not expecting the decision to be that harsh. I certainly knew it was a possibility, but it did not think that would be ultimately how they would come down on Dewan given the record of the case,” Setchen said. “I think that were a lot of other mitigating factors that should have been considered or at least were not given enough weight.”

Hernandez, who formally changed his name from Huell this past offseason, signed with the Hurricanes as a McDonald’s All-American and a top 30 national recruit out of Miami Norland High School. The former five-start recruit averaged 8.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in two seasons at the U.

The Hurricanes are off to its worst start since 2007 at 9-10 and 1-6 in ACC play. The team most recently lost to in-state rival Florida State and now face a difficult opponent in No. 12 Virginia Tech on Wednesday night. Without Hernandez, head coach Jim Larrañaga has been left to use a seven-man rotation in a deep ACC conference where teams are able to go 10 players deep into the rotation. It was evident that the team lacks the depth to compete after the loss to the Seminoles Sunday night.

Through the whole process, Larrañaga has voiced his support for Hernandez and hoped the NCAA would do the right thing in reinstating him. After the ruling, Larrañaga said on 560 WQAM, “As excited as were about signing [Dewan], it was so much more enjoyable to just be around him these last three years. I just love the young man; a hard worker; a dedicated athlete; a good student who worked hard in the classroom. It is just a very, very sad day for me and our basketball program to lose a person of his caliber.

Now with Hernandez ruled ineligible, the Hurricanes are left with only seven players on scholarship and Larrañaga is left to figure out how to fill the void Hernandez is leaving behind.

The NCAA has been criticized for years for its rules and enforcement policy. In the interview, Setchen said, “There are rules and they are supposed to be followed and I respect that, but at the same time, they need to rewire the way things are done so that the rule violations are not so common and not so easy to come by. The arbitrary nature of the throwing out penalties to me is a problem that needs to be addressed for sure. The process is another thing that needs to be reviewed because I feel a lot of it is done in the darkness and they just come give you an answer and it is like how did you get there.”

After this whole ordeal, there is this ongoing debate to how student athletes should be viewed. The NCAA describes them to be amateurs who are not allowed to receive payments independent of the university for which they play for. More and more players are beginning to speak out against this as the universities and cable television networks are profiting millions off of student athletes, but they themselves do not receive any monetary reward for their hard work besides their scholarships.

Unfortunately, Hernandez’s college career was cut short, but this will serve as an example for how the NCAA treats students athletes and handles violations. Hopefully, changes are made within the NCAA.