Praying Not Playing
Outside the Lines (Sunday, 10 a.m. ET, ESPN2)
Last Season, Hamza and Husain Abdullah were playing football in the NFL for the Cardinals and Vikings, respectively. This season, they chose to put their careers on hold to pursue a lifelong dream to travel to Mecca. As they await the October pilgrimage, the brothers are spending some time serving people and educating them about Muslims and Islam. Bob Holtzman joined the Abdullahs on their recent cross-country tour and reports on their mission of faith.
ESPN’s award-winning news magazine, E:60, in the midst of an 11-week run will present pieces on the Chicago Bears’ Brandon Marshall and his Borderline Personality Disorder; Wake Forest’s Kevin Jordan, who received the ultimate ‘sacrifice” from his coach in helping him overcome Anca Vasculitis; and an FBI agent who resumed running marathons after his daughter, Paisley was born with Down Syndrome, helping the Fort Lauderdale father to show the world his love for his daughter.
He is the Chicago Bears newest offensive weapon, and a wide receiver who once described himself as “a ticking time bomb”. The description applied both to his explosive threat on the field – five consecutive seasons of 1000-plus receiving yards – and to his notorious problems off the field. Since 2004 he has been named in at least 18 incidents that range from domestic violence to drunken driving. In April 2011 his wife allegedly stabbed him in their Florida home. Though charges were dropped, and Marshall was not seriously hurt, the incident forced him to undergo psychological evaluation at a Boston hospital. The diagnosis – Borderline Personality Disorder – explained the “ticking time bomb”. E:60’s Lisa Salters examines Marshall’s struggle to defuse it.
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen announced via Twitter in April that he and his wife, Kara, were expecting twins — a boy and a girl. Shortly after sharing their news, doctors told them their unborn son developed a rare, deadly heart defect that would require three major surgeries, the first within a few days of his birth. In their first television interview, Greg and Kara reveal the emotional toll they’ve faced as the October due date approaches and why Panthers owner Jerry Richardson became a stabilizing force in this difficult time. Chris Connelly reports.
“You focus on the negatives, and it will just drag down because the negative will never change. The only thing you can do is change the positive part of it.” — Greg Olsen, on coping with his son’s diagnosis
“In the eight years I’ve known Greg, I had never seen him cry until that day of the diagnosis. I’m not going to lie — for a couple weeks I was bitter. I was angry and asked, ‘Why us? Why him?’” — Kara Olsen, Greg’s wife
Snoop Dogg’s discovery of Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas more than a decade ago had nothing to do with music. While playing youth football, Thomas’ blazing speed torched a team coached by the rapper, who later dubbed him “The Black Mamba.” Thomas later electrified fans every time he touched the ball for Crenshaw High School in the heart of South Central Los Angeles, and surprised many when he chose Oregon over USC. Samantha Steele reports on why this back-up for the Ducks may become a serious contender for the Heisman.
“We were just destroying them in the game, like, 52 to zero. Basically, after the game, I believe I was walking out the parking or walking up the stands, and he just asked me my name. I told him ‘De’Anthony.’ And he said, ‘That’s not your name anymore. It’s Black Momba.’”— De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon RB, on meeting Snoop Dogg.
Michael Haynes was once among the top 12 basketball prospects in the State of Illinois, and just five years after facing Derrick Rose in Chicago’s Public Schools Championship game, he earned a shot to play for a Division I program. Basketball was supposed to be Haynes’ ticket out of some of the most crime-ridden areas of Chicago’s south side, but his family said he was left in that environment just a little too long. Mark Schwarz has the story of this once promising young basketball player.
Kiese Laymon writes: “There is a price to pay for ducking responsibility, for clinging to the worst of us and harboring a warped innocence. There is an even greater price to pay for ignoring and demeaning those Americans who have unfairly borne the weight of American responsibility for so long. Tomorrow is here, and it’s time to pay up. Our team is losing. Our team is lost. Our team…”