NFL’s Play 60 sparks youth interest

By Sam Fiske

The glow of the 2015 NFL Draft has come and gone, but the lasting imprint may ultimately reside with Chicago youth through the league’s Play 60 marketing campaign.

Play 60, which promotes an active and healthy lifestyle in the fight against childhood obesity, leveraged the popularity of the draft to draw kids, including those from Willa Cather Elementary School, to participate in football clinics in Grant Park last week.

“This is an amazing experience for the kids,” said Cather’s Dean Arick Lockheart, who campaigned to get 100 of his students invited to the Play 60 events. “It’s more about health and wellness.”

With raised awareness of concussions due to the violent nature of the sport, Play 60, which conducts clinics and football-related games and activities for kids nationwide, attempts a positive re-branding of the sport.

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Two steps forward, three steps back: NFL teams choose talent over troubled pasts

By Hannah Beery

Despite the NFL’s efforts to clean up its image, the 2015 draft revealed a troubling trend as teams continued to select players with allegedly violent pasts.

More troubling, however, said domestic violence experts and observers, was that the extensive vetting process employed by prospective teams failed to include the alleged victims of three high-profile draft picks.

“There are ramifications when you take on this kind of risk and they darn well should have been aware of everything that would go with it,” said columnist Gary Shelton about the Buccaneers ‘ selection of Jameis Winston. “I was deeply disturbed that [the team] did not talk to Erica Kinsman at any point in their process because ‘We knew what she would say from the reports.’ I think you cover all bases.”

Kinsman accused Winston, former Florida State quarterback and the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick, of rape in 2013. No criminal charges were filed and Winston was cleared again at a university conduct policy hearing late last year. She has since filed a civil suit, which Winston countered. Continue reading

VIDEO: Chicagoans rappel down 27-story building to raise money for respiratory health

By Mathias Meier

More than 50 altruistic daredevils brought some extra excitement to State and Lake streets last Sunday as they rappelled down the Wit Hotel’s outside wall.

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VIDEO: Shop offers vintage moped rentals in Wicker Park

By Brian MacIver

When Armando Lucenda was a 12-year-old boy growing up in Pilsen 17 years ago, he said he had a choice to make.

“Back in the day, it wasn’t a safe neighborhood,” Lucenda said. “So I had two options. It was either hanging out with old motorcycles and fixing them, or hanging out with gangs and stuff like that. So I really went to motorcycles. It took a lot of my time but I’m happy about it because now I’m alive.”

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VIDEO: High school student-athletes raise academic bar

By Connor Morgan

Studies show that student-athletes are improving the graduation rate at Chicago Public Schools. CPS observes a “no pass, no play” policy, meaning students must earn a 2.0 gpa and pass 25 credit hours to be eligible to compete.

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Sprawling NFL Draft Town consumes park

By Tim Penman
Video by Julie Woon

A carnival-like atmosphere marked the first-ever NFL Draft Town held in Chicago’s Grant Park on Thursday. Fans in jerseys emblazoned with every imaginable team logo strolled the 319 acre expanse known as the city’s front lawn, thrilled to be taking part in the first draft held here in more than 50 years.

“This is like Graceland for me here,” Rams fan Brian Catanzaro said. “I live and breathe the draft.”

As part of hosting the draft, Chicago’s iconic park was transformed into a sprawling theme park with multiple stages, team tents, a draft tavern, a 40-yard field goal kicking area and other amenities all designed to provide a great fan experience for the 100,000 people expected to participate in the festivities over the three days.
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Handling of NFL Draft sparks student outrage, protest

By Taylor Hall
Video by Beth Werge

As the world watched the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft on Thursday live from inside Roosevelt University’s historic Auditorium Theatre, students outside protested the university’s facilitation of resources for the draft.

“People are putting corporate greed before student need,” said Lupita Carrasquillo, organizer for Roosevelt University’s RISE organization focusing on social justice issues. “The NFL is a $9 billion corporation. They have a lot of money, and they asked for free access of our facility, of our venue. They’ve taken a floor in each of our university buildings–the fourth floor of the Wabash building, and the second floor of the auditorium building. They’ve blocked off an entire entrance.”
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Chicago braces for NFL Draft and its impact on the city

By Scott Guthrie and Connor Morgan
Additional Reporting by Nick Kariuki

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed hard to land the 2015 NFL Draft. And now, just weeks after winning a second term in office, he can try to show why.

There will be no shortage of attention on Chicago and the league April 30 through May 2 for their joint experiment.

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2015 NFL Draft: What you need to know

By Taylor Hall

The 2015 NFL Draft is scheduled to be held at Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Theatre with an adjacent fan festival, Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero, expanding to Grant Park and Congress Plaza.

Within the Auditorium Theatre, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce player selections for each of the 32 NFL teams, introducing the players on stage (sans Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota). On Saturday, the NFL draft will be held entirely in Draft Town and Selection Square in Grant Park, and fans will have the opportunity to take photos onstage at the Auditorium Theatre. Continue reading

Co-champions rally to win at Cantigny

By Scott Guthrie

Under the black Titleist tent just behind the 18th green of the Woodside Course at Cantigny Golf in Wheaton, Frank Lindwall slowly removed his weathered hat, let out a sigh and then buried his head in his arms.

The high school sophomore from Cedar Rapids seemed to be trying to delay the inevitable, not wanting to sign his scorecard that would make his 6-over-par final round official.

Or, perhaps the 16-year-old didn’t want to see tournament co-winners Drew Kiehl and David Perkins celebrate a win that slipped away with a bogey on the final hole to drop Lindwall into third place by one stroke.

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