Tuesday, June 29, 2010

John Wall Shows Humility off the Floor

By Abby Draper

Recently, Eric Prisbell of The Washington Post wrote a very detailed article about John Wall’s past that garnered a lot of national attention, specifically in regard to his relationship with his father.

In this article, Prisbell discusses Wall’s troubled childhood dealing first with his father’s incarceration and secondly with his father’s death. Despite the fact that Wall’s father was in jail throughout his childhood, he was still able to visit during the weekends with his mother and step-sister. In 1998, Wall’s father was diagnosed with cancer and was removed from prison as his condition worsened. A year later, John Wall’s father passed away. Prisbell describes the graphic death in the article and continues by explaining that Wall turned into an aggressive and rebellious teenager.

The article goes on to explain how Wall found basketball as a release, and learned to use the game to control his temper. It follows him through basketball camp, to Word of God Academy, to the 2007 Reebok All-American Camp and ultimately to the University of Kentucky.

The most controversial part of the article comes with its conclusion as Prisbell joins John Wall after an 80-minute practice in his former high school gym. While sitting together on the bleachers, Prisbell informs Wall the reasons his father had been incarcerated. Prior to this meeting, Wall had no idea.

After hearing this, Wall impresses his audience in his reaction by saying:

“I was not curious, I was just happy to see my dad and talk to him… That’s my dad. He brought me onto this earth and like everybody, he makes mistakes. Everyone is not going to be perfect.”

After the article was printed and became a popular topic of discussion, John Wall was asked how he felt about the story. Once again, he impressed his audience.

“You can’t really be upset or mad. I really didn’t think of it too much. They’ve got to do their job, they’ve got to ask questions. You can say no in a mean way, or a nice way. It was a story, so I felt like people should know what it was. I wasn’t too upset about it, but it seemed like a lot of fans were kind of upset. It was alright with me.”

We all know that John Wall is an incredible athlete; it’s nice to see that he is also an incredible guy. It will be fun to see him develop as a player in Washington.

Abby Draper is the Manager of Social Media. Contact her at abby@maroonpr.com

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Manute Bol Remembered as Humanitarian, Hero

By Pete Deluca

This weekend marked the passing of one of basketball’s most iconic and definitely tallest figures to ever play the game - Manute Bol.

Before Michael Jordan’s championship run, I remember the only reason I was interested in the NBA was because of Bol. Standing 7-foot-7-inches tall, he was like nothing the sports world had ever seen. He looked like a monster, and in a league full of giants everyone was looking up at him. As one of the most recognizable players of his era, he drew a crowd everywhere he went and packed stadiums throughout his career.

His defensive stats were unreal – more so considering that he did not even touch a basketball until he was 16 years old. After being drafted in 1985, Bol went on to set the record for most blocks in a rookie season, which included league records for shots blocked in a half (11) and in a quarter (8). He finished his 10-year NBA career second in career blocks-per-game (a mark that still stands today) and is the only player in league history with more blocked shots (2,086) than points (1,599).

Fans flocked to arenas to see Bol and marveled at his height and shot blocking ability. However, he was much more than a sideshow – he was the embodiment of the “American Dream.” Bol rose from a small tribe in a primitive section of Sudan to a mainstream figure of American pop culture. He was thrown right into the lime-light and emerged as an NBA legend.

But it was his actions off the court that made him a true superstar. Bol always kept his war-ravaged home country in mind and worked tirelessly with nonprofit organizations to improve Sudan throughout his career. He started the Ring True Foundation, which raised over $3 million for the Sudanese refugee camps he frequently visited. In retirement, he assembled schools across Sudan to educate Muslim and Christian students under one roof and worked with local politicians to promote fair and safe elections.

Bol passed away in Virginia on Saturday, June 19 from kidney problems and a rare skin condition. He proved himself as force both on and off the court. He was a hero, a humanitarian, and a giant – in both height and heart.

Pete Deluca is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at pete@maroonpr.com.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Protect & Serve? Police Shooting Outside Nightclub Raises Vital Concerns

Marines carrying the casket of Tyrone Brown
By Tim Richardson

I don’t wake up each morning, kiss my wife goodbye and pat my dog on the head before heading off to a job that could take my life. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for members of law enforcement who put themselves in harm’s way each day to protect and serve our community. I’ve never been shot at, let alone had a gun pointed at me, so I won’t pretend to know what that danger is like or how it feels to leave your house for work knowing each day that you may not return.

But in the early morning of June 5, the questionable actions of one off-duty Baltimore City police officer outside of a downtown Baltimore nightclub prevented 32-year old Tyrone Brown from making it home safely. According to police, off-duty officer Gahiji A. Tshamba fired 13 shots from his Glock service pistol at Brown during a confrontation in which witnesses allege that Tshamba became angry after Brown inappropriately touched one of his female companions on the backside. According to witnesses and police sources, the 15-year veteran of the force drew his service weapon and challenged Brown to "do it again" before subsequently shooting the ex- Marine - whose hands were raised in the air - in the chest and groin. He died at Shock Trauma.

Did Tshamba feel that his life was in such grave danger that it required him to fire more than a dozen shots from close range at an unarmed man? Following the incident, a police spokesman said that detectives had "not been able to find a concrete motive" as to why Tshamba fired his weapon. If you consider the time of the shooting, location and Tshamba’s refusal to submit to a breathalyzer at the scene, it raises the question as to whether the officer had been drinking and was impaired when he fired his gun. To me, this is a dangerous and frightening question.

According to an article in The Baltimore Sun, City police officers are generally required to carry their service weapons while on and off duty when they are within city limits. There are apparently no rules prohibiting them from carrying guns into bars, but The Sun reports that it is against department regulations to be intoxicated or inebriated while armed.

Driving while impaired by alcohol carries significant penalties. Shouldn’t using your service weapon while under the influence require the same, if not stronger, consequences? The occurrence earlier this month is not the first time Tshamba was involved in a questionable incident tied to his service revolver and alcohol. In 2005, he was driving drunk when he got into a confrontation with a group of men in another vehicle who the officer said shouted racial epithets at him. That situation ended with Tshamba shooting one of the men in the foot. However, the shooting was ruled justifiable since the men had allegedly threatened the officer.

In that circumstance, Tshamba both operated a vehicle and discharged his fire arm while under the influence of alcohol. Although he was disciplined internally for having a gun while intoxicated, an eight-day suspension hardly seems like the appropriate course of action. Let’s not forget that he was also driving while intoxicated, but received no punishment for that infraction.

A car can clearly be a deadly weapon when driven by someone who is intoxicated, but a gun causes an even greater threat when in the hands of a person who has been drinking. Hopefully, the intense scrutiny of this tragic case will cause the Baltimore City Police Department to evaluate its penalties for an off-duty officer to carry and discharge his/her service weapon while under the influence of alcohol or intoxicated.

In my opinion, this is the quintessential situation in which a zero tolerance policy should be in place. If an off-duty Baltimore City Police Officer (or any law enforcement agent for that matter) is found to have been consuming alcohol or under the influence when involved in a shooting, they should immediately be terminated from the force. It is even more troubling that this is the second time officer Tshamba has been in involved in a shooting in which questions have been raised about the role alcohol played in the situation.

When officers are involved in shootings, public perception is that the police department protects its own. But to the Baltimore City Police Department’s credit, the alleged “Blue Code of Silence” did not come in to play in this case. For the most part, the police department acted decisively, placing a top commander in charge of the investigation, quickly turning the case over to the State’s Attorney’s Office and initiating a massive manhunt for Tshamba after the arrest warrant for first-degree murder was issued on June 12 and the officer could not be located. Tshamba eventually turned himself in to the authorities early in the early morning on June 13.

But the question I believe worth pondering is that if officer Tshamba had been seriously sanctioned previously, even fired because of his numerous incidents of questionable behavior when off-duty, would Tyrone Brown have made it home safely on June 5.

Tim Richardson is the Executive Vice President of Maroon PR. Contact him at tim@maroonpr.com.

Photo Courtesy of The Baltimore Sun's Lloyd Fox

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Greyhounds - Better than you Think!

By Carolyn Maroon

If anyone is considering getting a pet, I can’t recommend adoption enough. As a child growing up we didn't have pets and didn't understand other family’s connection to their pets. When I was dating my husband John, I didn’t understand how “over the top” they were with their dogs; immense love and affection they were given, the special foods prepared, etc.

When John and I married, I didn’t give in to his desire to get a dog. I had one objection after another, and instead bought him some tropical fish. For about 14 years I held strong in my resistance until one day, for some unknown reason, I gave in. There were strings attached however… no puppies and we must adopt one in need of a home.

On July 13, 2005 we adopted “Gabe” a retired greyhound and all I can say is “I get it now.” Gabe brought a lot of joy and love to ours lives during his short life with us. It is something you need to experience to understand. Of course, now John and I are partial to greyhounds and all the wonderful people we have met through the Greyhound Pets of America (GPA).

After Gabe died we were devastated and didn’t know if we could do it again. But we understood that so many loving dogs need homes and because of our love for Gabe we recently jumped back in.

Just a week ago we adopted “Connie” a greyhound from the GPA and she has been fitting in our home beautifully. Thanks to Gabe, another greyhound has found a home.

If you are thinking about a dog, I would absolutely recommend getting a greyhound for a number of reasons:

* People fear that they are hyper. This isn’t true…they are intelligent, kind, calm, clean and great with kids and other dogs

* Some folks believe they need a fenced-in yard to run. This is also not true…they have been called “the world’s fastest couch potatoes” and “the only dog that needs to be dusted.”

* Sometimes we hear that those that live in apartments don’t have the space for a Greyhound. While these dogs aren’t small (50-80 pounds) they do not need a large home to be happy.

Obviously, I have a little bias, but you have to understand that greyhound owners are a little crazy about, well, greyhounds. There are events across the country and greyhound picnics and gatherings. We are now a part of that “cult.”

If you’re getting a dog or cat by all means adopt as there are so many that need loving homes. Please do consider the beautiful greyhounds as tracks are closing across the country and the need for homes is greater now than ever. To learn more visit http://www.gpa-md.com/.

Carolyn Maroon is Maroon PR's Office Manager. Contact her at carolyn@maroonpr.com

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Maryland Governor Election Heavily Relying on Social Media

By Mitchell Schmale

As the race for governor begins to heat up in Maryland during the summer months, there will be a new political battleground in the 2010 gubernatorial race: the world of social media.

Republican challenger and former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich and current Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley are both planning to share their political platforms and take their messages directly to voters across the state through active social media campaigns including Facebook and Twitter. Both candidates are currently working to grow their respective social media sites as they add followers and fans. The plan for both is that their arsenal of social media tools will be primed and ready to be maximized in the fall as the campaign heads down the stretch.

The 2008 presidential election made history by utilizing social media platforms to help share messages and reach voters, but this is new territory for the governor’s race in Maryland. Social media platforms were not a major part of the campaign strategy in 2006 for the governor’s race. But, the social media world has evolved quickly since then and is now a force to be reckoned with in the world of politics. It’s a free way to share messages with supporters, volunteers and potential voters during a fast-paced campaign when every day counts and during a time when political fundraising for candidates in a sluggish economy will be tougher than ever.

It’s always interesting to watch a hotly contested gubernatorial race play out in print, radio and TV over the life of a campaign. In Maryland, we can now we can add social media to the political battlefield. Let the campaigning begin.

Mitchell Schmale is the Vice President of Maroon PR's Corporate Division. Contact him at

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Nelson Mandela to Miss World Cup Opener

By Stefen Lovelace

The World Cup has finally arrived. The biggest sporting event in the world starts today, with Mexico playing host South Africa at 10 a.m. EST in Johannesburg.

There will be millions of people in South Africa for this event, and tons of people watching the World Cup opener. There will be one notable exception this morning though.

Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa, and one of the world’s foremost humanitarians, will not be attending this morning’s game. Tragedy struck the Mandela family yesterday, when Mandela’s 13-year-old great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela was killed in a one-car accident after attending the World Cup kickoff concert in Orlando Stadium.

It’s incredibly sad that Mandela won’t be able to attend. He’s done so much for South Africa and played a big role in getting the World Cup to come to the country. Unfortunately, family must come first.

Not having Mandela isn’t lost on anyone.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter wrote to Nelson Mandela, describing the young girl's death as "unspeakably tragic."

Blatter said Friday he fully understands that Mandela cannot attend the opening ceremony and first match, and wrote that Mandela will "be with us in spirit, for which we are incredibly grateful."

It’s great that the World Cup is finally upon us, and countries all over the world will be celebrating. While you watch the games, and enjoy the United States versus England game tomorrow, keep Mandela in your thoughts and prayers.

Stefen Lovelace is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at stefen@maroonpr.com.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Photos and Video Released from Roethlisberger Incident

By Andrea Kunicky

Yesterday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) released photos and videotapes of witness interviews compiled during its investigation of a college student's claim that she was sexually assaulted by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting the college student during a late night of partying in the small Georgia town of Milledgeville on March 5. Prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence to warrant criminal charges, but the quarterback did receive a six-game suspension from the NFL for his behavior.

In my opinion in this situation, the police have no right to be releasing these pictures and video for the public to view. To my knowledge, this has never happened in the past with anyone else. Why choose to release these now?

I am in no way condoning Roethlisberger’s behavior, but he has not been formally charged at all in this case. Until this occurs, no evidence from the case should be released. We have seen all types of athletes accused of rape, and not one of them have been prosecuted, which means there wasn’t strong enough evidence to deem these people guilty.

Roethlisberger spoke to reporters briefly last week after a Steelers’ voluntary practice. He said he's ready to make major changes to his lifestyle. He’s ready to put this incident behind him, and releasing these photos and videos just make this all the more difficult.

Andrea Kunicky is an Associate Account Executive. Contact her at andrea@maroonpr.com.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

AP and ESPN Both Facing Competition

By John Maroon

It appears that cable news giant CNN may be preparing to take on AP and become a subscription based wire news service. They recently ended their subscription with AP and there is speculation abound.

There are many wire services out there, AFP being the largest, but most of them are industry specific (Bloomberg Business Wire). Other wire services have yet to grab a huge market share nationally or are tied to specific news-gathering agencies (Knight Ridder/Tribune and LA Times-Washington Post).

Having an additional international wire service in the market can only be a good thing. Competition is healthy and it would give businesses that use these services more options, while preventing a news gathering agency from dictating the news.

Along the same lines, there has been talk that the sports network Versus is getting poised to challenge ESPN in the all-sports network arena. While this seems like a monumental task, remember that the merger between Comcast (who owns Versus) and NBC would give Versus the power to be promoted through a network much the way ABC promotes ESPN broadcasts. Again, this would be healthy for the industry. Currently, like it or not, ESPN dictates what is news in the world of sports and having another loud voice to provide balance is all good.

John Maroon is the President of Maroon PR. He can be contacted at john@maroonpr.com.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meet Pete DeLuca

By Pete DeLuca; Video by Abby Draper

Pete DeLuca is an Associate Account Executive. He can be contacted at pete@maroonpr.com.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Perfect... Well, Almost

By Matt Saler

Last night, Armando Galaragga of the Detroit Tigers was one out away from pitching a perfect game, one of the rarest accomplishments in all of sports. In the 100+ years of professional baseball, such a feat has only occurred 20 times. However, on this night, fate would tell a different story as veteran umpire Jim Joyce blew a call at first base on the final out that robbed Galaragga of his perfect night. With lack of instant replay, the call could not be overturned.

Tough to watch. But if anything positive can be drawn from such a situation, it was the way both Galaragga and Joyce handled the situation afterwards. Galarragga could have yelled and screamed about how he was robbed of perfection and Joyce could have gone and hidden from the situation, standing by his call and avoid speaking to the media. But that was not the case here.

After seeing that he was wrong with his call, Joyce immediately apologized to Galaragga, admitting his fault and how truly sorry he was for his missed call. He spoke to the media immediately after the game, sharing that same remorse…

We are a forgiving society. If you get out in front of the issue, genuinely show your remorse right after the incident, society will generally forgive you and move on with their lives.

The public will certainly be angry at Joyce for the call, but in the 24 hour news cycle, it’ll eventually pass. Today, this story was on every major sports and news show. Along with rehashing the botched call, all of those shows also mentioned Joyce’s remorse and apology.

While it was heartbreaking to watch young Armando Galaragga lose his unique place in MLB history, kudos to both Galaragga and Joyce on how they handled the situation directly after the game. Class acts all around.

Matt Saler is an Account Executive. Contact him at matt@maroonpr.com

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IndyCar Racer Graham Rahal Talks about the Baltimore Grand Prix

Video by Abby Draper

Graham Rahal is an IndyCar racer. In 2008, he won his IndyCar Series debut at St. Petersburg, making him the youngest winner in major open-wheel racing history.

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